Oct 24, 2016

Day 25 and 26

So sometimes vacations get disrupted. Earlier in this vacation we were visited by Hurricane Matthew remember. Now we have a new thing you never want to see while traveling...
We had two and a half hours left on our trip yesterday through the mountains. Our battery light came on in the van. We stopped at a rest stop to read the manual about what to do. Of course it says to not drive after farther. Here we sat at a rest stop on a major hiway not what you want to have happen. So I get on the phone to a repair man. He showed up within minutes. He said it was either a battery or alternator issue. We started with the battery. (OMGoodness battery prices have went WAY up!!) New battery in. Hopefully we are okay. The light is off when we start the van. Off we go.

Just a few miles on the interstate and bing the light comes back on. Not good. I called the mechanic and luckily he was one exit away. We pulled over and now he says Let's change the alternator. We are in a drink parking lot. One very small gas station. Nothing else within sight. Plus the mechanic doesn't even know if this will fix the issue. Oh no. So we all crossed our fingers and we hobbled the 2 and a half hours to our hotel. No radio. No headlights (luckily it was still daylight). No vent (luckily the weather was perfect). I didn't breath the whole time. I didn't want mom to know I was scared to death. Here we are on in steep mountains on a hiway that doesn't have a pull off lane most spots.

But we arrived safely at our hotel. Now we get to thinking. There is food within walking distance. We have little more than 5 hours home tomorrow. Maybe it will be better to get it looked at here than to be on the side of anything hiway in nowhere tomorrow.  So this morning we got it towed to a dealership. It will be looked at this afternoon. At least we are a hotel safe and sound. So we are having an unscheduled lazy day today. I did bring my stitching in to work on since the lighting is nice in here. Yesterday was very frustrating but all I keep telling myself now is we're safe. So now just hope it's a quick fix and back to us soon.

Oct 22, 2016

Day 24

We arrived safely in Roanoke, VA today on our detour trip while on the way home haha. Mom has always watched this TV show called Salvage Dawgs. It was just an hour off our path home so we decided to venture this way to stop by.
The show is all about a family group that recovers woodwork and structural pieces from buildings that will be torn down. They build works of art from them. They also resell stuff they find for other people who are looking. The prices varied from reasonable to very expensive. It was a lot of fun to look at everything. Mom wanted at least 1 of everything and I had to keep reminding her we had luggage in our vehicle and no room haha. We really enjoyed looking around though.

Now we are resting in our hotel that was near the store. It was very much worth the detour to get here. Tomorrow we will be back on our route home with just one more night on the way.

Oct 21, 2016

Day 22 and 23

Our last day in Charleston was another full day. We went to the South Carolina Aquarium and out to Fort Sumter.
I love all aquariums really but for some reason I LOVED this one. It was small but had so many things that other aquariums should have. It helped they were having a Lego display throughout the aquarium. It was really neat. Special pieces made just for the aquarium. Beautiful. One was these amazing dolphins. They were huge. Would love to have that kit!!! Of course I would hate to know the price haha. We also got to feed sting rays!!! You put these raw shrimp on this plastic stick. Then held the stick in the water. The sting rays knew to come and grab the shrimp.
I was so happy I could have stayed there for hours and hours. I totally lost track of the world around me. Well other than Jeremiah. He loved it too. We also got to pet sharks and play with a sea star.

It was time to take Mr History to Fort Sumter though...
This is the Fort Sumter monument area with a museum and it's where you load for the boat tour to the fort. One of the rangers asked Jeremiah if he wanted to earn a Jr Ranger Badge. You answer questions to earn it. I just love these types of things. Makes looking for the answers so much fun and gives you something to look for that you might skip over. Here we are looking over the questions...
Then we took a boat out to the fort. Jeremiah was so excited to see everything out there...
I captured this picture that I really love with the sun shining through the flag...
Jeremiah filled out all the questions and earned his badge. Here is taking a pledge to help with picking us trash and taking care of the land of the parks...

It was a fantastic day indeed!!

