Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 3: Travel Day

May 4, 2009
Columbia, SC to Vero Beach, FL

We were up a little earlier today, as I calculated the drive to be about an hour longer (thank you Google Maps!).

Today's drives was pretty uneventful as South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are pretty boring along the interstate.

We made our usual mid-morning stops for bottle and diaper change.

We stopped for lunch in Savannah, GA at, of course, Cracker Barrel. I've always meant to go into the historic district of Savannah, as I hear it is very picturesque.

This day of the drive actually had the most construction, especially through Jacksonville. Of course, not as much highway construction as Toronto!!

Before we made it to Jacksonville, we made our ceremonial stop at the Florida state welcome centre for our free sample of orange juice.

Once through the mess of Jacksonville, we pushed forward to Vero Beach. The last hour and a half was little bit hairy: for the first two days, Graydon was a real trooper and didn't fuss much. The last hour and a half was not pretty! Graydon cried most of the time and couldn't be consoled. He would just not settle, no matter what we did. So, getting to the resort was our up most priority.

We made it to Vero Beach and the Disney resort and we couldn't be happier. We were beat! And what a sight for sore eyes the resort was. Absolutely beautiful! Everything I would expect from a Disney resort plus more.

We checked in and made our way to our building and room. Surprisingly, they had underground parking, considering the resort is right on the beach and you would think the parking would flood with high water.

We had a studio room booked and it was more than enough room. It was an odd shaped room with a kitchenette, a pull out couch and a balcony with a view of the ocean.

We unpacked a little, fed Graydon and leisurely walked down to the main building for dinner. We ate at Shutters where I had the pot roast and Janice had the half rotisserie chicken. The meal was great and the service was just as good. At the end of the meal our sever provided us with a "bounce back" coupon for the following night. Through most of dinner, Graydon flirted with the waitresses and other guests.

As with the other nights, we turned in early with Graydon. Our plan for the next day is to relax. We needed it after the long drive!

Day 2: Travel Day

May 3, 2009
Bridgeport, WV to Columbia, SC

Our second day of driving was a wet one. We had varying amounts of rain throughout the day (light to heavy downpour).

The second day was definitely the most scenic as most of the drive is through the mountains. The best part is Hwy 19 through West Virginia. The road winds through beautiful mountains and ends up going over the New River Gorge bridge. The bridge is apparently the largest single span bridge in North America (the world?). Our plan is stop at the lookout on our way home.

Once we made it back to the interstate, we stopped at the travel centre for a bottle and some Starbucks (mmmm..... Iced Green Tea Lemonade).

The drive down the mountains was equally eventful (coming in to North Carolina): we ran into heavy fog. Not as heavy as the fog we drove through on the same stretch of road going home, a year and a half ago.

We stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Jonesville, NC, which is pretty much half way. We stayed at the Hampton Inn (which is much nicer than the one the night before) at the same Interstate exit, so we were familiar with the restaurant.

Once done lunch, we finished the afternoon drive and stopped for the second night in Columbia, SC. We stayed in the Fairfield Inn, in the North East section of the city. This is a brand new hotel (opened in December) and it looked like a 5 star resort. Something I wouldn't expect from a roadside hotel.

We changed rooms twice as they booked us in a room with 2 queen beds instead of 1 king bed. We soon found out that all king bed rooms had no bathtubs (shower stalls only). Obviously we needed a bathtub to wash Graydon. So back to the front desk and off to our original room with 2 queen beds.

We went to dinner that night at the Olive Garden. Getting to the restaurant was interesting, as the girl at the hotel said it was about 5 to 10 minutes away but felt more like 10 to 15.

One interesting thing to note about dinner was the diversity of people. Living in Toronto all my life, I'm used to a big cross section of cultures and races. Not so in Columbia. Either Caucasian or African-American. That was a big culture shock!

As with the night before, we went to bed at the same time as Graydon. I needed to rest as my cold was still bothering me and I had a real hard time driving through the mountains with my ears. This next day should be better, as the drive is all flat.

Day 1: Travel Day

May 2, 2009
Home (Pickering, Ontario) to Bridgeport, WV

Our trip started out as planned: out of the house shortly after 8 am and to the US border (Buffalo) in about 2 hours.

We crossed the border with very little hassle. The usual questions: Where are you going? Flying or driving (a lot of folks from Toronto drive to Buffalo to catch flights because the cost to fly from Toronto is much more expensive)? What are you bringing with you?

Our first pit stop was at the travel centre south west of Buffalo for a diaper change and a bottle.

We ended up having to make another pit stop just across the PA state line for another dirty diaper.

Drove on to Meadville, PA for our first of many lunch stops at the Cracker Barrel. I've been waiting for Cracker Barrel to have their chicken fried chicken, but decided to have a soup and sandwich instead. As good as the chicken is, it is too much food for lunch.

We continued on our way with one more pit stop before we made it to Bridgeport, WV.

I had booked a Hampton Inn as we have stayed at the chain before. The rooms are usually a good size, but this one was a bit of a disappointment. Seems like the hotel needs to give the room a fresh coat of paint.

We tried to go to the Outback Steakhouse for dinner, but the wait was over an hour (there were a bunch of teenagers dressed up for prom outside the restaurant) and it was well past 6pm. We ended up at the "Eat 'n Park." Service was slow, the food was not so great but the waiter was friendly and the pies looked good (even though we didn't have any).

We all hit the sack at 8:30ish. Janice and I were still getting over colds and we really couldn't do much without waking Graydon.

Overall day 1 was a good day. Graydon did better than expected in the car and I was hoping it would be the trend for the car trip.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trip reports to come....

Well, I've been back for over a month now, and still don't have my trip reports up yet. I haven't even finished my written journal book. But that should be completed soon! Which means my detailed (fair warning) blog reports will also be posted soon! Hopefully next week.

In the mean time, here are a couple of pictures for your enjoyment: