Saturday, August 14, 2010

Julie & Hannah vs. the USA - Part III

And welcome to the finale.  Our last two stops: Charleston, South Carolina and Orlando, Florida.  Of course I'll be hanging out here for a while as I complete my internship with Walt Disney World, but we did get a little bit of a vacation here too.


We didn't have to get up too early to leave Chapel Hill.  Our drive to Charleston was relatively short.  When we got on the road, we saw a sign for Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens, so we decided to take a look.  It turned out to be one statue and one fountain--and they were working on the fountain so it wasn't even running!

We got back on the road and realized we forgot to get gas, so we stopped in Fuquay-Varina.  What kind of name is that?!  I kept seeing signs for Wilminginton, North Carolina, so I asked if we could make a detour there--it would only add an hour.  We decided to, but we ended up getting confused and following the Garmin's directions, so we just went back on the highway.  Not interstate, highway.  We saw the main street, but none of the places I wanted to see.  If you don't know, that's where they film One Tree Hill.  And where they're currently filming, actually.  We switched after that and I drove into South Carolina.  This time, we were able to stop and actually get a picture with the "WELCOME TO SOUTH CAROLINA!" sign.  We haven't been able to do that since Nebraska!

Because we took the detour to Wilmington, we ended up going through Mrytle Beach.  Traffic was awful and the rain was worse.  It was really eerie driving then because I could hardly see two feet in front of me and some idiots didn't even have their headlights on!!  We lost a lot of time on that detour--it ended up adding a full hour.  But finally we made it through the traffic and the storm and cruised the rest of the way to Charleston.

Day seven also happen to be MY BIRTHDAY!  What better place to celebrate than downtown Charleston, right?!  Well, we got ready and hit the town for some sushi.  We went to Tsunami--a fitting name as it started to pour while we walked from the car to the restaurant (and when we walked back).  I think pictures of me out in the pouring rain is just a staple for my birthday.

The food was great--some of the best sushi either of us had ever had--but the waitress was awful.  She never made eye contact, she asked us if we wanted more water every time our glasses were empty, even before our meal had even come.  She only stopped by our table like three times.  It was bad.  But on the other hand, there was a table about 10 decently looking boys in the front.  One by one, they all walked by our table, around the corner, to go to the bathroom.  Finally we stopped one and asked if they were sailors docked in Charleston, or why they were all out together.  He said they were from the Air Force Base in Charleston and they actually meant to invite us to eat with them.  (WHAT?!  Is that normal?!)  So he said the offer still stands.  Too bad our food came right at that moment.  So we ate and decided to send them over some dessert.

We ate dessert over at their table and sat with them for about 10 minutes, paid our bill, then said goodbye.  We walked around Market Street for a while.  Saw all the street vendors and the little shops.  We wandered into a chocolate shop and talked to some of the nicest people we've encountered on this trip!  We told them we would see if we could find something better, but come back if we didn't.

Well, we didn't, so we went back to get some ice cream (our dessert of fried cheesecake just wasn't good).  We talked to them for a while because we were the only people in the store, but then people started pouring in and again, we said goodbye.  When we were walking around, we heard someone yelling at Julie.  Who knows us in Charleston?!  Well, the Airmen from dinner.  So we sat with them for a while outside a hookah bar and talked for about an hour.  There were only three of them since most of them were 21 and had gone to Wet Willies down the street and around the corner.  But they had to be back to the base early and all of a sudden it started to get really windy and everyone started running for cover.  Literally.  We got up, deciding to leave, and as we walked back to the car it started to pour again!  By the time we made it back to the parking garage we were soaked!

When we got back to our hotel's parking garage--yes, we stayed in a hotel here!  Free!--we were in the habit of looking for license plates as we drove by.  And then we saw it.  ALASKA!!

We both screamed and squealed like little girls on Christmas morning, so we decided we had to get a picture and write them a note, thanking them for making the long trek from Alaska to South Carolina.  Incredible.  At that point, we only had three left--Hawaii, New Mexico, and Oregon.


