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October 20, 2011

2011 GA trip day 1 - 9/16/2011

Our flight to GA was.. ok. There was a gate change but we had plenty of time because I am so insistent on being there EARLY. A gentleman who would be on the flight with us apparently does not take the same approach, since he stood at the new gate berating the attendant because “no one told him the gate had changed”. We heard it in an announcement over the loud speaker, and saw it on every display between the F and C concourses, so I’m not sure how he missed it.

We landed safely in Atlanta and took the shuttle to the rental car area, then headed to Budget’s FastBreak counter. Since they had no cars waiting and ready for FastBreak (that happens often with them) we were asked, “Do you want a Mustang convertible?” Does anyone ever say no to that?

Rental

We were slightly concerned that our luggage wouldn’t fit since we had two large suitcases, two small ones, plus my laptop bag, but we got them in there and were off. It was actually a difficult learning curve getting used to driving it. The seats are so low, and the hood is so high, I had trouble seeing at first. It probably would have been fine in the daylight, or if we hadn’t hit major construction traffic immediately after leaving the airport, but it was a stressful drive to the hotel that night.

We decided to drive almost all the way up to Alpharetta where Desiree lives so we could sleep in a little before our breakfast plans in the morning, so we stopped in Roswell at almost 1. There was a LaQuinta and a Holiday Inn Express on the exit. I called the LQ for a quote, but they only had a double bed available for $60. I asked the HIE if they could match it since we were only going to be there for about 8 hours, and the clerk apologized and said, “I’m sorry, our hotel is a lot nicer than a La Quinta.” I agreed and said to go ahead and book it, and then he changed his mind and gave us the LQ rate! That was very nice. Also? That was the best hotel bed we’ve ever slept in, which was awesome since we were half-dead.

2011 GA trip day 2 - 9/17/2011

We’d set the alarm for 7 a.m. since we were hoping to meet Desiree and her family at 8 at the Egg Harbor Café (http://eggharborcafe.com) near Alpharetta. When it went off, Becky swore at the alarm clock in a most unladylike manner. But we got out the door fairly quickly and I had a chance to drive the Mustang in the light, which was a totally different ballgame. I want one of these.

Des’s son Alex had suggested the restaurant, and we were grateful to him! It was amazing. I ordered the Barrington (traditional) Benedict, but the server was new and misheard, so she brought a Bavarian Benedict instead. Luckily, she was able to replace it fairly quickly. I would have probably liked it, but was really craving the hollandaise sauce and the Bavarian is actually potato pancakes with eggs, bacon, jack and cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Lack of hollandaise on Eggs Benedict makes me SAD. Also, don’t try to pretend “cheese sauce” is hollandaise. Becky ordered the Cassie’s Crepes, which is pretty much the perfect breakfast for her. It was two crepes filled with scrambled eggs, mushrooms, cheese, and avocado.

After breakfast we all headed to Alex’s soccer game where he played his heart out while we visited with Desiree, Alex’s dad Cary, and Cary’s family. I’d met them when I lived in Macon but hadn’t seen them since Des & Cary’s wedding at least 12 years ago. They all seemed to remember me and were very sweet. Becky later said she loves hanging out with me and Desiree because it seems like we just pick up the last conversation we had, no matter how long it’s been since we last saw each other. That’s not surprising since we’ve known each other since Kindergarten; it was very sweet to hear!

Desiree and Alex

We hit the road towards Macon and somewhere along I75 Becky noticed a trailer full of BEES! There was a tarp over the top, but close to the trailer bed you could see it was bee hives and there were bees everywhere in and out of the hives. I had passed the truck by the time she realized what she'd seen and I sort of wanted to slow down and see it for myself, but she was so grossed out I just kept going. As we got closer to Macon I started thinking about lunch and remembered a restaurant my ex and I used to go to when we lived there with the best cheese dip ever. I thought it was called Gorilla’s or something, so I had Becky searching the GPS when we passed a billboard for a place called Buffalo’s Southwest Café (http://www.buffaloscafe.com) and I remembered that was it. Good timing, because it was only two exits away! They still had the appetizer I remembered… homemade potato chips covered in their queso verde sauce, shredded cheese, and sour cream. It’s a good thing they don’t have any restaurants in MN because I really don’t need to have this very often. Becky ordered a small shrimp lunch and I got a Santa Fe cheese steak sandwich which came with more of the queso verde. We noticed a bottle of their Vidalia Onion Sauce on the table and after trying it (on the shrimp, the fries, my sandwich, our fingers… pretty much anything we could think of) we asked the waitress if we could buy a bottle. Fortunately we could, and now I can’t wait to make something to use it at home.