Today we left Charleston and started the trip home. We ended up our day in Statesville, NC. It was a very nice travel day. We experienced a lot of traffic since we went through Charlotte, NC. Tomorrow we are taking a detour to Roanoke, VA on our way north to shop at a store mom wants to see.

Oct 19, 2016

Day 21

Today we shopped till we dropped. This picture shows the City Market. Luckily the hotel shuttle dropped us right off there. The market area is huge! Probably 5 or 6 blocks of vendors under this pavilion building. Everything from cheap trinkets to expensive artwork. We of course LOVED it. We also got several more awesome Christmas gifts!! Boy we walked and walked and walked though. We took a lunch break and ate at Bubba Gump's. It's from the Forest Gump movie. So we had to pose for a fun picture real fast...
More shopping the rest of the afternoon. Caught our shuttle back to the hotel at 3:30.

Even though we had a blast it was a frustrating day. Our hotel shuttle leaves the hotel at 9:30. We were waiting patiently at 9:00 so they knew we were there. There was only 2 other ladies waiting. It's an 11 person van. So we were good. One of the ladies was one of those entitled people who think they are better than everyone. She had two other ladies show up. We're still good. Then another group of people showed up and we were standing there waiting patiently. The shuttle showed up and the group of people pushed their way onto the shuttle. One poor guy was pointing at us telling his wife but they were here first. She just shook her head and loaded up. Taking a taxi for these people is possible. Taking a taxi for us would be a real pain since I only found one company that said they would try to take his chair. So the driver (who felt bad) said he would be right back. Well of course half an hour later he got back. Grr. Then the people in the market were mixed either jumped out of the way or stood right in front of the wheelchair texting on their phone. Grrr.

Another frustrating thing was there was a restaurant mom really wanted to eat at. It was featured on a Food Network show she watches. We were checking on it and guess what no wheelchair entrance. 5 steep steps into the restaurant. Yes I could leave his wheelchair out on the sidewalk but it's a very busy sidewalk. Would it be there when we got back?

But we made it a good day. Just sometimes it's really frustrating. I totally understand it's a historic place with OLD buildings but they need to consider people who can't do steps. Now to try to rest our feet.

Oct 18, 2016

Day 20

Today we really were tourists. We had a day full and boy are we tired now. But it was a blast.

Our goal was to not have to drive anywhere today and we succeeded. Our hotel has a free shuttle into town. So we took it this morning. No problem getting the wheelchair in the back. Getting Downtown -- Check. We found a combo bus historical and harbor boat tour. So we booked it. The first part was history through the town. So they kept the wheelchair in the ticket office and we loaded up...
The history was so interesting. Jeremiah just LOVED it. We got back to the visitors center and I grabbed Jeremiah's wheelchair and loaded it on the bus with us so we could make it to the boat tour part. The wheelchair waited at the dock for us to get back from the boat tour. We sure had a fantastic trip in the harbor and even saw several dolphins on our way. Plus two lighthouses and two forts one being Fort Sumter which we are going to explore later this week.
We got back and loaded back onto the bus to make it back to the visitors center. Historical Tours -- Check. At the visitor center you can take a free trolley that has a whole bunch of stops throughout the area for FREE! Plus it's handicap accessible. The front steps making into an elevator. How cool! So we could go through town yet again without our vehicle. We got off at the City Market everyone says we can't miss. I knew Mom would love it there. We didn't have time to shop today but can't wait to go back tomorrow now that we got a sneak peek. We ate a delicious meal by our shuttle stop and made the 5:30pm shuttle pick up back to the hotel. So no driving today -- check!!

It was a fun day full of being a tourist and learning so much. Jeremiah keeps telling me stories about Did you hear them say this? Mom Did you hear when she said that? I'm so thankful for these memories. Plus it was so fantastic to have them deal with the driving. Our trolley was bumped by a passing vehicle today. She had to report it just in case there was damage but I don't think there was. I'm just thankful we wasn't in mom's van for the trips through town. So is she too haha. Glad we got the local transportation figured out so far.

