The anti-commandos and the disney skeptics -- going in Janaury, 2013

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by shalom, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    Thank you. :) But, again, the food photos are all borrowed glory; none of those are ours. Although I am kicking myself for it now, I didn't even take along a camera when we went to the Magic Kingdom, because there are so many genius photographers on the Dis I figured there wasn't much point to it. Pretty much everything I saw there has been covered by more talented photographers, and even a few things I hadn't seen before I could track down once I knew what to go looking for. Not bringing a camera was still an error on my part, but I do I think this thread is evidence that there are many talented people sharing their work on the 'net. :)

    Some of the pictures in the last post are mine, though. I did have to borrow the Brickley one off the 'net because we lost that day's worth of pictures. :sad1: Hubby took the SeaWorld pic and I think the pic where Ballet Girl is playing with the bubbles; my SIL took the one at Knott's Berry Farm (it's from Ballet Girl's camera); and I took the rest. And if I remember rightly, those are the first pics I've posted where I actually shot the picture!
     
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  3. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    Only Ballet Girl and I were going to the Magic Kingdom. I’d originally planned to do just SeaWorld this trip, since we were only going to be there in Orlando for four days, but then they came out with the Give a Day, Get a Day promotion, and we couldn’t resist. While there were a couple of possibilities at places we’ve volunteered with before, they were in the summer, and I was afraid the tickets would be gone much sooner, so we signed up to help tutor kids after school. Geek dad couldn’t work those hours, and no one else was interested – er, well, actually it was more than that. Mr. Cool, who does probably more volunteer work than any of us, adamantly refused to volunteer where we were right up until I told him that the Give a Day promotion was over – once there was no “danger” of getting a ticket to WDW, then he started coming along to help. :rolleyes2

    Geek dad was going to drop us off, so Ballet Girl and I decided to forego the Monorail or boat ride from the Magic Kingdom parking lot and have him drop us off at the Contemporary Resort and walk over. And a lovely walk it was, quiet and cool, with the monorail overhead. Went to the ticket window with my driver’s license and Ballet Girl’s birth certificate; the guy behind the counter handed us to “Honorary Volunteer” buttons while he processed the info. Why “honorary”? If we weren’t actual volunteers, one assumes we couldn’t have gotten those tickets. But whatever, he handed us the tickets and we went through the turnstile.

    Correction. I went through the turnstile. Ballet Girl’s ticket didn’t work. What I saw on the digital read out was something about “special Shell ticket,” but whatever it was, it was also “rejected.” The lady CM who came over to help us said it was coded for the day before, opened a gate and told me to come out through it, then took us back to another ticket window. After ten minutes or so of futzing around, they gave Ballet Girl a different, flimsy, entry ticket (the first one was hard, like a credit card). This one worked just fine, so we were finally both in the waiting area.

    We were plenty early. I got us our “First Time” buttons at the kiosk, and got a muffin or cookie or something as well; waiting always goes better with food, right? People were lining up at the gates but we stayed out front and center for the opening show. The gates open during the show, and we were off season enough the crowds had thinned considerable by the time the show was over. Before we got there, I’d been all wound up about the scaffolding at the entrance (they were setting up the new meeting places for Mickey and the Princesses), but didn’t even notice them until we were past it and looking for Lady and the Tramp’s footprints in front of Tony’s – facing straight back out, I could hardly miss the big blank wall! But not a big deal, really.

    So we wandered down Main Street, got our first view of the Castle, not noticing the scaffolding in front of Casey’s Corner, either. We were walking through the queue area for Pirates of the Caribbean, and I remembered how Ballet Girl hated the flume ride at SeaWorld, so I thought I’d warn her about the drop in PotC, and reassure her that it was tiny, tiny (since as I recall you can’t see the whole thing when it starts). She stopped dead and I had to talk pretty fast to keep her from backing right out of there! But I got her on it and she loved it, of course.

    Then we did the Jungle Cruise, which I love, and she thought that was terrific as well. She liked the corny monologue; I really like having a live human narrator for some reason, but I also like the waterfalls:

    [​IMG]
    from here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/is0b31/61107653/in/photostream/

    Plus it's shady and a boat (on a rail, but still...). What's not to like?

    And we did the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, which she liked (she’s since seen the Tarzan one at DL and thinks the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse is best by far). I think we hit the pin kiosk, then hung around until the Pirate Tutorial.

    This is where I’m kicking myself. I’d seen pictures and movies of the Pirate Tutorial, and all I’d ever seen, it was always younger kids – usually three little ones, then a kid of nine or so. Ballet Girl was twelve, and people say she looks older, so I didn’t think her odds were too good. I wasn’t too worried about it – she’s been auditioning for ballet for years, so she get the whole “only so many kids get to do it” thing.

    But I was totally wrong.. Not only was she picked, but she got to fence with Jack himself! And I have no pictures. *sigh* She wasn’t upset, though. She says she has her membership paper to remember it with. Which, yeah, true. But, man, I wish I’d brought my camera. :sad2:

    The tutorial over, we went on to Tom Sawyer Island. The Old Mill was one of my most favorite-ist Disney shorts as a kid - it was their first experiment working with the multi-plane camera, but I love it for itself. It's like a really long music video, all mood and pretty and appealing characters. :upsidedow

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYEmL0d0lZE

    I still like it as an adult, and the mill on Tom Sawyer Island has a bit inspired by one of the iconic images from that movie, although they’ve change the angle of the gears, so we had to go track that down first thing, then we wandered the island and explored the caves and all. Although apparently there's a waterfall there we missed. :(

    Ballet Girl had a great time on Tom Sawyer Island, although this is where she most missed having her siblings along. She was playing in the Fort and I went down to sit on the rocking chairs below, so I could watch the runaway trains on Big Thunder Mountain, but that didn’t last very long, I think because the kids she was playing with wandered off on her. So we headed back to land and had an early lunch at Columbia Harbor House. The food was good but our choices were kind of boring – I had the shrimp and Ballet Girl the chicken tenders I think. We ate upstairs by the window and our lunch was quiet and peaceable, but we stopped in shortly after noon to use the bathroom and it was a mob scene! The bathrooms in the passageway from Adventureland were closed off, though (which is why we were there), so I’m sure that was part of it.

