SHORT TRIP, LONG POST
February 3, 2023 – a Friday.
HALLELUJAH - I WOKE UP AFTER A VERY GOOD LONG MUCH NEEDED REST AT 10:10 AM.
Now, guess what I'm thinking?
I think I want to take both animals and drive to JAX.
Yes, I'm nuts, but I also need this.
My longest lasting cat's 'expiration' was much longer than the last 3-days. But even with the last 3-days, it's been deeply traumatic. Not only the he was the last of my Three Brothers, but also the last of my days as a multi-cat household. And all of the work that takes. Honestly, I don’t know how I did 7 cats. I was younger and dumber and that’s how, probably.
YEP GETTING ON THE ROAD THIS AM.
So – I didn’t write much about our super-spontaneous expedient getaway.
I got SICK on day 2! [And as I’m writing this on Sat Feb 18, I’m STILL SICK.]
I think it was the air from the La Quinta, but it could also have been air from the boat show where I was around people and didn’t wear a mask – or it could have been my stress from being with my little dying cat. Holding him in my arms, cuddled in my chest and possibly breathing his last death breath. Or (and) it could have been all that PLUS my stupidity of DRIVING ELEVEN HOURS until I was to my last bit of driving energy and got met with those bitches who did NOT welcome me with Hilton Hospitality.
Driving and driving and driving and driving.
It makes me mad that to get ANYWHERE (Chattanooga, which was a thought, or Florida or the beaches) you have to drive 3+ hours to get to Knoxville … THEN your trip begins.
I made it past the “Villes”: Knoxville, Sevierville, Asheville … and just kept driving because I didn’t know what else to do. Would I sleep in the car? I really need to get outside storage so I could if I wanted to, but with dog’s bag, my bag as paired down as humanly possible (but still with a bathing suit “Justin Case”, and cat’s kit (also 'JC' I want to stroll around with him).
I have always wanted to see Greenville, SC so when it came up on the road sign, I followed the path. It was already dark, so I don’t know what I was doing. But I tried to get to the water feature downtown and asked at a hotel but realized what was I going to see in the dark? There was a sushi place across the street and with my good parking place I decided to eat there. That’s part of the problem, too. I don’t like downtowns because I never know how or where to park. But when I pulled into town I saw one on the street and got out to learn more about the area. It was still a bad idea because I was already exhausted and can’t see anything significant in the dark. But the good part is that there is still someplace on the map I’d like to visit one day … in the DAY. Of course after I got home and looked on my laptop, Greenville is like a little Asheville and they also have a Bohemian Hotel that is pet friendly (with an exorbitant fee of $150!). So should I have PLANNED better (or at all?)? YES. I should have gotten over my cheap-ass self and realized there are people who can and do travel with their pets to luxury hotels and think nothing of it. But here we go with the parking again. I also don’t like valet parking and didn’t want to go to a hotel and have to drag all my stuff into the hotel for a night’s stay and have them make a big deal about my pets. I wanted to slip into a roadside hotel and go unnoticed. Which is what I did. But it would have been better planning to sleep in a nicer hotel and have gotten there in the daylight. So, for next time if I can control myself, stay at the RT Inn in Maryville, then have a nice dinner, and sleep … take a fan … then pace yourself to the next nice hotel with nice dinner and save yourself the hassle of looking in the dark in a place you are unfamiliar. Oh, the sushi was crap. Some of the worst most chemical tasting and smelling I’ve ever had. Kroger has better sushi. But the place was packed. Students who don’t know better, probably. This also wears me out – the overwhelming mediocrity I have to endure.
I drove 500+ miles! [Fri, Feb 3, 2023]
I didn’t know when to stop because if I stopped at a ‘decent’ hour, that would still be a 6+ hour drive the next day … and not getting to the beach in daylight or too late to settle in.
The Greenville/Spartanburg area is nice, but Columbia is ‘only an hour more’. This is what I came up against – the ‘only one more hour’ phenomenon. Getting me closer and closer to ocean the more I drove, but at what cost?
