Note to self, do not drive from MA-NC in one day

Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
Trip End Jul 05, 2010

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Saturday, June 19, 2010

Keeping a secret about the departure date from the children was difficult, but in the end it worked really well because the kids were very surprised when we woke them up at 3:00 Am this morning. They were so surprised, in fact that they decided that they would stay awake for most of the morning trek. This was not part of the plan, especially since mom stayed up all night (literally) finishing the packing and was hoping to catch some ZZZZZ.  Fat Chance!

The children eventually took a cat nap or two, but they did not sleep long enough so that the trip seemed shorter. Still with perseverance we made to our first surprise stop: Shenandoah Caverns.  The stop was also left as a surprise for the kids because we thought that we would all need to break up the trip.  The caverns (not these specific caverns) were planned for last year's trip, but we cut form the already over-filled itinerary. We had read reviews about the caverns and their "kitchy nature", but were still not sure what to expect.  Would it be easier and more exciting to google images of stalagmites and stalagtites?  Would it be a repetition of last year’s Boyd’s Bear Country excursion (see last year’s log)?  We waited with baited breathe.

As we passed all 672 signs for  various caverns in Virginia (almost as many as the number of DD’s  in Bridgewater) we began to wonder if the cavern business was a franchise.  For the low, low couponed price of $56 we not only got entrance into the caverns with a guided tour, but also received a complimentary ticket to America on Parade ( a warehouse collection of inaugural float memorabilia …hello ebay!), but also a viewing of what we called “creepyville” (a window display of creepy old school animatronic dolls). It was as if A Small World was in York’s Zoo and Amusement park instead of Disney.

We entered the caverns in an “antique” elevator because letting people going down stairs was “too much of a liability” (their words not ours).  Our teenage tour guide McKinley ( the mountain and president) slowly unveiled the majesty that is “Shenandoah Caverns”, providing the audience with the illusion that 1) the caverns were much larger than they were and 2) a $56 entrance fee seemed reasonable.  The secret of their method is to not allow the spectators to see what is the following section, McKinley would deliver her spiel and then run ahead of the group and turn on the lights in the next section of the cavern. Think about how quick you could walk through it if you just left all the lights on. 

  In actuality, the cavern was interesting, we all enjoyed looking at the formations and traveling through the caves.  Not touching anything made of rock, of course, that would be against the law. 

The float collection was actually a nice side diversion.  The kids were allowed to climb on several, while the adults read the history information about each one.  The size and scope of some of these floats were quite impressive. 

Much to everyone’s dismay, we returned to the car for an approximate 3 hour trip to Texas Roadhouse in Christiansburg VA.  No this was not traditional Southern Food (we’ll get to that…:)  Having fond memories of a night in Texas last year , we figured it was a good idea.  While let’s just say last years memories were made of a combination of heat exhaustion and an indulgent Margharita. 

-              Let’s just say that is is currently 10:30 and we are finally nearing our destination.  The computer is threatening to shut down in the car, and so are we..........
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