    We headed through Adventure land to get some Dole Whip for dessert, then wandered off to Main Street in hopes of finding a glass blower at Crystal Arts. They didn’t have anyone blowing glass, but there was a guy using a blow torch on a glass rod to create blobs of glass and constructing Cinderella carriages with them. I am not a fan of the lacy blobby stuff he was making but it was interesting to watch.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28495936@N03/6521367667/

    Got to chatting with the guy doing the etching but had to confess I really like Chihuly and brightly colored stuff, so not likely to buy any of the stuff he was working on. It was pretty, though. Maybe I should have tried harder to visualize it with a bright red or purple drink in it!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28495936@N03/6527669125/in/photostream/

    About that point Ballet Girl heard the music for the trolley “parade”, so we ran out to watch that. It’s really just a brief song and dance thing, but I’m a total sap for that kind of thing, while Ballet Girl’s always up for watching group dancing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEmdCl3YAME

    We wanted to hang around the hub because the Move It, Shake It parade was due soon, and that was one of Ballet Girl’s top five, so since I wanted to check out the historical stuff in the waiting area for the Hall of Presidents but didn’t do the show, I thought we’d do that right quick. I wandered the rotunda while Ballet Girl crashed on a nice padded bench; barely noon and she was wiping out on me! This may be an unexpected side effect of the fact that I’d planned four of her top five in the morning; my “Absolute Must Dos” were all things around the castle that are available pretty much any time, so I hadn’t prioritized then very highly.

    Anyhow, she rested while I checked out the paintings and displays around the rotunda. We must have just missed a showing because there was nobody in there, but since we weren’t interested in seeing a show we weren’t bothered by that. In this next picture the photographer has fiddled with the coloring a bit, but I think this picture still gives a nice feel for how quiet and peaceful it was:

    [​IMG]
    from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/unclegregrocks/5371641698/

    There weren’t even as many people as in the picture there. It was just us and the CMs, and one of the CMs wandered over to talk to me. As this photographer notes, the Hall of Presidents in the MK is the only place allowed to have the big Presidential seal displayed like that – it’s part of the rug, but of course you don’t get to walk there!

    [​IMG]
    from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wyscan/14229387/

    I must have been really distracted by Ballet Girl’s exhaustion or the conversation with the CM, since I barely remember what I saw. I was most interested in the First Lady Dresses, but looking at the pictures I don’t even remember them. :confused3 Need to get back! Although I do remember the picnic basket, I think:

    [​IMG]
    from: http://www.disunplugged.com/2009/06/29/new-and-improved-hall-of-presidents-wdw-magic-kingdom/

    Finally hauled Ballet Girl to her feet and we went out for the Move It! Shake It! Parade. I only walked far enough to sat on a bench with her back pack and she went out and danced and had a good time while I talked to someone sitting nearby. I thought she’d revived but when she got back to my bench she was ready to go home! I convinced her we needed to do the castle area first. We were heading for the rose garden when Ballet Girl realized she’d lost the backing for one of her pins (fortunately one with two spikes). I’d planned on picking up locking backs while we were there anyhow, but now she was in a panic to get that done.
     
  4. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    So we were up to the stuff I'd most wanted to do, but buzzed through the rose garden much faster than I’d wanted to go. Ballet Girl thought it much too hot out there in the sun, and I would have preferred it cooler as well. Afternoon is definitely not the best time to be there; next time I'm scheduling it for the early morning.

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    both from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shootsnikon/504014884/
    LOTS of pretty rose garden pics there

    It has Angel Face, which is like my favorite rose ever:

    [​IMG]
    from here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigbrian-nc/3120947333/in/photostream/
    Which has a lot of great rose garden pics, too…

    Despite our speed, I managed to see a waterfall I didn’t know about:

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    from here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephan619/4661573725/in/photostream/

    And these topiaries are intimidatingly tall – see the adult person walking through?

    [​IMG]
    from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigbrian-nc/3121763464/

    Ballet Girl was holding her pin so I dragged her off to see the wishing well – which unfortunately meant passing the smokers’ area. :sick: Lot of smokers at that hour for some reason, so they were kind of spread out: yet another reason I want to do this part of the park first next time.

    [​IMG]
    from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vanessaleighphotography/2313238955/

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    from:http://www.flickr.com/photos/32781370@N00/373940559/in/photostream/

    We stopped in at a store behind the castle and asked after locking backs for pins, and were directed to a cart over against the Great Wall where the new Fantasayland stuff is being prepared. First we ducked into the castle passageway to check out the mosaics – something about Cinderella in this one always makes me think of a Disney coloring book I had as a kid:

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    from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/18221265@N03/7259352140/in/photostream/

    And here’s an artsy shot of one of the mosaics I particularly like:

    [​IMG]
    from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/32006938@N04/4018231104/

    Another reason I want to go to Fantasyland first next time is so we can walk through the castle “proper” -- they shut the passageway for the shows during most of the day.

    Then we went over to crown Cinderella at the water fountain:

    [​IMG]
    from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/harshlight/5310783049/

    [​IMG]
    from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/allegratate/5041040920/in/photostream/

    And finally we headed for the pin trader cart, Ballet Girl moaning and groaning about having to go into the sun the whole way. Usually I'm the one whining about the sun, but she took the prize that day. I think she'd forgotten her sunglasses and hat, but it's also kind of a shock coming from the shaded areas in Adventureland and even Liberty Square into that expanse of concrete which is Fantasyland.

    We got our pin locking doodads, neither one of us could see to work them in the sun so we ducked into Pinnochio Village Haus and finally got her pin locked in there. So she was happier – right until I proposed we head over to Tomorrowland and do the Buzz Lightyear ride. She looked at that expanse of concrete and sunshine and completely balked. She wanted to GO, now. I suggested we head back to Liberty Square and get a snack, since sometimes she stalls out like this just because she’s hungry and doesn’t know it.

    We stopped at Sleepy Hollow and got a funnel cake, and she even talked me into getting the strawberries and whipping cream. I don’t usually like the goo strawberries are in when you get that kind of thing but we both liked this one fine. Tried to find a picture of one like it but couldn’t – I don’t know if we paid for extra whipping cream or if Ballet Girl charmed the CM or what, but, unlike the pics I can find, you could barely see the strawberries for the covering of whipped cream. It was great, and Ballet Girl did revive considerable, however it was still hot and she was still ready to go, so we headed for the gate.

