Saturday, April 25, 2009

Less than 24 hours...

Interstate 75 North beckons.
If all goes to plan, at 5:00 AM on Sunday April 26 we will be heading out of the Sunshine State and on our way to Tennessee.

Unfortunately I have come down with's slightly flu-like without the sore throat and stuffy head. Fever and body aches, but enough to make a trip less enjoyable. Perhaps one more night of Nyquil-induced slumber will get my body to a point where it won't be miserable driving 760 miles. Not to mention the fact that being in a car with me for hours and hours could be potentially hazardous to Hanna and Terri's health! Maybe I should look into some biohazard suits for the trip...

Perhaps I will post on vacation, or perhaps I won't. Regardless, I'm sure I'll have pictures and stories to tell when I return.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Chariot

The Tocksteins are not minvan people, although I can understand why many people with small children are. If we had more than one kid (and we don't...and won' least not until Hanna goes off to college), I could certainly understand the need for a larger vehicle.
The vehicle of choice for our upcoming road trip is my 2006 Volkswagen Jetta. I have a great fondness for this car as it was the first new car I ever drove off of a lot. I've had it for almost 4 years now, and it has a few scratches, dings, and dents, but that just adds character. I still vacuum it out and Armor All the dash at least once a month, and I have done a reasonably good job of keeping up with all of the maintenance on it. I've also recently integrated my iPod into the stereo, so I now have access to 13,000 of my favorite songs at the touch of a button. For the upcoming trip I am going to rig up our personal DVD player to the back of the driver's seat so Hanna can watch her favorite DVDs on the road.

The Jetta has made the road trip to Tennessee only once before. While the road trips are long, there is something nice about having MY car with me when I'm out of town. In my experience I've found rental cars to be a mixed bag, and you seldom know exactly what you are going to get until you find a small 2-door hatchback waiting for you at the airport with barely enough room in it for your carseat and luggage.

I remember telling my Dad I was going to get a Volkswagen, and the only thing he could think of was my last VW, which was a 1986 VW Golf that looked (and smelled) as though it had been pulled out of a junkyard. It was a constant struggle to keep it running (thanks to Herb Piercy for the generous donation of his time and expertise), but that car had CHARACTER! The horn sounded like a T-Rex from "Jurassic Park" and there was always some kind of fungus growing in the seat cushions. I had that car between the years of 1994 and 1996, and I still remember it fondly. (Maybe I should blog about all the cars I've had...that might be an interesting post).

My Jetta doesn't smell gross, and there isn't any fungus growing in the seats as far as I can tell, but it still has character, and it somehow fits me. I'm looking forward to putting a few more miles on her in just over a week.

Till next time, here is the greatest travel song ever....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

762 miles of fun!

I've decided to start the blog up again after taking about 6 weeks off. I'm sure the 3 people who read this blog will be greatly relieved that I have returned!
In just a few weeks from now, on April 26, Terri, Hanna, and I will be heading north to Tennessee. Since we've had Hanna, this trip has always been accomplished by a 90 minute plane ride to Nashville or Knoxville. But since we now have to pay for a plane ticket for Hanna, we were looking at upwards of 500 to 600 bucks for a trip. Since gas is still relatively cheap, we decided it would be much more cost-effective to drive.

I have never been in a car with a 2-year old for upwards of 12 hours, and I'm not sure how that is going to work. Hanna has made a car trip from Illinois to Knoxville (roughly 8 hours) without major incident, so hopefully that is a good sign.
The northbound drive on Interstate 75 through Florida and Georgia isn't exactly scenic. There is little to break up the monotony except billboards for "Cafe Risque" (WE BARE ALL!!!) and the occasional rest stop offering free orange juice (in Florida) or pecans (in Georgia). The drive through downtown Atlanta is always an adventure, especially in rush hour. We are driving on a Sunday so hopefully that won't be an issue, but it always seems like there is a wreck on that particular stretch of road. The scenery begins in north Georgia and Chattanooga, when the mountains start to creep over the horizon. The drive from Chattanooga to Nashville is quick but relatively dull, with more fireworks stores and gas stations than I could ever count.
Our first stop will be Terri's folks in Portland, TN, which is about an hour north of Nashville. After spending a few days with them, mid-week we will head over to Knoxville to spend the rest of the time with my folks.
We'll have the iPods charged, the portable DVD player ready to go, the oil changed, the tires brought up to pressure, and enough pillows and blankets in the car to dress a king sized bed (because Terri plans to sleep for approximately 10 hours of the trip).
Look for more updates soon as we prepare for our first big road trip in about three years!