Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Vacation

It has been an interesting ride so far. I have driven from Jacksonville, FL to Baton Rouge, La. I stayed there while Andy worked for a week and I did nothing actually. It was nice to have absolutely nothing to do. I just went to the pool, watched Red Box movies, and read New Moon of Twilight series....definitely got sucked into that one. I was attempting to get ready for our camping trip so I decided to go to Dick's Sporting Goods and realized that I only had a tent, a tarp, sleeping bags, and a few towels for the trip. Thats it. No flashlight, no cooking gear, no cooler which now that I remember I still have milk and beer in the one we had to buy.

After a successful trip...or three to Walmart, we were set to leave for our adventure.
We only had booked plans in Nashville so that's where we headed first. After driving about 5 hours, we stopped in Birmingham, AL for lunch. It's funny what Ms. Garmin will tell you about a city. With her you have a lot of options so therefore you have to make several decisions based on limited knowledge of a place. We stopped at a greek diner with a great terrace just off of UAB campus. We met a nice guy who invited us to sit down and eat with him. We had great conversation about him being a cableman until I started talking about Dexter, a fascinating show on Showtime and he was drawing a blank. Did I forget to mention thtat right before I began discussing this show that he said he didn't really watch tv? ANdy changed the subject to my dismay but it was a good thing. I was just digging my own silent hole which was getting harder to get out. The man invited us over to his house for a group meeting later that night. We respectfully declined for we had a great night planned in Nashville. After we declined conversation was stale and awkward. We left soon after.
Getting into the car we stared at each other and just lauged about how weird that ended but now glad to get on the road to Nashville. A few hours later we arrived at our spot: Scarritt-Bennett Center right next to vanderbuilt campus. It is a gorgeous old Bible College for women. They have changed the dorm rooms into accomadations and we stayed there for only $45 a night. That is a great price for the heart of Nashville (other hotels in area were $150). THe campus was beautiful and a bit gothic in its architecture. I would HIGHLY recommend for anyone staying in the area. There is lots to do in the West End. THe first night we ate at Taco Co. which was awesome and had drinks at Music Row. We made it an early night because we had gotten up at 4am to make the drive. Sunday we walked around Vanderbuilt campus which is NOT wheelchair accessible because it has so many stairs and is damn steep!! You'd have to have crazy upper body strength because my legs were barely working. Gorgeous campus though.
I also got to see the Kappa House which was in between two fraternaty houses which is so different than FSU campus for Sorority Row.

We went out to Broadway on Sunday night to the Flying Saucer for dinner on 10th Ave and then to 2nd Ave to a few bars. Weird crowds out on Sunday night. Met some really nice people too! So one thing to know about Nashville. If you arent great at singing...don't do karaoke. People there are actually talented. No one sings really for laughs. Yeah, that's the other thing about Nashville...everyone is really talented. Brentwood area I think is lined with recording studios and we saw CMT and GAC station buildings. Now that I think about it, it would have been cool to try and get a tour. Another night we went to this Irish Pub off the main drag in the West end I think. I met a really nice artist who also happens to be a former highschool classmate of Jen Shacklock, a good friend of mine from FSU. Small world! She was performing and was really good, I liked her vocal styles and the fact that she's from New Orleans area. Andy gave me money to buy her cd and she ended up giving me her old & new ones.

We sadly had to leave Nashville to continue our journey....I am sure we will be back.

On the road again to a state park just to the northeast of Knoxville. After stopping in KNoxville, I wasn't very impressed. The people weren't friendly but I'm thinking we stopped on the wrong side of town. We were definately the cleanest looking people there...and thats pretty bad for road-trippers. We continued to the park to camp. Let's just say it was beautiful on the side of the mountain but there were several bumps. We got there lateish and set up camp after circiling to find a spot. We started cooking in the dark which I think we won;t do again because you cant see anything and ou cant see ugs when they land in your food. We also learned that Citronella candles attract the largest of mosquitos and trap them in the wax. I'm not sure how good of a repellent they are. Sleeping is for the birds when it comes to camping. We stayed at this place for 2 nights b/c it was only $15 a night. Not much else to tell accept that it is no fun sleeping on a clay ground.

Dollywood was enjoyable but much too young. I had good memories of it but I don't think I will go back. Pigeon Forge is a tourist trap. Lots to do and lots of money to spend. Traffic was a mess. We camped there for a night and there were some local kids partying in a house next to our campsite until like 4am. Great fun, unless you havent slept since Monday night and it in now Thursday night. I think I was cursing in my sleep. We left the next morning and headed towards....we werent sure. So we made a pit stop at Forbidden Caverns. Caves are so mysterious and to think you are one of the people to first discover and use the hidden gems as a secret hideaway.

We put in Garmin aka Vicki destination as home in Jax. As we started along I realized that neither Andy or I had ever been to Charleston so we said...why not? As we got here, exhausted, sort of hungry, and disheveled we realized no matter how full we got our stomachs, it was 8pm and we had no where to sleep. Jacksonville is about 4 hours away and we are tired and want a beer or two. WHen you feel like this, you get really grouchy at whoever is with you. It was about to be the end of a long grouchy day. All hotels in the area are from about $90-$190. We stopped at a tourist place and he suggested a hostel ans told us how inexpensive they were. Now, Andy had already suggested one earlier but I wasnt sold on sleeping in a bunk bed. We had no other options so we took it! It was gorgeous and quaint: Not So Hostel. We got a private room for $60 and had porch access. We got a great suggestion to go to the Pour House at Folly Beach and heard some amazing music: Micheal Trent Trio, Ponderosa, Cary Ann Hearst, and the In-Laws. Check them out on Myspace. Of course I was sleepy and wanted to go home early. Andy was a bit disappointed b/c they were really good. I cant help it though, its nothing new I rarely can stay out all night. I fell asleep at the Ben Harper concert a few years back. Amazing show but my body can only take so much.

Today we are touring ourselves around Charleston and then we'll be back in Jax. It's been a great two weeks of vacation so far even with a touch of grouchiness here and there. It has been great meeting nice and friendly people along the way ans seeing some old friends in Tallahassee.

I will update later!

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