Thursday, December 6, 2018

Road Trip 2018 Day 4

Sunday came, and it came in hot. The other ladies went to the Publix grocery store to get some cream and produce (Wal-Mart wasn't very well stocked the night before) and I putted around and organized.

I was very disappointed to discover I had forgotten my good camera at home and also the charger for my Garmin Vivofit.  However it was cool to find these charging plugs connected to our clock-phone in our bedroom.  Doesn't do the waterproof camera or my mp3 player but I don't have my own ipad cord so now I don't need to borrow Cheryl's cord. The weird thing was our clock had the wrong time and there was no way to change it!

This is mom's and mine bedroom

Our bathroom had only one sink and no storage. The shower head kind of sucks.

Looking towards the front door

The living room

The dining room.  

The under equipped kitchen.  LOL. We kept saying "I wish I had..." a cheese grater, a rubber scraper, another cutting board, scissors, knife sharpener, some Tupperware, plastic wrap, proper salt and pepper shakers instead of packets...

Our unit is the bottom left

They've recently added a BBQ area behind but the patio is screened in with no door so we have to walk around.  Oh well, it's still nice.  Not used much!

Mom had to touch all the plants 

 Can you see the little fellow?  So many of these little lizards!
The master bedroom with a huge bed. There were no overhead lights in the bedrooms and it felt a little dark. Our room had room-darkening curtains, but no sheers, so it was all or nothing, and faced the parking spots. 

 They get a walk through closet to a large bath

Another view. My bedroom was down the hall where the dryer is.

Mom just went and grabbed this plant.  Luckily it's quite soft

The first pool.  It was the only one here when my parents bought their timeshare

When I was here last I think this was a simple white slide. I didn't notice it this time but Mom and I went back another time and I could see where the slide had actually been on the "rocks".

If you like tennis, this place is for you. 

The mini golf has changed a lot.  There is now a fee but owners get a discount. I was told it was renovated last year.

Another pool.  There are seven pools plus a couple kid pools and hot tubs at each pool

We checked out one of the activity centers.  Cheryl was pretty tipsy by now 

Hanging it out with Nicki

Found in the Marketplace

Some of us wanted sun, some wanted dappled shade

Cheryl and her mom went to a paint class

I took this shot to compare with an old one but that's too hard on my phone. Check back later

Mom, Nicki and I went to Movie at the Pool but it wasn't very good.  Too much light and the kids were noisy.  So we didn't stay.  

It was a lovely day.  Quite hot but that's why we're here!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Road Trip 2018 Day 3

So, this hotel seemed okay when we got there, but being on  a main drag, it was quite noisey over night. Engines revving, drag racing, noisey southern trucks and sirens. Lots of sirens.

The day was dreary, but the palm trees outside kept us optimistic. There were only a few, used for landscaping, all the way through most of Georgia. 

We did have heavy rain on and off throughout the day, but the dashboard display showed the temperature getting warmer. We enjoyed the handmade billboards in Georgia, but there sure wasn't much to look at. And I don't understand how you can have signs promoting your homemade moonshine with free tastings. If we weren't so tired, and had another driver (Cheryl wanted to do it all herself!) then I would have wanted to go through Georgia at night. 

We stopped at a truck stop so Cheryl could look for more of her magnets she is collecting. These actually looked like they could be good if only they were made fresh.

I have wanted to go to a Sonic for a long, long time. The last time we were driving through the States we were with Rob's parents, who are most decidedly NOT fast food eaters. So that was a bust. We had seen a sign for Sonic earlier, but it was only 9:30am so we weren't quite ready. We used the GPS later to find another one--much easier than their website.

We quite enjoyed the drive in experience. The food was okay. We mainly got value priced items as we didn't really need big meals while sitting in the truck all day. Good prices. Cheryl got a strawberry milkshake and said it was awesome. I got a Butterfinger Sonic a DQ Blizzard. It was yummy except for the "whipped topping" on top and the fact that we were in Georgia, it was warm, and I had to eat the burger first, so it was starting to melt. The onion rings were breaded, not battered, which I prefer. But the Tots hit the spot! LOL. I love me some Tater Tots. 

It continued to rain, quite heavily at times, until we were near Daytona. Finally we headed west and the clouds broke for the sunset. 