I woke up just before the alarm went off, so I turned it off and let Julie get an extra thirty minutes of sleep before we went down for breakfast.  Breakfast was your run of the mill hotel breakfast, nothing special.  But we ate, packed up, and hit the road.

We drove around Charleston, South Carolina to see a little bit more of the city while it wasn't raining.  What an awesome city!  I gotta go back and spend some more time there someday.  Most definitely.

It took us forever to find a gas station and the one we found ended up being cash only.  Thanks a lot, Charleston.  But at last, we got on the highway with a full tank of gas and a lot of enthusiasm.  It didn't seem like it took long to reach Georgia.  And we got a picture of the sign!

All along the interstate we saw signs for Georgia peaches at exit 49 and decided we had to stop.  Of course half a mile before the exit, it started to pour.  We had to stop anyway.  It's Georgia.  And it's peaches.  Well, it was a little stand outside a Shell gas station and they were two guys our age selling them to raise money for college.  How cute is that?!

Just check out how cozy that Georgia boy and Julie got.  Too bad we can't creep on them via Facebook.  We kept on trucking straight on to Florida.  Julie was a trooper and drove most of the second half of the trip, so she pushed on through on this day too.

Our last state!  It was a little bittersweet.  But hey, thirteen states--seven new--and DC, not too shabby for nine days!  The rain got a little better, and finally we were in the clear and onto Orlando!

We met our final host family and realized that once again, we struck the jackpot.  They were so sweet and so helpful!  They even had gift baskets for us.  So nice, let me tell ya!  They took us out to dinner at Crossroads, across from the Disney property, then to Downtown Disney.  We walked around and explored a little bit.  I wanted to get a little acquainted with the area, so it was perfect.

As you can see, it was a gorgeous sunset as well.  After that, we went back to the house, watched some TV, and then went to bed.


It was our last day of vacation!  So sad.  But we went out with a bang going to Hollywood Studios at Disney World.  It took a while to pick a park.  We had the opportunity to do a park hopper, but we decided on just going to one and it was a toss up between Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  (Is it just me that wants to keep saying MGM?)

We got a lot accomplished at the park!  Of course it had to be drizzling all day--and it even poured a few times, but it was good for the lines.  We rode the Rock 'n Rollercoaster first.  It was AWESOME!  If you haven't done it and you love rollercoasters, do it ASAP!  Next was Tower of Terror because the wait was only 20 minutes.  We got a fast pass for Tower of Terror, then set out to explore.  (Did you know Disney does free fast passes?  Amazing.)

We went and saw some of the other things to see.  I got to see all of Walt Disney's Oscars.  You know me and my obsession with the Oscars.  Plus, Walt Disney has more than any other person.  Incredible!

We also saw the Beauty and the Beast show.  Julie and I both really enjoyed that one.  Definitely a must-see.  The Voyage of the Little Mermaid, not so much.  It had cool effects, but I would go back and see Beauty and Beast over and over again.

We walked around for a while and saw some other stuff.  Of course we had to stop and get some photos with Buzz and Woody from Toy Story.  How could we not?!  We went to the stunt show, but there was a rain delay, and we wanted to catch the last Indiana Jones show too.

We were able to ride both Tower of Terror and Rock 'n Rollercoaster again--a total of three and two times, respectively.  We ended on a fantastic note at Tower of Terror after a 20 minute wait, AGAIN!  It was a great way to end the trip.

After Hollywood Studios, we went out to dinner at Olive Garden and had a fantastic meal with the nicest--most awkward--waiter.

Of course we had to get our usual photo with our host family.  What an incredible way to end the trip.  Couldn't asked for a better (vacation) stay in Florida.  Thanks again, Kathy, Jeff, and Jordan!

We ended the trip with who knows how many miles, both under $400 for gas, food, and attractions, and 47 license plates!  We only missed Hawaii, New Mexico, and Oregon!

It was one of the most incredible trips I've ever had.  I'm so blessed to have had this opportunity...and now to embark on an internship with Disney!  Thank you to everyone who contributed: our parents, our hosts, our waiters, etc.  It's been a once in a life time experience.  And most of all, thank you Julie for accompanying me and experiencing it all with me!  Love you lots!

No comments:

Post a Comment