After lunch we drove around Macon and I showed Becky one of the warehouses I used to work at… I’ve mentioned stories about the troubles some truck drivers had getting in to the dock area so it was cool to show her what I meant. It looks like that warehouse isn’t being used anymore, though, which was sad, though not surprising. It’s in a pretty rough area of town, and they have a much newer warehouse just south of Macon. I also showed Becky Central City Park where we used to have Pride. When my ex and I lived there we were active with Macon Pride, which put on a very small festival in that park every year. It was tiny, but I’m proud of the work we did there. I wish we’d had more time so we could have stopped and seen some friends I still have there, but we were in a hurry to get to the beach.

We drove straight through the rest of the way to Savannah and marveled at how beautiful the tree-lined streets are, but kept on heading towards Tybee. We checked in at the Desoto Beach Hotel (http://desotobeachhotel.com) and found we were in the room next to where we were last time. It was nice because while it was still only a partial view, it was a different partial view than last time. We walked down to the beach to say hi to the ocean before heading to dinner and it was as peaceful as last time. We love going to the beach in September because the water (and the weather, for the most part) is still awesome but there are much fewer people around.

Desoto

For dinner we hit Sting Ray's Seafood (http://stingraysontybee.com). Becky ordered fried scallops, which tasted awesome but some were slightly sandy. I kicked off the first couple of pounds of what was eventually probably over 15 pounds of crab consumed during the week. Combined with two pieces of key lime, the total was still only $44. We adore Tybee. The restaurant had live music and we were originally seated right in front of him, but were asked to move so a hearing-impaired woman could hear the music better. We were happy to move away from the music and closer to the street, complete with people watching. Perfect!

2011 GA trip day 3 - 9/18/2011

Sunday morning we headed out intent on having breakfast at The Breakfast Club (http://tybeeisland.com/dining/brclub/Default.htm) because we didn’t discover it until our last day on the island last time, but there was a line way out the door so we went to the Sunrise Restaurant instead. There’s no website, but it’s right across the street from the Breakfast Club, a half a block away. I’m glad we did that on the weekend, because Sunrise has a weekend breakfast buffet. I had that, and loved it… there were chicken fried steak bites! Very good sausage gravy, too, though a little too peppery for me (most are). Becky went with her favorite, a bagel and some bacon.

After breakfast we walked through all the shops in South Tybee, but they are literally all the same. Hermit crabs, boogie boards, and bikinis. Becky was kind of looking for a swimsuit but we didn’t find any. We did find some goggles for me and water socks for both of us. I have a love-hate relationship with water socks because they all inevitably lose the liner in the bottom when they’re wet, and then when I walk out of the water the liner slides up the sides and annoys the hell out of me. Still, these were cute and on sale so we went for it and the liners are still intact after several uses. Score!

When we got back to the hotel we noticed some large kites on the beach, so we went to watch whoever was flying them. It was really windy and they were HUGE, but it turned out someone had just tied two big kites to the life guard stand. One was a twenty-foot-long alligator.

Kites at Desoto

We went down to check out the water and the waves were nice, but the water felt COLD to me. Becky didn’t even try because she’s usually colder than I am. That’ll be important later.

When we got back to the hotel room I called my nephews mom, Renee, and finally found out they were for sure planning to come to see us on Friday, but the more Becky and I discussed the more we thought we should go meet them partway to maximize the visit. Plus, I’d never been to Florida so we could knock off another state from our list. So we made plans to meet in Jacksonville Friday evening.

We decided to go for a drive around island with the top down and explore some of the areas we didn’t see last time we were there. We found the lighthouse but didn’t feel like climbing the stairs, saw Battery Park, which we later found out was where the Union soldiers attacked Fort Pulaski from during the Civil War. There were cats EVERYwhere on the island. There are signs up here and there saying not to feed them, that they're managed by a project.

For lunch we went to the Crab Shack (http://www.thecrabshack.com/), and we decided to sit inside but regretted it when we saw how much shade there was on the outside deck. We’d rectify that situation later in the week when we went back for dinner. Becky had deviled crab and liked it ok, but was a little weirded out by eating out of a crab shell. I had a BBQ pork sandwich and the shack crab soup, which is blue crab, cream of celery, spices, etc. The soup was amazing and set me on a quest for other awesome crab soups for the rest of the week. The BBQ was good, but I forgot how much GA BBQ sauces generally are very mustard-based, which isn’t my favorite. The meat was awesomely tender, though. And Becky's red potatoes were incredibly creamy and I yoinked more than one!

