Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vacation 2012

I love the Metro-Atlanta area. It’s been very good to me over the last couple of years in terms of friends and career. There’s plenty to do as well with places like The High Museum of Art and The Fox Theatre, just to name a couple. But sometimes it’s good to get away.

My fianceé’s parents buy into a timeshare program every year. Usually they use the points to go to Myrtle Beach, but this time they decided to get a place Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The drive up on Thursday was just horrible. It rained so hard I could hardly see more than a car length in front of me. Add to that the fact that we were on winding mountain back roads. It made what should have been a four hour drive take closer to five. At any rate, we got to the hotel, got our stuff out of the car, then we all went to Five Guys for a quick dinner and to Kroger to pick up a few groceries.

Friday it continued to rain all morning. The parents had a meeting for the timeshare (aka, sales session), which was supposed to be an hour, but ended up being five as they decided (were talked into) buying more stuff. Finally, Roxanne, her brother, and I got bored enough sitting around the hotel, that we found an indoor, blacklight, mini golf course nearby and headed out just to have something to do. That evening, we had meatloaf for dinner (remember, I said we had gone to the grocery store Thursday night). Roxanne's cousins arrived later that night, and we made our plans for Saturday.

Because her cousins were only going to be able to spend Saturday and Sunday morning with us, we basically crammed several days worth of stuff into a single day.  First, we went to The Tomb Adventure (mainly for the kids, but still a lot of fun). We were archaeologists that get trapped in an ancient Egyptian tomb while trying to find a lost professor. Basically, we had to solve various puzzles in order to get from room to room so we could escape. Like I said, it was mostly for the kids, but everyone seemed to enjoy it.

The next stop was Five Guys (again) for lunch, mainly because it was walking distance from The Tomb. After lunch we headed to The Titanic Museum. The outside of the museum looks like half of the ship, which is really interesting. Also, upon entering, each guest is given a “boarding pass” with the name of an actual Titanic passenger or crew member. At the end, there is a big wall with all of the names listed so you can look to see if the person on your boarding pass survived or not - I was saloon steward named William House who did not survive. Throughout the museum were historical facts, artifacts that were recovered from the wreckage and models showing what the different parts of the ship looked like. The most impressive thing, in my opinion, was the Grand Staircase, which was an exact scale recreation, and which we got to go up to get to part of the exhibit. There was also the pool of 28 degree water (the very temperature of the ocean that fateful night in 1912) so we could feel just how cold it was.

From there we headed to Gatlinburg to visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Roxanne and I have always enjoyed aquariums. We’ve been to the Ripley’s aquarium in Myrtle Beach, the North Carolina Aquarium in Fort Fisher Beach, NC, and the world’s largest aquarium, The Georgia Aquarium, in downtown Atlanta. I’m not going to try to compare them. They are all pretty awesome.

After the aquarium, we headed back to the hotel to rest (i.e., take a nap) before our final event for the day, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. Some people may think places like this, and Medieval Times, are a bit pricey, and perhaps they are. But, when you weigh the fact that you get a very good dinner and a good show, it’s worth it. To be honest, Medieval Times is more to my liking, but Dixie Stampede was still a great show.

The original plan for Sunday was pretty much to head back to Atlanta and have Monday off to relax before having to go back to work. But, after a late morning breakfast at Shoney’s followed by a trip back to the place where we played mini golf to ride go-carts. That lasted long enough (we ended up doing the go-carts twice) that we decided it would be better to wait until Monday morning to drive home. To that end, after an afternoon nap, we headed to Fire House Subs for a late supper, and even ended up getting in another round of blacklight mini-golf thanks to a coupon that allowed us free round.

So, there it is. Our 2012 vacation in a nutshell. Tomorrow will be driving back to Atlanta, getting laundry done, and possibly a trip to the grocery store. Tuesday it’s back to the grind so I can rebuild all the PTO I’ve used lately due to either this trip, or having the flu.

~ JC
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