Isn't this the cutest little SUV being towed?
We made it to Vistana, later than expected. There were some issues with check in--had to wait in line, the girl told us to go to the VIP building, we drove over there and they said no, that girl is doing something wrong--she sent a few other families over, but we had to go back (and wait in line again) at the main centre. We were then helped by Yvonne who was a little too loud and energetic for our tired selves. We explained we were tired, here for a much needed rest and no, we didn't want to schedule our owner's meeting. She was persistant but we held firm.

We got in to the condo, dropped some stuff off and went and picked up a pizza at a Cici's that Cheryl knew about. We scarfed those two pizzas down so quick! Then we headed out to Wal-Mart for a big shopping trip, though we were quite tired. Made sure to stop in the Wal-Mart liquor store (where I did NOT get asked for ID even though their sign said they ID anyone who looks under 40. Sob). Got home and set up the bar! We added a bit more to it since LOL. And then hit the beds.

Road Trip 2018 Day 2

Day 2 started out so foggy and ethereal. 

Somewhere out there are the beautiful mountains and valleys of West Virginia.

At the first rest stop in West Virginia, the outside vending machines were all caged up!

It was so peaceful and scenic.  Me and the moms stood looking at the big map trying to figure out which rest stop we were at because there was no "You Are Here" arrow. A nice young bearded man with a smooth southern voice started pointing out where we were. I wish we could have stayed and talked longer. Or, rather, stayed and listened to him talk. And later we'd find out that perhaps Cheryl should have stopped to talk with him too!

We had passed this combo earlier. The back of the trailer was held together with a thin rope, and the Cherokee was so sacked out I'm surprised the hitch wasn't bottoming out. 

The fog stayed with us most of the day.  Little did we know, because Cheryl wasn't with us when the nice local was giving us a map tour, that we had actually missed the turn off. I didn't know we were going to be leaving the Interstate for a state road to see a fabulous gorge. We probably wouldn't have had much of a view, and the route we took was quite a bit longer (think: we would have taken the hypotenuse to go see the gorge, but the way we went was the A and B sides of the triangle).

Instead, we were taking a longer route, and going through the capitol, Charleston, W. Va is not at all the same as the other Charleston. Rather dingy, the fog made it surreal and the capitol dome was the only bit of colour. 

 This rest stop was awesome. The sink units had soap, water, and a hand dryer which doubled as a shelf!! They were so cool and the only place we saw them. The rest stops are not at all like the OnRoute stops in Ontario.

We wished the rest stops/welcome centres had plant plaques. 

 Going into the first of two tunnels!
I think this was near where I77 crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway

The sun was trying to peek through as we crested the hills and crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway. I would love to do the BRP from one end to the other some day. 
Earlier in the day we had seen a billboard for a "Beef Jerky Outlet" and thought, That's interesting, wonder what it is.
Well, what it is is a chain of 100+ stores that specialize in beef and other jerkies. We stopped at the next one in Lewisburg, WV. The ladies were SOOO nice. If you do this trip, stop in! Samples, and information, and lots and lots to  choose from. Even though we paid separately, they gave us the multi-item discount! I bought Cherry Maple Beef. So yummy! 

Then we went across the road to try Bojangles. We each got something different to try. I liked the spicier chicken, but there wasn't' enough in the salad. Cheryl had the spicier tenders as her meal and liked them but said later she had heartburn and tummy issues. The sausage on a biscuit was good. Everyone liked the biscuit. The seasoned fries were good, but overall, everything seemed a little salty. A couple fries were okay, but by the end, we were salted out.

A lovely welcome center as you enter North Carolina. Beautiful gardens. 
A beautiful rainbow appeared with this American flag

The South Carolina welcome center was large and nice...but closed. The washrooms were open and the wifi was on.

Our must-reach destination was Columbia. They had warned us at the North Carolina welcome centre that Charlotte could be slow because it is a "big city" of 850. "850 Thousand?" I asked. Yes. Okay, we're used to dealing with Toronto with 3+ MILLION and no good bypass. This would be a piece of cake. It ended up that a combination of rain, Friday rush hour and construction made it quite a slow trip through the city (the GPS told us to stay on the interstate through the city, not the loop highway around it). We really needed to get to Columbia, South Carolina. We hadn't wanted to drive much, if at all, after dark so we wouldn't miss anything. However, days are short in December and really, by this point, we were out of the mountains. We picked the Best Western Plus on Two Notch Road. Not the best location...