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VA to TN to GA – First Leg of Trip Done

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Bear in mind that I am writing this Saturday as I anticipate a busy couple of days so I’m predicting how this is going to go. I will update with exact details if I get a chance.

Updated Thursday morning with reality…initial post is in plain text with updates in italics below the different segments.

This evening we will arrive at one of my favorite places on earth…The Lakehouse. It’s a cabin owned by my extended family on Lake Hartwell in Georgia. It’s secluded and rustic, away from everything and absolutely glorious. We will have completed the first leg of our journey. And the best part, it’s FREE lodging for the remainder of our time away from home.

We actually got here Wednesday morning and our friends drove down with us to hang out for the day at the lake.  As I anticipated the water was still too cold to swim but the kids did jump in a couple of times before heading off to the beach to skip rocks or to the patio to play UNO.

My youngest at 2, sitting on the "beach" at the lakehouse.

My youngest at 2, sitting on the “beach” at the Lakehouse.

Here’s what we’ve done and spent thus far:

Sunday – Picked up Cadet (15 year old twin – eldest) from his mini boot camp weekend and got on the road towards TN. We needed to arrive by Monday afternoon to drop History Buff (15 year old twin.) My goal was to get to Knoxville to sleep but I’m not sure we will make it that far since we have a solid 9 hours of drive time once we have Cadet. Dinner in the car from food we brought from home.

Due to an unexpected LONG break at a gas station due to some medical issues (everyone is fine, it’s an ongoing thing for one of my kids,) we bought Subway sandwiches for dinner to allow the rest of us to sit in the air conditioning while we dealt with medical needs.  I hadn’t anticipate this cost, but it was worth it to keep the others occupied and not sweltering in the car. Cost $20

Monday – Spent the night somewhere between Richmond, VA and Knoxville, TN in a hotel. I made sure it had free continental breakfast I’m sure and today we will have had to fill up the gas tank as we can typically make about 7 hours of drive time on one tank in our giant beast of a car. Lunch was a picnic somewhere fun…rest area or touristy spot. History Buff is dropped off for his week long TeenPact camp. We drove on 2 more hours to arrive at my friend’s house in the Atlanta area. Not sure if we will have had another dinner in the car or wait to eat at my friends.

We did make it to Knoxville and made reservations about an hour out…I was surprised that all the prices were the same: Expedia, Hotel site, calling hotel, but we did get the free breakfast and a late check out since we were only a couple of hours from our drop off point for History Buff.  We enjoyed the indoor pool and sleeping in a bit.  My plan for a picnic lunch at a rest area failed miserably when the rest area was closed, so we continued on to our drop off point at ate a picnic on the local library lawn. It was a great family time and of course, I got emotional dropping off my child so far from home for a week, but I know he’s having a great time!

We hurried on to my friends house, checking to make sure it was okay if we arrived earlier than anticipated and she threw dinner in the crockpot with that warning.  However, not sure why, but I did arrive there are fumes, finishing up our second tank of guess much earlier than anticipated.

At this point only money spent aside from gas (on 2nd tank now) was a night in hotel between VA and TN.

Close, but we’ve now used two full tanks of gas, spent one night in a hotel and bought Subway sandwiches at a gas station.

Tuesday & Wednesday – We spent hanging with our friends. (Side note: They homeschool like us and are planning some exciting things so I’m sure it will be fun. And just for the record, this is the same friend I wrote about HERE, so she knows that spending any money isn’t really an option. It’s so nice to have been able to open up and be honest with someone without feeling judged.)

We actually experience the MARTA system in Atlanta (cost $20) and Legoland (payed for by friend as her son’s birthday party.) She did treat us out for two meals, against my protest, and I reciprocated, by my own desire, with desserts. It was a GREAT time and despite all our years of friendship this was actually the first time ever we visited their home, and we will definitely do it again when I am in a better financial place. 

Our kids at the Lakehouse last summer.

Our kids at the Lakehouse last summer.

At this point, looking forward to Wednesday night when we will arrive at the Lakehouse, I believe the only money spent will be:

  • 1.5 tanks of gas since we left home – approx value $120
  • 1 night in a hotel – approx value $100

My parents will be meeting us at the Lakehouse this week, and in a couple of days I will have to drive by to TN to pick up History Buff and drop off Lil Gymnast. I will keep you posted, but for now, I’m going to enjoy the peace and quiet of the lake and get some work done!

We did our grocery shopping last night, spending less than $100 (more than 1/2 was a gift card I had been holding on to for just this occassion,) so all in all with the food we’ve brought from home and the use of the gift card, I spent $45 cash for the food that will last us at least a week here if not longer.  Yeah!


Free Park Entrance!!

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Hi friends!!

What are you up to this weekend? Spending time with the family? Celebrating the Easter holiday, or just the nice Spring weekend??

I hope most of you have started to warm up a little and are getting a few peeks of Spring. Here, in Tucson, it already feels more like summer! Either way, I wanted to give you a heads up about a little FREE fun you might be able to have with your family this weekend!

Free Entrance to U.S. National Parks!

A handful of weekends each year offer FREE entrance to U.S. national parks and this weekend is one of them!

On April 19-20, you can enjoy free entrance in honor of the “opening weekend of National Park Week” (who knew “National Park Week” was a thing???)

Anyway, if its nice weather – get out and enjoy it! And take advantage of this free offer. Why not?

Here’s the deets and a list of other free days, too!

Happy Weekend!