We went to the Barlow family reunion in Brockport, NY
this past weekend. When we left on Thursday, the van had 41361 miles on it. When we came back on Monday, it was up to 42957. Let's get to the lights both high and low.
Thursday - Greensboro to Winchester, VA
Desmond had school so we didn't leave until 1:30. We took 220N to Roanoke and then got on I-81. The ride wasn't too bad. We borrowed a portable dvd player and that kept him content most of the time. We stayed at the Travelodge
and ate at the Texas Steakhouse
next door. The only way we were going to get the kids to bed was to turn the lights and tv off for their bedtime. We were all asleep by 9:30. Not too bad.
Friday - Winchester, VA to Rochester, NY
We all got a good night's sleep, ate the free continental breakfast and were ready to go by 9:30. Unfortunately, the cooler we packed leaked all the water out during the night and soaked my Miller High Life hat, my phone, Maria's carton of cigarettes, some books, and the carpet in the car b/w the 2 front seats. Everything survived and we were back on I-81 before 10. The dvd player in an unrelated incident stopped working. That meant Desmond wanted input into the stereo choices. His favorite band used to be KISS, but he's almost 4 now so his musical tastes have evolved and his new favorite band is Motley Crue. We took I-81 to highway 15 around Harrisburg, PA. I really like the towns on the Susquehanna b/c we lived in one when I was a youngster. Too bad this road was 2 lanes a lot of the way and made traveling very slow. We were supposed to drop the kids off w/ my parents in Brockport about 4 and pick my brother up at the airport in Buffalo around 5. When we stopped for lunch around 1:30, I realized that wasn't going to happen. In fact when I called my mom at the hotel around 4, we were still in Pennsylvania. We finally pulled into my cousin Duane's house for the 5 o'clock pizza at 7:30. My brother, Kevin, got us a deal on a room at the Homewood Suites
in Rochester, but he needed to be the one who checked us in. He got there not long after we did and after playing frisbee w/ Desmond we headed back that way. I think we checked in around 9:30. Izabella went to sleep and I had to stay w/ Desmond on the pullout couch. Maria and Kevin drank Labatts
in Kevin's room. She had been ready to kill me since about noon.
Saturday - The reunion
The only thing we had to do was be at the firehouse
by 5 for the dinner. We had talked about going to the children's museum
, but Maria slept in then we walked to eat lunch at the Cracker Barrel and when we came back it was nap time. However, the only person who napped was Maria. When we loaded up to go to dinner, both kids fell asleep almost immediately in the car. After the dinner, we went out to my cousin Becky's 800 acre farm for a hay ride. Her husband, Tom, gave us the low down on the apple trees, squash plants, alfalfa plants, and migrant worker housing. It was cool and the kids really liked it. Izabella was very tired towards the end (it was like 9:30 but still light out), but we got back to the hotel around 10 and she and Desmond (this time in the king size bed) both went to bed in short order. Maria and I sat up drinking Canadian beer.
Sunday - Rochester, NY to Morgantown, WV
We went to the family breakfast before we left, but Kevin had gone out the night before and wasn't in a getting ready to go mood. We didn't get out there until like 11:30 and didn't hit the road for home until 12:30. We took a different route home. I-90 west to I-79 south to I-77 south back into NC. I was talking about driving all the way home but Maria gave me the look and the kids started a screaming chorus somewhere in Pennsylvania, so we stayed at the Springhill Suites
in Morgantown, WV. In a desperate attempt to keep our family functioning as a cohesive unit, I forced everyone to watch the ABC Family channel's original movie Pizza My Heart
. I called it the Real Romeo and Juliet b/c it was about 2 competing family pizza places w/ a forbidden love threatening to tear both families apart. The end was a little different b/c the kids got married, the 2 pizza parlors merged to form a super business, and nobody died.
Monday - Morgantown, WV to Greensboro, NC
We left about 11:30 after letting Desmond run around on the play place at Burger King. The dvd player was working a lot better, and we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It seemed to improve everybody's mood. We got home a little before 6, and I immediately started pounding beers. It's good to be home.
-I can't believe I haven't seen the Modern Marvels
for the Erie Canal. I saw the canal for the 1st time and maybe it's too old to be a "Modern" marvel, but it was pretty cool.
-The best name for a strip club was Southern "X"-posure in Princeton, WV.
-Every town has the same stuff except for grocery stores. Kroger has a pretty wide base, but I don't understand why there isn't a nationwide grocery store. Maria and I discussed this and think it has something to do w/ distribution centers for things like meat and produce.
-The reunion next year is in Ohio, and I think Maria is already coming up w/ excuses to not go. Keeping kids in a car for that long isn't a great way to feel warm family togetherness.