2 Moms. 5 kids. 1 van. 3 weeks. 3000 miles. Are we amazing or are we crazy? You decide.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Day 3: Driving from NC to Chippokes State Park

Odometer: 195.3 miles

I now know what a roll of refrigerator biscuits feels like. We have seven people, with stuff, shoehorned into my car. Every cubic centimeter of available space was used: well under middle row of seats, side pockets in doors, both glove boxes. We used space bags for pillows and blankets, and anything else that we thought would squish. Once everything was packed into the car, we made sure we could fit all of the children in as well. Unfortunately, we were successful, and the seven of us were on our way. About 10 miles before we hit the NC/VA state line, three year old J needed to potty. I set my sights on the state line, and despite his wailing that he could never hold it so long, he did. And as is required, at least when I’m driving, everyone had to get out to potty. The 12 year old M was very impressed at the VA welcome station when he saw the brochure for the bridge-tunnel that crosses Chesapeake Bay—and even more impressed when he realized that we were taking that route because I knew he would like it. (The more I think about it, the less I love the idea. But there’s no backing down now, I guess.)

Unfortunately, we weren’t a mile off of I-95, chugging to our cabin on this side of the James River (across from Jamestown/Williamsburg) when I passed a state trooper. While I was well aware that the speed limit on the state highway was probably 10 mph less than the interstate, I had forgotten to tell my right foot. I am now the proud recipient of a Fast Driving Award, courtesy of the Virginia State Patrol. Obviously, I need to be ticketed more often, as I was really rattled by the encounter, but I was also having to deal with the 7 year-old chastising me from the back seat. An added bonus was that when I cleaned out my glove compartment, my registration didn’t make it back in place. Even more interesting? When the State of Georgia issued the sticker for my tag four months ago, they failed to update their computer system, so it showed my registration was expired. Fortunately, the officer had pity on the clearly-frazzled woman with five children and a cousin; he didn’t write a ticket for the expired tag, and he didn’t take my license in lieu of bail. Perhaps it was the “I ♥ Chief King” bumper sticker, or maybe it was my guardian angel. I would prefer not to test either theory and not get another such award for another 9 years. (If he’d taken my license, it would have been a short trip, as every one of my credit cards says “Ask for ID” on the signature line.)

Our cabin is simply wonderful in many ways. It’s going to be a step down in terms of personal space on Thursday when we move to the KOA from the state park. We have 3 bedrooms, plus a pull out couch in the living room. Only one bathroom, which isn’t quite enough when someone is taking a shower. The biggest drawback is also the reason this isn’t getting posted to the blog until Wednesday morning. Not only is there no internet service, there’s no cellular service. No phone line. No nothing. (There’s a television or two, but they’ve not been turned on, so while we may have CNN, we don’t know it.) I think my cousin can get her cell phone to work if she goes to the hill behind the cabin and stands on her tip-toes on the picnic table while cocking her head to the right with the phone on her left ear, but before I find out what happens at Tuesday’s city council meeting, I’ll have to drive a couple of miles down the road and sit in the parking lot of the church, where I finally got service when I went for groceries.

And let’s not forget that grocery run. I can see wanting to live in a less-urban area than Atlanta. I’ve had that particular fantasy myself, generally between the hours of 5 and 7, usually when my husband is late getting home. Sometimes, though, I’m the one sitting in traffic. Next time it takes me 20 minute to go the 3 miles to the grocery store, I’ll remember tonight. I drove 45 minutes to the closest grocery store. I had expected to have a hard time finding one open, because it was late for small town life, about 9:30. But I didn’t pass a single one that was closed. I did, however, pass several meat packing plants. Ham is big business here in Virginia. (Those of you who have seen the stage version of “State Fair” are now humming along at home.)

Tomorrow’s agenda? Historic Jamestowne, which is the active archaeological site of the original city, Jamestown Settlement, not the original city but a recreation, and Yorktown Battlefield. First permanent English colony, and where Cornwallis turned over his sword to George Washington, all in one day.

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