May 8, 2009

plans? who needs plans?


I'm writing you from Cancun, Mexico. We decided we're tired of all the thunderstorms forcing us to change our plans at the last minute, so we decided to just leave the country.

Okay, so not really. I'm actually in Asheville, NC which is where we had planned on being today. Which is pretty much the first time in two days we've been on "schedule". We decided with all the storms that were going through that getting on the Parkway would not be a good idea. Pretty much right after I clicked "publish" on my last post, Cody went down to the desk to extend our stay another night in Savannah. We had another enjoyable day walking around Savannah, took a riverboat cruise (I'm still kinda salty about that), and had an awesome dinner.

Paula Deen is a pretty big deal in Georgia, and Savannah in particular. She owns a restaraunt there with her two sons, and people line up for hours to eat there. We, however went to her brothers restaraunt farther out in the coastal marshes. They specialize in seafood, which was one of Cody's goals while we were in the south: we HAD to eat at a seafood joint that served fresh seafood. This place was awesome. Fantastic views and even better food. Uncle Bubba's. I highly recommend you try it.

From there we drove out to Tybee Island, which is at the mouth of the Savannah River (and a few more coastal rivers and creeks). Awesome beach. We hung out on the pier for a while, where I got to see a fisherman pull in a skate (think baby stingray, like what you get to pet at zoo exhibits), and Cody took some pretty ridiculous pictures of the surfers. We were there right before the peak of high tide, so there were a lot of people surfing. We walked the beach for a bit, and while Cody took more pictures, I acted like an 8 year old and hunted shells.

Yesterday we went back to the island to tour the lighthouse and keepers houses. We climbed all 178 stairs to top, at which point Cody went out on the catwalk to enjoy the view and take some pictures. My ass stayed firmly planted in the safe confines of the stairwell.

On to the beach again, where Cody finally got the chance to get in the ocean and wade around and body surf a bit. I don't like getting in natural bodies of water over my knees, so I just waded around and checked out the tidal pools since it was low tide this time around.

Then it was on to Fort Pulaski, which I can't really describe. It's nothing like Fort Meigs in Perrysburg that we're all so familiar with. We got some really good pictures that I will hopefully post some time this year so you can see for yourself. The bonus of that trip was the alligator in the moat that surrounds the fort. Yes! I real, live alligator in the wild! We were stoked at that!

The rest of the day was the ho-hum drive from Georgia to North Carolina. Today I'll be touring Biltmore (again!) while Cody putters around Asheville all day. With any luck, the gardens will still be in bloom and I'll be snapping pictures like a botanical papparazzi!

We'll be staying here again tonight, and HOPEFULLY the weather will hold out in the morning so we can actually do the last portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway on our way to Gatlinburg. It's the highest and most beautiful portion of the parkway (the whole thing is gorgeous, but the mountain views can't be beat on this portion). Since it's so high, if it's cloudy, we're going to have to skip it, and I'm probably going to pout.

Time to strap on my fanny pack and camera bag and play the role of tourist I love so well!

May 5, 2009

rain, rain, go away...

Hey guys,

Sitting in our hotel outside of Savannah, GA right now, listening to Cody yapping on the phone to his brother. I finally got a connection, so I figured I would post a quick update. The WiFi was out yesterday, and it took a while to connect tonight, so we'll see if it lasts long enough to actually post.

Can I just say that nothing messes up plans worse than a stalled low pressure system over the entire eastern half of the U.S. Oy, enough with the rain!

We left Ohio Saturday morning and drove through Pennsylvania (VERY expensive turnpike, btw) to start Skyline Drive in Virginia. We actually drove through Maryland and West Virginia as well, and even though we were in each state for under 10 minutes, we're still counting them on the official tally.

Skyline Drive is a scenic road built in Shenandoah National Park that puts you right up in the mountains. We went through two years ago, and it is beautiful. There are scenic overlooks where you can pull off the road and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Off the top of my head, the highest point on the drive itself is somewhere over 3,000 feet. The problem is, when there are storm clouds in the area, it blocks all the views. As an added "bonus", because you're driving so high in the mountains, you're actually driving through the clouds. It's kind of cool, but the charm wears off pretty quickly when you're driving 10mph (normal speed limit it 35mph) on a winding mountain road because you literally can't see more than 10 feet in front of you. It was a bit intense at times. We did make the hike down a wooded trail to check out the waterfall we saw on our last trip though. We had discussed trying to hike to one of the other falls we hadn't seen yet, but after 6-plus hours in the car, we were just too damn sore.

