…well, you know where…
We arrived home at 2:30 pm, nearly 23 hours after we left Denise’s house on Sunday. I should have known it was going to be bad when at noon it started hailing in MA as we left for a trip to the mall to see if the kids could run off some of their energy. We actually entered the mall right next to the Santa display and there was one family on his lap and…no…one…else…in…line so we slipped right in. Matthew asked for a WALL*E toy, Logan – a princess computer, Addison – nothing in particular and Riley asked for a Go-Kart (to which Santa – bless him – said he would think about it!). Addison was not scared in the least and I actually thought she did great.
So, we started out at around 4PM. It was dark and raining pretty hard. First thing I did wrong was\ go the wrong way on the first interstate which took us about 12 miles out of our way. When we finally were appropriately headed South we started going. We made pretty good time considering it was pouring rain until we got into Connecticut. At this point, we started hitting random 10 mile sections of complete gridlock. I had this goal of getting to the NJ Turnpike but the kids started getting anxious and even Matthew started bugging me about eating dinner. Finally around 7 pm we got into NY and we stopped at the first rest area. IT WAS PACKED. The kids were crazy and were trying to run around and (did I mention) it was pouring rain. Okay, the lines for food were like 75 people deep at each of the restaurants so I elected not to eat. There was a lot of grumbling but we got back into the car. So, we continued like that with these random 10-15 mile back ups and then open road through the George Washington Bridge to the NJ Tpk. By now it was really dark and there are few lights and my eyes were dry and tired. We got to around the Newark Airport and I decided to try and stop for the night. I could see about 10 hotels …but could I get to them? No way…we were driving around random clover leafs and finally I took a wrong turn that was taking me back to NY City and I got off …oops onto another semi-highway and there was no way to turn around and finally I got off of that and was traveling in this (how shall I say this) less than affluent area of Newark (and I was scared!) for about 45 minutes until I happened to get back onto the semi-highway going south and almost got turned around again but finally found my way back to the NJ Tpk. Now I wasn’t going to stop for a while and we went about 1/2 down the Tpk and I got off and we got to a hotel around 10:30. By this time the kids were starving…including Matthew who was very cute but could definitely see that there was no McD’s at this hotel. I reached out into the back and grabbed the first bag in the bread that my brother Steve gave me (shout out – you saved the day!!!) and grabbed a bag of bagels. Matthew saw them and said the famous words…”Are those bagels…I want a bagel!!!” (for those of you who know him, know that a bagel is like poison to his mouth! a texture he just doesn’t do! so for him to want it was a testimony to how hungry he really was!)…as a bonus they had apples at the front desk and I took 5 of them and he ate one of those too…and she gave the kids pretzels and he ate two small bags of them too!
Day 2 dawned at around 6:30 for the family and we were up and in the restaurant (with Matthew leading the cry for food!)…and out on the road by 8 am. We made pretty good time in NJ but Delaware, MD and Virginia were all randomly stop-and-go. As we got toward Richmond, we saw some black clouds (and a rainbow!) and I just knew that it would rain on me as I was unpacking and wouldn’t you know, we got a huge downpour as we were trying to clean out the stuff out of the seats.
So, all-in-all, it was a good trip, but it will be a long time before I attempt to drive it again.