Funnily, I HAVE BEEN to Columbia, SC – it’s right around LEXINGTON, SC which is near Aiken!
Remember THAT road trip! Doggie and kittie were on that one, too! That was 5-years ago!
Once you leave Columbia, there isn’t another big town. You are among the web of little roads that lead to no where or eventually a beach town. If you stay on 26 you end up in Charleston and I think I’ve been there so I wanted to go someplace I’ve not been to yet. That area is also where Kiawah and Hilton Head are. Been there, done that. Too ‘family’ and preppy for moi.
After driving 11-hours we made it to Florence, SC – and navigated in the dark to find a pet friendly hotel – and sneaked them in – we got ‘some’ rest but not much – and was back on the road the next morning. It was the LaQuinta with the dirty air and filthy bathtub that I wouldn’t even let my cat piss in. And after the black bitches at the Hilton. NEXT!
Left Florence around 8:30 AM! It is very funny how they have so many many signs of the Myrtle Beach Visitor’s Center (they have 2 of them!) and when I got to the first one, they didn’t know anything about the hotels there and told me ‘to use my phone’. Dumbass. Why do you exist, then?
The bad part about Myrtle Beach is that there is ONE WAY IN and ONE WAY OUT.
You MUST get to Florence, SC before deciding how to get to any beaches.
Then it’s that LONG, BORING stretch of road that is very much like all other roads of its kind, the roads to a Florida beach, the pine trees on either side, the median with swamp and trees, all the same and no stores or stops for a very long time. Be sure you have everything you need BEFORE getting on one of those roads.
10:42 AM - FINALLY made it to the ocean. 582.9 MILES
(and that was counting from the interstate – so add at least 4 more from my house).
IT’S FREEZING HERE! Literally 40 degrees and WINDY like Chicago!
Too early for much to be open. So we drive around. Lovely to see blue and white stucco again.
2nd Avenue Pier
It was closed for repair, but was a nice place to stop, park, and get out.
I took a stroll by myself first, then went back and got dog. We took a seaside stroll first and
then at 11:29 am DOGGIE’S FEET TOUCHED THE ACTUAL BEACH SAND!!! And this time
SHE LIKED IT!!! We actually RAN on the beach together! I guess her hearing is so bad that the sound of the waves didn’t bother her this time. -lol.
11:46 - KITTIE is on the beach (sort of).
I kept him in his stroller because his halter broke on the way down. But that's ok.
1:12 pm – I found the kind of restaurant I’ve been looking for. Sea Captain’s House. It was an actual house once upon a time, and now it’s a nice sea-front restaurant that reminds me of the one in France (La Marine?) where I sat with a gorgeous view of the ocean eating marvelous seafood – crate, is that a word? This one sold me because it has she-crab soup! I had wanted a nicer sea-front oyster place to get great oysters and a beer, but I’m glad I found this one. Had to drive up and down a couple times to find it. I had the she-crab soup and Jambalaya, which was good and had okra, which I need. OH! Started with their Bloody Mary! Yum. And their hush-puppies are delicately delicious! And Riesling for my meal.
As I drove through one of the tunnels getting here, I made my wish: “I want to feel like I’m on vacation at least during some parts of this trip.”
And this restaurant gave me exactly that feeling. “Aaahhhhh”. I need more of this!
……. and then ……. of course ……. something interrupts my peaceful serenity …….
IT’S THE FUCKING CHINESE SPY BALLOON RIGHT ABOVE THE RESTAURANT!!!!!!!
GOOD LORD, CAN’T I GET AWAY FOR ONE BLEEPING MOMENT WITHOUT CHAOS FOLLOWING ME???????
My fight or flight instinct kicked in and I wanted OUTTA THERE and FAST.
The only problem is that the one way out had a traffic accident and I didn’t want to get stuck in hours of mess. (Thankfully, we have avoided those, but have seen them on the other side of the Interstate). Scary.
So I went the only other way out, which takes longer, but might avoid people.
On “90”, we ended up at a church called “Grace Anglican”. So I pulled over to let my dog pee, and to get my bearings again. Google maps is very frustrating on the road. I need one of those carry with you wi-fi things. Does this car have wi-fi???
