Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Destin 2011 Departure Day

We were all anxious to get started on our family vacation.  Jonah was so excited he came over on Thursday night thinking we were leaving Friday morning when we really were not leaving until Sat. morning. :)

 As we were packing Jonah and Nick watched Avatar.... 

Leslie and Anthony ate Taco Bell...

Murphy tried to sneak into the luggage rack bag without us noticing.

The van was all packed and ready to go so Greg and I tried to get some sleep before it was time to leave.

We pulled out of the driveway this morning at 3:38am to start our 2011 family vacation to Destin Florida.  We were 23 minutes behind our “goal” time, but still 22 minutes ahead of my “secret” goal time as everyone else liked to call it.  It wasn’t secret, it was the LATEST I felt we should leave and I didn’t tell them because if everyone thought 3:15 was the latest we could leave we should have left at 3:15 instead of 3:38.  Regardless, we were somewhat ahead of schedule.

Everyone agreed on their seating arrangements very easily and to my surprise no coin toss was needed.

As always the conversation in the van as we headed out was the typical Jergens' style of conversations.  Greg SAID there was a gnat flying around the van cabin and it was trying to fly into his eye.  No one else could see the gnat, but we had to trust, since he was so worked up about it, that there WAS in fact a gnat attacking his personal eye space.  He continued to say it’s every gnat’s dream and goal in life to fly into the eye of a human.  Gnat families sit around discussing how their great, great, great grandfather Jeb flew into the eye of a human and he was the family hero.

Anthony created a new game to entertain himself.  We brought our little Chick-fil-a cow, which joined us on our last vacation with Ben Franklin, and he sat at the front of the van.


Anthony figured out if he moved his head back and forth he could visually weave the little cow between the white lines on the road.  I then of course had to sing the song “ I Whip My Head Back and Forth”.  Les gave him a hard time because she said he looked like he was insane or something.  He told her to try it because it was addicting… she didn’t.

Nick and Jonah were sleeping so they missed out on all of the fun.  We started to hear what sounded like rain hitting the top of the van, but it wasn’t raining.  Apparently a strap came loose on our luggage bag and it was flipping around and hitting the van.  Greg at first said it wasn’t all that bad but within 5 minutes said “This is awful and we need to stop and do something about it.”

We stopped at the nearest gas station and the kids noticed this sign….

All 4 kids HAD to have a Fruit Shoots.  They ran in and bought different flavors to try them.  As they were walking out Les asked Anthony if she could taste his, then Nick asked if he could taste it too.  Anthony said he didn’t want to get Mono or Syphilis so he didn’t want to pass his around.  Everyone had a pretty good laugh and it was a line used multiple times throughout the day.

Our first official stop was for breakfast and gas around 9:30ish.  Our plan was to go to the Waffle House, but the parking lot was full and people were waiting to be seated.  Seriously?  At the Waffle House?  We decided it wasn’t worth the wait and drove over to Shoneys.

Nick was NOT happy about stopping.  He asked if he could stay in the van and sleep.  We said yes, but it is going to warm up pretty quick in the van.. it’s your call.  Obviously he decided to join us, but he was not a fun person to hang with.  He was warned about possibly having to hold Sir Quacks McGrumpy when we got back to the van.

Side note: Sir Quacks is a duck we found at the thrift store, a person cannot help but smile when they look at him (AND he plays a song).  Rule is if you are grumpy… you have to hold Sir Quacks through at least one song… maybe longer if you haven’t smiled yet.

Back to Shoneys…..Greg, myself, Les and Anthony all ordered the breakfast bar.  According to Les and Anthony the tiny muffins were dry, but for the most part we enjoyed our breakfast.  Nick and Jonah wanted to be different so they ordered off the menu.  We laughed really hard when their food was delivered because it was sooooooo much food.  Jonah had 5 pancakes larger than his head with a side order of bacon.  Nick had a double decker burger and each patty looked like it was a ½ pound patty along with a large order of fries.  We seriously didn’t think they could begin to eat it all, but again to my surprise… they cleared their plates.

Greg had driven up to this point so it was my turn in the driver’s seat.  It never fails, when it is my turn to drive the driving condition worsens immensely.  We hit big cities, construction, rain… it was awesome.

I drove until it was time for lunch…around 2:30.  The vote was for Chick-Fil-A.  We looked for one on the GPS and couldn’t find one.  We drove through several exits looking for one on the food signs and couldn’t find one so we gave up and decided on Moe’s at exit 179.  As we were approaching the exit, low and behold we saw a sign for Chick-Fil-A.