After we ate we headed outside to their little gator pond, where they have 78 baby alligators. It was a little creepy but interesting. The food drew me there more than baby gators ever would! They also had a Crab Shack shop where you could buy t-shirts and other souvenirs, but the best thing about that was there were more cats everywhere. I pet one sweet orange one and then was told by the lady behind the counter that that particular cat will rip your face off. Nice. They also have an aviary with about a dozen birds ranging from a cockatiel all the way up to Amazon Grey’s and a couple of Macaws.

Cat house at the Crab Shack

After lunch we were going to head to Savannah to look around, but on the way off the island we decided to stop at Fort Pulaski. We figured we’d get a nice picture of a monument or a memorial or something, but found it was a National Park so we paid and went in. It was awesome!

Fort Pulaski

We got there just in time to watch a video about the fort where we learned it was built by the federal government, but when South Carolina seceded from the Union, the Governor of Georgia saw what was happening and decided to take the fort. He sent the Georgia Guard down there and they took it from the – literally – two Union caretakers who were guarding it. Robert E Lee was involved in the design and construction of the fort, and he said you may as well attack the Rocky Mountains as Fort Pulaski. They really thought it was invincible, because the walls were 11 feet thick and at the time, the best land-weapon anyone had were smooth bore cannons that could only shoot about half a mile. Tybee Island (Battery Park) was the closest area that could attack, and they were three miles away. The Union forces set up on Tybee and started preparing for a siege, but they were careful to not change the landscape of Tybee which could be seen from the fort. So the Confederate soldiers heard work happening at Tybee, but couldn’t see what was going on and weren’t worried about cannon balls reaching them.

Fort Pulaski

They found out after turning down the Union’s suggestion that they surrender. The Union had discovered rifled cannons, and they could now shoot 30 pound rifled things over 3 miles, and they were able to focus their shots in a single area. They hoped to cause enough damage that the fallen bricks would fill the moat and they could just walk across, but they breached the 11-foot-thick wall within a day and a half, and the Confederate leaders saw some shells heading directly towards the powder magazine which was all the way on the other corner of the fort. By that time, they only had four working cannons left. The powder magazine held enough black powder to kill everyone on-site, so the Confederate soldiers had to use a cannon rammer and a white sheet to surrender; the pole holding their Confederate flag had been cut in two.

The commander of the Union group there declared all slaves in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina free. I’d never heard that before! Lincoln rescinded the order and later issued the Emancipation Proclamation that we all know about, and Pulaski became a final destination on the Underground Railroad. Before the war was over, it would be turned in to a prison to house 600 Confederates including many of the Cabinet members and three Governors. Conditions in the prison were really terrible and 13 prisoners died.

Fort Pulaski Prison

As we were walking in to see the musket fire demonstration, we saw a handful of people standing around looking at the moat. When we reached them, we looked down to see an alligator in the moat and overheard the guide telling everyone that this was the little one, but, “the 6-foot one can easily get out.” We took a slightly-less-leisurely stroll the rest of the way inside the fort. We later saw a sign in the information area warning people to stay at least ten feet away from the gators. No problem.

Fort Pulaski

We sat down under the big pecan tree to listen to the musket fire demonstration and the park ranger explained that he was dressed in Union blues because they treat the fort as a Union fort one day a week, on Sundays, and Confederate the rest of the week. He told us a lot about life in the fort and about the battle I described above, about how the soldiers there used to play baseball to pass the time and that one of the first ever pictures of baseball was taken within the walls of the fort, and then he walked us through the nine steps required to fire their muskets. He explained that a proficient soldier could fire three shots per minute, and he is not a proficient soldier. He fired four shots and it did take a few minutes, but it was cool to see. After the demonstration we walked around the fort a bit but it was closing down soon, so we didn’t get to really examine anything. Fortunately, the pass we bought on the way in lasted for six days so we knew we’d come back later in the week.

When we got back to the hotel we looked for a hotel in Jacksonville where we’d be meeting Trevor, Renee, and her husband Wes. Becky managed to find a Residence Inn where we could get a two queen beds, two bathrooms, kitchen, and a sofa bed for $140. Score! Enough room for all of us in one room, which worked out perfectly.

We just chilled for the rest of the night with the TV and our laptops. I spent my computer time trying to figure out where the hell we ate last time with Becky’s friend Carrie and her family. We thought it was the Crab Shack, but once we ate there we knew that wasn’t right. I pulled out the pictures from last time and found a picture of Carrie’s baby eating a lemon, and had a corner of the menu showing. I flipped the pic over to read the menu and saw something called a BoDiddly sandwich, which sounded familiar. I looked through the menus we’d picked up in the hotel lobby and found it! It was called Coco’s Sunset Grille, and the reason we didn’t remember it was because it was called Café Loco last time!

