For this blog post, since we are a little more than half-way through our trip, I thought it would be interesting to ask my fellow road-trippers (and myself) to reflect on the trip thus far. Our responses to the questions below are based on the time we’ve spent in the following states:
Maine (Acadia NP and Bar Harbor), New Hampshire, Massachusetts (Boston area and Cape Cod), Connecticut, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia area and Gettysburg), Washington DC (Maryland), Virginia, North Carolina (Outer Banks), South Carolina (Charleston area),
Georgia (Atlanta and Okefenokee), Florida (Titusville, Orlando, Tampa area), Tennessee (Nashville), Louisiana (New Orleans), Texas (Dallas, Austin)
The states we’ve spent time in so far
What is one place we’ve visited that you’d like to go back to?
Miles: Washington DC – one of my favorite cities and there is so much to see there.
Owen: Disneyworld – cause we didn’t do all the rides.
Rob: Tennessee – I would like to see more live music in Nashville and go to Memphis next time.
Jen: Florida – I really wanted to get to the St. Augustine, the Keys, the Everglades, and Miami but we just didn’t have time to fit it all in before heading back up north for our ‘winter break’.
Something that made us laugh along the way…
Miles: I got locked in a bathroom in an RV park in Maine and some lady finally heard me banging on the door and had to get her husband (who worked there) to let me out.
Owen: watching Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – “May I go to the bathroom please?”
Rob: Road/store signs seen along the way like “Stop at Buc-ee’s – clean bathrooms – we gauranpee it!” “Go to church or the devil will get you!” “King Tut’s Wiener Hut”
Jen: …the thought of all of us being filmed while living together in a submarine for an extended period of time. Believe it or not, we were contacted by a tv production company to see if we’d be interested in being part of a new submarine reality show that they are considering making.
What do you like to do on long car rides?
Miles: Read, think, listen to music (although not always the music that my parents choose to put on the radio).
Owen: Read and sleep.
Rob: Drive! and listen to NPR and country music.
Jen: I used to love to read and sleep but now I usually try to get photos posted on FB, respond to emails, check out the upcoming destinations in Lonely Planet to get an idea of what might be good to see/do, and read to the boys from A History of US (a great series that we are using to teach US history).
Best new food you’ve tried…
Miles: fajitas (Dallas, TX)
Owen: alligator sausage (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Rob: muffaletta sandwich (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Jen: Shrimp and Grits (Charleston, South Carolina)
Person in US history that has interested you and how did s/he influence/impact our country…
Miles: Ben Franklin because he did an incredible amount of things without very much education. He helped create the Declaration of Independence, he invented many things, and he created the library system.
Owen: Abraham Lincoln because he was a farmboy who became the President. He was kind and a strong leader and he tried to end slavery.
Rob: I have a new appreciation for John F. Kennedy. I was impressed by his big thinking and the articulation of his vision to regular citizens. His goals and values for the country transcended ordinary politics.
Jen: I know he’s already been “taken” but I have to go with Ben Franklin also. I was truly amazed at all that he accomplished in his 84 years. He is described as a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. His impact on our new nation was immeasurable. And to top it all off, he’s given us some great quotes like “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” and “Fish and visitors smell in three days.” (true? I hope not for the family that have housed us for more than three days!)
An experience that inspired you in some way…
Miles: Kennedy Space Center – I liked listening to the astronauts who talked there. Their experiences were very interesting and they were very courageous to go into space. And I think it would be very cool to see earth from outer space.
Owen: Plimoth Plantation – It was inspiring that they could get through the dangers and sicknesses and stuff that they weren’t familiar with and still survive.
Rob: Spending a day in Washington DC touring the Capitol Building, Supreme Court, and White House – because of their historical significance and influence.
Jen: National Center for Civil and Human Rights – I was struck by the courage of the many, many people all over the world who have taken action in the past, who do so today, and who will likely still be needed in the future in order to ensure that all people on this planet are treated with dignity and basic human rights.
Educational place(s) that you would recommend to a friend:
Miles: The Franklin Institute (science museum) in PA, Perot Museum of Nature and Science in TX, Kennedy Space Center in FL
Owen: Plimouth Plantation in MA, Kennedy Space Center in FL, The Franklin Institute in PA
Rob: National Center for Civil and Human Rights in GA, Kennedy Space Center in FL, a revolutionary war re-enactment (various locations)
Jen: Pequot Museum in CT, Plimouth Plantation in MA, Freedom Trail guided by a National Park Ranger in MA, National Center for Civil and Human Rights in GA, Kennedy Space Center in FL, The National World War II Museum in LA
Recreational place(s) that you would recommend to a friend:
Miles: Disney World in FL, Flight (indoor trampoline place) in CT, Cape Cod National Seashore in MA
Owen: Disney World in FL, Skyzone (indoor tramp place) in DC, Sandy Beach in Acadia National Park in Maine
Rob: Cape Cod National Seashore in MA, visit a honkytonk in Nashville, TN, biking in Acadia National Park
Jen: Acadia National Park in ME, Ziplining The Gorge in NC, listening to the Brass Bands at Jackson Square in New Orleans, Disney World
For the boys only…favorite books you were assigned to read:
What topic/time period so far has been most interesting to you and why?
Miles: Revolutionary War – I think it’s very interesting to see how America rebelled against Britain, even though Britain was incredibly powerful, and won their independence.
Owen: Fight for civil rights – starting from the time before the Civil War, people were willing to die for freedom and to be treated equally.
Rob: Texas history – because this is something that I didn’t know much about.
Jen: I’m having trouble picking one but I will say that having never been all that “into” history before, I’m surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed the whole historical side of this trip. I’ve learned a lot!
What words would you use to capture your impressions of America and its people (from the past into today)? Note: the image below captures our combined choices.
Choose 3-5 Highs and Lows of the trip so far…
||Seeing people along the wayRevolutionary War re-enactment
Hiking in Acadia National Park
Dave and Busters
Orion Space Launch
|Doing schoolwork in the RVLong, long drives
Doing so many ranger booklets
||DisneyworldSouth Carolina Aquarium
Kennedy Space Center
Ziplining in NC (the Gorge)
|Our teeny, tiny shower and toiletToo much cold weather
I can hear Mom/Dad talking in the morning before we wake up
||Fall in New EnglandTime with family and friends
Awesome local foods
Exploring new places
Low gas prices
|RV/car troublesToo much to see and do in the time we have
||Spending time with family and friendsExperiencing so many new and different places
Live music experiences
First day at Disney
Those warm afternoons that we got to spend at the beaches
|Really low water pressure in the showerThose moments when the boys push each others’ buttons, which pushes my buttons
Can’t really have routines – always deciding on a new plan for each day
And that just about sums up the past six months of road trippin’ for the Gold family! Hope we gave you some ideas for future trips you might take yourself, though we’ve only just scratched the surface so far of what this vast and varied country has to offer. And let us know any questions you’d add to the list and we’ll try to answer them!