Cheers imploded from the back of the van… (except for Greg and Anthony who were really looking forward to Moe’s).  After exiting the highway we STILL couldn’t find Chick-Fil-A… we drove and drove and finally found it waaaaaay down on the right with a tiny little sign and it was up a steep incline.  Greg said they didn’t deserve our business since they hid from us.

Chick-Fil-A was PACKED, we couldn’t figure out how so many people found the place.  We all had a yummy lunch and then we were back on the road.

Jonah seemed sad during lunch and Nick said he wasn’t in a good mood, so once we got back in the van…. Yep, you guessed it.  Jonah was the first person to spend time with Sir Quacks.  He smiled and we were all back on track.

Nick and Jonah fell asleep again and I couldn’t tell if Jonah put his Invisalign trays back in or not so I asked Leslie if she would lift his lip up and check for me.  She and everyone else in the van refused.


When we reached Alabama we saw the welcome sign which welcomed us as well as informed us they have a fan club.  Never knew Alabama had their own fan club.  Our GPS “Emily” lead us to RT 331.  Greg was concerned because it was a very small road and very few people were traveling on it.  We checked Emily several times to confirm she really was taking us to the correct location.  The road was long and boring.

We stopped at a rest stop and checked the map to see Emily WAS correct and we were still headed in the right direction just not on major roads.  I mentioned the sky was really blue and the grass was really green, I thought it was my sunglasses enhancing the color but after removing them I found out it wasn’t.  It was so pretty.  Greg made poem for the moment.

The grass is really green,
The sky is really blue,
We are on this tiny road,
Together me and you.

It was beautiful.

We passed a restaurant named “It don’t matter family restaurant”.  I wanted to go back to take a picture but Greg wouldn’t let me.  He just kept saying it don’t matter.  This was the response to everything I said the rest of the day.  Then they all called me Rachael Skeeter from Harry Potter because I was jotting down bullet points to help me remember our day for our blog. 

Adrenaline was rising in the van as we got closer and closer to our condo.  We arrived in the town of Florala which is the border city of Alabama and Florida.  It was hard to say and we laughed about it sounding too much like Florida.  Someday I will look up why the city is named Florala.

Self entertainment inside the van...

We finally crossed the border into Florida, everyone was excited.  We had arrived.  We also realized we gained an hour.  I have never had a time change while in Florida.  Didn’t think about our westward location.

We were within 45 minutes of our destination when we followed a road which was a dead end into construction.  The road was not completed and there were no detour signs.  Our GPS was clueless.  (I was driving again OF COURSE)  We turned around and tried different streets while Emily continued to yell “Recalculating”.  Greg lead us back around and we found the new access bridge we needed to cross. 

We experienced the bridge a little longer than I would have liked.  For some reason I was claustrophobic on a bridge in a traffic jam, my stress level was through the roof and I just wanted to get across it.  It was a very beautiful bridge and I would have loved it had I been able to cross it at a normal pace.

There were tiny little flags everywhere... we couldn't figure out what they were for so we decided since Florida is struggling with the Burmese Python over taking the wetlands the flags must be snake sightings.  There were A LOT of snake sightings... :)

There was an entire football field full of flags.  I am sure they meant something important since they were everywhere, but we thought snake sightings were a lot more fun.

After waiting in a lot of traffic and taking a few back lot tours thanks to our GPS we finally arrived at our condo.  Our security code worked and we were home for the week.
We unloaded the van, walked over to check out the beach (which was amazing)



... then went for groceries.  We figured our money would go further if we went to Wal-mart instead of Publix but little did we know EVERYONE in Destin would be shopping at this time as well. 

Greg came up with the brilliant idea of splitting up the grocery list amongst all of us to divide and conquer.  I was so thankful.  There were so many people in this Wal-mart you would have thought there was some kind of local disaster.  Shelves were wiped clean, Greg found the very last French’s Mustard from a lady who was going to put it back and he was so proud.  I waited in line for 25 minutes in the deli and Greg and the kids waited 30 minutes in the Wal-Mart McDonalds for their dinner.  Anthony ran around and picked up everything on their list while the others waited for the food.

We were so very tired and so very happy to be back to the condo with food in the cupboards.  Although it was very busy, I am glad we did it because I didn’t want to wake up and do it in the morning.  I want to roll out of bed and onto the beach. 

Our condo...

Entry way

Leslie's room


Family room

Dining room/Kitchen area

Boy's room...

Stairs leading to our room...

Our room....

Our bathroom...

Leslie's bathroom...

Boy's bathroom.....

Beach day tomorrow.... I can't wait.