Be prepared for quite a long post as I've got a lot to tell tonight.
Saturday morning we had planned on getting up and being on the road to Bristol by 9:00 am. Between Hubby working second shift Friday night and not getting home till 2:00 am Saturday morning & me spending 1/2 the night out with the kids at Monster Jam Friday night, we did not even roll over till after 10:00 am. Getting a late start is never a good beginning to a trip but we sucked it up, all got ready, loaded the car, picked up the neighbor boy and took Axle to Mom's. When we dropped him off Lee and Mom were outside in the garage playing and enjoying the day. Axle was more than ready to join them so there was zero tears when we left. That is always a good thing.
We stopped right outside of our town to fuel up our car and grab some Subway for lunch. Note to self, I do not need to get a foot long sandwich, I can not eat it! We also made a quick stop by the camper place to tell them we had decided to not take the camper to Bristol with us and that we would pick it up on Sunday on our way home. After an hour debate the night before, Hubby and I decided that gas would be too expensive to take the camper and we were concerned that it might break down or something since we had never actually took it anywhere before. The camper place was fine with us leaving it there till Sunday so we went ahead and got the keys and continued on our journey.
The trip down to Bristol was pretty uneventful. It's really not a bad drive and I was glad considering I did all the driving. My Hubby thought of this little trip as a vacation so he consumed him some beverages on the trip down. I didn't mind but he was so dang hateful from lack of sleep where he worked the night before that on several occasions, I thought about putting him out beside the road. Okay, not really, he did get on my nerves though.
Right before we got into Bristol and really needed our GPS to locate the track, it quit working. I mean it really just died. We decided to use the GPS on the kids phones and while they were somewhat helpful, they are by no means a replacement for a Garmin. Needless to say, we got lost and drove around quite some time before finding a gas station to stop at and ask directions. While I gained directions on the stop, I also gained some not so great information. When I had looked at the race schedule for Saturday, I must have misread it. The guy at the gas station informed me that the race actually started at 2:00 pm and not 4:30 pm. Well, that was fantastic, considering it was already 3:30 pm. You can figure that this new found information made NO ONE in my car happy when I had to go back and relay it. Of course, it was all my fault because isn't everything Mom's fault?
While I continued to keep my happy smiling face, I suggested that since we missed the race, we go ahead and find a room. Apparently I hadn't thought the whole thing through because upon trying to find a room, I also found that during race time rooms triple in price. Yes, I should have known this, I had a moment! The cheapest room we could find was $279.00 a night (It was at a Hampton to beat all) and it was a 1/2 hour or longer from the track. Okay, not happening!!! By this time my crew with me was glaring at me like I had 3 heads. Little optimistic me decided that I'd call around to some campgrounds and see if we could just rent a camper already set up. Well yes we could...the pop up was going to cost $300.00 a night and the campground fee was $160.00 a night. Yeah, $500.00 for one night's camping was NOT what I had in mind. I knew things were going really bad so I suggested that we drive out by the campgrounds, find one we liked and then go by a tent. While my crew wasn't exactly on board, they did at least agree.
Once we got out to the main strip where the race track was, they were much more open to my idea. It was miles and miles of campers, tents, etc and all the campgrounds were straight across from the track. There was vendors, concerts and tons of stuff to do. I started to sense a little excitement back in my car. We all agreed the next stop would be Walmart. Now how hard can it be to find a Walmart? Well with no working GPS and all routes in and out of Bristol closed except one, it can be very dang hard. After driving around for nearly 2 hours and fighting race traffic (because by this time the race had let out), we FINALLY found one. At least they had some really cool cars out front that helped lift spirits a little.
We grabbed a tent, two sleeping bags, a flashlight and 4 pillows and headed back out. By the time we left Walmart, everyone was in somewhat of a better mood. I think we were just all happy to finally have a plan. We drove back to the campground we found and paid the guy at the gate. The rate was $160.00. We followed a golf cart out to our site and I thought I might have a stroke when we arrived. It was seriously just a big bottom with cars, tents and campers. There was no fire rings, no marked sites, no picnic tables....nothing!!! I paid $160.00 for one tiny little piece of grass. Okay, I sucked it up and we got out. Hubby told the kids they could go ahead and walk around & check everything out. We knew they were so sick of doing nothing. Him and I put the tent up (which was entirely too big but he insisted we buy it) and unloaded the coolers and such. I was never so glad to just sit down for 10 minutes and consume a margarita!!