It looks very South Carolina with the spongy dressage arena grass.
But here we are on a tiny road to nowhere and still have to make our way to Florence just to get out, and it’s a long way off … over an hour to be exact.
After Florence (and their crappy hotels) the next ‘stop’ is Columbia, SC, but I saw a sign for the South Carolina EQUINE Park and had to check that out! It’s before Columbia and just off the highway. It was really small. I guess enough for a show, but compared to our Horse Park, nada.
This was also where I was lost as to where to go and where to sleep next. Didn’t have the right phone connector for the car and forgot to charge it at night so I plugged into an outlet right at one of the stalls! Nobody was there and nobody came around to bother me, so that was nice. Charged the phone while trying to call around for places to stay that are pet friendly. I had hoped for a state park cabin or similar. No such luck. So I had to push onward and hope for something before midnight! Not going to do that again!
8:50 pm - Finally --- the Lap of Luxury Crew found a very nice respite/reprieve Hilton Garden Inn in Spartanburg! I never would have known of this place if I hadn’t stopped (in the dark) for gas and asked the Indian guy inside if he knew of any ‘good’ hotels, half thinking what a waste of time this would be. But to my surprise, he did and sent me off looking for hotels by the malls. It was very Hamburg, which actually made me feel secure. But I never would have even known to look if it hadn’t been for him. I guess I can look at my cc statement and find which place that was and thank him for his recommendation. This place is NICE. Has a very nice restaurant attached. VERY nice BAR with some Very Nice WINE – Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc (lychee nut) – which I think is what I tasted at a Total Wine tasting one time. It was so good, I had a glass at the bar, then went upstairs, then decided I wanted MORE so I bought a bottle and grabbed some popcorn and had a lovely restful home moment in my room with my kiddies! (Which of course I sneaked in!) Even the front desk guy was nice – especially after I told him about my encounter with the Chinese Spy Balloon!
Oh! HOT TIP! The carriage for kittie's stroller is great for loading luggage! Instead of dragging all this stuff in (and out) just load it (and kittie in the smaller carrier) and ROLL all my stuff from the car to the room! And I hide him with the gray fluffy jacket which I also use when I carry him in and hide him like a sleeping baby. (You don't charge people for bringing in their babies, why charge me?).
One of my videos is where I went on a long (wine enhanced) jag about emotions and what-not, which is usually on a voice recording, but I was happy that even though I was at the beach and it reminded me of Florida and the Sandpearl and all the places Mom and I went to, I DIDN’T CRY. Not once. I think this is enormous progress. Applause for ME!
Oh! And I need better night driving glasses.
We had a very nice rest and I actually got to take a very nice shower in their very clean bathroom and we were back on the road in the early am. I think I want to go to Lake Lure again. That Inn has a nice Sunday Brunch which sounds ‘nice’.
Spartanburg feels like I’m in ‘my area’. Farther than that doesn’t.
FEB 5, 2023 a Sunday – 8:35 AM
I GOT MY DUOLINGO POINTS FOR THE DAY --- 707 NOW!!!!!!!
9:39 AM – Back in the car. I’ve driven 870.4 miles so far! (Remember I just left on FRIDAY afternoon!).
Just outside Spartanburg is Inman – only relevant because that is when you can start to see the mountains again. This is what I mean by feeling at home again. The more I think about it, that area is one I want to do more of. I keep thinking that I will get a cabin for a couple weeks – take both pets – and just hang out and explore. So when are you going to prepare for that, Miss N? I dunno. It’s hard leaving home. --- And, guess what? You are just 54 miles from Asheville (aka ‘just an hour’).
26 to Columbus – then 9 to Lake Lure. Funny that Tryon is just to the East of here. I thought it was more south.
10:23 AM We are at Lake Lure! You know that T in the road (Memorial Hwy). I always wonder what happens if I turn right? But not today. Left and more curvy mountain road leading to the cute, old Inn. Apparently, going right just takes you waaay east and NOT around the lake like it looks like it does.
