My post-summer vacation road trip update

Thom DickFamily, FeaturedLeave a Comment

A few weeks ago I wrote an article laying out some spectacular goals for our family vacation to Florida (read it here). Just to recap, we decided to drive, straight through and with five boys in the back of the van aged 2-12. At that time I made 7 bold statements and then predicted that the outcome would be less than said goals. Today it is time to check in and see how I did (and laugh and laugh and laugh!)

  1. We are going to leave the house at 7am. 
  2. We are going to get to Florida in 29-30 of driving as promised by Google maps.
  3. I will finish memorizing James. 
  4. I will read two books… maybe three.
  5. We will have a relaxing trip to the ocean.
  6. I will live tweet our trip.
  7. I will have gathered Renewed Family content for a year’s worth of blogs.

Here’s the report:

We are going to leave the house at 7am. 

Nope. Fail. We left at 8am a full hour behind my military schedule. I was a hot sweating mess before we even got in the car and my attitude was awful. I spent the first 30 minutes apologizing and trying to set another tone for the trip.

We are going to get to Florida in 29-30 of driving as promised by Google maps.

Well, we actually made it to Florida in 33 hours (35 on the way home… blast you outlet mall!) That included pee breaks and gassing up. Incidentally I would like to brag on the fact that we came in under budget on our gas at $200 on the way down. That’s unreal! Of course the gas is stupid cheap in the US right now.

I will finish memorizing James. 

Um. No. This is proving to be more difficult that I anticipated. I am still solid on chapter 1 and 2 but the rest isn’t coming quickly.

I will read two books… maybe three.

Ok here’s the deal: I had a great book to read on the CIA. It was a work of fiction and secular but I thought it looked pretty amazing. It WAS amazing… but my conscience couldn’t take the questionable morals so I ditched it less than a sixth of the way through and left it in Florida. I finished not a single book! I think I read a total of 3 pages while driving (or rather while Tara was driving. Heh heh.)

We will have a relaxing trip to the ocean.

This one was a success, albeit short-lived. We spent an hour at the Gulf in the astonishingly warm water and then it started to rain so we took off. We did have a wonderful day at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, which is where I burnt so badly that I am now on my second layer of peeling skin. It was spectacular.

I will live tweet our trip.

Funny story. I was TOTALLY going to live tweet our trip UNTIL Tara pointed out that I didn’t have any roaming data on my phone and when I asked her if she would let me tweet from her phone she informed me that I was lame. I did manage to send some, but they were few and far between. Sorry loyal fans.

I will have gathered Renewed Family content for a year’s worth of blogs.

Um yes. For SURE!

I learned how to deal with a potential bed bug threat at midnight on the first night of our trip (we didn’t have any incidentally!)

I learned that if you Google “Free things to do in ___” you may find yourself rolling backwards in your car UPHILL at a weird little place called Spook Hill, or exploring the SKETCHIEST flea market on the face of the earth for fresh fruit. (This place had live alligators… in plywood pens it was crazy.)

I learned that brown widow spiders are more poisonous than their black widow cousins but less dangerous (they inject less venom when they bite).

I learned that it is necessary to include pesticides in the budge for our next tropical vacation (I spent at least $50 on different Raid products.)

I learned that anoles (lizards) are REALLY hard to catch if they dart under your couch.

I learned that you really don’t need to worry if a King Cobra is loose in the city where you are vacationing because they don’t travel very far from their home (not found incidentally.)

I learned that a forecast calling for the potential development of a hurricane the day before you leave on vacation can really add to the stress.

But one of the best moments was when we got to see a bunch of Christian bands at The Magic Kingdom (Disney does a two-night Christian concert once a year, it’s called “A Night of Joy.” Incidentally Universal Studios has one on the same weekend each year.) My 12-year-old’s dream has been to see Toby Mac in concert and that kid somehow wormed his way up through the crowd, ducked under a rope and got a sick spot to watch from. I monopolized on his brazenness and asked a staff member if I could accompany him and got under the rope too! (Way to go Malachi! You are going to do just fine in life!) All the bands we saw were amazing and we made really good memories, but by far the most meaningful time was meeting a retired New York city cop while waiting in line to head back on the monorail (we waited a LONG time). We happened to be at The Magic Kingdom on 9/11 and he told us how he had been at Ground Zero on the day the towers collapsed. I asked him how he ended up at Disney watching Christian concerts (on his own I might add) and he told us that he got saved four years ago to the day at a ten-year memorial service for 9/11 and that now he basically RV’d around when he wasn’t serving at his church in New York State. It was so great to have the chance to teach our boys about one of the defining moments of the past 15 years.

God had many more moments like that along the way and it was a wonderful time. So I think I scored maybe 2.5 out of 7 for goals on this trip (I gave myself half a mark for tweeting at least some of the time) but it doesn’t matter, God met us and we grew closer as a family!

I’d love to hear how God met your family this summer! Why not comment below and share a story!

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