Since it was still beautiful out we decided to take a walk and check out all the vendors. I took some photos while we were out.
View of the track from our Campground
Another shot from our Campground
The cars coming in for the race!!!
These came in one right after another
Old Truck at Smokey Mtn. Moonshine Booth
Another Concert Shot
There was people everywhere!!!
Old Fashioned Ice Cream Maker
I will admit, this was the most fun we had since we had left. Hubby and I bought some drinks off the street, I snagged a new pair of shades for myself, we had a Polish Hot Dog with the works and some Fries & just enjoyed checking everything out. We walked over and watched some of the concert, saw lots of drunk people trying to dance, saw lots of 1/2 naked Monster Energy Girls taking pictures with random people and got a funnel cake! We ran into the kids and gave them some money. Anika ended up buying herself a sweatsuit and they got some dinner. Aaron got himself a bag of stuff but I'm not sure what all he actually bought.
While Hubby and I was out, he found what he wants to buy the kids for their birthday. I'm not real sure we will ever be able to afford it but we will see. I must admit, they would love it!
We ventured back to camp and found the kids there waiting on us. We spent the rest of the evening watching the drunk college students straight across from us play beer pong and sing to the tops of their lungs. They were actually quite entertaining. We even saw a fight on the street. Some woman was pretty much beating the guy she was with half to death and he was running for everything in him. Security eventually saw them and separated them. People watching was seriously lots of fun in that place.
By nightfall it was getting very cold so Hubby and I went on a Porta Potty search (yes, $160 and no real potty's) only to find that we had to walk 1/2 a mile to find one we could actually use. Apparently you could rent your own potty for $100.00 a night so don't ever be fooled into thinking you can just use any potty you see, YOU CAN'T!!!! By the time we got back to camp, we were frozen. We decided on the walk back that there was no way we could sleep in a tent. For real, we only had two sleeping bags and no other blankets. We all ended up piling up in the car. Aaron slept in the driver's seat and Anika slept in the passenger seat. Hubby and I slept in the backseat. I drive a Malibu, we were cramped in there like sardines. We stayed warm all night and I think the kids actually slept fairly good. Hubby and I slept pretty much none. Between the drunk college students STILL singing at the top of their lungs and Hubby not being able to get comfortable and moving all night, I was up pretty much every 1/2 hour.
We woke Sunday bright and early. When we woke it was already raining. Do you see a trend here? Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong! It was freezing cold and the rain just made it that much colder. We thought there was no way they would have a race. Anika and I got mostly cleaned up in our car. They had shower houses but it was $10.00 per person and we didn't bring any towels or anything with us because we thought we would be in a hotel. We managed though and even bought a bottle of water to brush our teeth in. The ice truck that came around the campground also sold Krispy Kreme Doughnuts so that is what we had for breakfast.
After we all got bundled up we hung out in the tent just talking and laughing. The college guys were already up and playing beer pong again and Anika couldn't resist a picture with one of them. He was sporting all his Irish Wear. We asked him for a pic and he was such a trooper about it.
Around 11:30 I called and checked on the kids. Mom said they were all doing just fine. They had spent all day Saturday outside and even went on a picnic. She said it was snowing there now though! I swear the weather is seriously bipolar. I told her I had no idea what we were doing and that as soon as we figured something out I'd let her know. We decided to go ahead and walk over to the track and see what was going on. It was obvious the rain wasn't quitting anytime soon.
We ventured down the street vendors and I grabbed some gloves for myself and a rain poncho for Anika. I figured if they did have the race, she would need it. We walked on over to the track and hitched a ride on a golf cart to the ticket window. The lady at the window informed us that they were still going to have the race but they were suspecting it would be 7-8 pm before it actually started. We figured we might as well go ahead and pick up our tickets and get the kids their tickets that way we could at least go inside the track and walk around awhile.
