Solar Eclipse Road Trip – Day 2

The night was interesting. The window in our room was above the ice and vending area. People were out there late partying and a couple got in a loud argument. Unsurprisingly, my kids slept through most of it. We got up early and hit the road to drive to Sweetwater, TN. We were happy to leave those accommodations behinds. We stopped for donuts and juice for breakfast. We chose to eat in the car so we could get there faster. We had heard that finding a parking spot was going to be difficult. We had a bit of a drive so we didn’t want to waste anytime.

We made good time and got there early. We drove around a little bit and decided to park in a field next to a hardware store that was away from the big festival that was going on in downtown. We were there to see the eclipse and spend the day together. We were not there to spend the day surrounded by tons of people at a big festival. They parked us at the very edge because they were thinking that there were going to be a lot more people coming. A few other people did park there but not many. It turned out to be an amazingly intimate moment with a handful of like-minded strangers.

We explored our little area to help pass the time. There was an A&W within easy walking distance. The little girls had never been to A&W and Ivy doesn’t remember going when she was little. Octavia enjoyed sharing her first root beer float with Ivy. We checked out the hardware store we were next to. They had some really cute suckers. The big girls each got one.

We went back to the field by our car. The kids played around outside in the grass for a while. We went for another walk. They had horseback rides in the hardware store parking lot. Isabella rode the horse. We decided to have lunch at Sonic before heading back to our car. We shared a large order of chicken tenders and cheese sticks. It was miserably hot so we each got large slush to go, except Octavia who got an ice water to fill up her sippy cup.

We met the nicest people who happened to be parked next to us. They were from Connecticut. We waited for the eclipse with them. We were not able to find enough glasses and they graciously gifted us with a couple extra pairs that they had. They also shared some experiments with my girls. This is one of the reasons I travel with my children. I want to show them that there are some really good people out there in the world.

I have no photographs of the eclipse but I do have a memory that I will cherish forever. Sitting there with my girls as the day became night was a treasure. Isabella’s awe of the moment as what we had been telling her all finally made sense. It was well worth the drive. Road trips are some of my favorite times. This one was so different because Michael couldn’t make it. We made some amazing memories and had some hilarious conversations that you can only have while there are miles of road ahead of you. There is pure magic in road tripping with kids. You suddenly have time for all those conversations that you simply don’t have time to properly engage in at home when everything needs to get done. I’m not talking about the big important talks but that sometimes happens too. I’m talking about hearing about favorite new games, the last book they read, what their school friends are like, and their favorite thing about their new teachers. In the end, all these little things are all that really matter. These little things are shaping our children into the people they will be.

The trip back home was none eventful. There was loads of traffic which we all expected considering how many people came to watch the eclipse. It started to clear out eventually as we got farther away from Sweetwater. I’m going to leave you with this final photograph taken somewhere on the road out of my dirty windshield. It’s beautiful but a little messy which is just like taking a road trip alone with three kids.

 

Solar Eclipse Road Trip – Day 1

We were lucky enough to be less than 8 hours from viewing a total solar eclipse. I managed to get a couple days off work and the big girls were able to take a day off school. Michael was unable to get a day off so we ended up making it a girls trip. I looked into our options and we decided to view the eclipse from Sweetwater, TN. The only issue was that I only got the day off on a last minute trade and finding a hotel in the vicinity was not going to happen. It was too far to drive the day of the eclipse so I had to find a place closer than where we are. I finally found a place outside of Chattanooga, TN and booked it online.

We packed our overnight bag the night before. We got up early to have a quick, healthy breakfast at home before hitting the road. The goal was to make it as far as possible before having to stop. The little girls did amazing and we didn’t have to stop until lunch time. We found a McDonald’s with a play center. The girls had a chance to get out of the car to play and eat for 45 minutes. After lunch, we stopped at a Walmart and picked up some snacks to get us through the rest of the trip to Chattanooga. I filled up the gas tank before getting back on the road.

One of our snacks for the road!

We made decent time and got to our hotel just before dinner time. We checked in, picked up our key, and found our room before heading to dinner. Remember me saying that hotels were in high demand and I took what I could find. This was not a nice place to stay. It was questionable. It was a non-smoking room but there were burns on the blankets and furniture. There was black hair in the bottom of the bathtub. It did seem safe enough and there were no bugs. Every trip can’t be fancy. I’m not complaining. I’m just stating the truth. Sometimes it’s enough to not have to sleep in the car.

