Tuesday, May 15, 2012

road trip 2012

We decided to try out our new Honda Odyssey with a road trip.  Something we wanted to get in before baby #4.  We had some ideas in mind about where we wanted to go but we didn't make any plans.  We picked up 7 different books covering 4 different states but it wasn't until the day we left that we made our final decision to go to Kentucky.

After packing that same morning, we left at about noon on Friday, the 27th.  The kids did great with the 8 hour drive.  We arrived in Louisville that night.  We got a hotel and let the kids run wild.  This is how it went everytime we showed up at a new hotel throughout the trip.  The kids. went. wild.  And who could blame them?!

This is how we caught Ruby 'reading' the Bible, with a movie on the ipod below it!

The next morning, we headed to Henry's Ark.  A very random farm outside of Louisville.  It was recommended in our 'Really Fun Things You've Gotta Do With Your Family When You Visit Kentucky' book (or something like that!)  And it was fun!  There were ostriches, zebras, goats, very ugly ducks, camels, bison, peacocks, reindeer, warthogs.....  The kids loved it!  Charlie especially loved to chase all of the ducks around.  After that, we drove to Cave City to go to Mammoth Cave.  We got there mid-afternoon and toured the mammoth cave.  It was awesome!  The kids absolutely loved it!  We had brought camping equipment along and after checking out some very shady hotels in the area (that's all there seemed to be), we decided to camp at Jellystone Park.  Unfortunately, all of the camping lots were of rocks (not sure if that was part of the JellySTONE theme..?) and we had neglected to bring our air mattress.  The kids didn't seem to mind but Jordan and I had very sore bones the next morning.  We drove around the countryside in the morning and bought some groceries for some more picnic lunches, hobo pies, and s'mores.  We seemed to get sucked into this slow moving, relaxed culture of Kentucky a little more each day.  We meandered back to Mammoth Cave for another tour of a different cave.  We went to this Waterfall Cave, it's namesake coming from the formations of the rock looking like waterfalls - there weren't actually any waterfalls in the caves.  It was a 45 minute tour.  I think the guide said we were under 50 foot of ground in this area and there was water leaking through a crevice from above. You could almost always hear a trickle of water from somewhere unseen.  There were many places where we had to duck our heads to get through a tight space only to enter into a 300 foot high room.  And the kids loved every minute of it.  Jordan, naturally, has become obsessed with the idea of cave exploring.  We're hoping to return someday to do a 6 hour tour that is offered through another cave where you have to crawl through some tough spots to get through.  It was absolutely amazing!  We chilled out at the campground for the rest of the night.  The next morning, after discussing our sore bones, the cat that made me scream during the night while pawing through our garbage, the squaking bird that woke us up at 6am, and just the pure boredom of camping, we decided to pack up and move on!

Getting kindling from along the road for our campfires

In the caves

We headed to Cumberland Falls.  We got there in the early afternoon and strolled around.  Then we headed into Corbin.  We checked into a hotel, did some swimming with the kids, and went out for pizza.  The next morning, we went to Walmart!  Got more supplies and some clothes for the kids since camping had wiped us fresh out of clean clothes (and who wants to do laundry on a vacation, right?!)  Jordan found a serene park to have a picnic at.  We plugged the park into the gps:  Bee Rock.  It was in the general area.  Two hours later and five very hungry tummies later, we finally found what we thought must be the 2-track road that was finally going to lead us in the right direction.  The gps had been taking us all over creation and it  constantly recalculated the miles adding 15 miles at a time.  So we drive 2 miles on this curvy dirt road and we can finally see Bee Rock on the gps map and we're heading right for it.  And what do we come up on?  Some Christian retreat center/house with a gate blocking the road that leads up to this Bee Rock.  No one was home but the dog; otherwise I would have demanded that these people open their gate so we could get to our precious Bee Rock.  Instead, we had our picnic at that gate!  Oh well!  We headed back into Corbin and met up with Jordan's mom, grandpa and grandma, two aunts, and a cousin.  They had just gotten there (from MI) for a little road trip of their own.  We were happy that we were able to meet up with them while they were here since Jordan's grandpa grew up in Corbin.  So he took us around the town and showed us the area that he grew up in.  It was so rewarding to see him light up when showing us this piece of his past.  He and Grandma are very influential people in our lives.  Then we went on to the birthplace of KFC (grandpa actually knew Colonel Sanders!) and enjoyed some fried chicken!  We decided to stay one more night in Corbin and checked into the same hotel as the family.  We had just two more days left to our vacation and we had to make some decisions as to what we were going to do with them.  We tossed around the idea of going into the Smoky Mountains/Virginia/Tennessee but in the end, we decided to go to one of our other favorite places.... Chicago!

I dropped the lens cap... Jordan fearlessly retrieved it for me
We left the next morning and drove all day.  We got stuck in rush hour... of course, but finally made it to Schaumburg (we thought we'd get in our ikea fix as well).  We made sure the hotel had a pool again for the kiddos and we all enjoyed swimming the rest of the night.  In the morning, we first stopped at Target to buy an umbrella stroller for Charlie for when we'd get in the big city.  Then to Ikea and then downtown.  The kids all loved Chicago.  The girls had been there before and were excited to go back.  And Charlie was pointing at everything as we strolled by it.  We did some shopping and some walking.  We ate dinner at the Rainforest Cafe which the kids really loved, too.  It was another full day, as was everyday.  On our way home, we watched a huge lightning storm happen for almost the entire ride and we also got stuck in a very
hard downpour.  We were tired from all the driving and it was so great to return home to good ole Borculo!

We had such a great time together.  The kids were awesome!  And Jordan and I just enjoy driving around with each other.  Our kids just made us laugh so often, as did Jordan.  It was some great, undivided family time.  And we actually went the entire vacation without a cell phone which was also a refreshing thing!  We were able to text with Jordan's ipod but only in areas with wifi.  And, I guess maybe since we were in Kentucky, wifi wasn't exactly available wherever we went!  It was a great trip.  We just enjoyed being with each other and having no schedules to answer to.  I'm already looking forward to where our next road trip might be....

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