It is so pretty. Do you know how I learned about Lake Lure? From HGTV! They were giving away a house on LL one year and I REALLY wanted that house. Didn’t get it. :-( But at least now I have another nice spot to revisit (and eat!).
The 1927 Lake Lure Inn and Spa. I stayed here once upon a time. Today is only brunch. I booked EARLY for 10:45. When I walked in they have a player piano playing some lovely music. Reminds me of Granny and that time I watched her play for 20-mins without her knowing I was there. No one in the room and it was like I was a ghost. She was enjoying herself fully engaged in her music. (Damn, I miss her.).
How was brunch? It was a buffet, which I like. But I don’t like lunch food for brunch, so I ended up doing two rounds of biscuits and sausage gravy (yum) and their version of cheese grits (also yum) with some Applewood bacon (yep, still yum). I don’t usually eat cheese because of the passing of it (or NOT) but for today why not? Wanted just a coke to wash all the fat down with. No booze (yet).
After eating I took doggie out for a pee walk around the lake – or what’s left of it. Bizarrely, they lower the water levels. WHY? Here comes a lady walking, I’ll ask her. Apparently it’s because it allows people to work on their docks in the winter. Looks really odd. We’re not swimming anyway because it’s so cold, but I wanted to get a T-shirt at the marina where I bought my first one (that I’m still wearing 5-years later!), but they are closed for the season. No good T-shirts at the hotel either. Oh well, on to Chimney Rock (again).
12:30 PM - Chimney Rock - I was able to take the elevator this time. Last time I didn’t even know that was an option and I killed myself with all those stairs. Plus, was driving Mom’s Lexus at the time which always seemed to hurt my hips. I think the seat belt connector dug into my hip joint. It was excruciating. But not with Ms. Oütti!
I’m still feeling sick, and it’s still cold, so I am wrapped up like a mummy. Lots of ‘foreign’ people, Arabic, I think. I wanted to ride alone, but waited on the people behind me. Should of ridden alone. Very talkative. I’m still freaked out about virus’s and don’t really like being around people. (I can blame the virus now! Hahahahaha).
Of course Chimney Rock is very gorgeous. Those views. The rock glistening with snow run-off.
But, I’m tired (and old and tired) so I’m not motivated to do any hiking or climbing. I still want a T-SHIRT! No luck here either. What is with people?
Did my visitation, and took pics of me on the rock, then went to get doggie so she could experience it, too. I don’t think she came last time. That was when I had Erin the babysitter. She’s long gone now and I don’t like or trust anyone else. Barely trusted her. But that’s a different story.
At this time I’m getting grumpy, especially with dog who when I don’t want her to pull me around, that’s what she does, but today I WANT her to go first DOWN INTO THE CAVE which she didn’t want to do. We made it down the barely 10 steps (so not that scary) and I was taking pictures, but then more people came down, too, and doggie was trying to go up the stairs when I was NOT. She got reprimanded, which I think bothered the people. But it’s like trying to get your child to experience something with you when they don’t want to be there. We left the ‘cave’ and wandered over to a nice waterfall pond where she got a drink of fresh mountain water! Tried for more pics but it was impossible to ‘selfie’ us both. Yep, getting tired and irritated. I still wanted her to see the VIEW, but again, I don’t know if it registered with her WHERE she was and how gorgeous it is.
Back in the car.
I tried to find out who those ladies were that I saw last time. It was a group of women, dressed in white, and they were not speaking. Silent. Was this a cult? An Indian Ceremony? I asked on the way out but they had no idea what I was talking about. Still wish I knew who they were and what their purpose was there.
EASTERN CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
1000.9 miles and we’re back in TN – at the Welcome Center!
8.00 PM HOME.
To paraphrase George Carlin,
"Home is where your stuff is."
I would add:
"Home is where your routines are."
Am I glad I did this super-spontaneous escape? Sure. There is something interesting about NOT having plans, just seeing where the wind blows you. But the other side is that you end up getting sick from a badly air-filtered icky hotel. By and large, this quick trip was worth it. Very glad to have seen the ocean again, if however cold and brief.