 

 

We drove into downtown Chattanooga and ate at City Café Diner. This is our favorite diner and we were so excited to be able to eat here! This is the cutest little place with amazing food and great service! I would eat there again and again. We stop there every time we drive through Chattanooga or near enough that we can easily detour.

Ivy and I got gyros and fries. The little girls got mac and cheese. We have never had a bad meal here. The dessert really is the star of the show at this place. They have huge cases of cakes, cheesecakes, and other desserts at the front. They all looked amazing! It was hard to decide. We each picked something different.

So many choices! Their dessert menu is really something!

I had the cheesecake in the bottom right photo. It was truly delicious. Their desserts are huge and incredibly well priced. Isabella couldn’t finish her chocolate cake and decided to take it with her. We left the restaurant and went back to our hotel to sleep for the night.

 

Family Fun at Flagship Park in Erlanger, KY

We really love to spend family days outdoors whenever the weather permits. We spend the summer checking out every park we can. This wasn’t too far of a drive from our house and felt like the perfect way to spend the afternoon with the girls. Octavia loves the swings. Isabella loves to run and play on the playground. Ivy just loves being outside. She has always been my little nature girl. She used to come home with her pockets full of all the things she had found outside such as rocks and sticks. She once attempted to bring home a handful of ants in her pocket.

There is a big playset that is made for kids 5 to 12. This playground has a smaller playset for little kids too. There are swings and a rock climbing wall. There are bathrooms and a covered picnic area near the playground. There is a loop walking path that goes past a pond.

We took the stroll around the path slowly. We stopped along the way to admire all the natural pretties. There were tons of blackberries. The girls enjoyed looking at them. The girls were so excited when we got to the pond because there were turtles in it. The biggest downfall of this park is the huge electric lines running through it. They really detract from the view.

We finished our walk and played at the playground for a little while before the girls were ready to leave. It was a warm day. We decided to go get milkshakes. Octavia was really worn out and fell asleep in the car. She is so cute.

Old Fashioned Ice Cream at Putz’s Creamy Whip – Cincinnati, OH

Putz’s Creamy Whip in Cincinnati, Ohio is full of old-fashioned charm. It has been family owned and operated since 1938. They are a favorite of many Cincinnati area families. This was our first visit and I can completely understand why so many people recommended it to us. We stopped here after a long day of swimming. Is there anything better than swimming and ice cream on a hot day?

We got the blue dipped vanilla soft serve ice cream cones, a watermelon slush, and Michael got a root beer float. They were all very good. There are picnic tables and shade trees next to the parking lot. We definitely sat at one of the picnic tables to enjoy our treats because there was no way I was allowing kids to eat ice cream in my car.

As you can see, Octavia really enjoys ice cream. I only got one watermelon slush. The girls loved it so much that I had to get another one before we left because the first one was gone. I’m a huge fan of slush. We highly recommend a stop at Putz’s Creamy Whip if you are in the Cincinnati area. It is right off the highway and easy to get to. The parking lot is decent sized and we had no trouble finding a spot. The prices are reasonable. It is cash only so come prepared. We will be making a return trip when we are in the area.

Date with my Best Friend at The Pub – Crestview Hills, KY

I had the pleasure of going on a date with my best friend, Mandy. We have been friends since junior high. We are both moms with 3 girls each now. We get together with our kids in tow on a regular basis. It is a rarity that we are able to go out without our kids. My work schedule changes weekly and so does her husband’s schedule. We managed to finally find a day that neither of us had plans and we both had sitters! We started off our evening by having a glass of wine at Vom Fass in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. We ended up finding a wine that we both loved that was cheap so we both took a bottle home.

Then we wandered in and out of a couple shops. We looked at some pretties. We tried on some makeup. We walked slowly and chatted. It was so nice to have time to just catch up. We had time to discuss life, plans, dreams, feelings, and ideas.

We went to dinner at The Pub. We decided to be complete girls and had flatbread. We drank Sangria and chatted some more. Going out with your longtime bestie is completely different than hanging out with anyone else. It’s one of the few people you can talk to about everything. She is one of my favorite people in the world. There were many laughs that night. We ended our evening with dessert. We had this amazing Jamaican Cheesecake with caramel and bananas. It was a wonderful day and I can’t wait until we have the chance to do it again!