Tuesday, May 31, 2011

North Carolina

Early Friday morning around 7:30 AM (when Tyler should have been getting ready for school) I got on the road for a long trek to North Carolina. Al was getting ready to deploy and I wanted him to get to see the boys. Due to unexpected schedule changes on his part I decided to not tell the boys about the trip until the last minute, just in case anything were to happen to change our plans again. So Tyler was pretty excited to hear we were going. We picked up Bob (who had agreed to come with us for the long drive to keep me company) and got started. There were a few early tears from Jason, but thankfully that didn't set the tone for the trip, which actually went quite smoothly. We did stop briefly for lunch (at Chick-fil-A of course) and later at a rest stop for a little leg stretching (when we had hit traffic) but otherwise it was smooth sailing.

We finally arrived to Al and Michelle's house shortly after 6pm (almost an 11 hour trip). The boys were excited to see their dad and got started right away with playing in the backyard. They showed no hesitation with leaving me, with made me feel both better and worse at the same time. LOL.

That evening Bob and I checked into our hotel in Dunn, NC, which was the closest decent hotel we had been able to find online. Odd area, but close to the highway and close enough to the boys in case I needed to go get them. We did a liquor store run and got some take-out and relaxed and enjoyed our evening.

On Saturday, after eating breakfast at our hotel, we decided to take a drive to Raven Rock State Park to do some hiking. We hiked a few trails with some great views, overlooking Cape Fear River. Very cool. And it was neat to actually be out together in public in daylight without the kids. Almost like a real date!

After our hike we decided to head into Raleigh to check out one of their museums. We found Raleigh to be a cute town and first came across the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, so we decided to go there. We were happy to discover that the museum was free, and we were quite impressed that it was much larger than we expected. It had dinosaur fossils, small animals, etc.

That evening we enjoyed a dinner at Cracker Barrel and did some exploring in the Dunn area (found nothing impressive, but did see some damage from the recent tornadoes).

Meanwhile on Saturday, unbeknownst to us, Al and Michelle took Tyler and Jason to the same museum we had been to that day (they had told me that they were going to be at the Children's Museum, but had later changed their minds). They went from there to the mall where they met up with Al's dad and Leslie and had a nice dinner afterwards.

On Sunday morning Bob and I ate breakfast at the hotel before checking out. We made our way back to Raven Rock State Park to hike the largest of the trails (which we hadn't done the day prior). We were very glad we did. Some beautiful sights and saw some more wildlife. Very pretty and relaxing (and got a workout too).

Meanwhile on Sunday apparently the boys enjoyed a low-key day at home with Al and Michelle. I believe this was the day at Tyler got his first experience shooting a paintball gun with his daddy...while Jason had some bonding time indoors with the dog and cat. They ate, played outside with sprinklers and sidewalk chalk and on the neighbors little swingset. They also met Michelle's kids who had returned home from their dad's.

Bob and I went and picked up the boys around 2 or 3pm. They seemed to have had a great time and everything went smoothly. They were sad to say goodbye to their dad though. The ride home went well, and despite being shorter than the ride there, felt much longer (at least to the adults). But the boys were home and back in their own beds at just about midnight. A long, but worthwhile, weekend!