June 23, 2007

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Below are the diary entries for June 23, 2007. We drove 702 miles (1123 km) today; in total, we have driven 702 miles (1123 km). Also, check out today’s photos.

Eric Eric (June 23, 2007)

Last modified: June 28, 2007 at 23:24:59

Some more photos of today:

Eric Eric (June 23, 2007)

Last modified: June 24, 2007 at 7:18:00

Around five o'clock, after almost 13 hours of driving, we arrived in Jonesboro and went looking for a hotel with a pool and Internet connection. We quickly found one at the Holiday Inn.

Alisa DeGeorge wrote on June 25, 2007 at 7:57:08:

I agree with Anita - the road stories really pull you in - It almost feels like we are traveling with you. Very enjoyable reading! Thanks for sharing all the sights and sounds and details. It definitely had me chuckling and I like how we got an answer to the "speed checked by aircraft"! Very nice indeed! This is such a cool site - I'll check back often!

Katie Pan wrote on June 25, 2007 at 16:51:20:

I agree!! This is so fun to read!! :-)

sly prioleau wrote on June 25, 2007 at 17:38:44:

I guess the Driver was very tired because he only wrote two sentences :)

Eric Grivel wrote on June 28, 2007 at 22:10:31:

Actually, it's the photographer, not the driver :-). Nicoline and I take turns driving, but the photography is primarily my job. It takes quite some time every night to go through the photos of the day, sort them out, and label them. Only a handful of the photos end up on the website; most just stay on my system. But I'm trying to write on the site as well.

Erika Edgerton wrote on June 27, 2007 at 10:47:29:

I pray all is well during your endevors as you travel the us. Continue to take wonderful pictures so all of us that are stuck here can wish we were on a 2 1/2 month vacation. Enjoy :)

Henk Smits wrote on June 30, 2007 at 15:33:47:

Hallo allemaal!

Ik was even aan het kijken op jullie website. Helaas was ik mijn wachtwoord en gebruikersnaam kwijt dus even die van pa en ma gebruikt.

Het ziet er allemaal wel interessant uit wat jullie doen. Het moest alleen niet zo verschrikkelijk ver uit elkaar liggen zoals daar bij jullie. Nederland heeft zo zijn voordelen :).

Het lijkt er op dat de jongens het nog niet zo super naar hun zin hebben maar denk maar zo: dit is waarschijnlijk één van de laatste vakantie die gheel gefinancierd worden door jullie persoonlijke weldoeners Paps en Mams.

Verder have fun en geniet ervan.

Rudo en Anneke

Nicoline Smits wrote on July 28, 2007 at 16:03:04:

Well, the kids have warmed up to the vacation to a certain extent. I know the drives are long, but we do try to do stuff that is interesting for them as well. You're right, from here on out they're probably on their own vacation-wise :-)

Nicoline Weird sights
Nicoline (June 23, 2007)

Last modified: June 23, 2007 at 21:11:58

Just when you think you've seen it all (a guy on a motor cycle with a small dog perched in front of him, for instance), someone surprises you. This time it was a lady in an ancient Chrysler with Pennsylvania tags driving with at least three (Mark says there were five) parrots. One, a big green and yellow thing, sat almost on her shoulder, next to the headrest. A smaller white one sat on top of its cage in the passenger seat, and the smallest one, which was also white, I think, was climbing its way up the interior, which was torn in places. Eric got a picture of her, too.

Another weird sight was a water tower somewhere in Georgia done up as a giant peach. We also saw one in Virginia that had been painted to look like a basket of apples. Unfortunately, I wasn't sufficiently awake to get a picture of the apple basket, but I did get the peach.

It's been a long day from 4 a.m. this morning. Eric and I of course took turns driving, but it still tiring and neither of us slept well the night before we left. Then of course there are all the last minutes things to pack and to do, so I'm always the last one in the car. I'm sure it drives the kids nuts, but someone has to take care of stuff so the house'll still be standing when we come back!

sly prioleau wrote on June 25, 2007 at 17:37:06:

I was wrong, I thought that was the Peach in Spartansburg, SC, off of I85 :(

Eric Grivel wrote on June 28, 2007 at 22:02:19:

As Doug commented, you weren't wrong, Nicoline (my wife) mixed up her states. When crossing so many in one day (Maryland, Virginia, North Caroline, South Carolina and Georgia) they kind-a start to blur together :-).

Anyway, hi Sly and Doug, good to see both of you here :-)

Doug Lawson wrote on June 25, 2007 at 19:16:16:

Hi gang - fascinating trip.

Sly is right - that water tower is in South Carolina. It's actually right off I-85 in Gaffney SC. It's pretty well known, and has its own website, along with lots of admirers. Just google "peachoid". We have driven past it a few times en route to Atlanta. It even has a smaller sister in Alabama.

