Monday, June 28, 2010

There and Back Again

Wow, what a trip!  We are home safe.  And now I begin the long process of sorting through photos, trying to document it.  I am torn about just how many photos to share on the blog.  There are over 1,100 just from my camera (that's not counting the back-up cameras I loaned to the kids to use).  Here are some more numbers for you:
Left home on Friday, June 18, at 6:04 a.m., arrived home on Sunday, June 27, at 11:00 p.m., which equals 9 days, 16 hours, and 56 minutes.
Total distance traveled: 3,413 miles (5,492.7 km)
Average miles per gallon: 14.6
Average price per gallon: $2.682
So we spent a little over $600 in gas.
Toll paid on the way out: $44.40
Toll paid on the way home: $1.00
We ate about a bazillion peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, chicken nuggets, hamburgers, and french fries.  Then we were well over-fed at every place we stopped to see family.
Slept in the tent 4 nights, in our parent's houses 4 nights, and in a church 1 night (and that was SOOOO cool!).
It only rained on nights that we were not sleeping in the tent.
The number of times I touched a computer with internet: 2 (yes, I had withdrawals, but I soon got over it and then it was kind of nice)

Days 1 and 2
Here we go...
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Only took about an hour for most everyone to fall asleep.  Patrick got lots of sleep.  ;)  You can't really tell, but everyone is sitting in reach of their "buddies" so that they can help their buddy with any needs.

At 8 am we were passing out some trail mix.  Patrick yells to the back, "Hang on, I've got to pick out the M&M's!"

At 8:21 am Eden has already asked 3 times to go potty.  Seriously.  We just laughed.  She said, "No, Seriously!"  Yes, exactly.  We stopped at 9:42 finally.  It took us 16 min.  I hope we can be a little faster next time, LOL.

At 11 am the kids tried to get us to forget about Washington, DC, and just stay in Wisconsin Dells.  At 11:46 we made our first stop for gas, and while we were stopped we made our first round of PB&J sandwiches.  That set us back 26 minutes--it takes a long time to make sandwiches for 10 people!  At 12:30, Zeke asked when we were going to have lunch.  No joke.

At 1:55 pm we hit traffic as we approached Chicago.  It was baaaadddd stop-and-go traffic, and the temperatures outside were soaring.  Heat radiated off of everything.  Guess who needed to go pee?  (if you said Eden, you are right)

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Patrick is Tirzah's buddy.  He worked hard to keep her happy on the long road.  Here he's giving her a foot massage--it worked!  She went to sleep. 

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This picture is to remind me to never, ever, ever drive through Chicago again unless I have to.  Ugh.

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John Hancock Tower.

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The Sears Tower (also known as Willis Tower)

At 6:43 pm cst, Malachi put an M&M up his nose.  Patrick came to his rescue with a paper towel and told him to "blow".  Malachi was pretty freaked out (and crying), but he did it and successfully dislodged that stuck M&M.  Patrick said to him, "Ok, what did we learn from this?"  Mitch and I were just laughing and laughing.  Then I got this great commemorative shot:
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Day 1 totaled 13.5 hours of driving.  We stayed overnight at Perrysburg Alliance Church.  Their hospitality was amazing, and we are grateful so many times over!  There were storms literally all night long, and we were safe inside the entire night.

Ohio is beautiful and flat.
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But I bubbled over with excitement to see the first rolls of the Appalachian mountains as we headed into Pennsylvania.  The Appalachians are definitely very different than the Rockies.  I said that it looks more like Someone rolled the earth the same way you would flip a bed sheet, and that's how it landed all wrinkly--gentle rolls of land as you climb into the mountains.  Breathtaking.  But no time to stop for scenic photos, all of mine had to be taken through the bug-smattered window.
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Day 2 was about 8.5 hours of driving.  We set up our camp around 6:30 pm (est) and then headed into Washington DC to drive around.  I was so surprised that we could just drive up and park right on the mall in front of the capital for the bargain price of $0.25/7.5 minutes (or otherwise $2/hour--that's a lot of quarters to put in the parking meter!).  I kid you not, Micah's exact words were, "Do we have to get out?"  

This was as close as we ever got to the Capitol building, and I'm glad we took this picture.
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Here is the Washington Monument, which we will see in greater detail on Day 3:
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I took these pictures all without getting my tripod out (minutes were expensive for parking, you know, so I was in a hurry).  I'm so glad they turned out at all!
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After we were done on the mall, we drove over to see the Iwo Jima memorial, since we suspected we wouldn't have time the next day.  It was too late to get into Arlington National Cemetary, so we figured we would not be able to see that.  Josh said, "That was it?  DC is NOT fun!"
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Well, that's all the blogging I have time for tonight.  I will post more later.  I did a great job journaling on Day 1 and 2, and after that it wasn't so great, so maybe the posts will be shorter.  You can click through the photos above to get to my flickr album, too, to see the ones I haven't posted...at least I think you can.  Now that we are back home, life is back to normal, which means I am back to being very busy in addition to catching up on all that we missed.  :)

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