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Old 01-05-2013, 08:28 PM   #1
AnnieDan_Artlover
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It doesn't matter, we'll never see them again! A Dec. Mother-daughter TR

Chapter 1 - Who, What, When, Where, Why

WHO
Hi, for all who havent read my previous (or ongoing) PTRs or my past TR, Im Annie-Danielle aka Dan.

Im 33, both very mature and a big kid and the most important thing to know about me, I guess, is that I suffer from a chronic illness called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which, to make it short, means bad connective tissues (ligaments, skin, that kinda thing), bad immune system and lots of problems most of the time. Thus, I cant work, not even part time and I live in an extension of my parents house.
Last time we went to the World, I was in a wheelchair& my health is much better now so it was a big excitement thinking about how it would be to WALK!
My favorites
-Thing to do in a theme park: thrill ride, the crazier the better
-Disney food: Pretzel bread
-Disney movie: Fantasia
-Disney character: Can't choose... as long as it's fuzzy!
-Disney park: Epcot



And with me is my mom aka Mama.
She is (ok, she asks that I say in her young sixties, says it shall be enough).
Her favorites
-Thing to do in a theme park: people watch
-Disney food: Casey's mini corn-dogs
-Disney movie: Cinderella
-Disney character: Can't choose, but like me, prefers the fuzz balls!
-Disney park: MK

WHAT
A mother and daughter trip, just for fun, to see the new Harry Potter "park" and Christmas decorations!

WHEN
Saturday November 24th - Sunday December 16th: A 3 day drive to and back, 2 days in Universal and 15 days with the Mouse! All in all, 23 days!

WHERE
Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary!

WHY
Because we could! Seriously... There has to be perks of being too sick to work, right? I try to pretend I retired really early (still working on enjoying the good days without guilt and remembering those don't even come close to compensating the bad ones...), and Mama is half-retired and working mostly from home so she could take the time off (and deal with any emergency from there if needed). With that part-time work money and the money I put aside we could do it. That, and all the nice research and help from the DIS which saved us a ton of cash, too!

All the details will come in time (probably more than you will be able to endure!).

I'll try to update the TR regularly and keep a nice index here, and I can already assure you there will be weeks of nothing when I'm too sick, and then on good days a few updates in a row.

Oh and before I forget, a disclaimer: Any similarities between this TR style and the Frumps' is intentional, you guys make the best ones!

In the next chapter: The first hint of how the TR title came to be...

INDEX
Chapter 0 - The PTR
Chapter 1 - Who, What, when, where, why
Chapter 2 - Nov. 24th: Home-Harrisburg
Chapter 3 - Nov. 25th: Harrisburg-Greensboro
Chapter 4 - Nov. 26th: Greensboro-Jacksonville
Chapter 5 - Nov. 27th part 1: Jacksonville-UNIVERSAL!!!
Chapter 6 - Nov. 27th part 2: Islands of Adventure & Universal Studios
Chapter 7 - Nov. 28th part 1: Early morning entry at WWoHP
Chapter 8 - Nov. 28th part 2: Universal Studios afternoon
Chapter 9 - Nov. 28th part 3: We arrive at DISNEY!
Chapter 10 - Nov 29th part 1: Getting ready
Chapter 11 - Nov. 29th part 2: Epcot, finally!
Chapter 12 - Nov. 30th: Hollywood Studios
Chapter 13 - Dec. 1st part 1: Epcot
Chapter 14 - Dec. 1st part 2: Epcot AND MK wooo
Chapter 15 - Dec. 2nd part 1: A surprise! ...and Animal Kingdom
Chapter 16 - Dec. 2nd part 2: Animal Kingdom and Boma

Chapter 17 - Dec. 3rd part 1: Hollywood Studios
Chapter 18 - Dec. 3rd part 2: HS / Le Cellier
Chapter 19 - Dec. 4th part 1: Magic Kingdom
Chapter 20 - Dec. 4th part 2: Epcot
Chapter 21 - Dec. 5th part 1: Magic Kingdom
Chapter 22 - Dec. 5th part 2: Girls' night out!

