On Friday afternoon we took off on our vacation trip to Florida. Things were crazy in the final 2 days of the week though, so it didn’t go off quite like we had been planning for several months…
We had planned on driving Carolyn’s car to Florida, but that choice was questioned Thursday evening because Carol and Zobug were rear-ended by someone on Thursday afternoon in Louisville. The damage appears to be only to the rear bumper, so hopefully we don’t break down during our vacation due to some more serious damage we couldn’t see.
After deciding to go ahead and use Jean’s wrecked car, our next big issue was with the dogs. We had decided that we were going to have to put the dogs to sleep before leaving on this vacation because we aren’t able to bring them with us to Malaysia, and there was no point in paying $500 to kennel them during our vacation if we had to put them to sleep right after getting back. We’ve been upset about this decision for a long time. Jean and I tried everything we could to think of for alternatives, but nothing worked. This last Wednesday afternoon a friend of a friend said they’d take both dogs because they rescue Jack Russells in Louisville, so as of Thursday morning we decided to give them the dogs. Carolyn was pretty upset about this decision because she wouldn’t know what ever happened to Tank, but I was happy because they wouldn’t be put to sleep and a caring family would find them good homes. In the eleventh hour, Carolyn’s mother decided that she would keep the dogs, so our plans for our vacation changed. Instead of driving directly to Atlanta for the first stop of our vacation, we had to go through Birmingham first to drop the dogs off at Nancy’s home. It added 3 hours to an already long trip, but it was worth it because we will now get the dogs back once we return from Malaysia. Thanks for watching our dogs, Nancy!
The final hiccup came around 12:30pm yesterday, as we were rushing to pack the car so we could begin our trip. I noticed that my driver’s license wasn’t in my wallet. I’ve never lost an ID in my entire life, but it was gone just as we were ready to set out on a 36 hour round trip driving marathon. I called our local DMV, and luckily after only $12 and a 5 minute wait, I had a new license and we were off.
We picked up lunch before leaving Louisville, and we stopped at the Huntsville welcome center so everyone could use the restroom and stretch their legs. We dropped the dogs off in Birmingham, then we pressed on to Atlanta. We got checked in to our hotel around 12:40am, and we finally fell asleep around 2am. Zoe wasn’t really in a mood to sleep after resting for most of 11 hours we spent in the car.
This morning we woke up at 6:45am, got ready and headed into downtown Atlanta to visit the Georgia Aquarium. The aquarium was nice, but we both agreed that the Monterey Aquarium in California is nicer. I was also disappointed in the ridiculous prices – $75 for 2 adults, $7 for two small Cokes (and it is right next door to The World of Coke Museum!), plus $10 for parking. Is 3 hours in an aqaurium worth $100? We could go to hours and hours of movies for that, or we could join the Newport Aquarium for a year for that amount. It wasn’t all bad though because they do have some creatures you never see if normal aquariums, like beluga whales and several whale sharks. The aquarium was really nice, but it was a bit of a disappoint after everything I heard about how spectacular it was. It ain’t no San Diego Zoo of the aquarium world…
Besides the whales at the aquarium, the other upshot was that Zoe had a blast. She pointed out everything and then looked up to whomever was close by and said “fiiiiiish”. She enjoyed putting her hands in the little pools to pet the anemones and skates/stingrays, and she had a lot of fun running around with a little girl in front of the big ocean tank with the whale sharks and manta rays.
Zoe may have loved it, but she contributed to my disappoint with the visit to the aquarium because she went completely bananas several times, mostly whenever we were ready to move on to the next exhibit. She wouldn’t be ready to leave and she’d started screaming, fall day so we’d have to drag her up off the ground, and if we picked her up she started kicking and wiggling like crazy. It was like the brattiest kid you can imagine – pitching a fit whenever she didn’t get her way. A mother told Carolyn, “I know how that feels”, so I’m guessing we weren’t the only ones there who’ve had a kid melt down, but since it was the first time Zoe ever acted like that it was a shock to us. I’m actually reconsidering our planned DisneyWorld visit in a few days because if she was inconsolable over leaving leafy dragons and red piranha, I can’t imagine how she’ll react to leaving magic teacups and Minnie Mouse.
After the aquarium we went outside and there was a Veteran’s parade going past the front of the aquarium, and several skydivers were landing in the grassy patch between the aquarium and Coke. We eventually got in the car and drove to Buckhead, where Jean let me reminisce as I drove around my high school and the surrounding neighborhoods where I spent many Friday and Saturday nights. We ate lunch at one of my sister Amy’s favorite joints, Fellini’s.
After lunch we made our way back to our hotel and all crashed for several hours. When I finally woke up I noticed that I had missed about 35 text messages on my phone. I started reading through them and realized, sadly, that the Crimson Tide was finally knocked off their perch atop all FBS college football teams. It’s hard to stay undefeated, but the Tide is still in the hunt for an SEC Championship, and best of all they still have a great shot at destroying Auburn. Roll Tide!
For dinner we drove to Smyrna, where I grew up from 6th through 12th grades, and ate at a “Greek” restaurant. The service was good, but the food wasn’t… After dinner we drove around my old neighborhood and I showed Jean how far I used to walk to go visit my friend Jim in Vinings Glen. I still remember him riding around on a bike in his cul-de-sac while I threw the football to him. Blue-32-hut-hut-hike!
The Video Club was now a Tae Kwon Do shop, but the entire area has several new businesses, but I imagined myself driving around in a red mail Jeep, preying it wouldn’t break down before I got to within walking distance of wherever I was headed.
Here are the photos from today, plus a couple from this past week: