Sunday, June 15, 2008

Home At Last - Pt 1

Sea Gull diving for fish on Jacksonville Beach (Florida)

Home Sweet Home! Did you miss me? ^_^

The minute we hit Vicksburg yesterday, it felt like this extended race along the home stretch. I've never been so happy to see the Mississippi River Bridge in all my life. Hubby was tired, the kids were getting cranky, and I kept getting beaned with Oldest's body board, which he insisted we bring home from the Atlantic. Aside from that hard driving stretch - oh man, it was an awesome vacation. I took over 900 pictures - NO KIDDING. I just downloaded them all from my Fuji and was startled by the number taken. And to think, the whole trip I kept saying, "Oh, rats, but I should've gotten a picture of that!"

Anyway, we pulled into the yard around 6 pm Saturday evening, and the first thing Mini said was, "Hey, there's my sandbox!" Heh. We all stumbled out of the Jeep, and with the exception of Mini - who ran straight for said sandbox - we started unloading cases. We ended up coming home with more junk than we left with, and I can't figure out even now how we packed it all in there. I rode with my pick from the cabbage patch on my lap for a week - if nothing else, she is now a well traveled cabbage. BTW, here she is...

Alyse Emma and her bunnybee, taken in our suite at the Desoto on Tybee Island (Georgia)

I wrapped her in a garbage bag to protect her as soon as I took her out of Babyland to the Jeep, and she rode on my lap from that point on, but each time we made a stop at a hotel, I took her out and snapped a few pictures of her, same as everything (and everyone!) else.

That first day on the road, we made it all the way to Buford, GA. What a haul! We were in the Jeep for something like 10? hours, I think. Maybe twelve? Anyway, Mini shocked the pants off of us - he was a complete angel the entire way. Only when we reached Atlanta did he start to get a little crabby. We were all a bit tired and crabby by that point, though. Atlanta is a bitch to drive in what with all the road construction along the interstate, and nothing was marked as it appeared on the map. We missed the turn-off while looking for the 985, and made it all the way through Atlanta to the small suburbs on the other side of it. We had to turn around and go back. Hubby didn't care where we stayed the night, all he wanted to see was a hotel. Then again, since the main focus of the trip in the beginning was to get to Babyland, hubby pushed to get as close to Cleveland as we could. Since the Mall of Georgia is right there, we got a room at the Marriott across the street from that and called it a night. I made it upstairs and collapsed on one of the beds. Hubby commandeered the Tv. Oldest hit the pool, and Mini was like a crazed dynamo, totally bouncing off the walls he was so wound up after all those hours of sitting still.

The next morning, we all piled in the Jeep and went to Babyland. This time we didn't mind the road construction so much. It's not so confusing in the daylight. At night in a strange area.... yeah. But anyway, what a view! You start pushing into mountain territory around Cleveland, and we tried to get the kids excited about crossing the Chattahoochee River. There is a lot of green, hilly, gorgeous country around that area. We spent the better part of two hours at Babyland. I took pictures of nearly every floor baby and all the displays. Mini wasn't too impressed, but he managed to watch the "mother cabbage delivery" without a fuss. Oldest was surprised that it was more interesting than he thought it would be. And if I had only had a uhaul to bring back all the cute cabbages... *_* Kid in a candy store. Yep. That was me.

We went and dropped off our cabbage goodies at the hotel, then took Oldest to the mall. Like an insane person, hubby gave Oldest something like 3 or 4 hours to browse around. We walked this entire thing, dragging poor Mini with us. We finally broke down and rented one of those carts/strollers that looks like a car. Nothing fantastic about that really - you see them at every mall - but OMG how awesome was it to not have to hold his wrist in a death grip. He apparently loves the escalators - even though we got behind this kid who was probably about 8 years old who had a total meltdown while trying to go down ahead of us. Talk about crazed mid-mall drama. The mother started down the escalator, and tried to coax the 8 year old onto the steps.

The man with them, dad?, uncle?, waits behind, trying to encourage the kid to go. The kid sticks a foot out, and does a Mr. Wilson 50/50 split right there when he didn't follow up right away with the other foot. So here's this kid, yowling, doing the splits on the escalator steps, his mom yelling at him and slowly disappearing from view. The uncle hauls the kid up by the pants, and the kid loses a flip-flop AND drops one of those giant rubbery koosh balls on the track. The tentacles of the koosh ball get stuck under the escalator track, and all this happens in the span of about 3 seconds. Hubby, Mini, and I can do nothing but stare in fascinated horror. The uncle rights the kid up on his feet, RIPS the koosh ball out of the escalator track and basically shoves the screaming/crying kid down the escalator steps while the mom screams at them from the bottom. Hubby and I wait a few paces before get on to give these people space, and as I'm approaching the bottom, I realize the mom is just going to stand there screaming at the kid at the mouth of the escalator. I look up at hubby and see about four more people are on behind him and Mini, and it occurs to me we're about to have a major body pile up if this woman doesn't move.

