Traveling with the Horde Part 2

I told you about our first day of traveling on the road.  6 kids + 2 adults + 13 hours = YIKES!!!!

But I was pleasantly surprised.  And Day 2, I was pleasantly surprised as well.  We continued awarding tokens for good behavior every hour, and letting them bid their tokens in auction style for control of the game/video/radio.  Believe it or not, we only played 1 game the entire day!!!!!

We played Car Bingo.  I had pinned it from here.  It was ok.  We played twice.  Once for the original “Bingo” and once for the “Whole Card”.  It took about an hour and was a great way for the kids to practice attentiveness!

We had a wonderful day, with very little arguing.  Not did I hear, “Are we there yet?” or “He’s touching me!”  That’s a huge feat for 6 kids in one vehicle!  I was so impressed and happy.

Tennessee 2014

At about an hour from our destination, Papi decided to call the hotel and double-check the reservation (for the third time). The hotel we were staying in said that they had the rooms, but instead of 2 non smoking rooms next to each other or across from each other, they were on 2 separate floors!  Papi was upset, but I told him it would be ok, it was only a week, and we really would only be sleeping there, so it was no big deal.

We kept driving, and quickly reached our destination.  We pulled into the parking lot of a very pretty brick hotel.  Papi parked the truck and went inside.  And we waited.  And we waited.  And we waited some more.  After what seemed like forever, I told the kids to get out of the truck and we went inside.  Which was good because 2 of the 6 had to use the restroom.  I should have had a clue…..but I didn’t.  There was no restroom in the lobby.  They had to go into the manager’s office to use the restroom.  I think having all of the children in the lobby made the front desk clerk work a little faster, because we quickly had our keys to the rooms.  We separated – boys on one floor and girls on the other.  When I opened the room door I was engulfed in the smell of stale bodies and smoke.  Immediately my asthma started.  We quickly got the a/c going and I put some drops of Peppermint and Lavender oil on the unit to try to cleanse the air.  I checked the kitchenette to discover it had almost NO utensils of any kind in it.  I slipped off my shoes and immediately put them back on because the floor was sticky.  Papi called from his room and his first words were, “Is your room as bad as mine?”  I wheezed out, “Yes.”  But there wasn’t much we could do, right?

And then I used the restroom.  Oh my.  Let’s just say it was worse than some public bathrooms I’ve been in.  But the kicker was when the toilet seat came off in my hand.

What I say next will cause some of you to think I am an insufferable snob.  But I’m really not.  I grew up poor.  I know what it is to actually LIVE in a No tell Motel for a while.  But my asthma was going crazy and I couldn’t imagine my precious babies staying in this place for a minute longer, let alone an entire week.  I called Papi and told him I wanted to leave, and right away.  And he agreed because before I could barely get the words out of my mouth, he was at my hotel door and we were gone.

But now we had a huge problem.  We were in Nashville, TN.  It was Saturday evening at 6 pm…and we had nowhere to sleep for the night, let alone the week.  Papi got on his phone and I got on mine.  He was checking on the internet, and I was checking with a family I knew had been to Nashville several times for good hotel ideas.

The kids were nervous and worried.  But I wasn’t.  I knew we would be ok.  Especially if I could make it an adventure for the children.  It took a couple of hours of phone calls, but we finally did get a wonderful hotel….and it was SUCH a blessing!!!!

not only would we all be on the same floor….we would all be in the SAME ROOM!  Yes.  They had a room that slept 8!!!!!!!  I can not say enough about how wonderful the GuestHouse Suites in Nashville, TN is.  If you are ever in Nashville – please visit them.  The staff was amazing.  They handled 6 tired, cranky, kids and 2 worried parents with grace and sweetness.  We got the room for the entire week.  And they gave us a great rate because of our dire situation.

GuestHouse  Inn and Suites

 

 

To quote a different hotel chain, “They’ll leave the light on for ya’!”

Traveling with the Horde Day 1

So Papi and I got this crazy idea to have an actual VACATION instead of a Stay-cation. Crazy, right?????  After discussing it thoroughly back in February, we decided to take the kids to the ATI Bible Conference in Nashville, TN.  We paid for the conference, put money aside for travel and for food, and talked about driving all night Friday night and arriving 13 hours later in Nashville.  Yep.  Our equation was this….

1 Truck + 6 kids + 2 very tired adults + 800 miles = Fun Vacation.

Crazier, right????

Up until the week before we were leaving, I believed that was the plan.  Papi would work all day Friday, get home about 4:30 pm (a little early), we would load up the truck, pack some sandwiches, and away we would go.  I would need food for that evening and a movie to put them asleep.  We would take turns driving (let’s be honest, he would drive almost all of it) and hit there about 8 am.  Then we would wander around Nashville until check in at 3 pm.

The week before the conference, Papi and I actually talked about whether this plan would actually work.  We decided it wouldn’t.  So Papi decided we would leave about 11 pm.  The kids would sleep.  We would take turns driving (him driving almost all of it) and get to the hotel in Nashville at about 1 pm on Saturday completely exhausted.  This would take more creativity on my part, because I would need things to keep the kids occupied during the times they were awake.  So I started pinning all sorts of things on pinterest to entertain them, mainly because they weren’t allowed to bring Kindles, mp3’s, cell phones, or anything electronic.

On Tuesday, i think, Papi decided we were going to stay in a hotel in Georgia on Friday night.  The new plan (the one that actually kind of happened) was that Papi would work 1/2 day on Friday, get home around lunch.  Then we would eat lunch, pack the truck, and head to Georgia.  On Saturday we would make the rest of the journey from Georgia to Tennessee.

So Papi worked 1/2 day, and we packed up the truck….

traveling with kids

 

We finished packing early, and decided to get a head start.  Stopping at Sam’s to get gas, Walmart to stock up on goodies, and McDonald’s for lunch.  We were off!

After about an hour, we hit Yeehaw Jct.  YES, there is a place called Yeehaw Jct.  I even photographed the proof….

Yeehaw Jct

I rewarded the kids for being good.  Each of them got a poker chip.  (Yes, it was a poker chip, no we weren’t playing poker).    We traveled another hour with the kids looking at the incorrect maps I printed for them and trying to figure out where we were.  And we hit Orlando.

Orlando

And the kids each got another token.  But by now, the natives were getting restless….

Restless Natives

(No, Barbie is not picking her nose)….And I started the bidding war.  Each of them had tokens rewarded for good behavior.  Being over and above nice got extra tokens.  They were allowed to bid on picking an activity.  I think Eyes won the first one, picking to play a movie (He paid 2 tokens I think).  So we slipped in one of the Star Wars movies and had a semi quiet ride for the next couple of hours (not counting the blasters going off in the background).  Each hour the first day, each kid earned a token.  We were on a ROLL!!!!! (Bonus was I got to work on the baby blanket I’ve been crocheting for a baby that was due ANYDAY!!!!!Baby Blanket

Two hours went by, each kid had earned 2 tokens, and Barbie won the next bid, electing to play her favorite Christian CD’s for the next hour.  And we had then reached our destination…somewhere in Georgia…..

Georgia on my Mind

 

We hit the Huddle House for dinner (that was a new experience for me) and fell exhausted into bed.  Who knew that driving that far could make you exhausted when you weren’t even driving?????