For dinner that night we went to the Sugar Shack (http://www.tybeesugarshack.com/) for dinner. It’s an ice cream shop that also has sandwiches and other light stuff. I had a roast beef sandwich, which was pretty salty but very good. Becky had a burger and she enjoyed it a lot. We couldn’t leave without having ice cream, obviously. Becky had Snickers Ripple and I went with Oreo/mint chip. They were both really good, and while we were eating on the patio a guy walked through and asked how it was. He solicited our opinion about a few flavors and was super nice.

2011 GA trip day 4 - 9/19/2011

Monday morning we were intent on getting in to the Breakfast Club, so we got up a little early. There was no line, but it was fairly packed. Fortunately there were two seats open at the counter, which was awesome. They have a great machine going there so it was almost like a show. Then one of the cooks walked by and asked how we enjoyed our ice cream! It was the guy from the Sugar Shack the night before. I ordered the chicken fried steak, only to find it was HUGE, and it also came with eggs and hash browns. It was really good, but I could only eat about a third of it. Becky had a PMS omelet which was Parmesan, mushrooms, and spinach and came with grits and toast. I cannot abide grits, but she sometimes likes a bite or two. Their food is always awesome and it was great to see them cook.

After breakfast we walked around on the beach near the pier pavilion for a while, and then picked up a couple of t-shirts at a store. We still had some time left on our parking pass, so we drove down to the south beach to explore and watched some kayakers struggle to get out past the surf. They gave up after a short time and our time was up so we headed back to the hotel because the weather was a little crappy.

We just had snacks at the hotel for lunch, but after the weather cleared up and we hit the beach to go swimming. I’d brought my contacts which I never wear and was shocked to be able to get them in without any issues. I could only wear them for a couple of hours, but that was enough because we had a bit of a rough time at the beach. It was high tide and our water socks filled up with sand FAST, and I had a hard time taking them off to rinse them out and getting them back on, so we just hung out for a bit and headed back in.

River House Seafood

Later we headed in to Savannah with Becky driving for the first time, so she finally understood why I’d been having so much fun. Sadly, it started to rain so we had to put the top up after a few minutes. We’d decided to go to River House Seafood (http://www.riverhouseseafood.com/) for dinner. The GPS was a little confused trying to get us down to River Street but we got there to find granite cobblestones get quite slippery when it’s raining. We immediately fell in love with the restaurant (Becky especially loved the décor of thick brick walls, and brick cobblestone floors) and I ordered the Dungeness crabs, while Becky decided on scallops Oscar. They also served Sourdough bread with a blue cheese spread, and tableside Caesar’s salad. I’m really not a Caesar’s fan, but that salad was awesome. Becky also ordered a Chatham Artillery Punch, which was originally a light cocktail, but over the years officers added this and that until it became what it is now, which really packs a punch. It’s wine, rum, gin, Benedictine, Maraschino cherries, rye, tea, brown sugar, orange juice, and lemon juice. It was very tasty! The food was amazing and rather than the two clusters of Dungeness I was supposed to get, I got a huge pile of single pieces. Fine by me! They probably gave me three times as much as I’d have gotten otherwise and I was happy.

Artillery Punch at River House

Artillery Punch at River House

2011 GA trip day 5 - 9/20/2011

Tuesday morning it was raining a LOT. We had breakfast at the hotel, which was just cold cereal and yogurt, etc. We chilled in our room for the morning and then decided on lunch at the aforementioned Coco's Sunset Grille (http://www.cocossunsetgrille.com), formerly Cafe Loco. Becky ordered a Shrimp po’ boy, and I went with a half order of fried shrimp and crab stew. The shrimp were a bit overcooked, and some weren't cleaned very well. The crab stew was much better at the Crab Shack. Their fries were very good, but I don’t like to eat a lot of fries, so we probably won’t go back there.

After lunch we headed back to Pulaski for further lookin’. We joined a walking tour and for the first time saw the damage still present on the other side. It was very chilling… there are still shells lodged in the walls. While the guide was walking away he warned us to watch out for… something. We didn’t quite hear what he said, and were too Minnesotan to interrupt him and ask, so we listened to the next section of the talk but we were pretty distracted. I spent the next ten minute expecting to be bitten by a snake or something, but it turns out he was talking about fire ants. I may or may not have been halfway stung by one (I had an itchy place with two tiny spots on my foot for a week), but we did pretty well there. We took a ton of pictures while the ranger regaled us with the story of the battle.

