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Old 08-01-2012, 02:59 PM   #61
Captain_Oblivious
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Mission Log #1: Checkpoint Pedro

6:20 a.m., Saturday, July 14. Anticipation was running high as we pulled out of our driveway and began the long drive. In keeping with the “secret” vacation theme, we still didn’t tell the kids where we were going. Well, we did tell them we were most likely not driving directly east. Julie had gathered up all of our AAA road maps and put them in a bag for the kids to use as a reference to try and figure out where we were at any given point. Of course, the bag included maps of New England states, Montana, and even Hawaii, so I’m not sure it was all that helpful.

Traffic was smooth until we passed through Annapolis, Maryland. We could see a gathering rain storm in the distance that basically produced a curtain of water on the highway. We hit that and traffic slowed to a crawl. Naturally, this was when Scotty needed to go to the bathroom.

Any East Coast resident will tell you that there is no easy way to drive around Washington, D.C. I-95 becomes part of the Washington Beltway, which is infamous for being as gridlocked as…well, every government institution inside the Beltway. It can also be jammed south of D.C. all the way to Fredericksburg, VA. If you’re trying to head south, you either attempt to brave the Beltway, drive directly through the city, or attempt an end-around by taking U.S. 301. 301 turns south at Bowie, MD, runs through the town of Waldorf, and then crosses the Potomac River into Virginia, where it eventually joins back up with I-95 north of Richmond. The section in Maryland is a pain to drive, because it’s a constant stop-start drive through a sea of traffic lights (and red-light cameras). I only bring this up because it is, of course, in sharp contrast to the amazingly efficient highway system we have here in Delaware.

Anyway, we chose to drive on U.S. 301 on the theory that it’s better to at least keep moving than risk being stuck on the Beltway. Despite the traffic lights, it worked pretty well, and we were driving over the Nice Bridge into Virginia by mid-morning. No, really, that’s its name: the Harry W. Nice Bridge.

The kids were having a little trouble following the maps, but once they figured out where U.S. 301 was, they deduced that we were indeed in the United States. So they had that going for them, which was nice.

Virginia provides fewer stop lights, so we got back up to ludicrous speed. When we hit I-95, the Kings Dominion amusement park was visible just to the southeast. The kids saw the towers and got their hopes up...maybe this was the secret destination!

I dashed them by speeding by the exit at...well, whatever the speed limit was. Can't be too careful in Virginia.

We made it to North Carolina by lunchtime. We stopped in Roanoke Rapids for lunch at a pre-controversy Chick-Fil-A which was packed with people, but the line moved well enough that our food was ready soon enough. Then an old lady grabbed our tray when my name was called. I set out across the restaurant, wondering if I’d have to break off my John Brown boot in her hindquarters to get my food. I tracked her down and eventually emerged victorious with the precious meals. I certainly hope she eventually got something to eat.

Back on the road, we blasted our way through North Carolina, with the kids content to play DS or watch movies. I have to get them credit—they travel really well. As we counted off the miles, we got closer and closer to our goal, and if you recall from the intro, you know what I’m talking about. The pinnacle of American road trips…the tourist mecca that beckons us to make our pilgrimage…the place that captivates our dreams throughout the year until we can finally return…that dream within a dream...



South of the Border. Named due to its location just south of the NC/SC border line, we started seeing the famous billboards once we hit North Carolina. And if you've never heard of the famous billboards, here's a brief rundown: they're everywhere. They're gaudy. And they're usually full of terrible puns. In short, Barry would love them. Here's an example:



I’ve driven past this tourist trap several times in my life, and never once had the guts to stop. Every time we go by, the parking lot looks empty, and I wonder how the place can stay in business wallowing in its eternal crappiness. And yet somehow, it survives.

In any case, Julie and I decided that in the interests of detailed, informative Trip Reporting, your intrepid travelers would finally stop and experience the spectacular awfulness that is South of the Border. Mostly because we couldn’t convince anyone else to do it.