Chapter 23 - Dec. 6th : Animal Kingdom

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 04-03-2013 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
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WOW I've never been first on a TR before. I love a mother daughter story as my DD, who is 32, and I have had 2 of those to WDW.I am so jealous you had such a long trip.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:56 PM   #3
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Welcome GrammyJudy!

...and I've never had a reader so fast!

Pressure, pressure, haha!

I'll go work on the next installment now.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:48 PM   #4
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Chapter 2 - Nov. 24th: Home-Harrisburg

We are leaving TODAY!!! I don't know who was most excited, me or Mama! She asked me yesterday if we could leave a day early

I do know dad was not very excited. Sad and boring little moment but needed I think. My dad is alcoholic. Yup, Mama still with him, don't ask.
Yesterday, our last day at home, he was... out drinking (he's retired). Came out too late for dinner (and too wasted), went straight to bed.

We were VERY proud of ourselves for having thought about it and asked him to help us to put the heavy stuff in the car BEFORE he left, even if it was almost 24hrs before departure time! Sure, we could've done it ourselves. But my energy is scarce and I wanted to keep it.

So, that's that.

We had put the alarm clock at 7am, and of course we were up at 6am!
In the same way, we had planned to leave at 8am, but were out of the driveway at 7:30am!

...Mama decided to go wake dad up so he could say goodbye. I would've left him to sleep and to feel guilty waking up... He jumped out of bed saying he didn't think we were leaving so early (duh... and of course he knew), yup, it felt good to leave!

Here's a trusty steed

Yeah, that's the nice pic from the store, but it's the same car, and it even was just as clean when we left, as we had it washed yesterday!
We LOVE this little car.

Of course, it started to snow just as we pulled out of the driveway... it had not snowed at all yet. Had to start today. Mama was worried about driving (especially coming back mid-December) because we would be on all-seasons tires instead of winter tires. I wasn't WORRIED... but knew it could be hell if nature didn't cooperate.

But the snow was very light and sparse, so the drive was easy until the USA. We crossed the border on the 401/81 in the 1000 Islands and there it took us only 10min all in all (considering it was the US thanksgiving weekend, we had been a bit worried about a longer wait!).

The drive continued to be OK, the snow on and on but still light, except one moment, about 2min in the Adirondacks where it was just a blizzard! So glad it stopped! If it had snowed like that for long, it would've been safe to drive as the snow was accumulating on the ground and it wasn't slippery, but I would've been SOOO tired! It's so dizzying and you need to much more concentration to try and figure out where you're going!

Then, just out of Syracuse, the weirdest thing happened: the biggest fine hail downpour I've ever seen! It started very suddenly, and felt as if a salt truck had been on an overpass and was dumping it's load on us! No kidding, it was my first impression! Luckily, again, it didn't last for more than 5min. (for us, anyways!)

We stopped for lunch at a Friendly's in Cortland, and it was at at least 5min from the I-81 (on 181). We stopped there because when we saw it it had been a while since we'd seen any other and we were scared we wouldn't see another for a while yet, and we had to pee and were hungry!
But there should be a rule... if you're more than 2miles from the highway, you should've have a right to advertise on those highway boards!!!

I mean, you see the thing on the side of the highway and you think it means it's close, then you take the exit, follow the sign, and it makes you turn, and turn, and you start to worry it'll take you 20min to get back on course!!!

I liked what I ate, Mama didn't... and while there the title of this TR came to life, even though we didn't know it at the time... we were talking about the trip to come and I told her how people here on the DIS had said Dumbo was not to miss, and how someone had asked if, as an adult riding alone, they would be pointed at and would look ridiculous... and the answer that person got was "Not at all, it's Disney after all... and anyways, if someone were to make fun of you, you don't know them and won't ever see them again!".
Which is very true.
Now keep that bit of information in mind, there will be a test.

All in all, we stopped for one hour. And it was a good thing. Rested the body and the mind!

But we were anxious to get back on the road!

I can't say we could notice any "Thanksgiving traffic"... driving was very easy.