Oct 17, 2016

Day 19

We got moved safely to our next destination for this trip. Charleston, South Carolina. We've never been here before so it's a little scary to be in a new place. The arrow shows where our hotel is located. It's nice to be out of the crazy downtown Charleston area a little bit plus the prices for the hotels downtown were so high. We are in a very weird shaped building...
We are right by the Ashley River. All the windows at the top of the hotel are a restaurant with a gorgeous view!

After we got here and got our lunch up in the restaurant. We drove downtown to the visitor's center. What better place to visit when in a new area. We got to watch a video on the history of Charleston. It was very interesting. Then we got a bunch of pamphlets and information on stuff we want to do. We made it back to our room and had dinner up in our restaurant again. It's really good food but an even better view haha. We are busy tonight making our plans.

Oct 16, 2016

Day 18

Today was our last day being a tourist here in Myrtle Beach. We enjoyed sleeping in. Then we went over to a place called Bare Foot Landing. It's a bunch of different stores along a lake area with a floating boardwalk over the water. We've always enjoyed shopping there. While on the boardwalk area we always enjoy feeding these large Japanese Koi fish and a million little turtles. This time we noticed several turtles instead of the normal amount and they just didn't seem interested in the food like normal. Then we saw large ripples coming toward the boardwalk...
A probably 5 ft alligator. No wonder the fish and turtles were pretty much hiding. We had been told before that they had removed all the alligators from this pond area. They were just too dangerous. Yet here this one was. He swam quietly like he just owned the place. Then he climbed out and sunned himself with a small island full of turtles...
I bet they didn't appreciate the visitor very much. We then saw a 2nd slightly larger alligator. He swam by and kind of hung out right by the boardwalk. Other than a little bitty alligator I seen in Sanibel Florida this was the only alligators I've seen in the wild. So neat. I don't know if they were here because it's still been so warm or if it was because of Hurricane Matthew and they were relocated from a nearby Alligator preserve they have nearby accidentally. Yet another fun story to tell. We had a lot of fun shopping. Then we went and ate a HUGE meal at a local steakhouse called Thorny's. It was delicious. Now we are working on packing everything up. Tomorrow we are heading down to Charleston, SC a new place to all of us. Last picture to share is the gorgeous full moon out the window tonight...

Oct 15, 2016

Day 17

The PALs Retreat is over for another year. Wow what a blast! I just can't say enough about this retreat. Amy (the retreat coordinator) did an amazing job through all the hurricane chaos. She didn't even have power at her own house until after she got here for the retreat. Luckily she had a family member that was able to check on her house for her. Plus with our normal hotel still closed! She had to coordinate a move to a different hotel. Even though our normal hotel pretty much told her to just cancel the retreat. Boy the 92 women that did show up was glad she didn't cancel. We laughed and told stories. Laughed and solved the world's problems. Laughed and more laughing. Oh and we stitched a little bit haha.

This year I also took a class. Here is what the finished piece will look like...
It's by Diane Herrmann called Walking the Water's Edge. The only way you can do this piece is to take the class. She was an excellent teacher and even though I was very nervous I really enjoyed it after a little bit of learning. This is a canvas work piece. It's really a bargello type of piece if you have ever heard of that. You do this one upside down so you start with the bottom if that makes sense. Here is my progress after the day...
The red is all basting stitches and will come out later. The eyelet part is supposed to be the sea foam off the waves. It's hard for me because there isn't a pattern for that part. You just do what you feel looks like the foam. 2 different widths of pearl cotton is used. Here and there to look random. The first band isn't completed yet but she wanted us to started the 2nd line so we could see how it's done a little bit. Especially with the moving down and learning the different shading for each band. There are 26 bands I think total. I can't wait to work on it again but it takes more thought than I wanted to use while chatting with the other ladies.

