Home > Random, Road Trip > Day 1 To Destin

Day 1 To Destin

Any successful trip starts with preparation- especially when traveling with your 5 year old child.  We have plenty of snacks, drinks, games, movies, toys, and books- everything for a successful (meltdown free) trip to Florida.

Everyone is buckled in (Angela and Samuel are riding in the backseat per Samuel’s request), the car is packed (the bike is on the rack), and the cooler is in the front seat (full of gatorade- I would later determine it a mistake not to have packed any caffeinated products).  Time to leave.

11:10:  Depart house

11:12:  First stop.  Fill-up the tank with gas at Exxon (I forgot to do this last night- time is wasting).

11:20:  Second stop:  Chick-Fil-A.  Lunch (We do the drive-through, no time to stop and sit down).  First attempt at the new spicy chicken sandwich (not an immediate fan- I think I like Wendy’s better).

11.30:  Depart for real.

Knowing that we would be driving to Florida (the trip was planned in January), I have been stockpiling podcasts for this trip (Last year, I made the rookie mistake of not doing so and ran through all of them on the first day- I had nothing to listen to do on Day 2 or on the way home).  As such, some of the podcasts might be a little dated.  I’m okay with that (Really).

First up, the BS Report with Bill Simmons where he interviews Carleton Cuse, executive producer of Lost (being a Lost fan, I had actually listened to this one already, but since Angela is a Lost fan, I think she might enjoy it and it might earn me some good graces later- when I would “not see” anywhere to stop for a bathroom, bore her with other podcasts, and insist on eating in the car so we could make “good time.”).

Having taken many trips together over the last 20 years, we should know each other’s travel quirks.  But (I don’t know if this is a recent quirk or if I keep forgetting) she prefers the car ice cold- right around freezing would be good (or at least if feels like it’s freezing in the front seat).  As we approach the Nike outlet in Tyler, I consider exiting so that I can buy something with sleeves (sweatshirt, jacket) or anything that might provide warmth.  But what if they don’t have anything, then I would’ve wasted time exiting, looking around, and then getting back on the road.  I go past the exit.

Ten minutes later, I am reconsidering my decision.  Maybe I could turn around.  I tried turning the temperature up, but was immediately caught.  I turn it back down.  My goosebumps have goosebumps.

With the first podcast over, Angela plugs her iPod into the stereo to play Samuel’s Reading Readiness so that he can work on his reading skills.  Here’s where preparation pays off.  I pull out the earbuds and plug them into my iPod.  Bliss.

Next up on the podcast lineup:  I channel my inner cycling geek and listen to 3 podcasts from Bicycling Magazine.  First, there’s the interview with Michael Barry (good rider as well as a good writer)- his new book sounds really cool, but $70?  I don’t know if I can fork that over.  Next up are previews of the Giro D’ Italia and the Tour of California (which only begins to demonstrate how much of a bike geek I may be- the races are finished and I know the results, but I’m still listening to the previews).

(Tried raising the temperature of the ac so I could thaw out.  Caught immediately and had to turn it back down.)

Reading Readiness done and a bathroom break is requested.

I agree as I need to thaw out myself.  While I stand in the sun, I wonder (a little too late) if it was a mistake to buzz my head down to a 2 (seems like I did this last year and made a mental note not to do it this year- must’ve lost that mental note somewhere, so it looks like I’ll be applying sunscreen to my scalp and hopefully remembering to not make the same mistake next year).

Back on the road, Samuel settles in for an Ice Age movie marathon on Angela’s iPod (wearing his own headphones) and I take over the stereo, this time burning through some podcasts from Catalyst.

“Daddy!” Samuel yells at me (his headphones still on).

“What?”

“You’re playing your stuff too loud.  It’s interrupting me.” (And he returns his attention to his movie).

“Okay.”  I turn it down one level.  I only hear from him when he’s laughing.

On the Catalyst podcast, I fast-forward (taking a chance by burning through these so fast) to the interviews with Donald Miller (who talks about the Mentoring Project), Jonathan Acuff (who talks about his new book), and John Ortberg (on a variety of topics).

When I’ve finished with those, I switch back to the BS Report, this time for a mega-podcast on the Lost Finale.  Simmons interviews tv critic Alan Sepinwall, one his friends, and Chuck Klostermann.  I always enjoy a Simmons-Klostermann exchange.  Klostermann usually has a unique perspective on pop culture and life, and his take on the Lost finale is no different (I won’t spoil it for you).

Bathroom stop number 2 requested and seeing as how I need caffeine, I agree (this is where I failed to prepare).  I am caffeine finicky. I despise coffee.  I don’t like tea in a can or a bottle.  I gave up Coke and Dr. Pepper 3 years ago (and that has nothing to do with a Dr. Pepper employee running me over on my bike).  Not a fan of Pepsi.  Monster and Red Bull- no thanks.  So, I was hoping to find a Big Red (my rationale- a caffeinated soft drink that I like but won’t feel compelled (addicted) to drink every single day, but there’s no Big Red at this store).  I settle for Sprite which has no caffeine (I have no good explanation for this- I don’t know why I didn’t get a Mountain Dew).

Missed phone with the brother-in-law (the BIL).  We play phone tag the rest of the day.  I send him taunting text messages about the fact that I’m on my way to vacation and he’s still working (it’s put a smile on my face).

Back on the road, and next on the podcast lineup, I once more channel the cycling geek within me.  I listen to the Cycling News podcast where they preview the Giro D’ Italia and the Tour of California (so if you’re counting, I’ve listened to 2 preview shows for 2 races that I’ve followed and know the results of- this might be the beginning of a problem, but I’m not quite ready to admit that).

Overnight arrival at 6:30 pm in Baton Rouge.

We check-in at the hotel where I made reservations.  In the previous two years, I had elected not to make reservations, but rather to wait and see how far we might get.  After all, how hard would it be to find a hotel?  Let’s just say that we drove until midnight both times after multiple stops in multiple cities at multiple hotels and motels until we could find a place.  Someone “suggested” that I might want to make a reservation this year.

I arrive and leave Angela and Samuel at the car, even though they have to go the bathroom (I don’t want to leave my very expensive bike un-attended.  Besides, how long could it take to check in?)  The group of 8 or so who are checking in are paying cash.  Who pays cash for a hotel?  Not only are they paying cash, but they don’t have enough cash, so they are all emptying their wallets and purses trying to gather enough money for their room.  I stand patiently, credit card in hand, wondering if this is a Louisiana thing or if I have picked the wrong hotel.  I try not to think about Samuel and Angela having to use the bathroom.

We un-load the car (putting our overnight luggage as well as the bike in the room) and go in search of dinner.  We could be daring.  We could seek out some local cuisine.  But we don’t.  Fish doesn’t sit well with me, and we weren’t too optimistic about the nearby Mexican restaurants, so we settled for On the Border (Samuel was pleased, since he talked me into ordering queso).

After dinner, we stroll over to Barnes and Noble and look around for a bit (hoping to wear the kid out- that turns out to be a waste of time).  We buy a couple of books (a maze book for him and the book on Mark Cavendish for me (biking)), and return back to the hotel room.  Rather than worn out, Samuel is hyped up (but he hasn’t had any sugar).  He’s talking non-stop, running around the room, and jumping on and off the bed.  We all know he isn’t going to sleep anytime soon

And sure enough, it’s 10.30 before he finally fell asleep (2 hours past his normal bed time).  Surely he’ll sleep late tomorrow, I hope as I drift off myself.

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