Then, at about 14 miles from Harrisburg, the traffic stopped... damn. We did our last miles driving between 10-30mph! There wasn't any accident, it really was just too many people. We had talked too fast!

Still, even with all that, we checked in the Harrisburg East Hampton Inn at 5:30pm!

The room was very nice, with a fridge, a microwave, a desk... We even got a water bottle and cookies, probably because it was my first time as a HHonors member!

We had dinner at the TGIFridays just 0.5 miles away. Sadly we were not very hungry (and very tired), so we only ordered the appetizer plate which we shared.
And what is this? Pretzel bread with cheddar cheese dip (with beer and bacon in it)! It tasted almost exactly like cheddar cheese soup! That was heaven on a stick!

We decided then and there to go back to have dinner there on our drive back! And hopefully we will be more hungry...

Back to the hotel we took our showers... OK, now... Why do they leave the curtain showers OUTSIDE of the bath if doing so will make a HUGE mess???
See, we don't have a bath in our house, just a big shower with a DOOR. It has been years since I went to a hotel with a bath and shower curtain and even longer since I had my own... so I didn't think about it, I left it as it was, took my shower, got out and OMG. it was a small lake in there. Thank god for too many towels!

As long as we're on the "moan about the hotel bathroom issues" topic, I do love when the bathroom lights don't trigger automatically the fan, so you can use it without the noise, or leave it on as a nightlight... but no fan AT ALL?! Really? That's just weird. And not very healthy, me thinks.

Oh yeah, one last bathroom rant: I had the stupidest idea... and tried the complimentary shampoo & conditionner (not all in one, both of them). We had both. I just figured they might be nice. They sometimes are in hotels... Well, not in Hampton Inns. Stay away from them!! I never had hair that knotted and dry in my life! I'm sure I left 1/4 of my hair on the brush trying to untangle it!

At 9:30pm, after watching 2 episodes of "Too cute" on Animal Planet and taking notes for this TR, we passed out for the night.
...Not without noticing the loudest A/C-heater unit EVER.

1 day closer to Disney!!!

Plan for the day:
Drive from 8am to 5pm (with breaks)
What actually happened:
Exactly as planned!

High of the day: Finally leaving for Disney!
Low of the day: Fine hail past Syracuse

In the next chapter: will my choice of printing CAA directions instead of using the GPS or another service make us lost?

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 01-06-2013 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:46 AM   #5
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I'm In!!

I'm totally in! I just started my Nov/Dec. TR with my mom and My DD. It was my mom's first time and she is hooked. So, I'm sure your mom/daughter TR will tug a bit at my heart strings.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:44 AM   #6
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:33 AM   #7
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Welcome, welcome StilAPrincessAtHeart and GatorMommy2007!!!

Not wanting to spoil anything, but I couldn't wait so I started my new PTR since we are GOING BACK!!!
In case no one had noticed the new ticker and PTR link in my siggie!

Here's the PTR link Technically, it's not twice in the same year... - A Fall 2013 mom-daughter PTR

The year is starting as rough as it ended on the health side, I haven't had a good day yet and today is big on the migraine side but I felt like writing (now that I started, right?) so we'll see how it goes with the migraine and migraine meds (you know when you took the meds but it still isn't working? So you get the double whammo of migraine + side-effects... hate that).

So pleaser forgive any weird ramblings (as if I didn't do that on a normal day ) and added typos, as I'm kind of seeing cross-eyed and through semi-closed eyelids.

Shall we?
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:52 PM   #8
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Chapter 3 - Nov. 25th: Harrisburg-Greensboro

Today I was way more excited than Mama, because altough we were still driving closer and closer to our goal, we were making a slight detour to visit my good friend dreamer17555!

First off, we had a really bad night's sleep. Mostly because of the hotel. Even if I would go back there and like Hampton Inns in general… I tried to sleep without earplugs and it was a bad idea. It took me a while to go to sleep and I woke up after about 1hr. Mama snores so loudly!… AND the fan on the heater/AC was incredibly loud, as I noted before… plus the walls are super thin (we could hear what people were saying walking by in the hall!). Luckily people weren't noisy… but the fan and snoring were enough.

