Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure
Earlier this year my farmer and I packed up our blue-eyed girl and our big, little boy and hit the road for our first family road trip. I had imagined car games and seeing random license plates. We did see some pretty distant licenses plates but there were no car games and no singing.
Instead our first day was spent looking at farm equipment, sprayers, and planters. We made it exactly six hours into our seventeen-hour adventure before we stopped for the night. Six hours. We barely made it out of Illinois.
The next day we traveled through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. We traveled through a portion of the Great Smokey Mountains. We saw waterfalls. We climbed mountains. We didn’t see bears. Unfortunately, Highway 441 through the national park was closed due to snow. That night we made it to the Atlanta area.
Day three was a travel day. We traversed the rest of Georgia and into Florida. Candidly, I don’t remember much of the drive other than we didn’t see an alligator. That afternoon we made it to Disney! Our big, little boy wanted nothing more than to visit BB-8 and our blue-eyed girl tried desperately to be too old for it, but in the end, she glowed after seeing Belle and Tinkerbell.
We spent days four, five, and six at Disney. We traversed Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom (several times), and Epcot. We visited princesses and characters. We journeyed on safaris and river excursions. We flew magic carpets and visited different countries. And of course, we ate.
My farmer trekked the Disney property in Ariat steel toed work boots. Unlike the rest of the family, he packed only one pair of shoes. A steel toed pair of course. A pair that set off every metal detector at every park. The security staff got a couple of good looks at his legs and white socks.
Our big, little boy dreamt of BB-8, one of the droids from Star Wars. Nearly knocked down Tinkerbell. And went the entire week in either a Wisconsin Badgers hat, sweatshirt, or t-shirt. Unlike his dad, he left his work boots at home.
Despite her attempts to be too old for Disney, our blue-eyed girl fell back in love with Tinkerbell, Belle, and Ariel. During the drive and downtime at the hotel she only finished three books, Maximum Ride Forever, The Isles of the Lost, and Return to the Isle of the Lost. She promptly finished Jurassic Park when we returned. She didn’t bring it with since it was a library book.
Day seven was spent at Hogwarts and Diagon Alley. Our big, little boy selected the wand carried by Severus Snape. Our blue-eyed girl has Hermione Granger’s wand from the last time we visited Hogwarts. With their dad in tow we drank hot butterbeer. Cold butterbeer. Iced butterbeer. We rode the Hogwarts Express, visited with Ernie Prang at the Knight Bus, saw Krecher peeking out of Number 12 Grimmold Place, and of course, cast spells.
Our return journey included the Athena Parthenon in Nashville. As “the Athens of the South” Nashville constructed a temporary full-size replica Parthenon in 1897. The replica was so popular that a permanent structure was constructed in 1931. The 42-foot Athena statue was later added. Our blue-eyed girl has wanted to visit Nashville since the Parthenon was featured in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief.
Day eight was again a travel day and we traversed the remaining miles. With our first family road trip in the books we’re already looking forward to next year. Our blue-eyed girl has requested New Orleans, mainly for their beignets!