The piece I worked on while at retreat this year was...
A variation of Beach Blessings by Erica Michaels. The special version was a PALs 2015 exclusive with the extra border around it with the Myrtle Beach info added. The other picture above is my progress on the piece last time I worked on it in April. I decided to work on it during the retreat this year. Here is how far I got...
I almost have made it to the top left corner. I definitely did more talking than stitching though haha.

I have a lot more to share but no energy tonight. The retreat was finished up yesterday since the conference room was booked today. So we went back to being a tourist. We went out to eat a delicious breakfast. After that we went to a flea market and found some Christmas gifts and what nots. We drove down to a store we like to stop at and they were having a craft/art festival. So of course we were forced to walk through it haha. Found more Christmas gifts to put back. What a great accident to stumble on. Then we went to the old hotel we normally stayed at here. It was so sad to see it in the state it is. Still closed a week after Hurricane Matthew!! They must have really had damage indeed. Plus seeing the long fishing pier gone was just so sad! After driving around and taking pictures of the damage we had some time before our dinner so we stopped at an arcade and played some games. We had a blast. Then it was time to head to Pirate's Voyage. It's a Dolly Parton dinner show we just LOVE. This time we were lucky enough to grab 2nd row seats so that was amazing. Boy did we enjoy it. Jeremiah just couldn't stop smiling the whole time. But it was a long day full. So now I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is our last day to be a tourist here in Myrtle Beach. I'll try to talk more about the retreat soon too.

Oct 11, 2016

Day 13

Today we were actually able to leave OBX. It felt like leaving family. One of the maintenance men that we had talked to several times stopped us even to say Goodbye. The guy at the front desk said Really you are leaving us? LOL But in our whole hotel I bet there were only 10 rooms rented. We had survived the hurricane together. So we felt close. But we had really originally wanted to leave on Friday so today we really needed to hit the road.

My stitching retreat was supposed to start Wednesday and I wanted to make it there. Of course with the way our trip has been there was problems. The hotel the retreat is located at got hit hard during the hurricane. The long fishing pier that everyone just loved walking out on was destroyed! They still don't have power. (We have now heard they even got their roof destroyed from someone who had flown into to town.)  140 people are planning on arriving now what are we to do. Luckily our retreat coordinator was able to get everything solved. We were moved to another hotel and they were ready for us crazy ladies. Several had to unfortunately cancel but I heard at least 75 or 80 are still coming. The retreat was moved up a day so we really needed to get here safely. I checked our route and it looked open so we hit the road this morning for our 6 hour drive. We saw amazing destruction on our way. Huge trees that just shouldn't be easy to knock over were crashed over like little sticks. We saw some on houses unfortunately. There was probably 200 electric work crews moving in trying so hard to get the area all powered back up. We kept giving them thumbs up and saying Thank you! We also saw a lot of flooding! But we made it safely. What a long day!
This is what our new hotel looks like. What an amazing tower! We went from a small hotel to these HUGE condo style rooms. 2 bedrooms 2 bathrooms. Get this 2 doors to get in! A backdoor on a hotel What!?! It's really neat. I'll make sure to get pictures. I'm almost too tired to type tonight haha. I stopped to visit the ladies and I'm doing this post but then I'm falling into my bed. So glad we got moved safely and that they were able to find us a new spot for the retreat this year. Would have hated for all this to be a wasted trip! Of course I would have just been thankful for the already long list of new memories.

Tomorrow the PALs Retreat will start. I'll finally pick my stitching needles up again. The hotels before this one didn't have light good enough to stitch by. I need to find a better portable light to take on vacations with me. Thanks for all the wonderful comments. Hopefully I'll get time to answer back soon.

Oct 10, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Well I just now got internet back so I'm trying to hurry and post this.