Add to that that each time Mama or I would go to the bathroom, the light would reflect on the mirror in the "hall" in such a way it lit up the whole room! That's what woke me up in the morning…
But in the meantime… I woke up with the noise at around midnight… then had to take the earplugs when I wasn't back to sleep 30min later… I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and not having a restful sleep. The pillows were too soft (but 2 were too high, of course) and I kept trying to make myself comfortable.

Mama didn't sleep much better and the fan woke her up too (it kept starting). Each time I got up I woke her up… and she said she could hear me snoring lightly and having slight problem breathing a few times… I'm still congested because of my sinusitis/ broncho-pneumonia and the air was very dry in the room too.

But at last it was morning, we woke up "for good" at 6am (we had put the alarm at 7am, haha) and were out the door at 6:45, I was so proud of us!
Before we had left home we had talked about this and how we could be faster in the morning, especially Mama who can be real slow. In our 2008 trip it could take us (ahem, her) over 90min to get ready! That would NOT be tolerated this trip!

A few tips to be fast in the morning (on the road or in Disney)?
Take showers before going to bed, prepare everything for the next morning, from clothes to bags, do not scatter and bring the minimum amount of bags necessary if you're on the road... and of course eat minimal breakfast, in room if possible, or stuff that doesn't take a long time to eat (a bagel or toasts is much faster than cereals, for ex.).

Since we were on the road, eating in the room was NOT faster though, so we took the complimentary breakfast (not very tasty, as expected), and I got nausea... happens sometimes. I had to take some Pepto-Bismol caplets, which helped, but I still carried the nausea for a few hours.
After breakfast we used the bathroom located near the checkout counter and Listerine strips (having brushed our teeth right after waking up... we usually prefer to wait after eating but that was more polite for other guests and, of course, faster than going back up to the room).

We filled the refillable mugs we had brought and were back on the road (and NOT worried about snow!) at 7:45! ...WAIT... it took us 1hr to have that stupid simple breakfast?! And it wasn't checkout, as it took just about 2min. We will HAVE to work on that!

We stopped for gas before leaving Harrisburg, and on the drive to Greensboro got stuck in traffic 3 times, each because of an accident... guess that was a result of the Thanksgiving crowds...
Our lunch was at Taco Bell, which Mama enjoyed much more than she remembered, now she is almost looking forward to the next time!

Like yesterday, we stopped a few times in the morning and a few times in the afternoon for bathroom breaks and stretch. About once every 60-90min.

Then the direction mess started...
Since we had problems with our GPS on a trip to/in Atlanta in the summer of 2011, I had decided not to use it unless totally necessary... especially since the drive down to Florida is fairly easy. So I had looked a few itinerary apps (Google Maps, Mapquest, CAA, etc). I finally settled on CAA, of which we are members, and printed that.
Mama is my co-pilot and takes her role seriously, studying the day's directions in the morning, using a marker to scratch off what's done... mostly because it stresses her out...
I had understood from my comparisons that pretty much all services gave me the same itineraries.

We still brought the GPS, just in case... but it was in the glove box.

Turns out the CAA instructions were... right but not clear enough in the last stretch towards Greensboro.
For example, you get to a fork and have no idea which way to go... either because it's new or you're just supposed to guess that you should follow the logical option (i.e. the exit saying "Greensboro")... Usually, if you have no instruction, it means you need to continue and not take any exit... Which was true for one of the occasions when this happened... But at one point, we used that common sense... to eventually have to go back and actually take the exit! The right way should've been "road changes name, keep going straight" or "turn left to follow road #xx"!

Also, many, many times the direction was to take, for example, a "slight right"... while it was literally a right turn (90°).

And thanks to those unclear directions, once in Greensboro things didn't seem to make sense anymore... so we got the GPS out. Which showed us again why we hate it so much, as it made us take the wrong exit and made us go around in the city while it was "recalculating"... while we had just followed it's instructions! That damn thing is evil!