Have a nice trip. When you're in Memphis, you've got to visit the Stax Records museum.

Frank Day one of fifty-six
Frank (June 23, 2007)

Last modified: June 23, 2007 at 11:06:21

So, today began out lovely. Jeez. I woke up around 3:10 ('cause it's impossible to kick me out of bed any earlier) and I head downstairs to work with the MP3 player, and load it with music before we leave.

Great Success!!! NOT!!!

The damn thing wouldn't connect right, so I wasn't able to add music. So I figure I'll just do it with my father's laptop. However, since he's running Linux, it's going to be next to impossible to get it running properly, seeing as it requires the Windows Media Player 10/11 drivers, which Linux obviously has issues with.

Anyway, we get in the van, and it's much more cramped than anticipated. It sucks. My mother is busy doing something, I'm not sure what, but it's taking forever. We leave a couple minutes afterwards, and I catch some shut-eye.

So we've passed 3 or 4 rest stops/gas stations, had breakfast and snack, and as of 11:00am, have entered North Carolina. Good, Virginia was getting extremely boring.

Anyway, we're still en-route. God knows how long it'll take (too long).

Mark, to answer your question, the police departments use little aircraft (ie, Cessna's, Piper's, etc.) and they give chase from the air. The aircraft give cops an idea as to where everyone is, and help in any way possible.


Nicoline Smits wrote on June 23, 2007 at 21:13:07:

You're a very unhappy camper, aren't you? Perhaps you'll cheer up tomorrow when we take a look at Atlanta airport?

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 29, 2007 at 15:33:35:

I guess Frank didnt cheer up b/c i haven't seen many postings from him, not even one describing his thoughts of ATL's airport.

Anita Dekker wrote on June 24, 2007 at 20:56:41:

Hey Frank, I hope your trip improves for you. I too HATE early mornings I can tell you. There is no way I would have been in a charming mood at 3am! And if on top of that the MP3 won't work, that would settle me too! And as the icing on the cake you get cramped into a MINI van when you really need a MAXI van when you have longer legs than a midget! Like I said, hopefully things will improve for you and you get a better night's rest!

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 26, 2007 at 11:51:46:

oooooh, Frank said damn! LOL

Mark Day one-8:47 AM
Mark (June 23, 2007)

Last modified: June 23, 2007 at 9:32:33

My alarm goes off, it's 2:55 AM. The first thing that goes through my head: Oh my god oh my god! Today is the DAY! I get out of bed and I start waking up. At 2:57 I start gathering all of the trinkets that I couldn't pack yesterday of necessity. I get my phone and my watch and what not, and put them into a pile. My sleeping bag on the other hand, I could not yet pack, it needs to be rolled up first. I know how to roll one up thanks to my mom, who showed me a trick. That done, I sat at the end of the bed waiting for my mom to come into the room, signifying that the day has begun.

Mostly everything is packed so not much work is to be done. Frank goes downstairs to fiddle with his MP3 player and dad and I go pack the sleeping bags. Mom does what ever mom does in the morning, mainly make coffee and other things. She props the doors open with weight so that Kitty can't get stuck behind one of the doors. She gives Kitty food and sets the table. Dad and I put the sleeping bags into trash bags and put them in the overhead container. We zip it up and go inside. We had already put away the trinkets. We tell Frank to finish up while dad goes and drinks coffee. I go and play with the cat for one last time. She seems to really enjoy it. Frank comes upstairs in a bad mood, he can't get the MP3 player to work. It might have helped to get an MP3 player a little earlier then the day before the trip...

Dad, Frank, and I pile into the car and get comfortable. Tensions begin to rise as we wait for mom. Who knows what she's doing. Finally, mom comes to the door and dad tells her something, I don't know what. We pile in and the journey starts.

I try to get some shut-eye at the start of the trip. Not going to happen, but worth a try. I tell mom and dad, "Wake me up just before sunrise. I want to see it." They say okay and we continue heading down the streets. Just before our first rest stop is the Virgina Welcome Center on I-66, Frank wakes me up, I had been sleeping! "The sun is starting to rise." He said. We come to the visitor center and have a bagel. I just woke up, so naturally, food was welcome. We change places, Instead of: Me in the back, Frank in the middle, Dad driving, and Mom shotgun; It becomes: Me back, Mom middle, Dad driving and Frank shotgun. We barrel down the highway as Mom and I have a conversation. It was a meaningless one, just a time-filler.

We start heading down the road again. I don't notice a difference in space, but Frank does. Shotgun has more room then the center isle, who would have thought? We continue driving until about an hour later, we come to another rest stop. I-81.

