Saturday, May 21, 2011

Road Trip Day 11 - Home Safe and Somewhat Sound - Lessons Learned

It was four in the morning when the clock started playing the wake up melody. Today is the final day of our trip. I am feeling refreshed from the great night's sleep. I shower, dress and go across the hall to check on my mom. She is up, dressed, packed and ready to go. We need a few more minutes in our room to finish packing. The carrots were in the wrong section of the fridge and froze overnight. They would not longer taste good raw so they were tossed. 

We drove from Mississippi to Alabama in no time. Then the short drive thru Alabama to Florida. We stop at around 7am a Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I have eggs, chicken and grits. I bring my own skim milk from the cooler in the car and have a few cups of coffee. Back in the car, we put the iPod on and listen to the Beatles Collection for the next few hours and I quickly realize that Mom is joining Larry in singing along. Mom knows more of the Beatles catalog then I realized. 

Larry and I alternate as the driver every hour (or every other rest stop). We stop once for drive-thru coffee and around 2pm stop for lunch in Gainesville at Panera Bread. There is a University of Florida gator logo at this Panera and my mom sees as as we walk in so she started doing "the Gator chomp." 2 weeks ago my daughter graduated from UF and my mom learned about the Gator chomp. She has been 'chomping' every time she sees a gator ever since. She is worse than a freshman! I order a sandwich and this time  I eat the bread. This shows me how tired really am. I do not open the potato chips. Instead of diet soda I just have a bottle of water. 

From Gainesville it is less than 2 hours to home. I stop at the rest area to stretch my legs one last time. 30 minutes later we are walking in our front door. Road trip 2011 is finished!

A week later I am ready to share the lessons learned:
  1. When someone is talking and what they are saying is annoying me, saying the Serenity Prayer silently will help me get through the conversation with loving acceptance and without anger and hot words.
  2. Driving while sleep deprived is not a good choice. If my driving had caused an accident I would have been just as guilty as the driver in any caused by someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
  3. Barring bad weather, there is no excuse not to get in some stretches and walking at rest stops. Not doing it was just a combination of laziness and a false sense of control.
  4. Just as I scheduled visits to historic sites on our route, I need to schedule physical activity, adequate sleep and mediation time. 
  5. Interstate 10, which spans Texas, is the most painfully boring of long drives. Take a more scenic route. 
  6. My Mom is a wonderful person to travel with. As long as we gave each other space first thing in the morning and did not try to have conversations before she had her coffee we had a lot of fun. She gets along very well with my husband, too. 
  7. The further I get from my own routine the easier it is to run away from more of it. After the first few days I stopped blogging on the road. After day six I did not exercise. After day eight I stopped reaching out with phone calls and started snapping at people when I got tired. The last three days I did not write down my food. The last three days I drank coffee and diet Pepsi and drank only 2 cups of water. The last two days I started eating bread, which adds to my inflammation. 
  8. Gravity, fluids and long periods in the car use my body as a sponge. Those final three days my legs swelled so much that my calves could not fit into my pants. By the day we got home the tissues in my thighs and butt were filled with fluids and I was puffy all over.  
  9. Swollen body makes for a swollen brain. The water retention caused my mind to feel sluggish and that in turn opened me up to being cranky at the smallest thing. When I return from a trip I need to spend three days without making important decisions so that I give my brain a chance to catch up from where ever I left it on the road.
  10. It will take as much as a week for the edema that settled in below the waist to leave my system so I need to do what I can to keep my body moving during that week.
  11. LaQuinta is clean, comfortable and less expensive than comparable chains. Make use of the beds and actually get a full nights sleep!
  12. McDonald's makes decent coffee. Use the drive-thru so you do not have to smell the food inside. They have decaf but no skim milk. My mentor suggested I bring powdered milk. I hate powdered milk in hot beverages. It is fine for other things but I do not like it in coffee. I will continue to bring cooler and containers of skim milk on trips. 
Mom and I hope to visit Maine on our next trip. She thinks we are going in two years but  two years seems like too long to wait. maybe I can surprise her with a trip sooner than that. 

Shhhh, don't tell her. 


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