As we were driving south, Paul was more and more anxious for us to arrive, add to that a tired mummy, a hot dog, a bored, tired 3 year old and a friend who should be sainted and you get one long day in the car, a few tears and a happy arrival through torrential rain.
The day started well, we had an awesome breakfast buffet in Carlisle - french toast, scrambled eggs, hash browns, hash brown casserole, egg and bacon casserole, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon buns, cereal, fruit, juice, coffee.... definitely our best find of the trip!
Again, we were on the road early. The 81 south was busy - lots of transport trucks, and none of that 'keep right except to pass' like in Nova Scotia. We were hardly on the road when a car passed us honking - of course, I thought the roof carrier had come adrift but as the car passed us we saw it was from Nova Scotia. Not too much later we happened on another car from home. I followed them until we got to the Virginia Welcome Centre - another great one, it even had a toddler sized toilet and sink! Turns out our fellow Nova Scotians, they actually were from Windsor, were on their way to Tennessee to the Bonnaroo Music Festival which sounds pretty cool - maybe another year?!?!
We kept on trucking all morning - decided a late lunch was good since breakfast was huge. All of a sudden the cars were stopped in front of us and we saw a cow running down the median chased by a state trooper - expecting the worst Taryn turned around to distract Isabelle but things kept moving and there were no apparent casualties.
We lunched at Lexington - looked for a picnic area, to no avail. This is where things went south. Isabelle was exhausted, as was I. She was being very demanding in the car and just needed to konk out for a bit. I looked at Taryn and said "I just want to get there tonight". We had planned to overnight in Wytheville but Taryn was game to go for it. I was worried that another night on the road and away from Paul would make another day on the road unbearable for everyone.
During the whole trip, despite the heat, Maggie was great, we even started teaching an old dog a new trick by teaching her to go on command "Hurry up, Maggie".
Following our new plan of let's just get there, we decided to stick to the big roads taking the 77 to Charlotte and then onto the 85 directly to our new home. Taryn took over the driving and drove through some amazing views and the worst rain I have ever seen. We had some false starts - Isabelle declared a bathroom stop just north of Roanoke. The first option was a dive and I played the mother card - I am not taking her in there! We ended up off the track at a Girl Scout headquarters/store (yes, Dawn - there will be a package in the mail for you) and the bathroom passed muster.
Just north of Charlotte, the 77 goes through Lake Norman which had some amazing lakefront properties on the manmade lake. However, our eyes were on the ever darking skies and increasing wind ahead. Knowing the roof carrier with all the shopping was only water resistant, we pulled off the highway at a shopping complex in Huntersville (I think) which was made to look like a small town - can't find any info about it now but may be worth a stop another time. We pulled everything off the roof and into the car and headed back to the highway.
In the end, it was a smart move, despite my quip that it wouldn't rain since we took the stuff off the roof - IT RAINED. Not a gentle rain but torrents, sheets and as quickly as it started, it stopped - on and off all the way to Greenville, usually corresponding to us needing to take an exit! It stopped raining just long enough at the state border for us to call Paul and say we were on our way and to snap a picture of the sign. Oh, and we did see a rainbow near Kings Mountain.
We pulled in the driveway of our new house around 9pm with a collective sigh of relief, I'm not sure who was happiest to see Paul sitting on the front steps. Some dinner, calls to the grandparents, a tour of the house (complete with furniture which had arrived that day) and then off to bed. Paul had bedding and towels pulled out for everyone, including Maggie! The next morning the mover was coming back to unpack boxes.