About a year ago, the Union High School marching band, the Renegade Regiment, was selected to march in the Orlando Citrus Parade on December 30. Much like the band’s visit to the Macy’s Parade two years ago, the entire family was on board to make this road trip to support Miles (senior) and Mallory (sophomore). Thank you to KK, PK, Scott, Erin, and Grandma Mary for coming with us!
Because we are sane travelers, we are splitting the drive to Orlando into two days. Erin, PK, and Grandma Mary met us at our house before 6am today so we could hit the road together. Scott joined KK in Altus, OK, for a previous commitment this morning and they will be driving from there and will meet up with us at the end of the day.
The good thing about starting your trip at 6am is that you MAKE GOOD TIME. While passengers slept, Erin and I got us 2.5 hours down the road before our first stop. That is some awesome karma to start the trip.
Shortly after entering Tennessee, there is a massive railyard. I liked it’s name – the BNSF Memphis Intermodal Facility. Containers were being offloaded from trains and placed on trailers.
Somewhere in Mississippi, we stopped to have a picnic lunch in the parking lot of some small town park and senior citizen center. The weather was gorgeous. No problem with a picnic today. Erin outdid herself on all the homemade desserts she brought. She pulled out one fantastic item after another. Seriously, who makes homemade peanut buttercups (choice of milk chocolate or dark chocolate)?!
Google Maps told us it would be a 9.5 hour drive to our ultimate destination of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and we made it in 10.5 hours. Score one for this group of road warriors. Nothing like checking into the hotel at 4:30 on day 1.
After another picnic dinner in our rooms, a card game of Phase 10 broke out between Mallory, Erin, and PK. I am told that the game ended in a tie, and that another 10th round had to be played, where Erin finally beat Mallory.
Mallory’s highlight of the card game was when she read on the internet that a kangaroo was at in one of Tulsa’s malls, and PK asked “was that on purpose”? Erin laughed till she cried. I *do* understand PK’s logic. Sometimes kangaroos escape captivity and head for the mall. Happens all the time!
During the card game, Miles and I decided to drive about a mile down the road to visit the University of Alabama campus. We happened to walk past our hotel’s front desk on the way out, and the clerk asked us our plans. Once he heard we were going to campus, he grabbed a map and made sure to note the highlights for us. He even asked about Miles’ intended major, and when he said “engineering”, the clerk gave us a sales pitch on Alabama’s engineering school and told us to be sure and visit their new buildings. This guy should get a job with the University!
Of course it was dark, but we visited Bryant-Denny Stadium and then had a pretty significant walk through campus.
As of this writing, at 10pm, Scott and KK are gaining on Tuscaloosa and should get in before midnight. Tomorrow, the gang gets back together and we will say Hello to Orlando once again.