    First we got a ride on the train, of course, which we both enjoyed. She was fine with anything that kept her in the shade, let her sit for a while, and was RIGHT THERE. Then we took the monorail to the TTC, out to Epcot and back, and then the rest of the way around the Magic Kingdom loop, finally getting off at the Contemporary. I love the Contemporary all kinda lots – back when they built the MK, I thought the Contemporary the coolest thing ever. The Poly was so thoroughly off my radar, I was surprised as an adult to discover it had been built at the same time. I like the Poly, but the Contemporary remains “the” Disney hotel in my mind. So I was just as excited getting off the monorail at the Contemporary as I had been walking into the MK. :cloud9:

    [​IMG]
    from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7411850@N04/5382238898/

    We had a snack at the Contempo Café – I thought Ballet Girl’s gummi worm cake much too dry, but she was happy with it. I can’t remember what I had; it was fine, but unexciting. I was just happy to be sitting there, sipping my milk and looking up at the Mary Blair mural. :) Ballet Girl wasn’t interested in going back to the park and I was fine with heading home at that point, as well.

    I meant to come back that evening for the fireworks but when it came to it Ballet Girl wasn't enthused. I should have just dragged her off and we probably would have had a great time, but OTOH I wanted to get going early the next day, which would be easier if we didn't go for the fireworks and all, so whatever. Ballet Girl is the most extroverted of the lot, but we all do better when there's a resort day in between our park days. :p
     
  5. lurkernj

    lurkernj DIS Veteran

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    Don't know why I didn't see this last week! Love your day at MK with Ballet girl. Taking it easy and checking out the details. That's what I'm hoping for on my MK solo day. We're always rushing to the rides, and don't take time to notice the little things.
     
  6. CatNipRules

    CatNipRules <font color=royalblue>Overplanner Extraordinaire..

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    Okay, somehow I got really behind on your PTR. I do't know how that happened!!

    I love your pictures. We always try to take time and take in the little things at the park. It's always fun to see what new little things they've added since our last trip.

    Love the wishing fountain!!
     
  7. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    Yah, I have learned to just not even tour with hubby some places, because he just has this urgency to him, where he wants to go and do, and I much prefer the more laid back approach. Usually we just switch back and forth, and there's a sense where my day at MK was like that; we weren't dashing around like Geek dad can get, but we kept on the move pretty much until we got most of Ballet Giirl's things done. Then we just kind of wandered and did what was there. Either way, you give up something -- either you see a bit of a lot of things, or a few things in depth -- so maybe a combination approach is the best for us. :)

    I hope to get to that point one day. :goodvibes Right now we're more about getting to stuff before it's gone! :eek: Still freaking out about the FotLK maybe not being there by the time we get to Animal Kingdom. Although our odds are better going in January than they are for May, at least.
     
  8. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    Thursday was out last day in Orlando. The Hermit wanted to stay home while the other kids went to SeaWorld – she values the chance to have a unit to herself – but I decided to go to SeaWorld for a half day, although I did want the afternoon for doing laundry and getting packed and all. But I wanted to pick up the shows I’d missed.

    We did Pets Ahoy, which I quite liked – some people wonder why there’s a pet show at SeaWorld but it makes perfect sense to me in light of their efforts to rescue critters and raise people’s awareness to the plight of animals at the mercy of man. Sea creatures suffer for our acts, but for the most part live their own lives. Domesticated critters are totally dependent on us, so suffer even more when people don’t treat them well.

    And we did Clyde and Seamore, or, as Ballet Girl calls it, The Show with the OTTER. :lovestruc

    [​IMG]

    And there are some seals and walruses and humans in it too:

    [​IMG]

    I would have liked it better if it hadn’t been WAY TOO LOUD. The sea otter, of course, was well behaved and quiet.

    As we were leaving the stadium, a lady just ahead of us was talking to her kids about the show, and repeatedly called the otter a weasel. Ballet Girl made a visible effort not to correct her, and later, when I commended her for letting it go, she burst out, “I can’t believe she got it so wrong! It says right on the map “Sea Lion and Otter Stadium!” :upsidedow The only thing Ballet Girl doesn’t like about SeaWorld is their grave lack of an otter exhibit. Our local zoo put in a river otter exhibit this past year or so, which does make it easier to take.

    Before I left SeaWorld for good, I went shopping, picked up a couple of mugs. One with an otter on one side, and some orcas on the other.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And this yellow guy, which was on sale:

    [​IMG]

    While SeaWorld Son was debating his purchases, I got to see The Groove Chefs, who I enjoyed:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYvUx_FPeeo

    There’s apparently a comedy team wandering around as well, but of our family, only Mr. Cool has seen them, and he was woefully vague on when or where. According to this article, they are in the Waterfront Area too:

    http://www.insideseaworld.com/laughter-contagious-along-waterfront-seaworld-orlando

    SEAWORLD TIP: The Groove Chefs and the Longshoremen perform in the Waterfront area periodically.

    Shopping done, we all went home for lunch, then Geek Dad took most of the kids back to SeaWorld while I stayed home with the Hermit, did laundry, and sat out on the porch watching Lake Eve until the cigarette smoke from next door drove me back in.

    Geek Dad and the kids did Blue Horizons again. This time, both Ballet Girl and Warrior Girl sat in the splash zone. They were surrounded by Red Shirts...

    [​IMG]

    but survived somehow.

    [​IMG]

    Although the false killer whale did laugh at them.

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    The dolphins were suitably lively:

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    And the parrots hit all their marks:

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    Considering her dislike of cartoon-ized animals, Warrior Girl had to steel herself in order to ride one of the goofy SeaWorld Carousel critters – it’s a dolphin, so she made the effort.

    [​IMG]

    She avoided this one, even though it’s at pretty purple:

    [​IMG]

    because she knows full well what it really looks like:

    [​IMG]
    from here: http://www.animals-zone.com/7-unusual-deep-sea-creatures

    Some kids got their pics on the orca statues:

    [​IMG]

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    SeaWorld Son demanded a few in front of the “lighthouse” by the entrance:

    [​IMG]

    And that was the end of SeaWorld for this trip. And the next morning, we were leaving Orlando. :sad: But we did have a few more things planned -- a museum in Georgia, and Mammoth Cave our last day. :thumbsup2 Although we had not yet picked up the fact that we somehow never get to whatever we planned for our last day...
     
