When the Going Gets Tough

Day 2

We didn’t feel as rushed this morning because we knew our time on the road would be much less than yesterday. We had the van packed and ready to go by 9:45am.

The morning’s commute involved a 90 minute drive straight towards the east coast, taking us into Delaware.


Today we played our second round of what we call “The Car Game”. It fuels the boys’ competitive side and helps pass the time. Everyone chooses their own car brand. Everytime we see the brand you chose, you get a point.

Here’s a couple things we have learned after playing this game:

  1. Chevrolet and Ford are very popular vehicles to own
  2. Dodge and Nissan are trickier to find
  3. Jackson is really good at keeping his own score
  4. Shannon has no clue how to tell the difference in car brands

After arriving in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, we made a spur of the moment decision to have a picnic lunch on the beach. It was a neat experience and one I’m not sure we’ve done before.

We had intentions of spending time at Funland, a small carnival/arcade type place, but it didn’t open until later in the day. We ended up going to another arcade on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk.

One of our favorite memories of the day was Everett hitting the jackpot on one of the games. It’s hard to put his reaction in to words.


After picking up a few souveniers and some ice cream we climbed back in the van and headed north. One hour to the north was the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover. I had read some good reviews about this place and thought the boys might enjoy it.

As a disclaimer to other places trying to get our business, offering free parking and free admission is a good way to get us in the door.

We all enjoyed seeing the airplanes!! Most of the people working/volunteering were military veterans.

One way we are trying to save money this year is to be aware of which restaurants offer Kids Eat Free promos. We finished off our evening at Denny’s, where kids eat free on Tuesdays.

Day 3

The first and second half of our third day couldn’t have been more polar opposite from each other. Let’s start with the good half.

With more miles to cover on the road we decided to get an earlier start. We left our hotel at 9am and headed towards the Kids Castle in Doylestown, PA. We went here a couple years ago on our way to Lancaster, PA. The boys enjoyed it so much we decided to stop by again.

It really is an impressive playground.

After an hour of play it was time for lunch. We had a picnic lunch and then hit the road. Next destination: Liberty State Park.

This was another place we had been before but it was so much fun we had to go back. It’s always nice seeing old friends again. I’m talking about the Statue of Liberty of course.

All the boys wanted to talk about was how tall the buildings were and which ones were the absolute tallest. If you’re looking for a less crowded place with a good view of the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline, this is your place!!

nyc 3

Here’s where things kind of went south for us. And when I say “kind of went south” I mean things went wrong in ways I didn’t know were possible.

It started out very innocent. The boys wanted to see the Empire State building better. So I was like, “yeah, we can make that happen”.

It was 4pm. We plugged in our next destination in the GPS and our arrival time was estimated to be 6:15. My plan was to veer slightly off course to drive alongside the Jersey side of the Hudson river, which would give us a great, up close view of the New York City skyline.

We started towards the Jersey side of the Hudson but quickly realized traffic was going to be an issue and rush hour was nearly upon us. At this point we were in the heart of Jersey City with a GPS that only knew how to recalculate.

Here’s the problem with using a GPS in one of the busiest areas in the country during rush hour. It will tell you to stay left in .2 miles and then take Exit 64 to the right .4 miles after that. That’s all good and well except after staying left in .2 miles you have to cross 6 lanes of traffic to take Exit 64. Then when you miss Exit 64 it recalculates a new route which says to get on Washington Expressway, which sounds like a fine road to be on if it wasn’t all the way in the left lane.

Enough about that.

With traffic being as bad as it was we decided to just stop somewhere for dinner. Let’s have a low key meal at Subway. What could go wrong?

We find a Subway on the GPS and when we arrive at the address, we discover it’s conveniently located inside some kind of Amtrak train station. Before we can even blink, we are forced into a parking garage in Stamford, Connecticut to eat fast food!!!!

If it takes us longer than an hour to get back to our car this is going to cost us an extra $8. I asked someone in the parking garage about a Subway. He pointed us in the right direction and off we went. After going down a flight of steps and an escalator or two we found the Subway.

At this point all three boys are saying they have to use the bathroom, only there aren’t any. We all walk around the area looking for one with no luck. Shannon ends up ordering our food and the boys and I go on a bathroom hunt. We are able to locate signs that resemble a bathroom but nothing tells us where they are.

Eventually we wander into the actual amtrak station where we couldn’t have possibly fit in any less. Everyone I see is dressed in full-on business attire and here we are wearing athletic shorts and neon t-shirts. I didn’t see anyone else under the age of 20 the whole time we were in there.

I ended up asking one of the amtrak ticket ladies where the bathrooms were. After finishing up there, we went back down to meet Shannon. She was able to get two foot long subs for $18. No drinks and no chips. The lady making our subs sneezed and Shannon offered her a “Bless you”. She looked at Shannon like “that’s weird”.

Needless to say, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that out of place somewhere.

We eventually made it to our hotel just south of Hartford, Connecticut about two and half hours later than the GPS originally said we should.

Hey, at least we made it safely!

Here’s a few of the states we went through today:



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