Afterwards we sat in on the musket-firing demonstration again, because this time it was Confederate stories.

On our way out we decided to buy a National Parks Passport and the female Ranger who sold it to us was the same who had checked our entry pass when we came in. She said, "You ladies look like you're having so much fun! I saw you driving in with the top down just smiling like crazy!" That made our day.

For dinner we ordered in from Lighthouse Pizza. I had BBQ ribs and wings, and Becky had a calzone that was about the size of her head.

2011 GA trip day 6 - 9/21/2011

Wednesday we had breakfast at the hotel again, and then headed in to Savannah for the day. We went for a trolley tour first, which was fun. Savannah is so old and there’s so much history, which we both enjoy a lot. The way the tour works is you go all the way around first, then you can take their shuttle to any of their stops and call them to be picked up when you want. We weren’t all that interested in walking around the historic sites though and we wanted to do a dolphin tour, so we headed back to the car. Unfortunately, we were a little too late for the dolphin tour so we decided to just grab lunch and head back to the island.

Our tour guide

For lunch Becky really wanted to try the Pirate’s House (http://www.thepirateshouse.com/). We’d heard about it before, but the tour went by and we found out it was an actual pirate hangout during the 1700s and within the restaurant is a house built in 1732, which is believed to be the oldest house in GA. The restaurant has something like 15 separate dining rooms and they all look different. There are stairs down to tunnels under Savannah, and lots of pirate memorabilia throughout. The food was ok. I had a cup of their She Crab soup (was good, but not as good as the Crab Shack) and the buffet, which included fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fried okra, collard greens, etc… typical southern fare. Becky had a crab melt sandwich, I think. After dinner we explored the rest of the restaurant and headed upstairs to the shop where Becky picked up a couple of t-shirts.

When we got back to the hotel we decided to go swimming again. I wore my crocs this time, figuring that they’ll still fill with sand but at least I’ll be able to get them back on faster each time I rinse them out. Bad move! The tide was going out, and the surf was filled with broken shells. So my shoes didn’t just fill with sand, they filled with shell shards. Plus the water dropped off several feet shortly after walking in, and I just flat out got freaked. I have only been in the ocean a few times, and I worried about being able to help Becky if something happened with her (she can swim, but doesn’t consider herself a strong swimmer at all). I sunk down into the shells with every wave, and when I tried to take a step, my shoes fell off. It was apparently quite comical for Becky watching me try to catch it… the shoe went back and forth away from and past me about five times before I caught it. If I took them off, the shells just hurt anyway. Becky bravely walked out further than I did, and got a face-full of sea water for her efforts. We left the water and just walked down the beach for a bit, instead. We saw a horseshoe crab (shell only, which we know thanks to the gentleman who saw fit to POKE IT WITH A STICK) and also a jellyfish which had very recently washed ashore. We know it was recent because it wasn't there when we walked by 15 minutes earlier and also because it still looked pretty wet. It was fascinating but I felt bad because it was moving slightly on the inside and I didn't know if it was living (suffering) or not.

Tybee

But then we looked up and saw dolphins swimming by! That was one of the reasons we went back to Tybee, we loved seeing them while we were swimming last time and they didn’t disappoint again this time.

For dinner, we decided to go back to the Crab Shack. So good. I got crab legs and forgot that I wanted more of their crab soup, but the crab legs were awesome. Becky got crab and shrimp. Something we didn’t notice the first time we at there is that they only music playing at the restaurant is Jimmy Buffet. It was funny, but I imagine it gets old for the people who work there. The cats we saw wandering around the store last time were wandering the outside dining area this time, and they love crab and shrimp. We made friends with one in particular who was very friendly. It was a beautiful night, so we drove around the island with the top down. We really, really enjoyed that car. We got a lot of comments from people on the car, too, which was fun.

2011 GA trip day 7 - 9/22/2011

Thursday we intended to hit the Breakfast Club again, but there was another line so we went to Sunrise instead. There wasn’t a buffet, but the food was all very good. We decided to drive back in to Savannah with the top down and go take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Our carriage was pulled by Rowdy, who has been working with their company for so long he gets his break during the hot summer months and he’d just come back in to service. It was a 50-minute tour with Jenny, who was very punny and found herself very amusing. We did, too, for the most part, but there were some groans from a few particularly bad puns. Good tour.

Savannah

At one point we came around a corner towards one of Savannah’s many square parks, and Jenny got super excited and said, “Y’ALL, look! Resurrection ferns!” She told us about how these plants lay dormant on the tree branches until there is enough rain to bring them back to life, and on a hot day like this was, they’d probably be shriveled up by dark. They can stay dormant for up to 100 years and if they get enough water they’ll come back.

