Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Back from the Beach
Sorry I haven't updated in a while - we were vacationing at the beach. We returned on Monday from Myrtle Beach, SC. And when I saw "we," I actually mean my two sisters, my two nieces, my mom, my cousin, Hayley and me. It was a Girls Only trip and I'm still trying to define it. It wasn't a bad vacation, but it wasn't great either. I had a good time with everything that we did, but I just wasn't up or feeling very relaxed, etc, for a variety of reasons.

One such reason was traffic. The trip got off to a very bad start. I was driving my parents' minivan, which housed my mom, my younger sister, her two daughters and Hayley. Eight or nine hours is a good drive to Myrtle Beach, so I was anticipating it taking longer than that with more frequent stops, especially with a baby in the car. But that wasn't the problem - traffic and accidents on I-95 were the culprits.

Just before Fredericksburg, VA, there was a an accident involving an overturned tractor trailer that had occurred at 2am that night. All three lanes were still closed, with only the left shoulder getting by, and there was a 13 mile back up. This was at around 9am, seven hours after the accident happened. We got off 95 for awhile to get around it, but so did everyone else, so we were trapped in a back-up for about an hour.

After lunch, we were cruising on 95 just before the VA/NC border when we hit another massive traffic jam. And I mean MASSIVE! We sat - did not move - for over a half hour. People were getting out of their cars. Then we inched along for 2 hours, travelling a total of 8 miles. Finally, everyone was diverted off 95 in Emporia - the highway was completely closed. During the two hours we sat on the highway - and leading up to it - we did not see a single state police officer, local police officer, Dept of Transportation worker or any other human being that could provide assistance. We also could not find a single traffic report on any FM or AM station - we scanned for two hours and nothing! Finally, after we got off of 95 onto Rt. 301, there were two local sheriffs directing traffic. We pulled into a gas station for gas (we were close to empty, as many others were, too), a potty break and just to get out of the car. We were so frazzled and exhausted and still didn't know what had happened. In the midst of all of this, the keys got locked in the van - with Hayley still inside! My mom was freaking out, but I was relatively calm. My sister went over to the officers directing traffic and one of them came over and jimmed opened the car. He was the one who finally told us that there was a serious accident with several fatalities that happened at 10am that morning. We didn't approach the accident site until 1pm and then sat until well after 3pm when we finally made it to the gas station. I cannot believe how poorly this situation was handled by the Virginia State Police. Then, we finally made it into NC and got stuck in another traffic jam due to construction. We had all had it at this point - especially with a car full of kids - so we stopped for the night in Rocky Mount, NC and made it the rest of the way to Myrtle Beach on Friday morning.

This incident launched the first of many during the whole vacation that involved the phrase, "I'm going to write a letter about this when we get home!" Stay tuned for more about the "bad" parts of our vacation, along with copies of the letters I will be writing.

But otherwise, we had a good time once we actually got there. Hayley loved the beach and the ocean. She wasn't afraid of the water or the waves and she played in the sand, including shoving handfuls of it into her mouth without so much as making a face. It was great to spend time with my family and to see the little ones having so much fun. And my sister's condo is great - she has it decorated really nice and it was definitely big enough for all of us and it's in a great location.

But it is not relaxing to go on vacation with a 10-month old. She still woke up at 6:30am everyday and I stayed up much later than I usually do at home. And I still had to make bottles and all that kind of stuff. I brought three paperbacks with me and only read about 10 pages of the first one and that was it. The ride home was uneventful - thank goodness! Hayley and I both missed her daddy very much. I'd like to go back with just the three of us for a more relaxing trip some day soon. This whole summer has just gone by way too fast for me. More about the trip, including pictures, to come soon!