The seven hour ride from Northern Virginia to North Carolina really wasn't that bad. We listened to a book on tape for part of the trip and the rest of the time, the kids either watched a movie on the portable DVD player or played games in the car. It was actually quite a nice journey.
The worst part was our last hour on the road before we hit Wilmington, NC. The weather turned frightening, then dangerous. Many of our fellow highway travelers were pulling over, but we kept the flashers on and managed it slow and steady. The lightening was perpendicular to the ground and the wall of rain was constant and unrelenting. Visibility was rather poor, but my husband stayed the course at a very slow and safe speed keeping us moving toward the end of the storm. As we drove out of it, we marveled at how you could see the line of demarcation in the sky. The kids found it quite remarkable to be able to tell exactly where the rain would stop. After such a nerve-wracking drive, we were all thankful to be free of that storm.
We checked into our hotel and the antics began -- not really what we needed after a harrowing car ride. We had booked two rooms adjacent to one another. My husband and three kids would stay in one, and I would stay in the other with the rest. Lyle got into his room and the accommodations were fine. I, however, refused to stay in my room. It looked as if someone had forgotten to clean it, for about a year. The front desk manager quickly handed me new keys, no longer adjacent to Lyle's room, but close. On a non-smoking floor, my girls and I entered a smokey smelling room with cigarette burns on the comforter! You guessed it, I wasn't staying there either.
Even a more virtuous person might have asked for a refund and found new lodgings by this point; I decided to give it one more shot. Third time's the charm, right? For us it was, thank goodness -- I was tired of moving all those bags from room to room. And, so here I sit in room #3 cataloging the memory for you and for my family. We have never had success with hotels rooms, from our honeymoon forward. This is just one more for the books.
I discovered a long time ago that getting angry in a situation like this just leaves you frustrated and even more angry, and in the case of our wedding night, without a place to stay! Resolution comes from cooperation on both sides. The manager -- as he was helping move our bags from room to room, he reminded me that he was a young man -- was friendly and understanding. I was calm and rational, as well as grateful for his youth. It all worked out well, and we had a suitable room in which to sleep and wind down from our trip and also our lovely day at the beach.
Saturday morning we left NC and headed to Florida. We'll be stopping for another short stay at the beach on Anastasia Island -- St. Augustine, Florida. Of course, Anastasia (Annie) thinks this is really cool. We are anxious to attend Mass at the oldest Catholic Church in America. This should be an experience to remember, I hope for it's awe and wonder. I'll let you know how it goes.
Keep us in your prayers.