Friday, March 9, 2012

My continuing love affair with road trips - Part 1

April 2002

“Let’s fly out and drive back.” 
“That trip to Disney, let’s fly to Florida, get a car and drive back.”
“That’s crazy…. I’m in!”

Now, I’m not sure if it was me or Heather that started that conversation, but that’s how it all began.  So we packed our bags for sunny Florida and met up with our family of friends and had a blast at the happiest place on earth!!! We hit all the parks and hopped from place to place for a week.  The magic of the Magic Kingdom was not lost on us.  I saw my first palm trees and got to hug a Disney princess.  We watched fireworks over Epcot (my favorite stop), rode all the movie rides and Safari’ed through Animal Kingdom.  We went to Seaworld and spent a day at Discovery Cove -- have you ever gone swimming with a dolphin, I did!!  Discovery Cove is an awesome park to check out - you get to swim with the dolphins, cruise the lazy river and feed the birds in the aviary.  This is me and Jenny!!

We aslo checked out a Titanic Exhibit, Medieval Times and a dinner theatre production called Capones!!  So much to do even outside the Disney Parks.   At the end of our Florida visit we wished our friends a safe flight and began our first real road trip.

Packed up in our rental SUV, a cooler full of soda, a box of junk food, a few books on CD, and a AAA triptik for navigation (this was pre-GPS) we hit the road for our first stop, Savannah GA. What a beautiful place Savannah is, the dripping Spanish moss trees lining the beautifully laid out city was only accentuated by the charming trolley cars and historic buildings.  Having recently read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt, I was drawn to the magic that Savannah has to offer, staying primarily in the Historic districts we only had a day to spend. 

We bought a ticket for the Hop On, Hop Off (HO-HO) tour, a narrated trolley tour and we began to explore the area.  From the beautiful Savannah River, through the various squares lined in shady trees and beautiful homes, including the famed Mercer House; Forsyth Park, Girl Scout headquarters and so much more.  One day is defiantly not enough time to spend in this welcoming city and someday I plan to go back.

We began our next leg of the trip, 10 hours north to Washington DC, with breakfast in Clary’s.  A steamily locals hangout, it was recommended by my old boss who frequented there and worth it for sure.  We barreled up I-95 through South and North Carolina making a few stops for food and sites along the way, and it was in Virginia when the trip got exciting.  A rain storm that would have sent smarter people off the road till it passed did not stop us.  The driving rain lasted about 2 hours but when we passed it the skies were clear. 

Traveling in the middle lane of thick, steady traffic, we watched a station wagon playing chicken with an RV.  We backed off as the station wagon tried to go around the RV in the passing lane but the station wagon caught his tires in gravel.  He tried to stay on the road by steering into the middle late but he spun out of control, quickly working his way back right and off the road, head first into a bank of trees.  All this happened in a matter of seconds and it sure does make your heart race and improve your driving. 

With Heather behind the wheel we pushed through.  Next stop, Washington DC….

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