Vacation, Day 1
We headed out after I got out of work on Friday night. We were ambitious in thinking that we could get to Nashville by the end of night one.
We ended up in Clarksville, just 25 miles out of Nashville.
Actually, we ended up spending 45 minutes looking for a hotel with pool. We had promised Summer a swim…. And she was quick to remind us of this. After hitting 5 hotels, none had a pool open, they all had closed for the season. Thankfully Summer was understanding enough to let this promise slide for a day.
After leaving Clarksville, we headed south towards Atlanta. We were inundated with signs for Ruby Falls. I mean they were everywhere!!! Anyone who has traveled this route knows the billboards for Ruby Falls. They are everywhere!
What the heck, we headed for Lookout Mountain and did the tourist thing.
It was cool. It was a poor mans Mammoth cave, but the kids liked it. It was a great release for us after spending lots of time in the van.
Informally, we had Savannah on our schedule. That is where we are headed tomorrow.
Tonight, we stopped driving at Dublin Georgia. Its about 85 miles out of Savannah, so we will have to get an early go of it.
Dublin was great, but not work sticking around for… Savannah was on our mind. Ang asked the clerk what there was to do in Savannah. “Noth’in” was here answer. She may be right, we don’t know… We spent the whole day at Tybee Island. What a great time. Ang said this was the first fun day of our vacation. The kids got too much sun as did the adults. We played in the heavy surf. Summer was game and Aiden was totally freaked out by the waves. It did not help when Ang fell down with Summer trying to get in! (“It’s not funny Eric!”) We finally left the beach around 3:30… And realized that we had no beach towels. Oops… fortunately, the kids have no pride and I don’t have much more. There was a beach shower at the end of the path. We showered the kids there. I did everything but remove my shorts. In the end, I was driving us to lunch-dinner a little wet and a little more clean.
There was a pirate convention going on today in the downtown area. I figured something out today when watching these “pirates”. Pirates in Savannah are mostly an excuse for the goth kids to come out dressed up. There must a regional Goth thing going on around the US. We have these trucker hat guys with died go-tees and sideburns in Pekin. Its like Country Goth. I digress.
We then hit the road for St. Augustine. No reservations for anywhere in particular.
We checked a few places in our Choice Hotels guide. They had a Clarion right on the beach with a bunch of open rooms. We ended up with a giant sized executive room with all the amenities for just 99.00 a night. We will be here two nights. Tomorrow should be lots of beach and sun. I think we will be using the suntan oil!
We started off bright and early with some stuff and Mom and Dad wanted to do.
First, we hit the big fort in town. The kids enjoyed sitting on the cannons and looking at the vintage beds. There was even a room where you had to be 2 ft 5 to get in…. I could have crawled back there, but the kids enjoyed going someplace Mom and Dad could not.
Next was Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum and mansion. In hindsight, it was probably too intense for the kids. Actually, At one point it was too intense for me!
We then hit the last touristy thing that was on our very very short list… The fountain of youth. bucks gets you in the door, a half full Dixie cup of sulfur smelling spring water and a tour of the ruins. It is about that dramatic. The nice part, we hopped out of the tour, looked at some birds, let the kids walk the railroad ties, and then discovered that most everyone was covered in fire ants. Yikes! Ang was first, she came back hobbling… Her leg was tingling, (Its not funny Eric) and she was quite upset. Summer got a bite, and she would not stop scratching. Aiden fell off the railroad tie, and thought it would be fun to roll around in the grass…. Unfortunately the ground occupants did not see the fun. The next thing I know, he has 2 of those buggers on him.
We escaped no worse for the wear.
We went back to the Clarion for lunch… Pita pockets from Publix the night before.
Next was the beach. The tide was ripping! Surfers were everywhere. We had to watch the kids close, every once and a while we had a wave that would wash Aiden over, and keep him rolling. It was kinda funny and he was a good sport.
We cleaned up, put Robots in the in room DVD player. Everyone liked that.
After a short nap, it was off to Dinner at the local eatery.
When we returned from dinner, we headed out to the pool. Aiden was slow to like it, but by the time we were ready to go, he was walking back into the water and swimming by himself. I felt bad taking him out, but I was drained! No more energy here!
Fountain of youth my eye!
Tomorrow. Its off the beach for one last time, checking out, and heading to Orlando to meet up with Tomi and Jeff. Trick or Treat at the Magic Kingdom!
PS, this hispeed internet access at the Clarion is ripping!!! Seriously!
The beach was a bust in the AM. Overcast and windy. It made for a scenic tour of the beach, but not worth getting in. Of course the kids did not understand that! They still found ways to “accidentally” all in the water.
We headed back in to the hotel. The kids swam in the pool for 2 hours and were probably happier than they would have been at the beach.
