Friday, June 22, 2012

Lesson 158: It's a Jungle Out There (blog)

Meet Columbus.  He's the newest member of our family.  You may recognize him at the Travelocity Gnome. 

He's been all kinds of cool places.  Snorkeling on "The Island."  Look for Hurley in the background:

To scope out the London Olympics:

Hitting the slopes:

And now, he's one of us.  Homey our Gnomey gets to hang with us all summer long, so keep looking for him in snapshots throughout the summer.  Unfortunately, he's already worse for the wear.  He got dinged up in my purse, most likely culprit, my camera lens.  Duct tape can repair just about everything.  Remember the Like Father, Like Daughter blog?  He'll be good as new next time you see him.

See the chip in the lower right side?

I picked him up for Ellen as a pre-zootrip surprise.  It seemed like a fun project for an 11 year old for the summer--photo journal of our travels with this gnome as the focus.  (Ellen collects gnomes).  We needed a name for him though.

Mother Eloise thought of Homey the Gnomey.  We also saw the movie Gnomeo and Juliet, so I thought Gnomeo would be a good consideration as well.  But Daughter #2 is turning out to be more like me than I originally thought.  She wouldn't settle for either of these.  Ellen kept thinking.

Well past Cleveland, she shouted from the back seat (while dodging random kicks and punches from her little brother), "Columbus!  We should name him Columbus!"

Mother Eloise needed a thorough, well thought out explanation, of course, and she passed her test with flying colors.  "Columbus is the city we are driving to, and Columbus was an explorer.  That is the perfect name."  I had to agree.  

We road tripped it to Columbus, OH to see the number one zoo in the country.  OH, Slovenians, stands for my neighboring state of Ohio.  It's a cool word because the word 'hi' is sandwiched in between two O's.  My uncle and cousins are from there, and one of the nation's most frustrating football teams--the Cleveland Browns.  At least my cousins have the zoo to brag about.

If you are in a five hour driving distance like we are, I would recommend the trip.  The zoo is beautiful and there is lots to see and do to keep you busy for a full, twelve hour day.  There is a water park in conjunction with the zoo and it proved to be a great place to cool off after hours of hoofing it around the zoo.

Staying in Columbus was fun for a couple of days.  They have a great Science Center to explore, too.  Getting there, however, was the biggest problem.

I thought I better explain the above photo that I put on the picture slide show.  If you looked closely and counted the fingers, you may have gasped.  My son is a ruffian, this I'll admit, but the gesture was innocent.  In his boredom, Sam was messing around with the wing window near his seat and pinched his finger in it.  Really.  

The rest of the trip was a mix of this, Happy Sam:

And this, Insane Sam:

I think the exact words he was screaming at the four hour point was "Get me out of this car!"  

I knew we were in for it when we pulled into the truck stop near the interstate, exactly 1.6 miles from The Lamp Post and Sam asked, "Is this the hotel we are staying at?"  Ellen and I exchanged glances.  She closed her eyes, shook her head slowly, and exhaled.  We were in for a Very.  Long.  Ride.

But we persevered.  We played the license plate game.  The alphabet sign game.  Did the sticker book.  Played I spy.  Listened to the Travelin' Tunes CD twice through, at times with the music up very loud.  But we made it.  It's all part of experiencing life as a child in the United States.  The summer road trip with your family.

We visited jungle vines in the recreated African landscape and returned home to the vines of grapes.  Eloise loved the experience, but it is always good to return home.  That's because it is where my heart is.

Jungle sized love,

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