Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pete Family Reunion | Day One - Road Trip: Destin or Bust

A week ago today we packed up our car for our road trip to the Pete family reunion in Destin, Florida. We had intended to leave earlier but didn't end up leaving until around 1 pm. The Garmin estimated it would take about 6 hours to get to Destin from Atlanta but that didn't take into account our [semi] frequent stops to feed the baby and allow for the 3 of us to stretch outside the car. Benjamin fell asleep in his car seat before we even got out of Atlanta.
We missed the Alabama sign the first time we past it because I was too busy looking out at something to see that it was coming up so I made asked Ben to get off the highway and turn around to try again. I have this thing about state signs, especially if it's my first time visiting/driving through a state. This trip was my first time in Alabama and Florida. Anyway, Benjamin was awake by then and anxious to be out of his car seat. It seemed like 40 miles since the last restroom which I needed by that point. Then Ben saw this really cool painted container that said MYSTERY. I said, "Pull over!" a little too late and we had to turn around yet again. Haha. Oh well, it was worth it!
I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to let Benjamin stretch out a bit and also take some cool photos for the review/giveaway for The Bird & Elephant. Which, by the way, don't forget to go enter for your chance to win $20 store credit!

After a few minutes we got back in the car to go through the "World's First Drive Thru Art and Antique Gallery". I have no idea who made or owns this but it's pretty awesome! We couldn't just stay in the car and drive through, obviously.
Strange But True; Obligatory Selfie
 Both Benjamin's spent some time behind the wheel while I took pictures...
After I fed the baby again, we were off! Thankfully, except for some light sprinkling in Atlanta, there wasn't any rain during our drive. Benjamin fell asleep again and I wanted to find us a park or something to stop at [when he woke up] to let him swing and play a while before we continued. Here in Atlanta I can search for local parks and recreation in the Garmin and it gives me a plethora of options to choose from. Major fail in Alabama!
I saw that there was a state wilderness park and thought at the very least there would be restrooms. We went a pretty good distance out of the way without seeing a single car or person. Ben kept making comments about us being killed out there and eventually I was pretty freaked myself! Eventually, when we saw this sign for the Summer Route, we just backed up and left the way we came. We never did find a park. By then Benjamin was getting fussy so I sat in the back with him to play for a while.
We came across this town called Eufaula with huge, old homes. They reminded me of something out of a movie; very "southern". I tried to get better photos but it was hard squished as I was in the back seat. When we came to the downtown area with antique shops we decided to get out and look around.
This alley was very cool but really loud and creepy. Ben thought maybe there was a rat colony in the walls but I saw a dead bat on the ground and knew it was bats. Ew. We high tailed it out of there!
 Benjamin <3's Mickey Mouse
I saw a couple of large props in one of the stores I would have loved to have picked up if we'd had the space - a vintage high chair (great for Smash the Cake Sessions) and old antique tub (oh, the possibilities!). We did pick up a small toy for Benjamin - a bead activity toy on wheels - for $4. After maybe 40 minutes or an hour we were back in the car and on our way. It wasn't long before we hit that Florida sign and stopped for a few minutes at the welcome center.

Most of our drive was spent on back roads versus highway. Once we'd hit the Florida welcome center we were anxious to be in Destin already so that last hour and a half or so was a bit rough. I spent the rest of the drive in the back seat to keep Benjamin occupied. Just as the sun was setting we hit a stretch of water. I had just started to dose when Ben yelled for me to, "Look!" to which I replied, "Stop!" Quicker with his reflexes this time, he immediately pulled over and this next photo I took just after I literally jumped out of the car.
The sun moved so quickly, it's amazing we caught it. I'm so glad we did! It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen.
We were only about 15 miles from the hotel at this point. Once we got there and checked in, we went up to our room to drop off our things. A lot of Ben's family was already congregated in the restaurant/bar common area so we went down to meet & greet everyone. Unfortunately, Benjamin took this weekend to hit his separation anxiety stage and didn't take to anyone too kindly. Not to mention he was tired and in a completely different environment. After a few minutes we decided to go up to the room and call it a night. We had a big day ahead of us!