Picking up our tickets was quite confusing. We went to the Will Call Window and gave them our name. There was no tickets for us. I explained to the lady that we were supposed to have tickets to the Alpha Suite. She got on the phone and called several people before finally figuring out what I was talking about. She said to just stand still and security would bring us our tickets. I went ahead and got the kids a regular seating ticket. It was $140.00 for both their tickets. I gave the lady the money and she gave me the tickets and the money back. When I asked why, she simply said they were on the house. Apparently you get special treatment when your a suites guest. I almost felt important!
The Security Guard brought our tickets right on down to us. We helped the kids locate the gate they needed to go through, gave them $100.00 and sent them on their way. We then made our way to the Suite we were sitting in. We rode an elevator to the top floor and then were escorted down a Hallway to the door we were to use. When we entered there was probably 10 people in there plus a waiter. It was an amazing aerial view of the track and the seats were unreal nice. It kind of made me wish I was rich! We found our seats and got acquainted with everyone. We actually knew one of the guys that was in there but everyone else was from all over the place. They were all part of my Hubby's company though. Everyone was just super nice so I was relieved. I was actually kind of worried about how I'd feel around them. It wasn't one bit awkward though. There was food on top of food that was absolutely delicious and unlimited drinks. I sipped on a cola while the Hubby drank beer! We hung out for about an hour and the race still hadn't started so Hubby and I headed out to try and locate the kids to make sure they were doing okay.
I bought two blankets but we never could find the kids. Anika did call and said she was cold but she was okay. I told her to go get her two blankets and she said she would. I made her give me the exact numbers on her ticket so I could find her if I needed too. We then headed back out Suite. I stopped in the hallway to take a picture from the window. The view of the outside of the track was fantastic.
The race started, was delayed, started again, delayed again and finally started again! Believe it or not they got all 500 laps in through the rain BUT it was after 9:00 at night when it ended. It didn't feel like that long because we were warm, dry, eating, laughing and talking. It was a lot of fun. For the fans that hung in there throughout the cold on the stand and through all the rain, I commend them. I could not have done it!!! I didn't take any race pictures because I was so entertained in the Suites. I'm sorry!!!
After the race it was raining once again so by the time we got back to our car we looked like drowned rats. Our tent was still up so it is now stuffed in the back of my car. I'm sure the back of my car is soaked because the tent was when we threw it back there. We headed out of Bristol and luckily our camp host showed us how to miss all the traffic so that was a good thing. It only took us about 15 minutes to hit the Interstate where as I'm sure others sat in traffic for hours trying to get through.
I called my Mom to let her know we were on our way and she informed us that there was snow there!! There was enough that they had already called off school. I told her since the kids didn't have school we might just drive on home or we might get a room about 1/2 way and she said that would be fine. Around 11:30 we were all hungry again so we stopped and had a late breakfast at the Waffle House. It was so yummy.
No sooner than we got our bellies full and got back on the road, Hubby went to sleep. He says he was exhausted, I say he was buzzing like a cousin from all the free beer!!! Regardless, I drove about another hour and I just couldn't go any further. I was so exhausted. I pulled into a Days Inn and that is where we spent the night. I don't think we were in the room 30 minutes before we were all sound asleep. The bed was SO comfortable compared to my car. The only complaint I had was Hubby turned the heat up when we got in the room and around 1:30 I woke up roasting. I was seriously so hot I had to go stand in the hallway to cool down!
Anika's alarm went off this morning at 8:15 and we were all up and dressed by 8:45. We were back on the road by 9:00 this morning. Hubby had to be home by 1:00 in order to go to work today so we were hauling butt! The drive home was fine. Hubby slept about the entire ride. Can you say hangover? He complained with his head hurting. I told him he wasn't as good as he once was. Old age is catching him!
