Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What a Trip!

We're back from a long (but great!) trip to Alabama. Here's a quick recap:

On Thursday before Christmas, we loaded up Jason, Kelli, Wyatt, Callie, Sadie, Watson, and the dog in the Excursion and hit the road at 2:00 PM. We drove through the night Thursday and most of the day Friday, stopping only to feed someone, let someone use the bathroom, or fill the tank. Other than that, it was just us and the road. Although rather stinky when we arrived 26 hours after leaving, we were glad to have had safe travels.

We stayed with Moms and Pops in Trussville. Jason's brother and sister-in-law, Stephen and Lauren, got there the next day, so Moms and Pops were glad to have everyone at the house for Christmas. It was great to see Stephen and Lauren; we don't get to do that often since they live in Florida.

On Christmas day, Moms picked up her parents from the retirement home in Cook Springs and brought them to the house. It was fun seeing four generations together in the same place, and Great Grandmother and Great Granddaddy Glaze got a kick out of all the little ones running around. Sadie squealed and got excited about everything, whether the gift was for her or not. Watson just sat quietly and took it all in.
The day after Christmas, we drove to Anniston to see Pops' side of the family - aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family. We spent the afternoon there and had a grand old time.

Kelli took a shotgun and harvested some mistletoe. I don't know how others do it, but that's the way it's done in Alabama. Shoot some squirrel shot at the mistletoe and it just comes tumbling to the ground to be gathered. Lots easier than trying to climb the tree.

Funny thing is, Uncle Mike has a donkey (named Jack - guess what his last name is!) that decided the mistletoe Kelli was holding would make a nice snack. Kelli couldn't turn her back on Jack or her prized "kill" would start missing a few leaves here and there.
Uncle Mike's brother stopped by in the Rat Rod he's been working on. As you can see, it's awfully ugly, but that's the point. The saw blades across the front are just clipped on for now. He hasn't welded them in place yet, because he's still experimenting with where exactly they should be.
Jason's cousin Wesley has an S10 pickup that's on the quick side. Wide tires in the back, Chevy 350 under the hood - it'll get you there in a hurry. He took the kids on a ride down the driveway and back (it's a long driveway) and took Jason out for a spin. To call it loud would be an understatement. To call is slow would be a downright lie.
The day after Anniston trip, we loaded up and drove to Northport, outside Tuscaloosa, to see Papa's side of the family. Kelli's uncles and aunts and cousins were there, and it made for quite a crowd. They're all big Alabama football fans, so you can be they'll be tuning in to the national championship game in the next few days. Here's the whole gang on the steps.
As usual, we had a great time visiting with everyone. Papa's brothers are a hoot! We had traditional Christmas fare - hot wings, Chick-fil-A nuggets, ribs, potato salad, baked beans, and fried pickles. Oh yeah - and enough dessert to feed a village. No, make that two villages. We all ate way too much.

Though we would have loved to stay longer, we loaded the Excursion again and drove to Montgomery to see Kelli's sister and her husband. We mainly just hung out, though we did make one journey downtown to see the big Christmas tree at the capitol building. Here we all are (well, most of us) in front of the tree.
We did get pulled over on the highway between Tuscaloosa and Montgomery. It was night time and the driver (Jason) let our land yacht drift a little too far across the center line. The officer approached the Excursion, and with his flashlight shining in the window, he saw booster set, car seat, car seat, car seat, wife, father-in-law, driver. After about the second car seat, he must've determined we were no threat. He just checked Jason's license and insurance, made sure we were okay, and sent us on our way. Later, Papa said he probably pulled us over because he'd never met anyone from North Dakota. Apparently, not many folks from the upper-midwest drive through Podunk, Alabama (not the real town name).

After a couple of days in Montgomery, it was back to Trussville. We participated in all the fun stuff at Moms and Pops house - riding the zip line, riding the battery powered jeep, going on hay rides, playing with marshmallow guns, going on four wheeler rides, sitting around bonfires, shooting Wyatt's new BB gun (Christmas present), making s'mores, and mixing kids and fireworks. Sadie was a big fan of the sparklers.
There were lots of other tons-of-fun things we did, too, but space and time are both short. Suffice it to say, it was a GREAT trip to Alabama.

On New Year's Day, we loaded up (again) in the Excursion and headed back to Fargo. We made better time on the way back - only twenty-FIVE hours instead of twenty-SIX. We couldn't have asked for the kids to be any better, though. They're some real troopers (and road warriors). The final total was 3287 miles. We'll probably not drive anywhere else for a while... :)