Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Raleigh Great Trip

During the past week, Melanie, Edison, Peter, and I have been in no less than four states. We loaded up the car last Friday and drove to the Hinesville, Georgia area to stay the night at Melanie’s brother’s house. As I’ve noted concerning previous visits, driving to Hinesville from Tallahassee without going unnecessarily out of the way requires that one drive past one of the stinkiest places I’ve ever encountered, a production plant for the “forest products company” Rayonier. For the first time that I can remember, Edison took particular notice of a bad smell. The Rayonier plant smells nothing like fecal matter—it smells more like death—but as we passed by, Edison asked me if I was “farting and pooping.” I tell you right now, the smell of farts and poop would have been lovely.

It was a brief visit to Hinesville, as we left early Saturday morning and headed to our primary destination, Raleigh, North Carolina. Melanie’s good friend from college now lives in Raleigh, making the big bucks as a dental hygienist. She let us stay at her apartment and even fed us quite nicely during our two-night visit. As a bonus, Edison warmed up to her right away, so he felt comfortable lounging around in his underwear and eating all her food. We didn’t see much of Raleigh itself, but it was a nice little trip. We ate at Texas Roadhouse, a restaurant I haven’t patronized in years (in part because it hasn’t been located near me since I moved across the country), and during some aimless driving around, I saw a couple of interesting sites: Andrew Jackson’s home and an old school Krispy Kreme with a gigantic, charmingly dated marquee—two great nods to American history.

On Monday, we headed back toward Tallahassee, stopping in Savannah, Georgia, which I had never visited before. Driving into town, we crossed a massive-looking bridge that somewhat intimidated Edison (and, admittedly, myself—there’s something unsettling about being reminded just how piddly-small we humans are). We had no hotel reservation and didn’t really know where we were going, so we just drove around for a bit. I knew Savannah was supposed to be the quintessentially charming Southern town, but I quickly wished we had planned more time to visit. It looked like a fun place to walk around, but the top priority was finding a hotel room and getting our antsy children out of the car. We pulled into a Quality Inn that didn’t look so great, thinking that might offset the fact that it was in a prime location and would undoubtedly be quite expensive if it were any higher class. Sadly, it was still more expensive than we had hoped for, and so we stayed in the hotel parking lot and pulled out our laptop to test the hotel’s Wi-Fi connection. It worked, and soon enough we were online and checking out hotel options from the front seat of our car. (Pretty nifty day and age we live in, eh?) We found something in our price range about 10 miles from downtown, plugged our current location into Google Maps and found a path to the new hotel, and set off. A short while later, we were checking into the Sleep Inn, which had a pool, free Wi-Fi, and a free continental breakfast, which sounded perfect to us. Eddie was very excited about being in a hotel. When we visited Tallahassee a month before moving from Atlanta, we had stayed at a Motel 6, where we ordered a pizza and watched TV as we ate on the beds. Apparently, this is what Edison expects from a hotel visit, since he immediately asked if we could have a “pizza bed picnic” once we told him we were staying at a hotel. We obliged and ordered pizza once we were settled in our room. Aside from a brief 5-minute power outage that affected the entire hotel, the pizza bed picnic was a smashing success.

Edison insisted that our hotel feature wireless Internet access and be welcoming of children without pants. He was satisfied.

On Tuesday morning, we headed to the dining room of sorts and helped ourselves—in a manner of speaking—to the complimentary breakfast. In actuality, we were all too helped by an elderly hotel employee who insisted on doing everything for us. That wouldn’t necessarily be so bad, except that she seemed to watch us like a hawk and didn’t seem to care for much of what we did. She replaced anything we took the moment we took it, and it seemed to cause her great distress when we kept the syrup pitcher at our table, even though she had originally told us just to take it and keep it. (She had since re-collected it, so I guess we were out of place to get it again when we needed more.) She even tried to come over and help Edison pour syrup on his waffle when he struggled a little bit with the pourer. Melanie and I were letting him try to do it himself, since he was very determined to do so, but the Sleep Inn lady was on top of him in no time, telling him she would do it. I informed her that he didn’t want any help, and she informed me that he didn’t know what he was doing. I let her know that I would be the one to help him. She loomed until the job was complete. (In fact, that’s when she first took back the syrup, so I guess that’s why she was dismayed to see us get more a few minutes later.)

My proposed revision of the current Sleep Inn website banner
(I couldn't make it appear larger than it does above, so click on it to see it better.)

Despite power failures and power struggles, we enjoyed our stay in Savannah. On Tuesday morning, before hitting the road to head back home, we drove around a little bit more, including a brief stint through the famous Bonaventure Cemetery. It wasn’t quite what I expected. I thought it was supposed to be a rather ornate cemetery, but it was more antiquated than anything. It felt somewhat gothic, and the graves were certainly crowded together, which made it interesting. But it wasn’t anything incredibly captivating, in my opinion. So we didn’t stay there as long as I had expected, and although we were tempted to do a few more things, we felt it was time to just get home. We stopped at a Parker’s gas station, refueled, and got the best fountain Mountain Dew I’ve tasted since moving from Atlanta (we miss you, QT!), and we then hit the interstate and drove and drove and drove. We stopped for lunch when the rain started coming down a bit too heavily for us to feel comfortable behind the wheel, but other than that, it was fairly smooth sailing. It had been a nice trip. Edison was sad to leave the swimming pools behind, which is kind of funny since we have a swimming pool at our apartment here in Tallahassee. But he swam more on our little vacation than he has during our entire year of living in Tally, I think. Or close to it. He swam a couple of times at Melanie’s friend’s place, and he swam in Savannah while we waited for our pizza. He wanted to hit the pool again in the morning, but we didn’t let him. That wasn’t a highlight of the trip. But most things were. It was a lot of fun. And that’s that.


  1. Sounds like fun! I think you are brave to take the kids on an adventure like that :)

  2. So, now the son becomes the father, doing all the fatherly things for his babies, and making a nice journaling of it too. I'm glad you're safe and that you had a good time.

    Loved the picture of little Eddie and the computer.