We didn't stop anywhere on the ride home. We ran on up to my Mom's and got the kids. They were both VERY happy to see us! I know Mom was too, she looked absolutely exhausted. We all piled in the car, took Aaron home and then came home. I think both of the little one's was happy to be home. They both wanted a bottle and blanket!
I rested myself for a few minutes while Hubby unloaded the car and took a shower. After he showered he stretched out on the bed and took a nap. Anika hit the shower and the little one's lounged around while I fixed dinner. I took a picture of Anika for you. I laughed and told her you all needed to see what Princess Anika looked like after a very rough Bristol Weekend!
I fixed some Fried Potatoes with Polish Sausage, Pinto Beans, Shells n Cheese and Rolls for dinner. I woke Hubby when it was done and we all ate. I packed his bucket while he got ready for work and then I gave him the St. Patrick's Day gift I made for him. It was just a little gift bag I put together.
Inside I put a few St. Patrick's Day themed items. I think he liked it :)
Skittles with a note that said "I'm so lucky to have found you at the end
of the rainbow"
A cute Stuffed Green Turtle :)
My Lucky Day 2-13-1999
Our Wedding Day!!!
I call these a little slice of heaven (candy)
He had to head off to work. I hated to see him go but I always do after a weekend with him. I know he's going to be exhausted all night but I couldn't talk him into to taking a sick day. I just pray that he's careful!
After he left, Anika finished getting herself all dolled up, Ax watched You Tube Videos on his IPad and Annalee and I took a 2 hour nap. I couldn't help it, I was falling over tired. I slept like a rock too!!!
We woke around 4:30 and Anika and I straightened up the house and I did a load of laundry. Honestly, we just made the place to where we could live in it. I didn't set but one goal for myself today and that was to rest up from the weekend. That goal I accomplished.
The kids and I did much of nothing this evening. Axle and Lee played and fought, their usual. I did attempt to do Tot School but I waited too late and Lee was too tired. She pretty much just had melt down after melt down. Here is what we TRIED to do for St. Patrick's Day Activities though!!!
Bell Pepper Clover Stamping. Axle actually enjoyed this and as you can see, he made a mess! Lee tried to eat the pepper with paint all over it and got mad when I wouldn't let her so she had a total meltdown.
The final project was geared towards Annalee. The idea was to put green straws into a bottle. Annalee did participate for awhile and then she cried awhile and then she participated awhile and then she cried awhile. This went on and on until I finally just called it quits. Ax could NOT understand what the point was but he was a good sport and did it anyway. Obviously, he had no problems doing it. Annalee actually was doing pretty well with it and I think it's something we will revisit when she isn't quite so tired!!!
By the time I decided it was quit time, Annalee was having a full blown freak out on me. I decided to just bath her and Ax and put them to bed. Ax didn't want a bath so he opted for pop int he bottle with a straw instead. Since he had been such a good sport, I obliged!!!
He is learning to dress himself so don't pay no mind to the crooked shorts!!!
I thought a bath might help Annalee but I was so wrong!!!
Anika went to my Mom's this evening to spend the night. Mom wanted to take her to her appointments tomorrow and spend the day with her. I was more than happy to let her. I'm looking forward to staying home ALL DAY!!!!!!
I ate some chips and salsa, watched a little fashion on QVC (which I haven't done in forever) and then sat down and typed this post up for you all. It's going on 11:00 now and while I'd love to wait up on the Hubby tonight, I just don't think I can make it. I'd also love to be a good friend and blog read tonight but folks, I'm going to bed instead. I think I need the extra sleep.
Tomorrow is a new day and from what I hear it's supposed to be warm and sunny. If that is the case, I'm hoping we get in some outside time. Other than that, you will find me here doing just whatever my little heart desires. I love trips but I love being home too.
While Bristol wasn't exactly what we planned, it was fun. I definitely walked away knowing some important things for next trip and feeling VERY blessed to have had the opportunity to watch the race from the Suites. While it wasn't on my bucket list, it was bucket list worthy.
I hope I've not bored you all to tears and if you made it this far, THANK YOU for reading!!!
I'll be back tomorrow with a normal everyday post!
Have a great week!!!