Florida Gators and Caribbean Cruise: Day 1, November 7, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

Sometimes when we wake up early to leave for a trip, the kids are quick to jump out of their beds. Today, when I went in their rooms around 5:30, no one was stirring even though Graham’s alarm clock was quietly singing.

I turned off their fans walking from one room to the other. Then I put toothpaste on the toothbrushes. Next I opened all of their blinds and in each room, I still didn’t have many folks moving around. Finally, I hauled Whitman downstairs to our rom and laid him beside his clothes hoping that he would get the idea-he did not.

Then bak upstairs I went to start making the kids’ beds. This didn’t take too long and soon I was back downstairs drying my hair. A few minutes after 6, we were on the road for our long day of driving.

Everyone grabbed some type of breakfast to take with them. Most everyone in the car went back to sleep at some point between 6 and 7. Whitman did tell Anderson that he didn’t remember eating his poptart. Anderson showed him his plate and replied back that he ate it. I didn’t think too much about this until about 2 hours later when Anderson said, “Buddy, you didn’t eat your poptart. Here they are.” I guess that the wrapped package  had fallen off his plate and no one could see them.

Somewhere on the road to Memphis, we passed out everyone’s ipads. They played quietly for a long time. We made it into Mississippi when we stopped for a bathroom break.  By this time, it was already raining and unfortunately, we fought the rain for most of the rest of the day.

The kids then watched a Redbox movie while I drove a little bit. I did get into a whole mess of rain. I thought it was a downpour until a bit later when Robby was driving and it was literally a monsoon. People pulled over, people flashing their lights, it was a mess. It was almost dark outside. The kids played their ipads some more during this time. They were very quiet, or maybe the rain was so loud that we could not hear them.

We had a few snacks and a few drinks this morning. Our goal was to make it to Talladega Motor Speedway Hall of Fame. It was right after 1 when we arrived there. We probably should have made our sandwiches in the car, but the crazy weather called for two drivers and not just one driver and one sandwich maker.

Once we arrived to Talladega, we ate our sandwiches in the car. I think that most everyone could have leaned back and taken a nap since the rain was still drumming on the roof so peacefully.

After we ate, Robby ran in to buy our tickets. Then he shuttled the rest of us to the front using our 2 umbrellas. We needed a good stop today since we had such a long haul, and Talladega was a stop. There were lots of cars and trophies, but the museum has seen much better days. We were the only ones there, if that tells you anything.
It was still raining when we got back on the road headed to our hotel. We battled the rain for hours but  did stop for a rest stop. Robby let the kids pick between ice cream cones and Wendy’s french fries. We ate there and enjoyed the break. Back in the car, we finished another movie, listened to our book on tape some and then the kids played on their ipads while in the car.

The only time that it didn’t rain today was when we were in stop and go traffic just an hour and a half from our destination. That was the only clear, yet dark, skies that we had.

It took an hour of crawling traffic to finally discover what the traffic problem was: a huge tree was down in the road. The tree was actually covering the 3 lanes and we had to pass on the shoulder. I guess that it was a good thing that we stopped when we did for a break, because a little further south a tornado was zipping down the interstate leaving branches and trees down.

As soon as we passed through the tree area, the rain started up again. At least it stopped raining for a bit! While we were driving the last final bit to the hotel, we just crossed our fingers that everyone’s ipad batteries stayed charged for a bit longer.

They did and despite the blinding lightning the last few minutes of our drive, we made it to the hotel safe and sound. We were a bit tired, but chicken tortillas perked everyone back up for a few minutes. Then it was bedtime for the crew.

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