Vacation = Awesome … North Florida = NOT Awesome

She’s baaaack…
Ah, back from vacation.  Okay, we were back on Saturday, but you know it takes a while to recover from vacation, right?  A good kind of recovery, but still.
So remember all that freaking out about toys and traveling and eating and pooping and sleeping?  It went something like this:
Toys: Packed a lot; played with a lot, but nothing (and I mean nothing) compared to the fun that was crunching Fall leaves.  Seriously, the kid couldn’t get enough of it.  Also, his crawling went from second gear to fifth gear over a matter of two days.  Did you know that the best way to measure the level of fun an item contains is to taste it?  Evidence:

Mittens…flavorful.  And pointless.


Barstool…delicious, and full of fiber. 
Traveling: Oh. My. Gosh.  I’ll probably jinx myself by saying this, but Miles was born for road trips and vacations.  Through our first 7 hour stretch, he kept his exact same napping and eating schedule.  We stopped overnight in Alpharetta, and he slept through in his pack ‘n play.  This awesomely awesome awesomeness continued through the entire trip.  The key to keeping a happy traveler is to stop and stretch; when it was mealtime, we’d find a nice rest area with a shady picnic spot and throw down the quilt.  Let the kid crawl around, play with toys (you know, eat grass and leaves…) and he was a happy camper and ready to nap when we got back on the road.
Eating: He finished his antibiotics on day two of our trip, and his appetite (and poop) was back to normal.  Also, the adult appetites were like, super awesome…and I think Miles was a little jealous he couldn’t have any barbecue, fried okra, biscuits ‘n gravy or pumpkin beer.  Maybe next year, kiddo…
Miles seriously loved being outside, probably because Fall weather is so awesome once you’re north of the Palm Tree Line.  We hiked, and he hung out in the Bjorn like the amazing mountain baby he is.  He played on the deck of the cabin, in grassy spots while we hiked, and next to beautiful creeks.  If nap time rolled around during a hike, he napped.
Mushy stuff: We have always loved our annual trip to western NC; it’s a place that is very special to us for many reasons.  But this year, it was totally different and in an amazingly awesome way…because this year, we got to see everything with a brand new set of eyes.  To watch Miles discover leaves and dirt and grass and cold, mountain water was such a blessing.  And to have a whole entire week of family time?  Even bigger blessing.  Getting to spend every day and night with my favorite guys, doing nothing but enjoying life, my goodness…worth it a million times over.
So we’re probably friends on Facebook and you’ve seen the barrage of photos.  Now let’s talk about what Facebook doesn’t tell you…
On the day we were leaving NC, Evan came down with a wicked sinus and double ear infection (we didn’t know that’s what it was at the time; we just knew he was feeling ROUGH).  So, I did most of the packing and most of the driving.  People: this is a big deal.

I drove from Bryson City, NCto the GA-FL line, including driving through the Atlanta Bypass.  ALL OF THE MILES, I DROVE THEM.  No one can take that away from me.  I am a 25mph, center lane driving, blinker on for 100 yards, mountain and interstate motor vehicle operator…much to the chagrin of every single other driver on the road.  ALL OF THE MILES, MINE.
We decided to stop in Lake Cityto crash on our way back down.  This area was suggested by an unnamed friend who is lucky she is still my friend, because if there’s any place in the world you should never, ever, ever stay, it’s North Florida.
I chose a place that had a four star review on Expedia, and was part of a chain.  Making sure your hotel is part of a chain is important, as we have learned through experience (again, in North Florida).
The hotel was awful.  It was a million years old.  The hallways were outdoors.  The doors to the room wouldn’t close properly.  The air conditioner sounded like Air Force One preparing for take off.  I refused to take my socks off, and wrapped myself in my own personal blanket to sleep.  Also, I only peed once.  ONCE!  No, it was not the chain hotel I thought we’d be getting…it was  a motel with a new sign.  Oh, and a traveling girl’s softball team staying overnight.
When I booked, I chose “two adults, one child” because I’m an honest person.  But, when you tell the hotel you have a child, they do one thing: put you on the same floor as the entire traveling girl’s softball team.  So, at 10:30p, when you’re desperately trying to sleep and not think about an axe murderer crashing through your hotel room window, your neighbor can be heard (through the paper thin walls) running up and down the hallway.  Up and down, up and down, up and down.  For 45 minutes.  Yelling.
I finally lost what little bit of sanity I had left (remember, I drove through Atlanta) and went next door.  The hotel room door was open, and mom and dad were sitting on the bed with a 24 pack of Keystone Light.  Ah, North Florida…
Me: “Excuse me, would you mind asking your girls to keep it down?  We have a six month old trying to sleep.”
Dad: “YEAH, SURE.”  :::takes swig of beer and continues watching World Series:::
No eye contact, no apology, nothing.  I am certain that, had the rooms allowed smoking, I would have noticed half a pack of Salems stubbed out in a cheap ashtray.  I know, I’m judgey. 
The running and jumping and yelling and roof construction continued until 3:30a.  I was about to become the murderer.  When it finally stopped, I spent the next three hours in a cat nap state, waiting for murderers.
The hotel advertised a hot, continental breakfast.  I had already decided against that, knowing that what qualified as “hot” and “continental” at the awesome hotel we stayed at in Alpharetta would most certainly not make a Lake City, FL menu.  Peering into the dining room/lobby/waiting area for homicide detectives, I saw the hoard of teenagers eating bagels and fruit cups.  Yes, continental indeed.
We loaded up, fueled up, and with a “Kiss My Grits, Lake City!” bumper sticker we hopped on I-75, made it to a Dunkin’ Donuts and started on our merry way south.
When deciding between an overnight stay in Georgia or Florida, choose Georgia.  It’s worth the extra hour of driving time to have a new, clean hotel with new, clean rooms and hot breakfast.  And coffee.  Starbucks coffee.  Mmmm.
Alright, off to work on the Halloween edition of Round-Up, because there’s lots more to talk about.
Happy to be home,


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