But eventually the GPS got us in the right place... and we could see that we were in the same place the CAA directions would've gotten us anyways... if we had just stuck with those and trusted that they were right, we would've been OK... but to be honest it didn't look OK at all!

We managed to get to Greensboro's Hampton Inn, Mama walked to Wendy's to get her dinner (she didn't want to join me and Becca for dinner, so she ate in the room and watched TV, which actually made her quite happy).
We had the biggest laugh when she told me where she got her dinner, because just yesterday she told me how she would never eat at Wendy's because the square patty made her nauseous just thinking about it (she's weird that way!). And there she was eating that, because it had been convenient to get that... and turns out it was the best burger she ate! She said it tasted like the ones she makes at home.

I got ready during that time, and Becca came to get me at 6pm. We had agreed on 6:10, but she was early and I was happy about that since I was early in getting ready too! We were anxious to see each other again and very hungry!

I got her to little gifts I had brought her from the car: A bottle of apple cider from a apple orchard owned by a friend of mine… for her birthday which just passed, and cookies I baked for Christmas. I hope she likes them!!!

We went to Arigatos, a japanese place, for dinner, same place we went 17 months earlier and we both love! But I must say it's not ideal for conversations, and when you don't see each other often, a quieter place where you can talk would be better. Noted for next time!

As usual, we talked about her kids, our similar health issues, Disney, families, dance and a few other things…

Then to continue our evening we went for coffee on Tate St. where unbeknowst to us was a poetry slam happening! We got there just before it started… so instead of talking we drank our coffee while enjoying a very good slammer… but left before the contest about to happen started because we didn't want to leave in the middle of it, and did want to talk a bit… so we ended up chatting in her car in front of our hotel room!
(The Greensboro Hampton Inn is like a motel with the doors on the outside of the building… which I kinda like! So easy to unload the car!).

The evening was amazing, it's so much fun, we are so alike… and it's so sad that we live so far apart and can't spend much time together!!!

We would've wanted to continue talking but she had to wake up very early the next morning... and I must admit I was tired from all the driving and didn't want to get up too late the next morning either, our last driving day until Florida!

Small word about the Greensboro Inn:
We love that the vanity area is separated from the rest of the bathroom, so you can get ready while someone else is in the shower, bath or whatever!
On the other side, unlike last time we were there (June 2011), there wasn't even a small fridge! And there was a small stain on my duvet cover.

The AC/Heater unit was MUCH less noisy, barely could hear it! Such a relief!
Mama was just as noisy though
I'll try going to sleep with my earphones and my music (lullabies and stuff) instead of the earplugs, which I don't like... might soothe me and help me sleep on top of dampening the noise... It's 11:30pm, lights out!

Plans for the day:
Drive to Greensboro, dinner with Becca
What actually happened:
As planned, woohoo!

In the next chapter: Will we find our hotel for the night?

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 01-06-2013 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:39 PM   #9
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Chapter 4 - Nov. 26th: Greensboro-Jacksonville

Last (full) day of driving!
Don't get me wrong, I love driving (really!). A lot. Seeing new things (sometimes...), the feeling of being free, the music (altough it's not as loud when you're with someone, especially if that someone is Mama)... I love it!

...But we couldn't wait to get THERE and DO STUFF! Not just sit there and roll.

Even though I was in bed at 11:30pm, I wasn't asleep until around midnight... but even if to give me a chance to get all the rest I needed I had put my alarm at 8am... I was up at 7:15!
Still, I slept well for the first time... which made me realize how tired I was!

We finally got the routine right, breakfast included, so we were on the road at 8:30am. Being in a rush I'm sure we could be faster, eat while driving for example... but that wasn't necessary at all and not something we would've liked.

During the whole day I think we stopped a total of 3 times! We could feel the anxiousness to GET THERE.

We stopped at a Ruby Tuesday in Walterboro, SC, for lunch. OMG that was so good! It was our biggest lunch so far, a bit too big for an afternoon of driving. We ordered coffees after that to help us stay asleep, and took a walk to the next door gas station to buy ourselves something to drink...

That's where we saw this:

Our first palm trees!!!

