Wednesday, August 21, 2013

AmeriTrip: Pididdle, Mind Snacks, and Slug Bugs

Spending hours upon hours in a car can be super taxing. Legs cramp. Ears bleed from countless replays of the same 7 songs on the radio. Eyes blur at the sight of countless white lines. Finding ways to stay entertained can be a challenge. Luckily, Cathy and I found multiple things to help make the drives a bit more bearable.

1. Pididdle: A game played at night in which players pick out cars that have a head light out. Once a vehicle with an odd number of headlights is sighted, players yell "PIDIDDLE!" and are awarded points depending on the type of vehicle that was spotted. If a car in front has a tail light out, players can yell "ELDDIDIP!" and are awarded double points depending on the vehicle. This game induces lots of yelling matches.

2. Mind Snacks: The iPad is an amazing device that provides plenty of entertainment for hours upon hours. Mind Snacks is an app that helps people learn languages that are not native to themselves. There are tons of games that can be played to help learn vocabulary and basic grammar structure. Spelling games and word matching provides a great way to learn another language.

3. Slug Bug: Volkswagen has been making Beetles for a long, long time. These domed cars rule the road and allow participants the opportunity to slug each other when they see one of these vehicles. Each slug is accompanied by the color of the vehicle. If a false slug is called, a penalty of two return slugs is given back. Bruises and yelps are to be expected.

All three of these games were used to help pass our time on the road for the last bit of our road trip. The last week of our trip took us to Brick, New Jersey, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia.

Brick, New Jersey

After we left Cory's house, we headed south to Brick, which is near the shoreline and was an area that was hit pretty hard by Super Storm Sandy back in October. The area is still rebounding from this devastating storm and lots of rebuilding is still going on. We stayed with Cathy's Aunt Lori, but arrived to a locked house and barking dogs. We ended up being locked out for an hour and a half as the spare key that he aunt guided us to was actually for her shed, not the house. After batting away countless bugs and squashing other wildlife, her aunt came home from work. We ended up going down along the coast to a restaurant that was having a re-opening celebration. It was there that I meant Aunt Lulu and played half of a round of mini-golf.

The next day (Sunday), we headed to Lulu's house for a riveting game of cornhole (or bags for those non-Midwesterners) and an amazing lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, chips and pretzels, among other dishes. It was a lot of fun and a relaxing way to spend the day. Monday morning we attempted to go to the beach, but due to traffic constraints, we were unable to make it. So Cathy and I hit the road and made our way to Charlotte, North Carolina!

Charlotte, North Carolina

The eleven hour trip to North Carolina was a bit tedious at times, but overall flew by pretty quickly. We hit some stupid construction traffic about 20 minutes from our friend Cori's house. Mind you, this was after having been in the car for like 10 hours! We were going crazy! But we successfully made it to Cori's house, got settled in, watched Tangled, and then passed out.

On Tuesday, we started off our day by meeting our friend JaRon, another AmeriCorps alum who did the program last year, at Bojangles. Ever since Cathy and I met Cori, she has told us that we had to try Bojangles. This desire was fulfilled and it didn't disappoint! We then headed downtown and stopped by a ginormous children's library called the Imaginon and it was a super awesome place! The three story building offered a little bit for everyone and it was fun to just walk around and take it all in. Needless to say, Cathy was going crazy imagining what it would be like to serve/work here! We then walked around downtown, which was a really nice, quaint area.

Following our tour, we headed out to a butterfly garden and bird sanctuary in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It was neat to see some natural nature in the middle of the city and experience a bit of Charlotte history. After our tour was over, we headed back to Cori's house to relax and watch a few movies. That night, JaRon came over and we had a cookout in her backyard. We finally met the famous Haleigh, Cori's 2 year old niece. She was adorable, but refused to look or acknowledge my presence for the entire night. Guess I can't please everyone!

It was great to see Cori and JaRon again and catch up to see what they are up to. Cori is heading out to Seattle this week to start another AmeriCorps program with her boyfriend Max, while JaRon is going to be attending grad school for special education. I'm looking forward to seeing how the next year treats them! Best of luck guys with everything!

Atlanta, Georgia

The last stop of our trip brought us to Atlanta, Georgia and our friend Phestada's house. We got in, unpacked the car for the last time, and just sat around and played games on my iPad and caught up. It was great to see her after 3 weeks away. Familiar faces are always a great thing! The next day (Thursday), we headed downtown to meet up with her friend Jennifer, who just recently moved into Atlanta. We went downtown to Centennial Park and watched a fun little fountain show, then headed to the CNN Center and looked around a bit. It was a pretty chill, relaxed day that ended with my first ever trip to IKEA! I want everything in that store! I now understand why it's so addicting for people! The rest of the day was spent prepping ourselves for the long drive back to Boynton the next day with some movies and plenty of laughs!

Our three road trip ended with another long drive (about 9 hours) back down to Boynton. We made it back to Las Ventanas, got our keys, and unloaded my car for the LAST time! It was great to be back in Florida and not on the road anymore. Now it's time to get ready for the second round of AmeriCorps! Coming up will be a post detailing how things have been going so far!

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