Epic Road Trip and Reagan's 11th Birthday (Day 20: September 12, 2016)

(click here for pictures)

We first heard the kdis this morning at 7:15. Robby went in to calm them down but it was too late-the girls were dressed, hair combed and sitting on their freshly made bed. He encouraged them to go ahead and turn on the tv for a bit. Soon the boys were in there watching the food network as well. Whitman was sleeping happily in my room and I do believe that he could have slept for another few hours.

We were soon all dressed nad headed to breakfast. Since this was a birthday morning, when Reagan found her breakfast we poked candles on the top and sang Happy Birthday to her. She seemed to enjoy the attention and made sure everyone was working on a card for her. Reagan spent much of yesterday reminding Keaton that she needed to spend some of her money to buy some candy for her birthday.

Before Reagan was able to blow out her candles, we realized that our camera wasn’t exactly working. Robby had his phone so pictures were not a problem. On every big road trip, we have some type of camera problems. Last year, our camera became a bit too wet from Niagara Falls. The year before that, the new battery died and we briefly thought it was the entire camera. Robby was able to fix the camera thankfully. We believe that when Whitman flipped himself and the buggy backwards over yesterday, the camera was on the back and was jarred. Everything is working great now though.

We ate and then loaded up. Graham, Whitman and I took the first load of stuff to the car and straightened it a bit. Then everyone else joined us and we were soon on our way. I did pass out school work today (I made sure that the birthday girl had easy work to do.) We did start to see some trees that were changing colors-makes me think that we might should just turn this bus around and start out trip over again.

It didn’t take us too long to make it into Atlantic City. I used to think that it was bigger but it didn’t really seem that large today. Maybe everyone was still sleeping off their Miss America celebration parties. We pulled right into an empty parking lot and walked right to the Mis America statue we saw on the news last night.
Robby and I were in bed and turned on the pageant last night. They were down to the final 3 and he guessed that the blonde would get it and sure enough she did. We were surprised to find out that she was indeed Miss Arkansas. A bit later we saw the Miss America statue and decided to head there first thing today since we were driving through Atlantic city.

We all took our pictures there and Whitman was infatuated with the statue.  He would stand underneath and shout up at it “put the crown on me, pretty please!” It was pretty entertaining to watch. We noticed quite a few people around so we just waited to see if the new Miss America would come out and seconds later she did. We followed the crowd of people and cameramen and the kids pushed their way to the front.

She went to the statue and had her picture there and then went to the ocean to dip her toe in the water-apparently that is a tradition. Well, we stayed right there with her-the girls quickly became busy picking up shells but the boys had pushed their way up to the front with our cameras and phones and were videoing away. At some point, Reagan took my camera and Anderson took Robby’s phone. Anderson filmed for at least 20 minutes and is now considering a career in photojournalism. (news article link)

On the walk back, Reagan managed to get near the front and a man handed her a paper to give to Miss. America. Reagan did and Savvy Shields, signed her first autograph as Miss America and handed it to our birthday girl. Pictures were snapped, people were asking Reagan her name, congratulating her, telling her how to store the paper, it was a few minutes of wildness. What luck for us to end up there and Reagan to get her signature like that. Reagan was trying to play it off a bit but she was pretty thrilled and even trying to decide where we can hang that paper in her room.

As we walked back towards the car, people were still stopping her to take a picture of the paper and asking Reagan her name and taking her information. It was a pretty cool birthday present. Everyone’s shoes were soaking wet from following Miss America out into the ocean so once we made it back to the car, all shoes were taken off and socks shaken out.

It was a few miles down the road to Lucy the Elephant. We jumped out there in our bare feet and took a few pictures of the elephant before returning to the car for a snack. We only had about 30 minutes to drive until the next hotel but had lots of things to look for-gas station, walmart-ish store and some place to buy birthday cake.

When we did find a gas station, Keaton was the first to notice the Hess chips and Ben and Jerry ice cream. After I took the first group of pottiers in, Robby took in Whitman. They were in there for at least 20 minutes and I spent that time trying to get a fly out of the car. The kids left in the car didn’t notice because they were busying working on their minecraft apartments.

Tonight we are staying in North Wildwood, New Jersey and it is a cute little kind of deserted beach town. We found our hotel and Robby ran in a load of stuff and then we pressed on looking for an early supper and place to pick up cupakes or cake. It took a good while to find a place open for a 3:00 lunch/supper.

We finally did find a cute little diner called Marvis and ate outside. Since it was a birthday, Robby let the kids all get their own kids meal-ravioli, pancakes, chicken and hamburgers were all chosen. Robby had ravioli and his portion was just about as big as Reagan’s and my burger was the same size as Andersosn’s burger. We probably should have ordered off of the kids menu ourselves. We did take home a doggie bag just in case the kids were hungry tonight.

We didn’t have to go to far to arrive at a grocery store and Robby and Graham ran in and came out with cokes, cake and lots of ice cream. From there we headed to our motel-an old little motel with 2 bedrooms so everyone has a bed tonight. But the crazy thing is that even though this is a non smoking room, they have ash trays and old people smoking outside of every room (not our room though-we are the old people in here and we don’t smoke but I do believe that the cigar smoke we walked passed earlier is making me itch like crazy right now.)

We were not in the room very long because when you say the word “beach” my people move really quickly and they all had on their suits before I could walk through the door. We drove just a block and parked and when we approached the beach, we saw a sign that said “no swimming.” Hmm, that would put a bit of a damper on our beach plans. So we walked just a little bit and moved on to another part. There were people swimming there so we found ourselves a spot.

Keaton and Whitman needed to by holding a handwhene they were in the water. But the others were crazy out there-making Robby and I very nervous (we are not beach people.) We kept scooting them back. We did eventually have to put on Whitamn’s life jacket-not because he was in the water but because his bathing suit kept falling down. I guess the elastic is stretched out and the poor boy could not keep his pants up-his life jacket strap helped a little bit.

Whitman and Keaton enjoyed playing in the sand more than everyone else but they did enjoying jumping in the water with me. By the time we were finished playing (and by “we” being finished-I mean Robby and I. Reagan could have stayed all night long) it was freezing cold. Graham, Whitman and I were shivering. I walked back to the hotel with the 3 littles-even after washing ourselves with water, we were still so incredibly sandy so they walked back helped some.

The big 3 walked back to the car with Robby and from there, Reagan and Anderson still walked back to the hotel, When they all returned, I was getting the littles out of the shower and everyone else started rotating through. When everyone was cleaned, the 11th birthday party began.

We had already hung our sign, the cards had been made, Nonna had sent a present with us, the candles were lit and the party began. Reagan blew out her candles and we cut the cake and scooped up the ice cream. She said that it had been a very good birthday and I would have to agree with her.

Campbell and Graham are already asleep and I think that Keaton might be too. The others are watching tv and their bedtime will be in 5 minutes. Tomorrow is another ferry day so that should be fun.

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