Here’s the water tower, signaling the type of customer they’re trying to attract.







The famous sombrero tower. I had a friend who went up in this when he was young. He excitedly asked the teen running the elevator what he could see from the top. “Nothing,” the teen replied.



We went straight for the fireworks shop. No, I don't know why they're flying a Canadian flag.





Yes, that package says, “Maximum Powder allowed by law.”



You too can celebrate your nation’s freedom by blowing up a small piece of it.



Ok, show of hands: how many of you looked at that picture and immediately thought of Muppet Vision 3D?

We stopped for some more pictures. Anytime you get the chance to ride a concrete jackalope or a dinosaur with a sombrero, you gotta do it.



We also made a pit stop. The only way to describe South of the Border’s bathrooms: Do NOT go in there! I did think it was a nice touch that they had an attendant with a tip basket by the door. Every once in a while he would get up and run a paper towel over a square inch of the sink.

Lest you think South of the Border is completely nasty, they do have their highbrow sections as well. See, this place has its own “tradition in fine dining”. That’s got to be a nice place.





Um…never mind. Get in the car, kids.

South of the Border…we stopped here so you don’t have to.

Coming Up Next: Are we there yet?

Last edited by Captain_Oblivious; 08-03-2012 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:15 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
I only bring this up because it is, of course, in sharp contrast to the amazingly efficient highway system we have here in Delaware.
I think I found the lie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
So they had that going for them, which was nice.
Caddyshack
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Virginia provides fewer stop lights, so we got back up to ludicrous speed.
Spaceballs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
And if you've never heard of the famous billboards, here's a brief rundown: they're everywhere. They're gaudy. And they're usually full of terrible puns. In short, Barry would love them.
Go for the billboards, skip the destination. Got it.

Hey Steve! I got a mention already!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
In any case, Julie and I decided that in the interests of detailed, informative Trip Reporting, your intrepid travelers would finally stop and experience the spectacular awfulness that is South of the Border. Mostly because we couldn’t convince anyone else to do it.
Something tells me Julie had nothing to do with this decision...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Yes, that package says, “Maximum Powder allowed by law.”
More Fireworks than a Dave? I'M IN!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
You too can celebrate your nation’s freedom by blowing up a small piece of it.
Simpsons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Ok, show of hands: how many of you looked at that picture and immediately thought of Muppet Vision 3D?
No, I thought of the Simpsons. I said so right up there. ^^

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
We stopped for some more pictures. Anytime you get the chance to ride a concrete jackalope or a dinosaur with a sombrero, you gotta do it.
Words to live by. Tombstone material, perhaps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Every once in a while he would get up and run a paper towel over a square inch of the sink.
But I'll bet it was a very clean square inch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
See, this place has its own “tradition in fine dining”.
So did the Donner Party.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:26 PM   #63
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Hello!

I was browsing through the TR's section of the DIS and your TR title just stood out! This game you play is really thoughtful!

Here's my first guess...

Quote:
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We also made a pit stop. The only way to describe South of the Border’s bathrooms: Do NOT go in there! I did think it was a nice touch that they had an attendant with a tip basket by the door. Every once in a while he would get up and run a paper towel over a square inch of the sink.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:37 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
South of the Border…we stopped here so you don’t have to.

Coming Up Next: Are we there yet?
Crap, I'm too late for most of 'em. (Thanks for posting during work hours!)

The first one above is from the Scrubbing Bubbles commercial.

The second one (next chapter title) is from the movie, um, "Are we there yet?"


I use that "You never sausage a place" line around the house as much as I can. Another one I like is "Don't forget the little Juan's".

Last edited by glennbo123; 08-01-2012 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:12 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious
I did think it was a nice touch that they had an attendant with a tip basket by the door. Every once in a while he would get up and run a paper towel over a square inch of the sink.
I'll come back to comment on everything later since multiple quotes are a little difficult with the phone app. I'm calling this for a lie though.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:06 PM   #66
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I don't want to have to call this a lie, but I keep hearing about this pie. I think some proof of awesomeness needs to be shared with your readers.

