Day One: Raleigh, NC to Memphis, TN
I woke up five minutes before the alarm was set to go off.
5:40 AM. Both exhausted because of the time and exhilarated by our vacation kick off, I slugged into the bathroom. Clothes. Hair. Face. I was feeling a bit more awake and ready to head out.
By 6 AM, the kids were up and everyone was gathering their last minute items. Electronics were packed up, the cooler was filled, and everyone grabbed their pillow.
It was 6:30 AM and we were in the car, ready to go. After a quick stop at Harris Teeter to fill our cooler with ice, we were truly ready to begin our long drive. The GPS informed us that we would arrive in Memphis at 4:29 PM, but that included a 1 hour “fall back” on the clock.
Once on the highway we officially kicked off our morning with our road trip theme song:
After much debate, this soon-to-be summer hit by Justin Timberlake seemed the perfect way to “dance, dance, dance” our way into the long drives looming in front of us each day.
By 9:15 we were ready for breakfast and pulled into a rest stop. Part of our plan includes avoiding restaurants when we are able in order to splurge on them later in the trip without breaking the bank.
Fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, and muffins that I baked yesterday in preparation for our trip. No one felt the need to stretch or sit for very long, so we were quickly back on the road.
The day of driving was long, but our candy celebrations helped to pass the time and the kids looked forward to each checkpoint. Four were planned for our first day.
Both lunch and dinner took place at rest stops today. Chicken salad and lunchables with fruit hit the spot at lunch time. Dinner consisted of a “make-your-own sub sandwich” buffet and a little football throwing.
Chick-fil-a was the only food stop and where I enjoyed iced tea, Eric enjoyed lemonade and the kids had an ice dream.
By the time we reached the hotel in Memphis, we were all ready for bed and crashed shortly after arriving.
Day Two: Memphis, TN to Weatherford, OK.
Our decision to hang out in Memphis for the morning paid off! Our first stop was Graceland. We only took a peek over the wall from the road. This was not going to be our main attraction today, so we passed on an official tour.
NOTE: If you get there between 7:30-8:30 AM, you can walk up and see the memorial garden for free, but we didn’t arrive until 9:30 AM, so we just peeked and Mommy got to check it off her bucket list.
Next up was a trip to the National Civil Rights Museum.
This museum is located at the Historic Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot.
The exhibits follow a historical timeline of the fight for Freedom during the Civil Rights movement. There is a lot of reading along the way which includes facts, stories, and quotes. Thankfully, the exhibits had just enough interactive displays to keep the kids involved and interested.
The kids could protest on a bus with Rosa Parks. A bus driver’s voice could be heard on the speaker telling you to move back. After some stern words, the voice informed you that you would be arrested.
While learning about sit-ins, the kids sat at the soda counter and were able to view footage from historical sit-ins. The videos also showed the role playing and training that groups of black people participated in to train themselves to stay calm under nasty words and physical violence.
Of course, many were put in jail. The exhibit included letters written from jail cells, full of hope and continued support for the movement.
The kid enjoyed this display which included interation through technology. They learned what “take” several key leaders in the civil rights movement had on issues such as women’s rights and the use of non-violence.
The rooms are behind a glass wall and information about his last moments is written on panels below the viewing area as you walk along.
The wall is also partially removed from the back of the area so that you can view the balcony where he was standing from the inside.
This museum was well worth the visit. It is one of those experiences that we will all continue to remember.
I was particularly impacted by the fact that Dr. King was 39 when he was shot. That hits in a fresh way as I am 39 this year. What a legacy he left in only 39 years of life. What a tragedy of life ended so early.
Next up was Daddy’s bucket list item: a view of the Mississippi River. Big river. Huge.
We debated a visited to Mud Island, but due to the heat and time constraints, we just enjoyed our view from the shore.
Next up was lunch! Huey’s was a great choice for our first meal out on this trip. Good food for the price and a fantastic atmosphere in downtown Memphis. the kids in particular enjoyed the ceiling full of toothpicks. We were invited to add to display by using our straw as a blowdart.
Once year all of the Huey’s locations host a “Guess the number of toothpicks” fundraiser for the Memphis Zoo. The kids had a blast adding a few of their own “darts” to the ceiling.
A lunch full of laughter and fun. You can’t ask for much more.
We did stop at an interesting rest stop for dinner. We were thankful to find some shade under the concrete teepees. It was a welcome respite from the hot sun for sure!
When it wasn’t raining, the Oklahoma sky was a gorgeous site, both day and night.
We arrived in Oklahoma just in time to crash in bed. The kids were disappointed because they have been DYING to relax and swim at the hotel pool.
I forget what a treat the hotel is for them. I’d rather spend more time on the road visiting sites and just use the hotel to crash for the night. Instead, they see the hotel as a big part of the vacation, so I was reminded to adjust my mindset a bit.
Our aim is for some swimming time at the hotel tomorrow!
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