  9. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    Friday we got packed and got going, but not much else happened. Well, except the fact that we all agreed we loved Orlando and were coming back next year and staying longer. Technically, the kids and I agreed. Hubby agreed he’d had a good time, but was less enthused about the “coming right back next year” part. :p Saturday we were going to do the Tellus museum in Cartersville, Georgia and maybe something in Nashville, then Sunday we were going to do Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. The kids and I watched Ken Burns’ series on the National Parks, and, for all the moaning and groaning I got during it, it ended up having a fair impression on the troops, and Warrior Girl, especially, wanted to hit a National Park, and since we were driving right by one, why not?

    I could not stay on focus for this post, so I finally just let myself wander off and made note when I got back to the trip. :blush:

    NASHVILLE RAMBLING...

    Nashville is one of our favorite cities. My parents moved to Tennessee shortly after Mr. Cool was born – they came to his baptism service, then headed out to Tennessee after church. My sister was living in Chicago back then, and she decided to run my two eldest and I down to see the parents that winter. We stopped at the Grand Old Opry Hotel, and walked through some of the atriums – well, the Hermit, my sister and I walked; Mr. Cool was still a babe in my arms. We didn’t see all the atriums, but the one we did walk through was lush and green and warm and wonderful. The Hermit was initially a bit wary of a waterfall over one of the pathways, then she decided that was cooler than cool. (These are someone else’s pics.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    From here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/ambrosia_apples/431106002/in/photostream/

    Since then we’ve stopped in Nashville many a time, although we haven’t done a whole lot there except drive around, eat, and point out pretty rocks and views and stuff. We did do Cheekwood Gardens when they had a dinosaur exhibit – I loved the gardens and art part, the kids liked the dinosaurs – and for a while we did the Parthenon and its surrounding park just about every time, because we did that one of the first times and certain of my children were Stern Traditionalists when young (i.e., if you did it once, you are obligated to do it every time :rolleyes: ).

    The Parthenon is a reproduction of the original in its prime; on the lower levels are a gift shop and art galleries and then upstairs they’ve got a statue of Athena based on the original, along with casts of statuary from the pediments. Greece may have the real thing, but the Parthenon in Nashville is intact. ;) To give some perspective on the size of this statue of Athena: Nike, the goddess of Victory, who is standing in Athena’s hand, is six feet, four inches tall. It’s not surprising that Athena intimidated some of my chillins some years!

    [​IMG]

    Not crazy about hubby's pic there, but then again, that’s not my favorite statue of Athena. While historians have a good idea of what the Parthenon looked like, all we know about the original statue of Athena is from written descriptions, so this is the artist’s best guess of what the original really looked like. I think he took the ancient critics too literally in making her so made up, but whatever. I do appreciate the artist's attention to details, for instance his work on the shield.

    [​IMG]

    Athena was the goddess of wisdom; since owls were also associated with wisdom, Athena was associated with owls, but I am guessing it’s specifically the owl Glaucus in that painting.

    [​IMG]

    All of which is hopelessly off topic, but we do love Nashville and hope to get back soon. If everything works out well with hubby finding a new job and all, Nashville and Mammoth Cave will be our second 2013 trip.

    BACK TO TRIP

    Anyhow, I can’t remember exactly where we stopped Friday night, but it was a Quality Inn and Suites somewhere between Atlanta and Cartersville, maybe Marietta.

    Saturday morning, we hit the Tellus Museum in Cartersville, which is right off the highway, and, if you’ve got an ASTC membership, it’s free! It’s pretty reasonable otherwise, IIRC. It’s bigger than you’d think, being as how it’s kind of the middle of nowhere, with a small collection of dinosaur fossil stuff, and a big, beautiful collection of rocks. Including lots of pretty, sparkly rocks, like this one:

    [​IMG]
    from here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alan_cressler/3265064957/in/photostream/

    The guy who took that has a fair number of Tellus pics, mostly the fossil stuff and rocks, but he didn’t take pics of the whole museum. There are some displays in the middle there we really didn’t get to. Well, okay, that the Hermit and I didn't get to -- we spent about twice as long looking at pretty rocks as everyone else did. The photographer also didn’t take pictures of the parts my kids probably liked best, going on their joy once the Hermit and I caught up to them; a couple of rooms in the back where you can dig for fossils or pan for gems, and then take home what you find. It’s the only elevated fossil dig we’ve run across, and of course my back loved that part. I like to dig them up, but I don’t take any (although the kids sometimes raid my stash if I run across something particularly cool). So that was a nice morning break.

    It was a little rainy at Tellus, but as we drove through Tennessee the rain got steadier and heavier – by the time we passed Murfreesboro, much, MUCH heavier. We have a bad habit of listening to discs and tapes and Ipods on the road, when sometimes we maybe should be checking in with the local radio stations. This was one of those times we should have been a tad more tuned in to the local news. As we approached Nashville, the traffic rapidly changed from heavy to horrific to stop-and-go to Just Plain Stopped. The only traffic moving was people working their way through to the shoulder and then down to the next exit to get off the highway.

    We decided to join those taking the next exit, but of course we were a few lanes over, so it was still a long while working our way across. But we finally got to an exit – we got off on exit 60: Hickory Hollow Road, which parallels the highway and bit and then you hit Bell Road.. And this is what was happening on the highway at Bell Road:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5gYhLKwSp4

    MORE RAMBLING...

    The beginning of that clip was on the national news, but this one also shows a floating car cut the side of that building and the building kind of folds into itself, which wasn’t shown much but is kind of cool in a depressing sort of way. However, even when that footage was shown on TV, what no one ever mentioned is that the building got creamed on Saturday afternoon, then it kept raining. It rained pretty much the rest of Saturday and then, off and on, most of Saturday night, and it was still sprinkling off and on for most of Sunday. And it rained above Nashville – there were areas that didn’t get flooded until Monday, after the rain was over. I think flooding with sunshine is in some ways more eerie than flooding in a rainstorm – feels more unnatural, and yet more inevitable.