Resurrection ferns in Savannah

During the tour we saw a pub called Molly MacPherson's (http://www.macphersonspub.com) so we headed there for lunch. It was an adorable Scottish place and Becky ordered the Molly's Favorite sandwich, which was turkey with thin apple slices, cheddar, and maple butter. I had the Sheppard's pie and was only able to eat about half of it. It was all very good and the server was awesome, telling us about other things to do in Savannah.

After lunch we decided to ditch the car and walk down to River Street, figuring we’d explore down there and take the free Dot (http://www.connectonthedot.com) transportation back later. As we got down there, a woman tossed us a couple of roses made from palm fronds.

Roses from palm fronds

There are three options for the Dot shuttles… they have a bus that goes around to a bunch of stops around Savannah, a street car that goes up and down the river area along six stops, and then a ferry that takes you to two stops on the Savannah side, and one stop across the river to Hutchinson Island. We never ended up taking the ferry but we’ll have to try that out next time.

We did some shopping in the shops on River Street and then hopped the street car to go down to where the Dolphin tour (http://reelemn.com/dolphinmagic/) started. There were the most annoying bugs flying everywhere… they appeared to fly in pairs and would have no problem dive-bombing our heads, especially Becky’s. They reminded us of box elder bugs in the way they fly. I asked the guy at the Dolphin tour stand what they were and he said they’re love bugs, and they fly butt-to-butt. I don’t really have anything else to say about them.

We waited a while and then boarded the boat to go look for dolphins. It turned out the guy who taught us about love bugs was the first mate, and he looked a lot like Wil Wheaton, and we’re pretty sure he was on cocaine because he was prone to sniffing incessantly and yelling WOOOO at odd times.

Dolphin tour

He showed us a prehistoric shark tooth that was found on an island where they dump the stuff they drag out of the river (the river has to be at least 46 feet deep for some of the larger ships to get through). They figure the shark was probably 50 feet long.

There was a sign up that said the first mate worked only for tips, so it’s possible he was just trying to get a better tip, but it sort of creeped us out. Still, he was mildly entertaining and had a lot of good information about the Savannah River and the area and, of course, the dolphins. The only problem was he’d point something out and then say he’d tell us about it later. We had been excited to go on the tour because it was supposed to go out to Tybee, and we knew that would take us past Fort Pulaski again and we looked forward to seeing it from the water, but he said the conditions in Tybee weren’t awesome for dolphin seeing so we were headed to South Carolina, instead, to Daufuskie Island.

Dolphin tour

One lady on the boat saw a dolphin just as we were leaving Savannah and everyone squealed and we kept going, but later the first mate said we should have stopped and watched that one because we found nothing at Daufuskie at all. I felt for the guy, probably thinking his tips were going to be non-existent, but it obviously wasn’t his fault. Fortunately for him, we did find one small dolphin on the way back to Savannah, and he was willing to play with us for a little while, which was fun.

Dolphin tour

After the dolphin boat we decided to go get the car so we waited for a DOT shuttle. We stopped at the information building next to the bus stop to go to the bathroom, but it was being cleaned and wouldn’t be available for 15-20 minutes. The shuttle was supposed to be by in about 10, so we waited. And waited, and waited. And it was very late! But we were afraid to go to the information building restroom, lest the shuttle show up and then we’d have to wait again, so we kept waiting. It finally showed up after about 40 minutes and we rode back to our car, and then set off looking for more bathrooms. We walked all around the City Market area but found no public bathrooms. Earlier we’d seen a public bathroom down on the end of River Street near the craft vendors so we parked near there (River Street parking is free after 5 p.m.) and headed over only to find that the bathrooms were closed now. We asked a couple of businesses and they not only had no public bathrooms, and didn’t know where any were, they acted like it was the first time anyone had ever asked for one! Where the hell do people pee in Savannah? We knew there was one in the information booth but it was blocks away and by that time, we both had to go way too bad to wait, so we went and sat at the bar at One Eyed Lizzy’s, ordered an artichoke and crab dip and some beverages, and used theirs. The crab dip was awesome… we’ll have to go back there next time. There are tables upstairs that are outside, each on a small balcony that you get to yourself and it overlooks the river walk.

Becky had wanted to stop in to the Savannah Candy Kitchen (http://www.savannahcandy.com/) near City Market, but we knew there was another one on River Street so we headed that way. We sampled some awesome pralines and bought a gift box that had pralines, turtles, and divinity in it to bring home and share with her family. Then we hobbled back to the car (granite cobblestones require concentration!) and headed back to the hotel to chill.

