The time had come to hit the road and head out on our Disney Camping Adventure!
We were all packed up and ready to roll by Saturday morning and we made sure the kids had gotten a good night of sleep and had their backpacks ready for the road trip. I will say, we endured a LOT of horrible road trips with babies back in the day, so our kids are accustomed to long trips in the car and handle them like CHAMPS! I have truck driver blood running through my veins from my awesome Dad so it pains me to stop a million times or take forever to get somewhere. We roughly planned to get at least 10-11 hours of the 18-hour trip done on the first day. Our family does better with the longer day first and a shorter second day on 2-day road trips.
We had a good breakfast as Jackson requires WARM food or he acts like a little heathen.
I spent the time to make eggs, biscuits, and gravy and packed up the cooler and loaded up our last minute goodies. We left our dogs crated and inside because it was below freezing the morning we left and we hit the road! Because we had slept in, cooked breakfast and left the house cleaned up, we were not officially on the road and on the way until around 11 AM. At this point our kids still had no idea where we were heading…we simply told them we were camping for the long weekend but did prep them for a very long road day so they knew we would be driving all day.
They got a hint that we were going to a town with 7 letters that was named after a former President, it took them awhile to figure out Hoover, Alabama!
The ride down was uneventful…we explained to them that this was a BUDGET trip so we would not be grabbing fast food or junk from the gas stations but stopping and making sandwiches on the road and had plenty of snacks in the car. At one point we stopped for lunch and I was making lunch on the front of the camper when Max declared, I think people are looking at us! My response, who cares? I bet they are jealous they don’t have a bagel sandwich for lunch!
We love traveling with our kids and they have been fortunate to take some pretty awesome non-budget trips, but we want them to experience all levels of travel.
Whether you go all out, fly and stay at the 5-star hotel or you drive, camp and make sandwiches roadside I truly believe kids soak up all those experiences like a sponge and they gain valuable life experiences from any of the options! Plus, its just healthier and all the boys in my family get a rumbly tummy from greasy fast food. (Point will be proven on the way home later)
The Conder Crazies made it to Marion, Arkansas around dinner and found a tiny little hole in the wall diner to grab dinner. It was CHEAP, empty (there was a lot of ice on the side roads and grass so I think people were staying home) and had super yummy food! We spent the same amount we would have spent on fast food and had a warm, quick dinner!
Here is the quirky little place we stopped.
When we set back out on the road after dinner we hit a LOT of road construction and there were patches of black ice, remember we were towing the camper as well so we took it slow. This meant it took us longer than anticipated and we had already booked a site at an RV park in Hoover, Alabama. This is where I would have changed our course, had we not already booked a site I would have stopped earlier in the evening. But we pressed on, the kids ended up falling asleep and we arrived at a dark and pretty much empty RV park around midnight.
This means we had to set up one-night camp…in the dark…and it was 20 degrees. BRRR.
Thank goodness I had brought REAL jackets, hats, and gloves. Rob and I bundled up and I am fairly certain we have never set up the pop up faster. It was probably only 20 minutes and we hustled the kids inside, cranked up the small and safe heater we had brought and bundled them up in beanies and sleeping bags, covered in extra blankets. Even so, it was COLD. We learned our temperature limits and time limits for traveling in the pop up that night! After about 7 hours of sleep, the sunshine was pouring in the canvas and I could see my breath, time to hit the road. We packed up just as quickly as we had arrived and headed to get gas, grab some warm breakfast sandwiches, hot cocoa and coffee and we were on our way!
Next up, a surprise stop along the way and arriving in the Sunshine State!