Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Road Trip!

We did it!

We survived our first BIG road trip together as a family, and we had a great family vacation in Destin.

When I first proposed driving to Florida to Carl, he of the "South Padre is too far to drive" was less than enthusiastic. But it worked well, and it helped that I had my "surPRIZE backpack" full of goodies I would bring out every hour or so - they ranged from Pokemon cards to silly bands to books to sticker books and I even though in a DS game for each boy and a new DVD they wanted. (although I probably should have had a few goodies for Carl, too... the boys handled the car drive better than he did most days).

Due to a magic show the boys' camp was putting on at 3pm on Friday, we got off to a late start, so we didn't pull in to Lafayette, Louisiana until almost 10pm. All we did was sleep in our hotel, and then we were back on the road by 8am. It did seem to have a bit of a view of some of the bayou.

Our first stop on Saturday was NASA's Stennis Space Center. Its in Mississippi, just over the border with Louisiana. Apparently its the second largest NASA facility in the US (after Florida's Kennedy Space Center), although the visitor center is significantly smaller than Houston's NASA. Still, the Mars rover, Curiosity, was scheduled to land in Mars the day after we were at NASA, so they had all sorts of fun, free activities planned for Saturday, and I think it made it more interesting for us than it might be most days.

The lego space shuttle was a big hit with Team Danger.

The bus tour around the complex is only 30 minutes long - the boys found this far superior to the ones in Houston and near Orlando, which lasted two hours.

Ryan's favorite part was the paper airplane contest - he spent over 45 minutes creating not one, not two, but FOUR different airplanes, decorating them, and them testing them for speed.

And guess what? He won! Here he is with his Winner ribbon and the prize-winning paper airplane.

Meanwhile, Alex had fun testing the robotics rover and having it throw nerf balls around. He also liked catching the nerf balls.

As an added bonus, they took your picture. For FREE. Last summer, Orlando's NASA wanted $25 for the picture they took, so all I have to remember it by was the one I took from the side.


We spent about 3 hours here, looking at everything and learning more about the space program. And just having fun.

Then it was time to take off for Destin. The kids have only been to New Mexico, California, Florida and Alex to Arizona before, so we made a BIG deal about the five states we visited on this drive. Here are the boys at the three we crossed into on Day 2 of the drive (we saved Louisiana and Texas for the return trip). They were pretty excited with Mississippi. After all, it had NASA.

But by Alabama, Ryan was not feeling the picture taking love.

He did insist on having his picture taken, though. Just not smiling.

By Florida, things were better.
It didn't hurt that they had a Blue Angel plane greeting us at the visitor center.

We hit a lot of traffic around Mobile, Alabama, and it was around here that people started getting a bit cranky. After a stop at the Cracker Barrel for dinner, a grocery store and a liquor store for necessities, we finally made it to our home for the next week.

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