For our last dinner on Tybee we decided to go to the first place we went to last time… MacElwee's (http://macelweesontybee.com/). They were fairly busy and we only saw two servers, who explained that they were swamped and we were welcome to sit down but it would be 15-20 minutes before they could get to us. They were quite frantically trying to keep up with the few big parties, so we sat down and grabbed a couple of menus. While we were reading the menu we overheard one of the women (we think she may have been an owner or at least manager) tell someone the third server who was supposed to be there had been in a bad accident and wasn’t able to make it in. We figured it would be a while before we got our dinners, so we ordered a crab dip to start. It was tasty but there were too many peppers in it for my taste, and not nearly enough actual crab. Becky had ordered the scallops and I, of course, got more crab legs. They came fairly quickly and we weren’t even done with the dip yet. But then we decided to get dessert, too, because their special that night was fried strawberries and Becky was intrigued. I had the key lime pie and it was awesome. As it turns out, fried strawberries means they dip whole strawberries in doughnut batter and deep fry it, then roll it in cinnamon and sugar and serve with whipped cream. Both desserts totally made up for the crab dip and the long wait.

Fried strawberries

We went back to the hotel and started packing for the next day, just figuring out how best to pack to avoid having to bring everything up to the hotel in Jacksonville the next night.

2011 GA trip day 8 - 9/23/2011

Friday morning was our last in Tybee, so we took a walk on the beach and looked for shells for a little while then headed to the Breakfast Club. It was fairly slow so we grabbed a couple of stools at the counter again and enjoyed the show. After breakfast we headed back to finish packing, rest up a bit and hit the road with the top down. That lasted about 5 minutes before we stopped to put it up because it was too hot out!

Becky had been craving Zaxby’s wings, so we looked for one for lunch but never came across it. We decided Steak ‘n Shake would be a suitable substitute but it really wasn’t awesome, which was sad. Of course, once we got back on the road we saw a Zaxby’s about 10 miles ahead. Figures!

As we headed in to Jacksonville on I95 we saw an amazing storm out towards the ocean. Then we came upon the Dames Point Bridge in Jacksonville, which was so high my ears popped as we drove across it.

Dames Point Bridge in Jacksonville

We quickly found the hotel and checked in, and they gave us a goody bag with a few small candy bars and a bottle of water. When we booked the hotel and it said it was two queens and a sofa bed we figured it’d be like a normal hotel room with a separate bedroom. When we walked in, we saw a room the size of a normal hotel room which had a full kitchen with a dining room table for four, a sofa bed, fireplace, and huge TV. Then there were two full bedrooms each with their own bathrooms and huge TVs. Perfect! Trev got the whole living room area to himself and he enjoyed it. The hotel also had amazing customer service. About 15 minutes after we got in the room the phone rang, and it was the front desk just wanting to make sure we made it to the room ok and see if we needed anything. I mentioned that we had another person joining us but that he wouldn’t be there until late, and asked if he’d be able to get in to the building our room was in. She asked for his name and left a key at the front desk for him.

Renee and Trevor made it to town in record time, and we headed to dinner at Whiskey River (http://thewhiskyriver.com/jacksonville/), a BBQ joint where the servers’ uniforms made the Hooters servers look Amish. Trev enjoyed the scenery, and the food was all awesome. Renee, Becky and I all ordered BBQ platters (the brisket was amazing) and Trevor went for some super-hot wings. The server warned him that they are REALLY hot, and he went for it (with Renee agreeing he could probably handle it). He made it through maybe two wings before moving on to Renee’s leftovers, but he tried.

When we got back to the hotel we headed down to the pool, which felt almost tropical to me and Becky got in right away, so I KNOW it wasn’t cold. But Renee wouldn’t touch it and Trevor turned blue, so we hit the hot tub instead. We stayed there until a creepy dude came in and kept butting in to our conversation. Trev wanted to go shoot some hoops, so we went to watch him and the dude was sad and apologized for running us out. Being Minnesotan, we assured him it wasn’t him.

2011 GA trip day 9 - 9/24/2011

Saturday morning we got up early (even Renee! Holy crap!) and headed downstairs for breakfast at the hotel. Easily the best hotel breakfast we’ve ever had, and it was free. It was no continental… waffles, French toast, pancakes, scrambled eggs, muffins, potato pancakes, lots of toppings for everything… just about anything you’d want for breakfast. Hotel breakfasts are kind of spotty for me because I can’t eat just carbs but this one was awesome.

