Meals on Wheels Tour, 2017
Step 1. On a road map, locate your nearest and dearest who don't live close enough for you to see them frequently. This is a great excuse for a road trip.
Step 2. Use GPS to optimize the most efficient route covering all those bases, and pack up the car.
Step 3. Schedule the first visit and cross your fingers that you'll be able to book the remainder of your stops. Adjust the route as needed to meet your goal of seeing as many people on your list as possible.
Step 5. Use your visits to catch up with those near and dear to you. Don't forget to take a photo to commemorate the event. Enjoy!
Last year we tried a couple of short Meals on Wheels trips, but this year it seemed like a better idea to try to see everyone on the same tour. We started on February 24 and ended the main part of our trip on March 23. We cannot recommend this format highly enough.
• Days 1-5 •
SC, GA, & south FL
From an historic hotel in Aiken, South Carolina, to Miami Beach's Lincoln Road pedestrian mall, we enjoyed some delicious meals as we visited cousins, a sister, an aunt, and good friends. Cities visited were Aiken, Saint Simons Island, Tarpon Springs, Miami Beach and Stuart, FL.
• Days 6-9 •
Cousins and nephews and nieces, oh my! Our stop in Tally town was filled with fun times and great food. And we loved getting to see Baylinn and Layson twice!
• Days 10 & 11 •
From Tallahassee, we drove north to Auburn and then back south to Enterprise to see a boatload of nieces and nephews and even a girlfriend.
• Day 12 •
FL & AL coast
Then it was back to the Florida panhandle for entertaining times with more cousins in Pensacola and yet another cousin on the Alabama coast.
• Days 13-15 •
Like Tallahassee, Mobile is full of family for us. This time we got to help celebrate a birthday as Shepherd turned six and were introduced to a seriously authentic Mediterranean place we'd never visited.
• Days 15-16 •
There weren't many restaurant offerings in the small Alabama town we visited next but we made the most of what was available, returning to a local steakhouse (and its terrific salads) three times as we connected with Nanamama, cousins and friends.
• Day 17 •
After a delicious lunch at a converted historic home in Demopolis with nephews and nieces, we drove on to Huntsville to visit yet another cousin.
• Days 18-20 •
We enjoyed visits all around Nashville with brother's family in Franklin, friends in Brentwood, and cousins in Gallatin. Great food, fellowship, and we got to help celebrate Kendyll's birthday.
• Days 21-23 •
From Manassas in the Washington suburbs to Richmond, we visited cousins and dear in-laws in Virginia. We even squeezed in a visit to the Jefferson-designed state capitol building after seeing West Virginia's statehouse in Charleston on the way up from Tennessee.
• Days 24-27 •
North Carolina is our other mother lode state for relatives. With stops in Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte, we spent time with cousins, nieces and nephews, friends, and the same sister we saw in Florida.
After a stop in Greenville, SC, for a cousin visit, we returned home for a couple of days before a quick trip to Athens, GA, to break bread with our nephew, his friend and his dad.
• Conclusion •
Of all the road trip ideas we've devised, this was without doubt the most fun. (And we've had some fantastic road trips.) Stats from the trip are displayed here. Only a couple of our planned stops didn't work out, and those were due to spring break.
• Postscript •
Though the official Meals on Wheels tour ended on March 26, we visited New York a few days later and managed to carry on with a friend and a cousin in the city.
We still missed some "outliers" who live a bit farther away than we could include on this trip (like cousins in Connecticut, Oregon and Texas), but we're determined to get around to them too, eventually. Until then, our sights are set on some of Utah's national parks, Europe, and, of course, making plans for our 2018 Meals on Wheels tour.