Once we made it out of the park, we had about an hour drive to our hotel. It was a nice enough hotel, and there was a nice little Chinese restaraunt right across the street, so that worked out well.

We were supposed to start the first leg of the Blue Ridge Parkway on Sunday morning, but after checking the weather and seeing more storms rolling through all of Virginia, we decided it would be over 10 hours of driving through clouds again, which is tense (not to mention a bit dangerous, what with the deer and all) to say the least, we decided to head straight to Charleston, SC instead. We were planning to quit the Parkway with enough time to drive most of the way that night anyway, which would have given us less than one full day in Charleston. Since we got there early, we were able to do a carriage tour and take a nice leisurely walk through the historic distric. I LOVED it. It's absolutely beautiful, but a bit pricey to live there, I assure you.

Monday morning, we did a quick walk through the historic district of another nearby town called Summerville. Not as many houses, but still impressice to me. I was treated to the added bonus of seeing a snake in the road as well. Since Cody was walking about 15 feet in front of me (I was stopping to take pictures), I ripped him a new one for not warning me. Since he's Captain Oblivious, he never saw it and thought it was absolutely hilarious that I went all the way to the other side of the street to get by it. He of course had to take pictures. He insists it was indeed alive, but there was a twinkle in his eye that leads me to believe it was dead in the road and he just thought it was funny.

I was able to explain to him later that because of that one snake, I was too nervous to take my eyes of the ground long enough to snap photos, at which point I think he finally realized that it's not just a funny little quirk but a real fear for me. So there's hope for him yet!!!

We then moved on to Patriot's Point outside of Charleston. It is basically a large maritime museum where they have docked decommissioned ships and turned them into museums. The big mama-jama is an old aircraft carrier. Can I just tell you that those things are HUGE!!! And to top it off, it was an old one! They're much bigger now. It was awesome to go through the ship and see how the sailors lived and worked on it. There were many exhibits mixed in, some of which were quite exstensive.

Also moored there were an old diesel sub, a destroyer and a Coast Guard cutter. We weren't able to tour the destroyer, as they are currently working on it, so that was a big bummer. The other ships were fantastic though!

After leaving Charleston, we headed to Savannah, GA and had a nice dinner and made it to our hotel fairly early. After a mucho enjoyable double foot rub (LOTS of walking, stairs and ladders yesterday!), we crashed pretty hard.

Today we took a trolley tour of the historic district in Savannah and walked the streets taking pictures the rest of the day. The clouds started rolling in a little before four o'clock, and by 4:30, it was obvious we needed to get out of there or we would get wet. We were on the freeway by 5:00, and boy did we ever make a good decision! It POURED so hard and so fast the road wasn't draining well. Not that hydroplaning was a problem, as we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour...

But, we're back at our hotel safe and sound (and dry), so I can't really complain. Tomorrow we will do a little more walking around Savannah, and then head back north to pick up the BRP where we would have left off on Sunday had we not changed our plans. My only hope is that we can do the Parkway without any more issues. There is a chance of thunderstorms on and off for the rest of the week in all the areas we'll be in, so hopefully we won't have to change all our plans again.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

May 4, 2009

quick update

Hey gang,

I don't have a whole lot of time, which I can't get into because, well, I don't have a lot of time.

We're about 25 minutes outside of Charleston, SC right now and we need to leave soon. I had intended to do a quick mini-post every night, but that hasn't worked out for me so far. We couldn't get a connection Saturday night, and Cody needed the laptop to re-route us yesterday morning. The connection here last night (and currently) is in and out constantly, and I just didn't have the energy or patience to deal with it last night.

If time and our connection allow for it, I'll try to post an update tonight (from Savannah, GA).

So far we've been through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina!

We're getting ready to head out for a walking tour of Summerville, SC, which I admit is pretty much all about me. Today is Cody's big day though. We're going to tour a bunch of Naval vessels in Charleston Harbor, including an aircraft carrier (which I'm even a bit stoked about).

Gotta run!!!