    Nashville didn’t get the worst of it -- the Cumberland River was 62.58 feet high at Clarkesville; at Nashville it “only” reached 51.86 feet.

    http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ohx/?n=may2010epicfloodevent

    I call it the Nashville Flood because that’s where we were, but really it was a huge event – 48 Tennessee counties were declared disaster areas on a Federal level. If anything, the western part of Tennessee got it worse, because it’s lower and flatter. Nashville is hilly, and a lot of the housing is built up in the hills. Here’s some aerial footage of the Dyersburg area, which is about a three hours drive west of Nashville:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBr297p-5Vk&feature=related

    Even in local news, you mostly heard about Nashville and the Interstates being closed. Few people realized that chunks of I-40 were down due to flooding from Nashville all the way to the state border at Memphis, over 200 miles, and a bit of Mississippi got socked as well. Memphis had flooded streets, and a levee broke, flooding Millington Naval Base, but admittedly the flooding in Memphis wasn’t as extensive as it was in Nashville. There’s also the fact that no one filmed anything as visually interesting as a temporary school room floating down the road, so Memphis got ignored along with the rest of Tennessee.

    So even in Nashville, where there was a fair bit of coverage, initially the locals still didn’t realize how big an area was affected – this guy in Nashville went out that Sunday thinking he wouldn’t see much flooding:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mob7y7BuIHo&feature=related

    Admittedly it's not too bad where he was, but although I-24 got the most press, I'm pretty sure that wasn't the worst of it in Nashville, either. I'm linking to these pictures because they showed up so huge when I posted them here. But in this one, see that little pyramid to the right, just barely above the water?

    http://www.tennessee.gov/tsla/exhibits/disasters/images/flood of 2010/05042010_flood_05.jpg

    That’s the top of this rain gauge (which, as you can see here, measures floods up to 50 feet):

    http://www.tennessee.gov/tsla/exhibits/disasters/images/flood of 2010/05112010_flood_10.jpg

    And here’s a long shot (the flood gauge is in front of the stairs):

    http://www.tennessee.gov/tsla/exhibits/disasters/images/flood of 2010/05112010_flood_06.jpg
    (All from this page http://www.tennessee.gov/tsla/exhibits/disasters/floods2.htm)

    The first picture was taken on Tuesday, May 4, the second two on May 11 – we were driving through on Saturday May 1. So after more than a week, the water was still 20 feet above flood level. Nashville got pretty clobbered.

    BACK TO OUR STORY...

    Once we got off the highway, we still didn’t realize what we’d stumbled into, and the route I’m going to report looks right but we weren’t paying a whole lot of attention at the time, so who knows?

    We couldn’t get much of anywhere on Bell Road (cops had it blocked off in both directions), and ended up taking this tiny two-lane off into nowhere. We thought we were making progress because, although it was more stop than go, someone would come along from the other direction once in a while, and we figured that meant people could get through. Especially since there were semis coming through – no way could they be turning around, therefore they had to be coming from the other side, right? :sad2:

    In reality there was a cop blocking the way and sending people back; what made the process so slow that you only had a trickle getting through was that the road was so narrow; two lanes and no shoulders to speak of. Even with our little minivan, we had to work it around in stages. We never did figure out how they got the semis turned around; our best guess is the cop made people behind the semi turn around and get out of the way until the semi could back into a driveway or something. Sooo, we were back on Bell Road after another agonizingly long time in a row of cars going nowhere. Since we couldn’t go anywhere on Bell Road, we took Hickory Hollow back onto I-24, backtracking to the last exit. Everyone was turning left (I’m guessing their GPSs were heading them over to Murfreesboro Pike, which wasn’t going to get them anywhere I suspect but they – and we – didn’t know that at the time), however we’d had it with following the crowd and went right.

    Which didn’t do us a whole lot of good, since we soon hit a good wad of traffic again and, after a while, realized the road was also dipping down. Which, we’d figured out by now, meant the odds were good it was flooded. Argh! But, surprisingly enough, when we got to the light at the bottom the road was fairly clear, and we went left on Nolansville Road, I think on the theory that if we could get out of the Nashville area it’d be easier to cut across to 65. If I remember rightly, this is where we saw lots of cars and trucks that had been abandoned – you had to drive around them to get through.

    The road was intermittently under water, and it was very flooded to the right of it, with houses that were clearly done in and things. Those of us with out-of-state license places proceeded very cautiously; Tennesseans would often pass us and plow through a puddle that covered the road, letting us know how deep it really was. Sometimes we followed them, but at one point we were debating it, one of us thinking that area was just plain too deep and too huge and the other exasperated enough at that point to just go for it. And I honestly can’t remember which one was me! :upsidedow

    We’d barely started the debate when a cop car passed us and pulled across the road, so that decision was made for us, and we turned around and headed back. When we got back to where we’d entered Nolansville Road we just kept going, since we didn’t want to join the people presumably still getting forced out of the Bell road area (there were still tons of people wandering around back there hoping to find a better way when we’d decided to backtrack on the highway).

    Going northwest the road started to rise again, and now we could see unmistakable evidence that the water had been much higher earlier. Since it had continued to rain pretty steadily the whole time we’d been in the area, either someone had opened a dam or something downstream had given way, because you could tell by the debris washed up on side roads or driveways that the water had been considerably higher earlier on, a couple of feet I would think (although it can be hard to guess that sort of thing with a slow and gradual rise). The traffic here was much lighter, and we’d been stuck in traffic for something like four hours at this point (and the amount of ground we’d covered was pitiful), so we stopped at Taco Bell for a late dinner.

    It was kind of busy for that late hour but not horribly busy, and a fair percentage of the people there were locals, so hubby got to talking to them and they worked out what would be the best route for us to take and told us how to get onto I-65 on high ground where it was likely high enough we could keep going, and we did exactly that. Our philosophy is that, if we’re not going to hang around and help, our job is to get out of the way. We didn’t even try to get rooms in the Nashville area; we just drove up to Bowling Green, KY and crashed.

