Friday, August 15, 2014

Traveling's Half the Fun...

or is it...?  Whenever I make the conscious decision to drive home to New York, I really do commit myself to mind-numbing hours stuck behind a steering wheel, the constant chatter, or lack thereof, from my driving companion (Jeff), intermittent licking of the ears (Milton), disgustingly good fast food (both the king - BK and the queen - DQ), and sporadic breaks (far between) to stretch out those tired legs with very sore hip flexors.  Oh my!  All in all though, it is a very meaningful 25-hour bonding experience with my boys and one that I have truly grown to love.

Last week, Jeff, the doting husband, flew up to celebrate Mom's big birthday, and then we jam packed the car with all of my summer memorabilia, loaded up the Milt, and embarked for home, Dallas.  It was incredibly difficult to say goodbye to both my mom and the lake, but we always have the upcoming holidays to look forward to celebrating with her.

On the road again

The return trip was not quite as colorful, simply because we had a much tighter schedule to adhere to with school on the horizon.  We did, however, stop on our first leg of the drive in Maryland to visit Jeff's brother, Joel, and his family who recently moved there.

Milton is always clamoring up stairs because our house doesn't have any!

Four little darlings

After eating lunch with this branch of the family, we traveled onward another long seven hours to spend the night with Jeff's other brother, Jeremy, in Tennessee.  It really was great fun visiting with everyone -- such hospitable hosts!

Jeff, Uncle Jeremy, and nephew Milton

Our final stop was the following day after another five hour drive to Alabama to visit my cousin, Kathy.

Me and Kathy

Big treats for the Milt!

This stop was extra fun for the Milt Dog because Kathy's house belongs to a community with a lake.  When you are stuck in the hot car, with 100 degree heat outside, an afternoon dip makes for a sweet cool respite.

At the lake

Testing the waters

A swimmer

The final stretch to Dallas was a long one at 10 hours, and Jeff and I divided the drive time, but he graciously always brings us in to home in the late hours of the evening/very early hours of the morning.  I tend not to do so well once the sun sets...!  Milton, as usual, handled the car ride just fine, but that back seat was extra crammed for our 60 lb. goldendoodle!  At one point, he even climbed up on our cooler (a source of contention for Jeff and me because he needs cold drinks while I think it is a waste of space) to test out its comfort level as a seat.

Perched on the cooler

Do we ever plan to do this drive again?  You betcha -- next summer!  I never imagined us as much of a driving family, but it is just so nice to have the Milt along on our trips, and he really is a true laker, like his Momma, at heart.  Hopefully, next year Jeff can join us for a longer stint, and I know that Grand Nan hopes so too...!