You know us and how much we love road trips! Well, our daughter Cindy brought our grandbabies for a visit so we decided to take them to the Tennessee Aquarium. We have been wanting to go and what better time than when you have little ones to share it with. It is a 2-hour drive but these children have been traveling since they were born so 2 hours is like a ride to the park for them.
Bronson is 3 and he made his first long trip at 6 months old. Dean, my son in law, was away at training for his next position with the Marine Corp. They knew they were going to be transferred when he finished so rather than Cindy and Bronson stay in California by themselves they came to our house to stay until he was finished. They drove, along with a friend who flew out to make the trip with her, from California to Alabama. Pretty good for a 6-month-old! They ended up stationed in North Carolina which is a 9 – 10-hour drive that he has made several times.
Baby Ally is almost 7 months old. Her traveling life began before she was even a month old! Dean was reassigned to another base in Georgia right after she was born. So at 3 weeks old, she made a 9-hour car ride to her new home. They are 3 hours away from us and have made that trip several times so they are both pros when it comes to traveling!
Our Journey Begins
We were going to leave early in the morning but we stayed up late the night before so we slept until 8:00. It’s only 2-hours to the Tennessee Aquarium so no big deal right? We decided to take Cindy’s truck because it is an F250 and has plenty of room for 3 adults and 2 children in car seats. We ended up leaving the house sometime around 11:00.
Cindy took the time to nurse Ally before we left so she fell asleep within minutes. Bronson occupied himself by watching things outside the window and playing on Cindy’s phone. As we rode along I listened to Phillip and Cindy talk and I thought about how far we have come since her teenage years. Those were definitely some trying times!
About an hour into the trip we decided to stop along the way for lunch. We got off the interstate and stopped at Jack’s. You know that saying, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”? Well, when we got back in the truck Phillip noticed the battery light was on and asked Cindy if it was on before. She didn’t think so but since Dean usually drove the truck she called him to be sure. He said it had not been on and that he was worried the alternator may be going out.
We started to turn around and head back home and cancel the trip to the Tennessee Aquarium but we weren’t sure if the truck would make it back. Cindy googled the nearest auto parts store and we headed to the next exit to see if they could check it.
We were in Fort Payne, Al which is not a very large town but surprisingly they had several auto parts stores! We pulled into Advance Auto Parts and Cindy asked them to check and sure enough, it was the alternator. Since it was Saturday most auto repair shops were closed but the guy helping us said, “Jason may be at his place” and told us how to get there.
Jason was at his place but he wasn’t really open. He was just there playing catch up on some things he needed to get finished. Jason was such a nice guy that when Cindy told him what was going on and that we were a long way from home he literally dropped what he was doing to help us.
He has a small shop located in an alley behind the auto parts store. His wife and daughter along with her 2 children were in the waiting area of the shop. There was no air conditioning but they had 2 large fans blowing and a large couch to sit on. They were all so sweet. This could have been an absolute nightmare but thanks to the kindness of these wonderful people we were able to get back on the road.
If you are ever in Fort Payne, AL and have car trouble Jason is the man to find!!!
To Go Or Not To Go
By the time we got back on the road it was pushing 3:00. We were still an hour away and according to the Tennessee Aquarium website, they closed at 6:00. That would only give us 2 hours but since we were as far into the trip as we were we decided to keep going. Bronson was soooo excited to see the fish that we didn’t want to disappoint him. And so the quest began!
A short time later Phillip looked at the time on the phone and realized that we had changed time zones!! It was now an hour later than we thought it was! That meant we would have less than an hour to spend at the Tennessee Aquarium and with tickets being $30.00 for each adult and $20.00 for Bronson that was going to be awfully expensive for that short period of time.
Phillip was ready to turn around at that point but Cindy was determined that Bronson was going to the aquarium. She called to see if they discounted the tickets after a certain time and found that they did not, however, it didn’t close at 6:00 like we thought! They stopped selling tickets at 6:00 but they were open until 8:00! And so the quest continued!!
The Tennessee Aquarium
After all that we finally got there and we were not disappointed. It was so much fun! Phillip and I enjoyed it as much as Bronson! If you have not been to the Tennesse Aquarium you should definitely add it to your bucket list! We saw young families, young couples, older couples and everything in between all having a great time.
Here is a really cute video of Bronson and an otter. It seemed to keep swimming right up to him like it wanted to play. Bronson and the Otter
I can describe the Tennessee Aquarium with pictures better than words so here is how much fun we had!
Time To Fly The Drone
You know we did not take a trip without the drone! After we left the aquarium we headed to Lookout Mountain to fly the drone. We ended up flying it right by Rock City. We were all amazed at what we saw. Phillip is still editing the video but as soon as he is finished I will add it here so check back soon!
It was well past time to eat but we all decided that we really wanted to go to one of our favorite restaurants, Top O’ The River. It is in Gadsden, AL but it was worth the wait to get there. They have some of the best catfish and seafood around and we were all ready for some really good food!
We got there shortly after 8:00 which was pushing it because they closed at 9:00. They still had a large crowd though. This restaurant is always busy. If you are ever around the Gadsden, AL area you really should give them a try. If you like seafood I promise you will not be disappointed.
After All Was Said And Done
This was a wonderful road trip! We could have given up and went home several times but this little journey turned into a quest. Because of Cindy’s determination we ended up having a wonderful time! As Phillip says, some days are diamonds, this one certainly was.