    Not surprisingly, we didn’t get going at all early the next day, and no one but Warrior Girl was at all interested in going to Mammoth Cave National Park. Plus, it was still raining – the main appeal may be the cave, but it’s a pretty park up top. Geek Dad gave in and said we were definitely going back to Orlando next year, and that we’d budget a trip to Mammoth Cave in there, and Warrior Girl decided she could live with that. So we headed home… and it rained the whole way. :sad1:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    How did I just see that you had a PTR? Sorry I'm so late to the party! I'm catching up now!
     
  11. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    Welcome! :wave: Good to have you. :)

    I had something else to say, but the kids keep singing, "Turn around! Turn around! There's a human skull on the ground!" -- which they claim they stole from They Might Be Giants -- and anything else I had to say is gone now. :sad2: I need to go get hubby back on track so he can get his thingie up so I can load the van, so I shouldn't be rattling around on the Internet anyhow.
     
  12. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    So I just got all caught up and realized your last entry was on the Nashville Flood of 2010. I actually live in Nashville - just a couple of miles from I-24 - and it was CRAZY! We were fine, but were homebound for a few days. But some of my coworkers were homebound for a week because of roads being closed. And of course I know several who lost their homes all together. It was the most bizarre flood, but didn't get much national attention because the BP Oil spill was going on at the same time. Opry Mills - the giant outlet mall located just next to the Opryland hotel - finally just opened back up just a few months ago. How crazy that you guys were traveling through as this was going on!!
     
  13. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    Even with the oil spill I thought the Tennessee floods oddly ignored. And now Issac's getting more press than the Tennessee floods did, even though the death toll is much lower (and hopefully will stay that way!). :confused3 I guess floods aren't as exciting as tropical storms. :confused:


    Glad to hear that Opry Mills is opened. The Timeshare resort we hope to stay at sometime in the next year or so (Wyndham Nashville) reopened a while back, too. :)

    We seem to have a knack -- the next year when we went down to Orlando, we pulled off at an exit that looked to have lots of places to eat, only to discover they'd all been taken out by a tornado a few days earlier. :eek: Although that was Kentucky, I think. Still, that time we had the radio on, and it was flooding in Memphis. :(

    I was starting to think we were a jinx for Tennessee, but we went through last week and the only Tennessee weather report I saw was that Isaac was bringing needed rain to Tennessee, so maybe we're not so bad for one of our favorite states after all. :)
     
  14. eeyoresnr

    eeyoresnr DIS Veteran

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    so I popped in after I saw your post on the PTR I just started... I can't wait to hear and see more. I love the Sea World pics...in all of our umpteen trips to WDW I can never seem to talk anyone else in to going to Sea World. My daughter and I had annual passes to Sea World San Diego before we moved to Florida, so I really miss it...
    anyways I'll be checking in to see your progress since your trip is waaaay before mine:rotfl2:
     
  15. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    Should be bunches of SeaWorld pics for our 2011 trip. I think. :p I remember bunches of them, but currently the computer is telling me I have nine photos, total, for that entire year. One of a park in Mishawaka, and eight of the dilapidated house hubby bought that year. :rolleyes: Everytime we go on a trip some computer takes revenge on us when we get back, and we just got back from a trip to South Carolina this past weekend; hopefully hubby will knock some heads together this upcoming weekend and make the computers all talk nice with each other. And then my computer will be able to see all the pics stored elsewhere. :)

    I have the opposite problem -- couldn't talk anyone into going with me to WDW last time. :sad2: Okay, technically Mr. Cool finally took pity on me and, a couple of weeks before we left, said he'd pony up for a day at Epcot, and the Hermit said she'd tag along, but it didn't work out. :sad1: But at first even Ballet Girl wouldn't go -- she wanted to go to SeaWorld because their dining deal gets her more food. Chow hound, that kid.:mickeybar
     
  16. eeyoresnr

    eeyoresnr DIS Veteran

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    this was sooooo helpful...thank you both....can someone tell me how to put the link for my PTR in my signature?:upsidedow
     
  17. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    You already know how to edit your signature, I'm thinking ;) , so it's the same process as connecting to an individual post, except you do it with the URL for the first page of your thread.
     
  18. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    As of today, hubby thinks his job is secure through January, so, as soon as he’s talked to the ballet guys to verify dates, I have permission to reserve some units. :cool1: But, while he was stalling, the price went up. :crazy2: Not by much, actually -- about fifty bucks a week -- but it's irritating. Temporarily switched me into Super Economy Mode, meaning I got to seriously thinking we can get something through RCI's Last Call, which means I have to wait until about a month and a half ahead before I can make the reservation -- assuming there's anything left to reserve. :scared:

    But one of the weeks at VV@P is down to only one possibility, the other only two (i.e., the resort was offering check-in on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday nights – now we’re down to just one or two of those). Plus January is when the snowbirds move in, meaning that, when it comes to Timeshares in Florida, most places get full up fairly early. Since RCI doesn’t offer bunches of 2 BRs that will sleep 8, don’t think I’m going Last Call. Too nervewracking. :p

    Assuming he hasn’t hiked his prices, renting points from a pal of ours would be even cheaper than Last Call, but would mean going back to Orlando Sunshine, the resort we stayed at in 2011, only in the other building. We really liked that resort, however I don’t want to stay there because it’s too far from Disney, and various other people are unjustly prejudiced against it for reasons I will go into later. I’m the decision maker, so it’s really about the fact that that resort is so far from Disney (more than double the driving time it’d take from VV@P), and that there are no direct bus routes to any of the parks. Not that Mr. Cool, the one most likely to use the bus, even WANTS to go to Disney, mind you. :rolleyes: And he LOVES the bus route from Orlando Sunshine to SeaWorld. But this is supposed to be a Disney Parks trip, so what’s the sense of getting a resort that's right across I-4 from Universal?

