Two things happened to make our return journey memorable: it rained the entire way, both days, and Andrew erased all the content (pictures, contacts) on my iPhone. We got an early start on the 28th, drove in the rain, stopped for lunch at another great BBQ restaurant called Duke’s in Orangeburg, SC; drove in more rain. We stopped for the night in Christiansburg, Virginia, and made peanut butter sandwiches in the hotel room for the girls. Andrew and I ate takeout Olive Garden. (And I went to a Target just down the road before picking up our food to buy some 70%-off Christmas stuff.) The next day—breakfast at the hotel, and then more rain, and then a very unwise stop at a pub in Winchester, Virginia, where Greta was teetering dangerously on the edge of a total meltdown. I thought some videos would get us through lunch; couldn’t get the YouTube app because my iPhone hadn’t been updated in forever; Andrew decided he knew how to update my operating system; and then—everything was gone. My phone was a clean, fresh slate for the new year. No contacts, no pictures, no texts. Fortunately I’d backed up all my pictures at the end of September, so it could have been much worse. Still.
We made it home. Lucia and Greta were intrepid travelers. They played with the stuff in their travel treat bags and made various dolls and animals dance to a Tinkerbell CD and snacked and watched shows on the iPad. Greta did discover the incendiary power of stretching her little bare foot out of her carseat and resting her toes, ever so slightly, on the edge of Lucia’s carseat; but aside from this, they were companionable and calm. We’re not in a hurry to drive to Florida again anytime soon, but at least we know it’s possible without any of us losing our minds (for very long).