Then it was, again, the complication of understanding the directions given by CAA's Triptik... First off I took the wrong lane, which lead to the wrong side of the highway, because I had the name of the road (can't remember which), and say it was "east"... well you could see the overhead sign saying the road name, and only once very close to it could you see "west" and at THAT point could you see a second sign with the "east" lane... on the complete opposite, 3 lanes further, which at rush hour like we were, was NOT a possibility to cross. Grrr, hate when roads are badly designed like this. (well, signs more than roads). Why didn't I just know and trust the printed directions? Because they didn't make sense by then.

And when, on our second pass we took the right road, it said we should meet the intersection with the hotel's street and would be "right there"... well turns out it's a very weird place and we had to almost do a 180° on that street (you know, a U-street) to find that street, in a weird industrial-looking part of town (that was the feeling we had in the dark anyways).

But, in the end, we did make it there and checked in just a bit past 6pm!

When the clerk asked if we easily found the place and we said what happened, he said it wasn't the CAA's fault and that everyone gets lost going there...

Maybe the "weird-industrial-place" feeling was wrong, but there wasn't anything there. Either we went to the neighbouring Radisson or Marriott's restaurants... we had started walking there when I realized I was way too tired for that and pleaded to Mama to just order pizza in the room. She is not a fan of eating in the room, but I must've looked really bad since she agreed.

We ordered from Pizza Hut and it arrived in 25min!

Doing that saved us a bit of time, too, since we could do a few things while waiting for the delivery, and jump into the shower right after eating, which took us much less time than eating in a restaurant, waiting for the check, etc.

Plus, the pizza was pre-cut, not too messy and delicious!

We went to bed somewhere around 9pm! Totally exchausted. I even almost forgot to take notes for this TR!

One last thing though... I decided to have my hair cut! I was toying with the idea for the last few months, almost did it a few weeks ago at my last hairdresser's appointment... but figured it was best to have it long during the trip so I could make ponytails and such in the heat, and not have to worry about style, either. I had decided to have it cut at my next appointment though.

And then I made the mistake of using that damn hotel shampoo and conditionner 2 days ago... and tonight even though I used our own my hair was still all tangled, and I broke so many hairs untangling it, my hair looks awful! I must've pulled 2 hanfulls of hair and got a headache from pulling on my scalp so much (not even kidding).
And our conditionner is good quality... how much do I need to put in now?! My hair was always bad with tangling, and the longer it got the worst it gets... now it just makes me crazy.
If I wasn't just scared of looking stupid (or lucid, one would say), I would just cut it myself right now!
I looked online and the Contemporary has a hair salon, thank goodness, and the prices are not too bad, so the first thing I'm going to do when we get to Disney is take an appointment! Just a few more days to endure...

Plan for the day:
Get to Jacksonville
What actually happened:
As planned! We are gooood.

In the next chapter: What will the crowds be like in Universal and how much will we be able to accomplish in a day shortened by some driving?

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 02-04-2013 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:35 PM   #10
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I'm in. You are writing a great trip report!
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:43 PM   #11
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GASP!!!! thousand islands is so beautiful we used to cross the border n drive through the states then re cross the border at thousand islands n drive on into quebec to go see my dad.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:42 PM   #12
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Welcome gwynne and cheekypoppins, and thanks!

Thousand Islands IS indeed beautiful... but guess what? It's also the closest crossing point for us, for that route anyways! We ARE lucky, hehe!
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:16 AM   #13
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Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 359

Looking forward to reading! I'm taking my own mother/daughter trip next January!
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:14 PM   #14
swwake
RIP our sweet Magic (09/27/10)
 
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 3,174

I'm here and reading along. I'm glad to see that it's been somewhat uneventful so far and that you got to spend good time with your friend!
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:21 PM   #15
AnnieDan_Artlover
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Coteau-du-Lac, Qc, Canada
Posts: 368

Welcome nym4588 and faithful swwake! (me and swwake have known each other for over 5 years now, gee time does fly!)

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you, just a bit of stage fright before throwing myself in the "real" thick of the TR I guess.

Let's go!
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