After we were sure that they were tired out, we loaded up the van and headed out to Orlando. That was only 2 and a half hours away! Wow. We really got there too soon. Tomi and Jeff were out doing things, and we had to stall for time. Fortunately, Ang spotted an outlet mall on the way! We got some new shoes and other gear, and then proceeded to get very lost. I am talking Eric and Ang bickering lost. It was miserable. I finally stopped at a Walgreen’s and paid 7 bucks for a lousy map. Come to find out we were 10 minutes away.
After haggling with the gatekeeper at the timeshare, we were allowed to enter.
There was just enough time to let the kids play in the pool before we headed to Disney.
We had ordered tickets for the “not so scary Halloween celebration” at the Magic Kingdom several months ago. I had thought this was going to be a colossal waste of money until I realized shortly into our adventure that we were getting on the rides in record time. The kids were able to trick or treat, and ride 75% of the rides in the park in the span of 4 hours. Wow! That is great. This also meant that any plans for the magic kingdom on Day 6 could be canned! Yeah!!! Guilt free, I was able to save hundreds of extra dollars.
The kids were generous enough to sleep till 8 am. Uhhhhh. Talk about dragging. I still have a limp!
We hung around the time share until our hosts got up. Their kid decided to sleep till 9:30! Oh the luck!
Planet Hollywood had free kids meals with Adult purchases… Even so, 4 adults clocked in at 100.00 dollars. That is 3 meals at Larry’s for 4 people! Priorities. Actually, the Planet Hollywood in Tampa did have one awesome piece on display…. Laura Palmer’s promise necklace from Twin Peaks. That was worth a few bucks to see.
We headed Tampa for make a quick stop at Don’s. The kids totally dug Shyla… His dog! She proceeded to entertain them with tricks. Don had made me a few CD’s from Bob Walkenhorst’s show in KC Mizzou that he had attended. You can hear Bob talking to him in the CD. Excellent. Best quote…. “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a Guinness today.” I knew I liked the Rainmakers for all the right reasons!
Next, Fort Myers. I told Summer we were going over one of the biggest bridges in the world to keep her occupied. We hit the Sunshine Skyway just south of St. Pete on 275. Totally excellent driving if you like looking at water.
By 7:00 we were in Ft Myers. Aunt Carla and Uncle Mikes house.
Beach day! Mike, Carla and the rest of us headed out to Sanibel to Doc Walkers place. The weather could not have been better. Seriously.. It was great. Carla noted the weather had not been this nice in a long time.
The waves were low. The kids could wander out into the water without fear. Same for Ang!
Aunt Carla had given the kids a gift of a Castle form and a scoop. But every time I created a castle, Aiden knocked it down! I could barely get one wall up before he would run over and knock it down. Paybacks are rough, I will remind him of this behavior next year when he is trying to create something.
We ate lunch at the beach.
Carla had us stop at the hardware store before we went out. She had some crafts with plaster she wanted to do in the sand.
Ang, Carla and the kids made creations while I sat in the water and Mike read a book.
Once we got back, the kids totally crashed! Till 6 PM!
Aiden and Summer hopped in the pool after their naps… Aiden now swims all over the pool with his water-wings. Very cool to see him confident in the water. This was also the first time I could stay out of the pool and just watch them. Believe it or not, I was getting water-logged by this point in the trip!
Not a whole lot of variation on day 1.
Mike did not come out to the beach.
Aiden almost drowned. Yeah, I was watching him, but a few waves snuck up on him and Summer. Next thing I know, he is up to his nose in water, and his eyes are staring a hole through me! I ran like Hasselhoff to the surf. Grabbed him and he started crying. I think it was probably a good thing to happen to him, he kinda stayed away from the deep water after that. (Am I tough on these guys or what?)
Otherwise it was a continuation of Day 1. The sunscreen was getting spread pretty liberal at this point as well.
After the kids naps we headed out to Fort Myers beach for dinner.
Pete’s Time-Out was packed, but a new place right next door had lots of tables out on the sidewalk. Wahoo Willey’s. (Sounds like a bad Fairbury Bar) Wahoo’s was great. Delicious food, and great service. Plus, this look right down at the water.
We headed out the pier. The kids dug that.
Grabbed a treat at DQ, the kids dug that too!
New route home suggested by the relatives. Nashville via Tallahassee and Montgomery Alabama… Looks further on the map, but we made it in better time than I thought.
We left at 9 EST.
Hit a McDonalds with a Play Area in Gainesville for an hour.
Had dinner at a Cracker Barrel just north of Montgomery.
Arrived in Clarksville at 10 PM CST.
Aiden destroyed the continental breakfast area at the Comfort Inn. I had to apologize to the poor woman cleaning up, and we promptly ran out.
After leaving Clarksville at 9:30… We arrived at our house at 2:30.
It left me plenty of time to mow the lawn.. Whoopee! Welcome home!