    Also, since we’re going on January, I was thinking we would do the Y.E.S. program (thusfar never an option in May), which would definitely save some money on tickets. From what I can tell, my three younger ones would probably enjoy the classes. I’ve heard that some teens think the classes are babyish, particularly the wide-age-range ones, but SeaWorld Son and Ballet Girl do not seem to sweat that sort of thing, so, somewhat ironically, the only one who might gripe about things being babyish is Warrior Girl. I’m thinking that, as long as the leader assigns her the role of “predator” rather than “sea turtle” in the “Disney’s Ocean Discoveries” course, we should be good. ;)

    Historically speaking, the Y.E.S. schedule for January comes out in October, I think I read, and until I see what they’re offering it’s still a “maybe,” but going on the offerings in years past, I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing it. One problem with Y.E.S. tickets is that you can’t bump them up if people decide they want more days at Disney, but the BIG problem is that they’re non-refundable, non-transferable -- and good only for the dates booked/listed. :eek:

    Regular tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable; it’s the “good only for the dates booked” part that unnerves me. We’ve traveled to the beach during hurricane season and otherwise done all manner of silliness, and have never gotten trip insurance because our regular insurance would cover accidents or sudden illness, and we figured we’d just use credit card or cash for the rest. If we couldn’t get to a vacation we’d reserved with points or rented, we’d just eat the cost (technically, if you cancel a points reservation if it's more than ten days out, our TS will return the points, but our odds of being able to reschedule and use them before they expire aren’t always stunner).

    Since we don’t reserve hotel rooms ahead of time, and pay for our gas and stuff as we go, our reservations on a 2 BR TSs are usually the only part of the trip that we’d lose if we didn’t go at all – but, going on 2012 prices, five day basic Y.E.S. tickets for four people (the three youngest and their dad), that’s more than we’d pay for rented points for 12 nights. Not much more, admittedly, but essentially those Y.E.S. tickets would double our usual cost if the vacation falls through, so if we get them I guess I’ll be getting to know the InsureMyTrip site. Rah.

    Renting the points would save us about $300 over VV@P. If hubby’s job weren’t in jeopardy, it’d be a no brainer – VV@P. Since we don’t know what our finances will be in six months, I’m waffling. Part of me says, even if he loses his job, it’s the last big blow out before the older kids move on and before we have to go austere, so go for it. The "sensible responsible parent" who resides in my brain thinks I should be going the cheaper route. My parents who reside in South Dakota think I’m crazy to be going in the first place. :upsidedow

    Whatever I do, I need to make my mind up and commit to it this week. Last night, I was thinking I’d rent the points if the price is still that low. Today, I’m thinking I’m going to splurge on VV@P. No idea what I'll do when comes to actually committing the cash. :p
     
  19. eeyoresnr

    eeyoresnr DIS Veteran

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    wow, did you sleep at all last night? my mind would have been wondering back and forth all night long (which mine normally does anyways:lmao:)
    can't wait to hear what you decide on
     
  20. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    Sooo, after our brief 2010 trip, the kids and I decided we had to go back to Orlando -- and stay longer -- in 2011. My original plan was that this would be the "non-Disney" trip, but, while we didn't do the parks, we did end up touring most of the resorts. :) However, the week before we left something happened with SeaWorld Son's camera, so I loaned him mine (I didn't like it anyhow), meaning I didn't have a camera this trip, which resulted in hardly any resort pics. :(

    DATES: leave Saturday May 7, 2011-get back Sunday, May 22


    The ROLL CALL for our second trip is pretty much the same as for our first, with one addition:

    Zelda, aka, Zelda the Annoying, aka the Cat Who Smells Like An Elderly Dog, one of our six cats.

    [​IMG]

    ^ Zelda doesn't like having her picture taken so there aren't a lot of shots when she's facing the camera. And in those where she is, this next pic has her usual photographic expression (annoyed).

    [​IMG]

    In the winter, she spends a lot of time snoozing in Warrior Girl or SeaWorld Son's laps.

    [​IMG]

    Our cats don’t come along with us on vacation so they are not usually part of our vacation memories, but, although she didn't come along, Zelda was an exception to the rule on the May 2011 trip. :sad2:

    Something else that was unusual about this trip is that, the day before we left, Mr. Cool and Ballet Girl were performing in a production of Midsummer Night's Dream. Which is actually the first Shakespeare play I read all the way through; when I was fourteen and driving to Arizona with my grandma, I picked it up at a truck stop because it was the only non-romance, non-men's adventure book they had. Still not sure what it was doing there; I kinda suspect someone traded it out, even though that truck stop didn't actually have a book trade. :p But I've always been kind of fond of it, just for that reason (Hamlet is my favorite, though).

    And Ballet Girl and SeaWorld Son were in a ballet version of it when they were much, much smaller. Ballet Girl actually danced in the ballet: SeaWorld Son kind of just ran across with an older male dancer who was doing leaps. I pity said dancer, because SeaWorld son and the kid who ran on the other side were bouncing off the walls by the time they got their make up on, which is why this pic is from earlier that evening. ;) But they looked fine on stage and hit their cues and all, so probably the dancer in charge of them knew how to handle them. :)

    [​IMG]

    Even that young, Ballet Girl was already a pro at keeping it cool backstage:

    [​IMG]

    She was a fairy in the 2011 version, too, and also dancing all over, but that time she got some lines!

    [​IMG]

    Mr. Cool played Theseus:

    [​IMG]

    That group may have young performers, but they don't do the shortened versions for kids; I can't imagine having to memorize some of those speeches. :faint: The next time they did a Shakespearean play, Mr. Cool decided he'd rather work backstage. ;)

    I'm glad they did it, however I really would rather not spend the afternoon seeing a play, or have to peel the kids away from the after-performance celebration, the day before we go on a trip. :crazy2:

    We got going early the next morning, though, early enough we'd crossed Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and were near Ringgold, Georgia by the time we were thinking about dinner. The "Food, next Exit" sign had bunches of fast food, but when we pulled off the exit ramp didn't have the usual sign telling us to go left for this or right for that. There was just a beat up old gas station across and to the right, so we went left. And, once we'd crossed back over the highway, this is what we saw to the left:

    [​IMG]

    And to the right:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    :(

    We'd heard about the earlier tornadoes in the midwest, but not about that one -- for that matter, it's not on the Wiki list of 2011 tornadoes yet! :confused3 This website has some info:

    http://okcstormwatcher.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/ringgold-ga-tornado-confirmed-as-an-ef-4-tornado/

    And of course the "beat up old gas station and abandoned buildings" were not old or long abandoned, either. I guess at that point we were just too highway mesmerized or something to realize what we were seeing. :rolleyes2 Although the difference in damage was striking -- the ones when we pulled off were beat up, but more in an "aged" way; we didn't see anything like that flattened and destroyed building in the earlier pic, for instance, or like this pole that's been bent in half:

    [​IMG]

    Then, when we pulled back on the highway, it was like the tornado had sometimes "hopped", because there'd be a patch of trees flattened here while the ones on the other side were untouched and things. Very surreal. That write-up suggested at one point there were two tornadoes that merged, which seems right to me ; I suspect one had crossed the highway about where we pulled off, and the other shortly thereafter.
     
