Sunday, June 15, 2008
Dollywood...now that's another story. The day was painfully hot and while we enjoyed some of the rollercoasters, we only ended up staying a few hours. The heat got to us fast & we were all wilting!
We decided to ditch a 2nd day at Dollywood and head home. As we were driving, Clark decided he was up for driving the whole way home, so we made the complete trip on Thursday. Audrey, Rusty, & I slept a good portion of the way home, and we finally pulled in the driveway around 2am.
Clark must have been in robot-mode to drive through the night like that with no company to talk to & nothing to look at in the dark!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Batman spent lots of time watching DVDs...
We made another paper chain for this leg of our drive. I brought strips of paper & a glue stick so we could make paper chains for every leg. Each link this time represents 50 miles, and it really helped Rusty "get" how much farther we had to travel!
We stopped along the way at DQ for lunch & ice creams...
I drove Audrey even more crazy with my pictures....
Rusty had more fun with the most annoying car toy EVER while we were at a pit stop...
Enjoying the view...
Our little piggy from the DQ kids' meals became out mascot that rode under the windshield wiper...
Audry took a big nap & I snuck a picture...
We found another McDonald's for a potty break & ice cream stop...check out the cool Ronald McDonald statue!
Cheeseballs...like my new sunglasses? They were the cheapest, ugliest pair I could find at WalMart in Arkansas. $5 baby!
We arrived in Gatlinburg safely, thanks to Clark's safe driving. Audrey STILL had no idea why on Earth we were here. We drove through Pigeon Forge to get to our hotel in Gatlinburg and saw all sorts of countryfied entertainment opportunities (can you say The Comedy Barn?)
After eating dinner at Texas Roadhouse (yes, we drove 14 hours to eat dinner at a Texas restaurant!), we decided it was time to spill the beans to Audrey of where we were going to visit tomorrow.
Clark & I picked up some brochures of local activities, & she had to figure out what we were here to do.
Her first guess....
Her second guess....
Her third guess....
After she threw all the above options on the bed, she had only one left in her hand.
Is that joy on her face? Is she thinking "My parents have absolutely lost their mind."
It was too much to handle...
She spent lots of time looking through the Dollywood brochure, and we'll head out tomorrow for our fist day at the park. We can't wait :) Tee he he he
And in case you're wondering just how redneck is this town? Directly across the street from our hotel is a restaurant called "Cooters" with a replica of the General Lee (Dukes of Hazard car) in the parking lot. I kid you not.
It's late and we're going to head to bed. We've got a big day tomorrow!!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Clark drove the car. Rusty played with his army guys. I entertained myself taking pictures. Like the sunglasses I'm wearing? It took me all of 45 minutes into our trip for me to LOSE them. Crap.
We headed out I30...it always makes me laugh when the GPS says this:
OK. I'll remember to turn in 295 miles.
We stopped for lunch at McDonalds...
And continued on our way. Rusty watched Schoolhouse Rock...
Audrey, Clark, & I dug into some yummy snacks...
Rusty took his nap...
Audrey wondered why we were in Arkansas.
We made a pit stop at WalMart...for essentials...
Rusty sported his new Batman mask everywhere we went...
Rusty played Road Trip Bingo for about 1 minute, then got bored, so I played the rest of my card. No luck on the logging truck or tow truck...
Rusty managed to pack the most annoying car toy possible:
We made many pee stops along the way. Got grossed out at a Truck Stop. We plugged along for almost 500 miles and stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner about 10 miles away from our final stop....the hotel! Rusty wanted to play checkers while we waited for dinner to arrive...
Audrey, Clark, & I dined on Chicken Fried Steak with various sides (dumplings, fried okra, corn, fried apples, applesauce, YUM). Rusty went for the burger.
Rusty had to make one last checkers stop before we got back into The Silver Slug and drove onto our hotel for the night.
We followed this stinky poo truck most of the way to the hotel. Ugh.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Our transportation for the week is...The Silver Slug! As soon as we got home, Rusty had to check it out. He thinks he's riding to Dollowood in here:
And although the size is right, I think it might be just a *tad* unsafe. He was bummed to learn he had to sit in his carseat.
What does a 14 year old's reaction look like?
We're still the meanest parents on the planet. She still has no idea where we're going. She's curious why on Earth we rented The Silver Slug. Four year old Rusty has done a stellar job of keeping the secret :)
Still debating when we'll spill the beans to Audrey...
I also have on my list to make a paper chain for Rusty to help count the miles. Our first stop Monday night will be in Memphis, & Tuesday we'll drive the rest of the way to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg. We'll make 4 paper chains...one for the Memphis leg of the trip, another for the Pigeon Forge leg, and then two for the return trip home.
Our daily drive will be approximately 450 miles (give or take a few), so we'll split the chain into 50 mile increments. As on our Hawaii flight, hopefully the paper chain countdown will help with the "Are we there yet?" questions!
So while we're waiting for our Monday departure, I thought I'd post some fun stuff from our family vacation last summer. We took all 3 kids to Playa del Carmen for a week & had a blast at our first all-inclusive vacation. We had a really cool surprise when we were upgraded to the Presidential Suite upon arrival. It was huge & beautiful and we decided that we probably would never go back to the same hotel, because how could we go back to a regular room since we knew what else was there?!?
As much as Audrey says she hates the beach, she sure had fun in Playa del Carmen!
So we walked in to find this crazy-big Presidential Suite. What a beautiful surprise! Here's the living room, dining room area:
A view from the opposite end of the balcony. OK, so the "hot tub" was more like an outdoor, large bathtub. You'd fill it with a tub faucet, it had jets & an "on" button that matched out tub at home perfectly. Only difference was it was made to fit a few people. So I treated it like our tub at home, & let Rusty take his baths out there. Even filled it with baby soap one night & Rusty had a big bubble bath outside!
The other not-so-shabby part of our upgraded status was the kids' room! 'Ya see, we paid for two Jr. Suites, and asked that they be joining. So perhaps when they decided to give us the Presidential Suite, they knew we wanted a joining room, so all we were left with was this other HUGE suite! Um, OK! These types of rooms aren't even on the Iberostar website as a choice. Believe me, I checked. As soon as we got home, I tried to see what sort of deal we got with these rooms, but you can't even pick them as a choice! So, the kids ended up with this awesome huge suite. WAY bigger than any Jr. Suite listed on their website. Huge bathroom, loads of closet space. Two nice beds. Full ocean view. You get the picture. Sometimes I feel bad that Chuck & Audrey have to experience life's hardships this way. But they're strong, and I know they'll survive.
Friday, June 6, 2008
First is a movie from our Hawaii trip in February:
The best way I know to share a vacation story...through pictures & music! Although the title of this post says luau, there's not really any luau (sorry if you were jonesing for a luau fix) but there's plenty of beach, sun, & waves to satisfy your beach needs. Oh, yea, and two great guys :)
One of our fun Disney trips:
We took Audrey on this Disney trip in January:
Universal Studios for Spring Break '08:
Disney Cruise October '07
Thursday, June 5, 2008
"I don't like hot weather."
That's right! Dollywood is our final destination. Every teenager's dream vacation spot...funnel cakes, hoedowns, & the Smokey Mountains. Tee he he he.
We'll have plenty of internet access, lots of pictures to share, & I'm sure you'll hear some interesting stories along the way. Stay tuned!