National Lampoon’s Ipe Family Vacation – The night before the trip

Jason and I enjoying some beers and wings on a Friday night

Jason and I enjoying some beers and wings at Jody’s party

During our Michigan trip last July, the Ipes – Kondorfs – Connellys agreed to a joint vacation down in Tennessee at the end of the summer. Doug and Kathy have a summer / vacation home there outside of Nashville, and we thought it would be fun to get together for a week. It would also be more cost-effective for us than flying four Ipes somewhere for a week. Lastly, it would afford the Ipes an opportunity to do a bit of relaxed sightseeing along the journey.

That last bit was key, and I’ll briefly explain why. Many of our trips involve a hurried rush from Point A to Point B, with a quick return to Point A again. And we never have time to see anything along the way. Our July 4th 2015 Road Trip to Michigan Extravaganza was the tipping point. Here we are arriving in Pittsburgh (first time, mind you) at midnight, with enough time to fall asleep for a few hours. While we are getting dressed and packed for the 2nd leg to Michigan, the kids and I are perusing one of those typical city guide books.

Our thoughts? Wow, Pittsburgh seems really interesting! But sorry! We have to hurry somewhere else now. Didn’t seem right. Pair that sentiment with our constant “Go go go!” lifestyle, and we saw a trend.

Let’s do it differently. For this road trip, we built in some relaxed sightseeing time. After much research, we decided to:

  1. Leave on a Saturday.
  2. Sight-see along the way to our sleepover in Roanoke, Virginia. Hopefully see a bit of this town too.
  3. Drive to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, see the sights, maybe hit Dollywood, and sleep over.
  4. Make it to the Tennessee vacation home by Monday.
  5. Relax and see Nashville for the next few days.
  6. Leave Friday for Virginia, sight-see some more, and stay overnight.
  7. Arrive home Saturday.

That would leave us the Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend to recuperate and cycle up for the 1st day of school.

Over the next few posts, I’ll publish the trip photos. Overall, it was a great trip. We didn’t get to stop and see as much as we wanted to, but we had to balance the sightseeing vs. still getting to our various destinations within a reasonable period of time. It was a lot of fun to hang out with Doug & Kathy, and to finally see this Tennessee home they’ve been working on for a few years now. It personally felt really good to unwind and not worry about catching a train, TPS reports, and other things.

I’ll start with the Friday before the trip. We are nowhere near finished with packing all of the stuff we would need to be gone for a week. I’m back from work late, then we are all off to a birthday party for our friend Jody in town. Planning to be there for only an hour or so, um, we stayed longer than that. We packed some more, but we ended getting too tired to stay up much longer.

We decided to make it a big deal, get some rest, and leave later in the morning. So that’s what we did. We made Saturday night hotel reservations at a Holiday Inn Express in Roanoke.

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