This is a first for me. Last summer I took off for nine days and ran away to Washington State for some R&R after graduation from nursing school. I did not think twice of flying across the US, jumping into a car and driving around the state to go see and do what I wanted to do. Plug in the cell phone and let Google Maps guide me around. This summer I asked my nieces and nephew if they would be interested in going on vacation, without a complete plan in place. The response of screech and jumping (from Peyton), the other two are a little more laid back…it went from there. The plans were laid, tickets purchased, and I left on vacation with them in tow without other supervision. I have been on vacation with them, we were just normally with their parents or the grandparents.
Today is day one in DC, we drove to STL last night and ate some GOOD Greek food at Ya Hala. Had some grape leaves and gyros and topped the meal off with baklava. Then kicked back at the motel to relax and get ready to fly out to DC. We rode a small plan, four seats total…more of a commuter plane. The theory that all stewardess are a perfect ten and blond is a fallacy; we had a steward that was potbellied and bearded. With it being a small plane, cloudy, and the past haunting me from a trip I took in China were the plan wheels burned off while trying to land…let’s just say that I got a little “car/plane sick” on the decent into DC. Didn’t help that the plane was a little stuffy…I used the barf bag to fan and just took slow steady breaths and kept my head leaned back. I survived without incident and herded my “kids” off the plane.
Having “kids” worked out well at the car rental place. I had rented an “economy” car, thinking I would have the option of a small yaris or something close that would allow us room to sit and place our bags. Their economy out here is more along the lines of a two door hybrid that would be economical, small, and well…not big enough for a family of four that has an average height of 5’8. When the guy that was showing us the options, which I towered over by a good 5 inches, kept looking up at me and saying this one (which did at least have four doors). He gave us a FREE upgrade with a Nissan, four door, standard size car. I thanked him and climbed in.
We made it to the hotel, with a few mis-turns and turn arounds and checked in. We were early, so we headed out to explore. Our first stop on this journey of ours was the Arlington Cemetery. With a few more turn arounds, a trip around the Jefferson Memorial (unplanned) and finding a parking place we set out on viewing the cemetery that holds the HERO’s of our nation. It was awe inspiring. We ended up walking about four miles, and the kids did GREAT!! We found some stones with our family names on them. They have March there, but we were unable to locate them…couldn’t figure out the whole system completely. Seeing the changing of the guard and the Kennedy resting place; along with the history was very cool.
The first day was a success. We all survived. Each arrival at our destination was celebrated as an accomplishment (I’m driving in a foreign city). The three kids got us a free upgrade at the car rental, and if I keep them busy enough maybe they won’t realize that mom and dad aren’t here. We have several more adventures planned and I’m looking forward to it.