The seats change again. Well, not for me, but the rest of us. I'm in the back, Frank in the center, Mom driving and Dad shotgun. Frank says he's happy that he has more leg room now. Frank and I start watching Beverly Hills Cop II and we are peacefully enjoying it when yet again, another rest stop. We get out to get gas and Frank and I start cleaning the windows with the sponge things they have. Not like they're clean, we probably just made them dirtier... Nevertheless, we keep at it until all the windows are clean. Dad, Frank, and I walk to the picnic table at the other end of the gas station. I notice it was dirty, so I went and explored up the steep hill until I came to a platform. Nobody eats there, so it was VERY clean. Comparatively of course, I wouldn't have eaten off it. We have a snack and we pile back into the small, small, small mini-van. This time I moved. Mom had back,, to try and get some shut-eye, Frank had middle again, Dad was driving and I had shotgun. Ah, the leg room!

We start off again, and I begin typing this story. I notice a sign that states: "Speed laws enforced by aircraft." AIRCRAFT?! Can somebody please explain how this works?! Does a plane have a megaphone, yell at the person that is speeding and say, "PULL OVER, PULL OVER! Thank you, now please wait while I land this plane at the nearest airport. Can I trust you to stay there while I drive back in a police cruiser? Thanks so much! I'll be back in an hour and a half or so! Cya then!" Somehow I doubt the integrity of some people. I bet that 95% of the people pulled over like that would just drive off... Meh, whatever... But still, some one please explain this to me. Thanks!


Anita Dekker wrote on June 24, 2007 at 20:53:44:

Mark, you are such a great writer! You really pull me in when I read this. That is really cool. Well done. I look forward to reading more of your adventures. One term you will need to explain to me, what is "shotgun" position in the car? That has to be a USA expression. Honestly though, well written piece right there. I hope you got a good night's sleep!

Mark Grivel wrote on June 24, 2007 at 21:06:16:

Shotgun is the position right next to the driver's seat. Thanks for your appreciation!

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 26, 2007 at 12:09:57:

shotgun = front passenger seat.

"According to a number of sources, the idea of calling shotgun most likely arose from the days of stagecoaches. The driver of a stagecoach generally had to concentrate on controlling the horses and following the trail. Security was usually handled by a second man seated next to the driver, who often wielded a shotgun for protection. This shotgun position did offer a few privileges, so passengers on stagecoaches without a designated shotgun rider would often ask the driver for permission to ride in the "shotgun" seat.

The modern practice of calling shotgun has little to do with security, but everything to do with comfort. Calling shotgun successfully usually means having some influence over the audio system and climate control, although the driver may have the ultimate power of veto. The shotgun rider may also have to assume the role of navigator, as well as become a second pair of eyes when looking for landmarks or interstate exits." (http://www.wisegeek.com/in-a-car-what-does-calling-shotgun-mean.htm)

Eric Grivel wrote on June 28, 2007 at 22:13:04:

Hey Shannon, how's your new position going? You don't seem to be too busy, writing these large explanations :-) But kidding aside, thanks for your elaborations. We don't get to Google things on the road...

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 29, 2007 at 15:01:08:

Hey Eric. Too early to comment on the new position. Lets just say for now it seems eQA will be as complex a project to manage as iAppeals or even ERE. I spent this week meeting staff, learning, and reading. It's very quiet over here, so when i feel myself getting sleepy, I check out ya'll diary. Happy Travels!

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 26, 2007 at 12:07:06:

hahahaha great read!

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 26, 2007 at 12:13:59:


"Officers fly back and forth over a pre-determined section of highway. The VASCAR system (Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder) is used to determine the speed of the vehicle. VASCAR's not much more than a glorified stopwatch but it's fairer to motorists than radar. Radar records your speed instantaneously and doesn't take into account the fact that you could be decelerating. But VASCAR takes the average speed over a certain distance.

When a vehicle is caught speeding, the officer in the plane radios to another unit on the ground which actually makes the stop. "


Mark Grivel wrote on July 2, 2007 at 15:13:50:

Oh, thanks! That makes much more sense then my explanation... ^.^

Leia Cain wrote on June 27, 2007 at 7:18:03:

Mark your description the aircraft radar is hilarious!! I was in tears.

Eric Starting out
Eric (June 23, 2007)

Last modified: June 23, 2007 at 7:00:57

As planned, we get up at 3 am. It's completely dark when we pack our sleeping gear , have a cup of coffee, say goodbye to Butterscotch and leave.

Katie Pan wrote on June 25, 2007 at 16:54:15:

The people is blur in this photo. I can tell you all had a very busy morning!!

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 26, 2007 at 11:53:43:

who's Butterscotch?

Nicoline Smits wrote on June 28, 2007 at 0:13:13:

She's our cat.

Mark Grivel wrote on July 2, 2007 at 15:14:42:

Whom I <3 REALLY much

Frank Grivel wrote on July 16, 2007 at 14:46:44:

You less than three her? Wow... :P