Monday, April 20, 2009
Road trip fever
As part of the ongoing Moore family experiment in pushing the limits of a 2 1/2 year old child, we embarked on a journey to Tallahassee, FL Wednesday night. We left Lenoir at about 8 pm and headed south, confident in the hope that Owen would soon succumb to sleep. Alas, this was not to be. If he had had access to toothpicks, Owen would have shoved them into his eyelids like tentpoles in an effort to stay awake. He sang songs at the top of his lungs, asked for all kinds of snacks and drinks, "read" books to himself and burned through his second, third, fourth, and fifth winds before finally, mercifully falling asleep.
I drove through the night, stopping for gas, food, and caffeine. Finally, I reached a point where I needed to grab a nap in order to keep going. I pulled over, layed the seat back, and curled up for a cat nap. Boom! Owen was up, awake and clamoring for mobility. No rest for the wicked or the weary, apparently.
We made it to Tallahassee at about 7 am, safe and sound albeit pretty knackered. A little nap and we were off to the races. We had gone down to visit our good friend Chris and he had a whirlwind tour lined up for us. We headed off for the Tallahassee Jr. Museum where we saw all kinds of wildlife, including Florida Panthers, red wolves, black bears, and alligators among others. The next day, we headed to the coast to the aquarium in Panacea, FL, a little fishing (where we were joined by a wild alligator, but no fish), a trip to Cape St. George for some beach time and a lighthouse visit for Owen to add to his collection. We ended up in a little town on the gulf for some Appalachicola oysters (very nice) and a seafood dinner. The food was excellent, but everybody was getting tired and we had a long drive home until we could hit the bed.
The next day we headed to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. We headed by bike from the visitor's center to the point, through swamps and grassland marshes. We saw tons of birds (including red-winged blackbirds, blue herons and white herons), more alligators, a big snake, and a cute, fuzzy, brown guinea pig sized mouse (the snake was probably looking for him, too). We saw another lighthouse, did a short walk out on a levee, and then rode back in. We had a nice, simple dinner at Chris' house and turned in for our last night.
An early start, an all day drive and Bob's your uncle, we were home. It's a tough thing when your vacation wears you out and then you have to return to work, but it was all worth it.
One terribly interesting note of caution if you are going to visit Florida: don't even think about smuggling in plants or produce...