Travel Journal Day 1-3: Ready, Set, Go

I decided to stray away from my typical website posts for a few weeks to keep an electronic travel journal of our crazy road trip. While I highly doubt it offers any practical travel advice or tips (unless it’s in the form of what-not-to-do!), I hope you find it somewhat entertaining. And, maybe it will even inspire you to do a big trip with your own family!

To quickly re-cap the “why” behind this trip, I have to go back to October of last year. Brent and I committed to taking a trip to Denver this summer. Then I had the crazy idea to rent a car in Denver and take a mini-roadtrip up to Mount Rushmore. That snowballed into an even further excursion starting in Albuquerque.

Suddenly our one week vacation turned into two. And we decided to drive the whole thing rather than fly. The more we studied the map, the more destinations we added to our trip. At some point we expanded the time even further. And now, here we are traveling in a huge loop across America!

I should also mention that our plans have been completely fluid right up to the moment we left (ex. see Rental Car post.) We were very up in the air on our departure date due to our baseball team being in the playoffs. We decided we’d leave home as soon as our team lost. Fortunately, we never did. Our team ended up winning the championship!

Due to the baseball schedule we had to crunch the first part of our trip down big-time. We had a hotel reservation in Waco, Texas that we considered a deadline. So rather than taking 4-5 days to get there, we had to do it in 3.

Of course that meant a lot of drive time during the first part of our trip, and not as many fun activities. But, I think it was worth it to push ahead and leave more time to explore the West!

That being said, this first travel journal probably won’t be the most exciting since we were in the car for the majority of the time!

Our first misadventure of the trip came after spending entirely too much time getting out of town. What should have been a quick run-through Chick-fil-A and Starbucks turned into getting caught in Charlotte’s rush hour. The caffeine hadn’t kicked in yet, and we blew past our first stop: the Welcome To South Carolina sign.

I had really good intentions of collecting all 21 states on this trip. But that got messed up EARLY on! Whoops. (Yes, I asked Brent to turn around once I realized my mistake. And yes, he laughed at me.)

We were super excited for our first big stop- Birmingham, AL. We have 2 sets of friends that live there and it was so much fun catching up with them!

After a really bad sleep our first night in a hotel (I think it was just the excitement of finally being on the road!), we had the best day in Mississippi!

When we had to condense the first couple days, I really didn’t want to miss out on the activities I’d planned in Mississippi: The Agriculture and Forestry Museum and Vicksburg National Military Park. In hindsight, I’m so thankful we decided to prioritize these stops because we all really loved them both. And, as a bonus, I feel like they were both pretty educational!

Mary Grace fell in love with some of the old farm machinery and insisted on artfully photographing everything. She wants to make some sort of collage in her room since almost all of it matches her color theme. There’s a very good possibility she’s going to give me a heart attack before this trip is over. I’m not crazy about the idea of her running around with my nice DSLR camera, but I’m trying to be patient and supportive of her new-found passion for photography.

At Vicksburg we got our first glimpse of the Mississippi River, and we learned a ton about the Civil War. We also got our first stamps of the trip in our Passport To Your National Parks book. And we were finally able use Mary Grace’s free 4th Grader park pass!

Admittedly, the state of Louisiana got robbed on this trip. Since we’ve traveled to New Orleans in the past and plan to return soon, we spent most of our 3rd day being lazy. Mississippi wore us out and we knew there was a lot to come in Texas.

Brent worked, I edited pictures and started this post and the kids watched cartoons in their pjs. We finally got it together enough to tour Shreveport a little. We found where Elvis got his start (who knew it wasn’t Memphis?) and walked along the Red River. But most importantly, we ate. Holy cow. I need to take some cajun cooking lessons soon. And, perhaps join a gym.

Our day ended as we crossed into Texas and proceeded to lose Miller’s flip flops at the Welcome Center. We’re not exactly sure how that happens, but leave it to us to do it.

Stay tuned to our little travel journal … tomorrow morning (well, actually when you read this it will be today) we will be waking up in Waco! Any guesses on where we’re heading?

You might also enjoy reading:

How To Take State Welcome Sign Pictures

10 Road Trip Entertainment Ideas For Your Next Vacation

Trapped In A Motel Room

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