And all through the cabin, the family was sleeping – in comatose fashion. From the way they appeared, they simply slept where they stopped, fully clothed and surrounded by luggage. We drove in yesterday in two vehicles. Normally, when the entire family (8 children 2 adults) is going anywhere we rent a 15 passenger van. For this trip, that wasn’t practical. So we crammed our belongings into two small vehicles and began the road trip south. An eight hour trip turned into TWELVE long hours. We left the house at 10am and arrived at Jenny Wiley State Park at 10:30pm after following our GPS down the wrong road. *Take note that there are TWO addresses labeled 75 Theater Court in Prestonburg. One is spelled Theater and the other Theatre. Anyhow, we had the wrong Theater Court programmed into the GPS and pulled into a nice driveway on a dead end road, in the middle of the country at approximately 10pm. My nine month old who had done wonderfully up until this point let out a wail signifying what everyone felt; are we there yet?! Unfortunately, the answer was NO and as I did a quick U-Turn in the middle street under the pitch black night sky, I had forgotten that the other half of my family were following me in a car behind me. There were no headlights in the rear view mirror. And the cell phone service had just been lost. Great. The Kentucky mountains are sure giving us a hearty welcome. We followed signs but to no avail – Jenny Wiley Park is immense. Soon, rear view headlights came into view and I breathed a sigh of relief. My husband and two of my children were safely trailing behind us now. He had told me later that my U-Turn in the middle of the street is easy for me in my PT Cruiser but there was no way he could do that in his vehicle. I didn’t think about that.
After a long day driving through the beautifully stunning mountains, valleys, and hollows of Appalachia, we arrived at the park and found a park ranger who directed us to the lodge in order for us to check in. The first sign that we were certainly in the depths of the mountains was the Appalachian dialect. I had to listen very closely to what the man was saying. I realized that I am going to have a thick accent within this community. The next sign was the many night creatures we could hear making their presence known in the darkness. At the top of an evergreen tree covered mountain, in the midst of pine scents and cricket noises, we checked into a nice two bedroom cabin that smelled of cigarrettes and wine. None of us were energetic enough to care. We crashed. Everyone did except the baby who was thrown off her schedule by the long ride and my husband was obliged to stay up with her until 3am. The last thing I remember him saying before I dozed off into lala land was “do you know what time it is?” It was more of an accusation than a question. I peacefully snoozed until 7am. That was when I awakened, refreshed, energized, and surrounding by the music of my family sleeping deeply.
I am eager to see what the day will hold!
Institute begins tomorrow at 11:30am.