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The Road to Jupiter, Day 1

As the father of a 22-month-old boy, I have to say that I believe the portable DVD player is the greatest invention in the history of mankind.

One minute the toddler is shrieking for no particular reason. The next, he's happily singing along with the Smurfs. All is well.

We left the metro-east at about 5 p.m. Thursday with plans to take a decent chunk out of the 15 hour trip to Tampa-St. Pete. There we'll check out some of the old haunts where we went when the Cardinals called Al Lang Field home. Then we'll take in a Yankees-Tigers game before heading down and across the state to Jupiter for the Cardinals action.

While I was glad my son was pacified, there was little that could happen to make the first leg of the trip worse than last year.

The weather was lousy all day with the wind blowing the family truckster all over the road. It rained off and on from southern illinois to Nashville. It looked like things might finally be drying up when we stopped for dinner. But when we came out of the restaurant, the parking lot was completely glazed over with ice. We had no choice but to move along on completely untreated roads with cars sliding all over the place... It was a sickening feeling. We somehow made it to Atlanta and got some sleep. But when we woke up in the morning with hopes of warmer weather and dry roads, we opened the hotel curtains to find it was snowing.

It was a harrowing ride, to say the least.

This year was much more like it with temperatures in the high 50s and not a cloud in the sky. I hope it holds up. 

Every year I say next year we will fly. But, while it's a lot more convenient to wing it, it's a lot more expensive to pay for plane tickets, not to mention that you have to rent a car when you get there, so here i am.

I don't mind the drive, though, when the weather is okay. I think one of the great things about being an American is roaming the open road and seeing the country. 

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