Since our plan was to head to the beach and then eventually head up towards Atlanta, we checked with the front desk and were able to add a half a day to our stay. That way we’d be able to go back and shower and pack things up before heading out.

We loaded up in Renee’s truck and made our way to Jacksonville Beach, which had free parking, unlike Tybee. And a beautiful beach! Becky and I went to change in to our suits while Renee and Wes grabbed us some shade near the pier.

Jacksonville

The sand was soft and white, and there was a big surfing competition going on. I wasn’t sure of the etiquette of swimming near the surfers but the area wasn’t blocked off, and there were two sets of waves so we just swam in the inner waves and they were surfing further out. Wes and Trev went a little further out and had a close call with a surfer a couple of times, but it was all good. Before we headed back in Trev got cold, and Becky nicely gave him her rash guard shirt (which is also sun protection). We rested for a while with some snacks, then went back out for round two, where unfortunately Becky forgot her swim shirt and ended up super burned on her back and shoulders. She made it through a whole week at the beach with no burns until the last damn day.

Trev building a sand something

A storm rolled in and we got out of the water just in time, and went back to the hotel to shower and get ready for a late lunch. We weren’t planning on a late lunch, but Renee is such a girl and it took her forever to get ready. We’d been telling Renee about the queso verde potato nachos thing at Buffalo's, so we went there again. We shared the queso verde nachos with everyone and we devoured it. Becky had fajitas (just ok) and I had the cheesesteak again, but this time in wrap form which was even better. Everyone loved their food, but Trev had to send his steak back, though, because he ordered it rare and it came medium well at BEST, possibly even well.

Renee taught me how to drive, but I don’t remember her being insane or having so much road rage. Trev and Wes slept through it while Becky and I were holding hands in the back, and not just cause we kinda like each other. Hee! But we made it back after an impromptu stop at Good Will, where Renee got a few outfits for her new job.

Eventually she found what she needed and we went back to hotel again to chill and pack. Becky very sweetly offered to pack while Trev and I took a cruise in the Mustang and he was pretty impressed. He kept saying, “Is there ANYTHING this car can’t do?”

Goodbye is never easy but we seem to almost see Trev more now that he lives 1500 miles away than we did when he lived half an hour away. We had our normal teary-but-short see-ya-laters and headed out in the Mustang, while Renee drove her truck alone and Trev rode behind Wes on the Harley.

We were hoping to get as close to Atlanta as possible, before stopping for the night and were once again on the look-out for a Zaxby’s, but couldn’t find one. We also just weren't hungry after lunch, but finally forced ourselves to stop and eat around 8:30 so I could take my shot. We settled on a Waffle House. Becky had a cheese steak sandwich and loved it; I had breakfast including a waffle which we shared. I am nearly incapable of going to a Waffle House and not getting a Waffle.

After dinner we kept driving and made it to Cordele, GA which is a cute little town with a crappy Comfort Inn which is right next to a loud train track. We weren’t worried about the train because we sleep with white noise every night anyway. Unfortunately, the hotel itself was not so comfortable. It was kind of trashy and smelly, but the room was clean….ish. No, it wasn’t, Becky found someone else’s hair on the side of the shower the next morning. Becky was in so much pain from the sunburn that I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to sleep at all, but she got some rest. I had a fretful night of sleep, because I woke up in the middle of the night and remembered that I’d forgotten to check for bed bugs. I was also worrying about Becky and I just never really got back to sleep. Fortunately there were no bugs!

2011 GA trip day 10 - 9/25/2011

Our alarm was set for 6:30, and we were on the road by 7:45. Not bad, considering we had to do a final run-through of the full packing experience. We wanted to get the hell out of Cordele so we headed north hoping to find a Shoney’s, but ended up settling for a Waffle House in Byron, so we could drive by the other warehouse where I used to work.

We made it to Atlanta and had an interesting time trying to find a gas station before returning the rental car... then had to give up the Mustang, which resulted in SAD FACE. We took the shuttle to the terminal and were at least 3 hours early to the airport, but it was nice to be able to chill and not worry when there were small holdups at each step of getting to the gate, including Becky having to go through the special scanner and get patted down, despite having completely empty pockets and no metal anywhere. And our checked bags were 49 and 46 pounds (limit is 50). Sweet! We were worried that between the things we bought and the wet towels we had to pack that we'd be over and have to redistribute at the check in counter, but no worries.

The flight was full, but ok. There was some choppiness and we were in a middle and window seat, but it wasn't too bad. Sha picked us up at the airport and we went to dinner at Davanni's before coming home to much love from Big Kitty.

Another great trip!

About October 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Fifteenthirty - here we go. in October 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2007 is the previous archive.

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