"Um, excuse me. Excuse me? Ma'am? Lady? Please get out of the way!"

I literally collided with the little boy before she moved and yanked him out of the way. Poor thing, I nearly knocked him down flat onto that metal track at the bottom, but where could I go? I imagine that kid will be scarred for life due to his escalator mishap that day. Heck, I think I may be scarred for life after witnessing it!

Once Babyland and the mall was over, we mapped out our route to the coast. We headed toward Savannah the following morning, and ended up downtown at the Riverfront. I was really impressed with Savannah. It's a pretty place, and along the Riverfront it looks a lot like New Orleans. Lots of thick trees with spanish moss along the sides of the streets, and the gorgeous stately homes.... The historic district is really something beautiful, but its definitely not somewhere you'd want to be after dark because within a few blocks of the historic tours area you run into some questionable neighborhoods.

As much as we liked Savannah, we didn't want to do a riverfront sleepover, since we can do that right here in Louisiana. We stopped at a gas station and mapped our way to the ocean, following Victory Drive and the 80 all the way out to Tybee Island. What a gorgeous little community! Nice with a really cozy atmosphere. We ended up staying in a suite at the Desoto, which has it's own stretch of private beach. I could have stayed there forever!

Desoto Hotel, private beach, Tybee Island, GA

Hubby and I agree that we'd like to go back to Tybee Island when we can go without the kids. We really had a great time there. And the Desoto was a truly wonderful hotel. We stayed in the suite right off from the gift shop, which I thought would be noisy, but it wasn't. We had a balcony with a straight on ocean view, and the suite itself was clean and comfortable. Even though Babyland was our prime destination, I felt that Tybee Island was the real height of the trip. We took the kids out to the beach and they had such a great time. Oldest wasn't too sure about getting in the water at first - sharks and all - but after he saw us splashing around with Mini for a while, he got over his fears and jumped on in. I will say about the beach here - it's not all white sand, there's a lot of crushed shell washed up. I don't know why that surprised me, but it did.

After an awesome stay at the Desoto, the next morning we pushed on to Jacksonville, Florida. We hit a rain shower while in the Jeep, and I worried the rain might stick with us a while. Fortunately, it didn't. By the time we reached the bridge, the rain cleared and sun came out. We found a comfortable hotel - Quality or Clarion or something like that - with a stretch of private beach next door to the Red Cross volunteer life guard station, and as soon as we had ditched all our luggage in the room, we walked around the corner to Joe's Crab Shack for lunch.

The rest of the day was beach day. Mini went down for a nap, and the guys went downstairs. I stayed with Mini and took pics from the balcony until he woke up around 4 and we scarpered down to the beach. The soft, sandy beach. There was only a tiny strip of washed up shell here. The rest was white powder sand. Ah... we sat in the water and splashed. Mini caught a face full of salt water a time or two, poor bean. Hubby bought him a play shovel and I sat with him while he did some digging. When the tide started to come in, and the shallow patch turned waist deep while sitting in it, he sat on my lap and pretended the shovel was a paddle.

It was an awesome day.

Balcony view, Jacksonville Beach

So there it is, the first leg of the trip. I'll post the second half come Monday. And I promise to add more pictures. For now, I'm off to bed. I hope you're all having a great weekend. Oh, and to anyone it might apply: Happy Father's Day!


  1. Oh! What wonderful pictures! This looks like a great trip, Cora. Can't wait to hear the rest! Welcome home. ((hugs))

  2. Welcome Back! Glad you had a great trip. Love the pics. :)

  3. Isabelle, it was a great trip. ((hugs)) I'll have to post the pictures of the Tybee Island light house, and the sunrise shots that I got. I wish I could post them full size. I'm using one of them now as my desktop background. Gorgeous stuff!

  4. Thanks, Ann! We're glad to be home. :)

  5. Yeah! Glad you had so much fun!!! 900 pictures?!?!? Damn, you gotta hell of a camera to take THAT many! Can't wait to see more of them!! Glad your back;o)

  6. Thanks, Crystal! ((hugs)) Yes, I love my camera. Best Xmas gift ever! :)

  7. Yay! Cora's back, Cora's back!




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