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3200 Miles in 32 Days: Part 1 – Chicago to Atlanta

3200 Miles in 32 Days: Part 1 - Chicago to Atlanta

Yep, you read it right, 3200 miles in 32 days. The mileage is rounded up, but it’s darn close. We didn’t plan on making this a marathon trip; it just sort of evolved over time. The original plan was to drive down to Georgia at the beginning of summer break since A was down there working. We originally planned to drive down to Florida from there to see family then drive back. Then A’s side of the family decided to have a family vacation in Virginia Beach. We thought it would work out fine since we could do Georgia/Florida in June then Virginia Beach at it’s planned time of the end of July.

Then baseball season happened. Baseball season wouldn’t end until June 27th. This meant no traveling in June. Scramble to change travel plans. Realize with horror that you don’t want to say no to either family, so you keep both plans. You decided to just smoosh those plans together into one marathon month of travel. Then you panic because the kids have never been on the road that long. But you’re also excited because you’ve been dying to do more traveling and this will make up for the past decade limited travel. Then you plan, lots and lots of planning.

We would have to pack a month’s worth of necessities into our already compact sized four-door Mazda 3 hatchback. We would be staying at or near places with a washing machine, so we only brought five days of clothes. I packed a bag of snacks and drinks, so we didn’t have to make any unnecessary stops for food. A narrow plastic file bin I found fit well between the kids in the back seat. I filled it with blank paper, lined paper; printed out coloring pages, maze books, search-a-word books, comic books, and magazines. Each kid had a pencil box full of colored pencils and markers. They each had a giant clipboard to color, write and draw on. They each bought two new books that they weren’t allowed to open until the trip. They also each bought a new 3DS game. I bought a life-altering piece of electronics accessories, a DS charger. With this arsenal against boredom, we could go on longer stretches of drives.

I also brought a baseball glove and ball, along with a soccer ball and Frisbee. I was worried the long hours sitting would be tough on my son with ADHD. I wanted something active to do during any stops just in case the constant sitting was too much for him. Luckily, he kept himself busy with video games, the art bin, and magazines, so he surprised me with this ability to sit for extended periods of time. I had also put an audiobook on my phone, but we never listened to it. Preferring to listen to local radio, Pandora, or the selection of songs on my iPod.

Looking at the estimated drive time to our final destination in Georgia, I thought we would have to stop for the night before continuing. I was thinking somewhere around Nashville, TN. We got on the road later than I expected, around 8 am. It took longer to pack the car than I thought. Rather than leave things behind I Tetris-ed it in as best I could. Every part of the car was full, but I could still see out the back window. Our first stop was lunch just outside of Indianapolis.

KJ and CT’s take on the start of the trip:

KJ – I was very excited. It was our second extremely long road trip, and we were going to go down to FL again. We were going to go see Dad, and I was also looking forward to Universal since we had never really been there before.

CT – I was thinking that I probably wouldn’t survive long enough without being to play on my ps4 for a whole month during the summer. I kind of wanted to go, but kind of didn’t want to go at the same time.

On the road to GA:

KJ – I remember that C got bored as he usually does. Most of the time CT and I swapped the DS charger back and forth.

CT – Kind of the same thing as Katelyn

We experienced intense rainstorms between Indianapolis, IN, and Louisville, KY. The rain would come down so hard I had to slow down to 25 MPH. Visibility was awful. I learned that a common thing to do during rainstorms was to put your hazards on so other can better see your car. Had never seen that anywhere else I’ve lived. The driving was harrowing, but the lightning was incredible. We watched the most intense lightning strikes we’d ever seen. Thunder and lightning storms would turn out to be our constant companion on the trip.

We skirted around downtown Louisville and left the flat plains of the Midwest into beautiful hilly terrain. We encountered another thunder and lightning storm, but this stretch seems to be less time-consuming. Having trees and hills made the drive less monotonous and less instance of me calling out “cows!” as we drove along. We reached Nashville at sunset and decided to stop for dinner. Just like the other cities, we skirted about the downtime Nashville then stopped just outside the city to eat dinner. Looking at our remaining drive, it seemed better to just knock out the rest of the drive. We arrived at our final destination at 11:30pm.

I missed some of the events over July 4th weekend because I went to a three days education conference. A took DJ and CT to an Atlanta Braves game (Star Wars Night!) then to the Georgia Aquarium for a 4th of July event. They watched fireworks from the roof of the aquarium’s parking garage. When I returned the next day, I heard all about the whale sharks and manta rays at the aquarium. We only spent one extra day in Georgia then drove down Florida. We would return to GA in a week.

KJ and CT: 1st week in GA:

CT – I remember it was fun. Dad took us to the Georgia Aquarium which was really really fun. They had whale sharks there, so it was really really cool.

KJ – Yeah, whale sharks, and manta rays. I also remember the aquarium, who couldn’t. I vaguely remember most of the 4th of July party before the fireworks. For some reason, I don’t remember the fireworks at all.

CT – I remember the fireworks and I remember doing the spin art, which was really fun

KJ – Yeah, the spin art was fun

Next up: Part 2 – Florida






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