  21. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    We finally stopped for the night at a Howard Johnson's in Marietta, GA. Hubby gave me the choice between the nice place where you went inside to get to your room and the cheaper refurbed motel, and I figured for one night we'd go for the cheaper one, even though we'd be upstairs with no elevator. The refurb was kind of odd, because there some nice tilework in the bathroom, however they hadn't bothered with edging. OTOH, it was sparkling clean and the rooms had some interesting architectural details, like arches to define the bathroom area, plus we got connecting rooms for once, so that was kind of cool. I don't demand much of motel rooms. :p

    Less cool were some of our neighbors about six doors down, who had a couple of little dogs. The dogs were okay, and allowed, but the next morning this guy, instead of taking his dogs down the stairs to do their business, walked them across the top of the stairs from his side to our side of the walk, and had them do it on the sidewalk up there. And of course the second floor sidewalk is sloped for drainage, so pretty soon there was a yellow stream across the walk between us and the stairs. :mad: So the kids had to carry the suitcases to the stairs instead of being able to just roll them.

    Geek dad didn't like some sound the van was making, had called up our friendly mechanic the first night about it, and had decided he was going to run the van in that morning for a check and a likely quick fix. Took it to Firestone less than a mile up the road, which happily was open on Sunday mornings. Usually the Hermit is our Eagle Eye, but Ballet Girl sighted the Firestone first (and gloated about this right regular for the rest of the trip). We weren't first in line but they got through the guys ahead of us pretty quickly, then once they looked at the van they agreed with hubby's diagnosis and said it'd be a ten minute fix. So we left them with the van and the key and the kids and I walked across the parking lot to a shaded area to wait.

    While we were hanging out by the trees on the slope there, someone sighted a caterpillar on Mr. Cool's sandal, and we ultimately coaxed it onto a piece of paper. It's the caterpillar for a tussock moth, and it's a good thing it was on Mr. Cool's sandal rather than his foot, because they can give a nasty sting.

    [​IMG]

    Ballet Girl also updated her Trip Journal:

    [​IMG]

    Then hubby joined us and said we should wander on down because they were almost done with the van. So we sat down in the Firestone lobby area to wait. And wait. And WAIT. What was wrong really is a ten minute fix -- if you replace the bolt when you put things back together. Apparently they didn't have the right bolt handy, so the mechanic just put the original one back in, which is a huge NoNo, and he quickly discovered why! The bolt broke and no one could get it out. So we were stuck waiting there essentially all day, while they kept trying this or that (without entirely admitting what had happened) to get the bolt out.

    At lunch we walked down the street to a Subway, where we did not have the cookies:

    [​IMG]

    I had an orchard chicken salad, while SeaWorld son had the meatball:

    [​IMG]

    In the afternoon, we mostly hung out in the lobby area of Firestone, which had a TV, some magazines, and some kids books. I had no idea when the Hermit was little that I'd still be doing the same I,Spy book with her when she was in her late teens. :rotfl2: We also talked to various locals while there car was fixed, which was often interesting.

    Eventually the manager fessed up that they weren't going to get the van fixed and offered to put us up for the night. When we'd picked the Howard Johnson's we had coupons for two places -- the HoJo and a Drury Inn, and I'd told hubby we'd go for the cheaper one. We told the Firestone guys they could put us up in the Drury Inn. ;) But we did offer them the use of our coupons. :)

    The Drury Inn had a hotel layout rather than motel, and they had popcorn in the lobby when we got there and "Kickback" a bit later, which is kind of a hotel breakfast thingie only it's dinner. SeaWorld Son took some pictures while going up the elevator:

    [​IMG]

    The desk and entrance are to the right, and the rest of the dining area to the upper left (under that overhang), then food and drink areas to the left. It was cheap cafeteria food but, hey, Firestone was paying for it, and supplemented with our snacky stuff from the car, wasn't bad. It was lovely to have our own space again! Most of us read books or got on the internet or whatever, but SeaWorld Son initially took pictures of his brother:

    [​IMG]

    And when that got complaints, found a more cooperative subject:

    [​IMG]

    The next day, hubby went to Firestone, but Drury Inn let us have a late checkout, and then let us store our stuff in a locked room back by the desk so we could hang out in the lobby or whatever. They were really good to us. :) We'd never stayed in a Drury Inn before, but you bet we've stayed in some since!

    That morning the Firestone guys finally admitted defeat and said they'd have to send the van to a Dodge dealer to have them work on it. They offered to put us up in the Drury Inn until that was done, but Geek Dad had had it, and he read them the riot act. He doesn't scream or yell or swear or anything, but they definitely knew he was NOT HAPPY and that their offer was NOT SUFFICIENT. So they passed him on to Firestone's Claims department, or whatever it's called, and they worked out a deal where we got a rental van for the entire vacation and could head out to Florida that night. :cool1:

    So the Firestone guys ran hubby out to get the rental van, then hubby drove the rental back to pick us and all our junk up, we went back to the rental place to set me up as a driver, I think it was, then finally went out to the dealer where our van was, got the stuff we hadn't bothered hauling into the motel from our van into the rental, and we were finally off! The rental was a newer Dodge Caravan, so "just like ours, only better" ;) and we remembered to grab the GPS and all our music and wires and junk, so even though it we were getting going more than a day late, we were pretty happy. :)

    I think we'd crossed the Florida border when we stopped at a truck stop kinda place that had a Subway (half the family would live on Subway sandwiches), and a Dairy Queen. While the rest of them had Subway sandwiches, the Hermit and I split a bacon cheese burger and a German chocolate cake flurry, while SeaWorld Son had onion rings and a double cheese burger.

    [​IMG]

    I said, "If you're going to take a picture of your food, do it before you start eating," but he insists, "Burgers look better that way." :confused3

    And he took some pics of the gift shop:

    [​IMG]

    Photographer after my own heart. I just need to convince him to take pics of architectural details, and we're set! ;)
     

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