Winner of "Spot the Lie" get a piece of Key Lime Pie of Awesomeness mailed to them in an envelope!*


*If you're the winner, please send us a SASE and allow 10 weeks for delivery.




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Congratulations on your return to the classroom. (or I'm sorry, whichever is more appropriate)
Thanks!!! I'm really looking forward to it! (We'll see how I feel about it in a couple weeks!)





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Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Welcome Camille.

What is CP?

Captain Poopy-pants - your alter-ego.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Also, I'm terrible at keeping secrets.

HINT: THIS IS NOT THE LIE.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Julie had gathered up all of our AAA road maps and put them in a bag for the kids to use as a reference to try and figure out where we were at any given point. Of course, the bag included maps of New England states, Montana, and even Hawaii, so I’m not sure it was all that helpful.
heh-heh-heh



Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
I have to get them credit—they travel really well.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
You too can celebrate your nation’s freedom by blowing up a small piece of it.



Ok, show of hands: how many of you looked at that picture and immediately thought of Muppet Vision 3D?
No, I thought of the Simpsons.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
We also made a pit stop. The only way to describe South of the Border’s bathrooms: Do NOT go in there!
HINT: THIS IS NOT A LIE!!!!!!! AVOID THEM AT ALL COST!!!! (And I'm generally not a very picky person.....)




Quote:
Originally Posted by FreezinRafiki View Post
Something tells me Julie had nothing to do with this decision...
It was morbid curiosity, Barry.



Quote:
Originally Posted by FreezinRafiki View Post
Simpsons


No, I thought of the Simpsons. I said so right up there. ^^
Great minds.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:50 PM   #67
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Joining in for the fun. Great start.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:58 PM   #68
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Oh my gosh, the traffic near DC is absolutely awful. I swear people who are all over the bad traffic in NYC have obviously not driven in the lower East coast. It is just awful and plus rain, good thing you guys made it out fairly quickly and without cranky children. I would've been so anxious. Your kids really do deal with travel better than I ever did at their age.

Oh my gosh, that is one bad, big tourist trap. I always thought they may have gotten more... classy. I stand corrected then. I absolutely love the Sombrero tower though makes me laugh they have an elevator to go up in. Thank god I may not ever go there. Good thing you guys were only there for a bathroom break, you guys were smart about that. I thank you for showing me a place I will never let my curiosity bring me to.

Can't wait to read more!
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:05 PM   #69
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Not gonna lie......I would have to stop for the puns alone.
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:10 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
6:20 a.m., Saturday, July 14. I set out across the restaurant, wondering if I’d have to break off my John Brown boot in her hindquarters to get my food.
I didn't see anyone else say this yet, but Remember the Titans!


I love your trip reports, by the way, so I'm coming out of lurker status! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:32 PM   #71
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Reading along also.

About South of the border we have passed by there on everyone of our trips to the mouse and only once stopped--never again
but i do love the billboards it lets me know i am almost 1/2 way.
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:48 PM   #72
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Even Canadian (well at least East Coast Canadians) know about South of the Border. We even see the bumper stickers around here. That is probably why they fly the Canadian flag.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:27 PM   #73
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We have taken this trip before and I have to say your description of both the traffic around DC and of South of the Border is pretty dead on.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:51 PM   #74
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Captain Poopy-pants - your alter-ego.








Oh my...I love it Julie.




Mark, I'll be back tomorrow to comment on your post.
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Old 08-02-2012, 07:22 AM   #75
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Winner of "Spot the Lie" get a piece of Key Lime Pie of Awesomeness mailed to them in an envelope!*


*If you're the winner, please send us a SASE and allow 10 weeks for delivery.
10 weeks? You're being very optimistic about the Delaware Postal Service.

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It was morbid curiosity, Barry.





Great minds.
I quoted both of those together because it seems our minds have more in common that just greatness.
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