Our 2007 Road Trip, Part 12 of 12: Outtakes for the Ride Home

Space Shuttle!

Once more, just the noses: the Space Shuttle Explorer and a shuttle booster in the Kennedy Space Center‘s Rocket Garden.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, my son was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!

…and then we came home. The End.

Wait, no, I did that wrong. Last call for Florida photos!

* * * * *

After we finished our gallivanting around Rock City, we crept in our car down Lookout Mountain and began the long journey home. We slowed for a spell in central Tennessee thanks to traffic from the sixth annual Bonnaroo festival, but otherwise had no trouble passing through the rest of it, or through the entirety of Kentucky. In contrast to the crass and ubiquitous commercial billboards of Chattanooga or Valdosta, central Kentucky’s billboards instead focused their attention on the Bible. At least five of the Ten Commandments each earned a visible slot of their own. I’m sure we could’ve caught some accompanying radio broadcasts as well, not unlike Valdosta’s maddening Radio Free WILD ADVENTURE! I didn’t think to check. We made only one stop in Kentucky, for snacks at the McDonald’s in Cave City.

I refused to stop for dinner until we crossed the Indiana border…just in time for evening rush hour. Lucky for us, then, that Indiana’s southernmost section of I-65 has something like six lanes per side, so their rush hour was as smooth as silk. We cruised into Jeffersonville and grabbed a bite at Frisch’s Big Boy, an old sit-down burger chain that deserted Indianapolis years ago. I almost miss the ol’ Big Boy, their giant porcelain mascot who looks like Astro Boy if he were reprogrammed as a fabulous farmer.

From there, the drive up I-65 slowed to a turtle’s pace as rubberneckers on our side gawked at a hefty accident on the other side…which was at a standstill and backed up for several miles. That gave us plenty of time to sit there and fidget, accompanied only by the sounds of southern Indiana radio and the images bouncing around our heads from the past six days spent down south.

Raptor Ambush!

Raptor ambush at Dinosaur World in Kentucky.


Spare elephants from Zoo Atlanta.


Also in Atlanta: a flamingo flock I overlooked while flipping through Anne’s scrapbook.

Trinity Parish Church!

The historical marker for Trinity Parish Church, the oldest Protestant church in Florida. For some reason we have a pic of this but not the church itself.

Bat Alligators!

St. Augustine’s Alligator Farm, Batman ’66 style.

Blurry Squirrel!

Surprise spunky southern squirrel holding his own among the alligators.

Daytona Beach!

The I-95 exit to Daytona Beach we passed on our way to Orlando.


One of many Kennedy Space Center b-roll shots. It’s a better father/son portrait, but Explorer‘s nose is cut off.

Space Rock!

Actual space mineral sample, kept under glass so it doesn’t give anyone space flu or super-powers.

Gemini Capsule!

I couldn’t remember if this Gemini capsule was real or replica. Probably real? I’d think?


My son and I playing Gravball, which looks goofy without the onscreen CG.

Sad Astronaut!

For some reason one of my favorite photos from this trip has always been this poorly lit one I call “Sad Astronaut”.


Alternate mountainside view from Rock City up on Lookout Mountain.

Seven States!

Rock City’s observation deck includes this handy guide to which seven states you can allegedly see hundreds of miles away. Our only copy of this pic is deeply scrapbooked and would get me injured if I tried to remove it.

Rock City Gate Gnomes!

Among our several lost pics of Rock City gnomes, it turns out this one was just misfiled. My bad!

We ended up arriving home sometime after dark. None of us stayed conscious once we caught sight of our own beds. We slept deeply but not nearly as long as we would’ve liked because in the morning we had to return the rental car, attend my company picnic, and pick up this little fella, our newest housemate who was excited to see us.


It’s nice to see someone happy we’re home.

The End. Thanks for reading!

Coming soon: our 2017 road trip, once we actually take it. And, um, finish planning it, for that matter. If anyone notices a complete lack of new 2000-word entries here on MCC over the next thirty days, trust that it’s no coincidence…

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email signup for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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