Hurricane Matthew decided to surprise everyone and come visit OBX area even though he wasn't supposed to. Saturday it was supposed to get stormy we did know that. We had bought groceries and stuff and was prepared to stay in for the weekend just in case. We ate one meal out and then got back to our room just as the rain was starting. Yeah it was windy but it was just like 30mph gusts. We weren't too worried. Our power flickered a few times but we looked like we were okay. We went to bed and laid there listening to the wind howl. 4 am I woke up to crazy wind!! We are on the 4th floor and I swear the whole room was shaking. I saw a wind report of 94mph just down the road!! My biggest concern was the huge glass window shattering. Jeremiah was doing fine. He really wasn't too scared. We just both kept saying Serious wind settle down. I walked laps of the room to hold down the fort. I admit I was scared. The power transformers were flashing. The lightning was bright blue with the fierce force of the power poles popping and breaking.

We realized of course we weren't going to be moving to Myrtle Beach Monday so delayed that trip yet another day. The lady at the front desk wasn't surprised. The people who are here aren't leaving the people who aren't here aren't coming haha. We had power till 10:30 Sunday morning. We shockingly got it back 2 hours later. They keep saying more than a million people are without power. Can't believe it. The highway 12 here lost huge sections north and south of us. The flooding last night from the sound side was amazing. Our parking lot was full of sand. The waves were almost scary. They were over 10 ft high and would form into one HUGE long wave.

The good news. Our van was protected and other than some sand that wipes right off it's fine. We are safe and we were fine. We survived. Yes it was scary but honestly I will never ever forget this experience. I'm not upset that we went through it. Now that it's over it was pretty neat. Even Jeremiah said boy we'll never forgot this trip!

Tomorrow we are moving to Myrtle Beach. They got hit pretty hard. The hotel we were supposed to stay at still doesn't have power. So the retreat coordinator has arranged us to get moved to another hotel. I'm worried about it. I hate the not knowing but I keep telling myself it will work out. Just want to get there safely. A lady arrived there today and said it's a FANTASTIC hotel and the move probably worked very much in our advantage. So I'm really hoping that's true. Sorry for not being able to check in for so long. It was a crazy few days.

Oct 5, 2016

Day 5 and 6

Day 5. We took a 2 hour dolphin tour. We got to see probably 25 different dolphins I think. It's hard to tell how many exactly of course. Here is Jeremiah all loaded on the boat and ready for fun...

Here are some of the dolphins we found...
It was a very nice trip. We really enjoyed it a lot. After that we stopped at a new to us restaurant. It was really yummy.

Day 6. By now we are officially worried about the Hurricane Matthew. He is bound and determined to interfere with our trip. But we took the day and went to Roanoke Island Aquarium. They had done a lot of renovations since we had been there last October so we were really looking forward to seeing what they had done. They made a lot of new tech additions. Movie screens here and there. Some decoration changes. It was really nice to see them doing so well. Here we are enjoying the touch tank...
I had been paying attention to the weather of course. For those who know me they know I'm a major weather geek. Hurricane Matthew is hitting hard in Florida and then South Carolina. More and more scary for Myrtle Beach area which we had decided to move to Friday. The mayor delayed the mandatory evacuation for hotel guests today but I figured I would call just to check. One hotel was full so we were staying at another one next day for 3 days. I figured with the storm they would have cancellations so  maybe we could just get the one room instead. Nope the hotel is evacuating guests starting tomorrow. Called the hotel we were supposed to stay at for the weekend. They were evacuating today! So guess our trip to Myrtle Beach will just have to wait till Monday. Luckily we were able to keep our room here in OBX until then. Plus even though the weather is supposed to be not exactly perfect we are safe and sound here. Stormy weekend but we'll be fine. We topped off our gas tank this morning. We have groceries, flash lights, and what nots. We are going to get a few more things tomorrow and be ready to hunker down for the weekend.

Oct 2, 2016

Day 4

Today was a long day but we had a blast. We ate breakfast at our favorite place here in OBX Jolly Roger. It was delicious. Then we headed north up to Currituck. I was really excited to show Jeremiah and Mom this Nature Center that I had found in June when I was here with Fred. We pulled in and they had a sign up in the window....Closed for the Season. No! How frustrating. But we got to see the beautiful Currituck Lighthouse again. It's all brick and so beautiful. There is a cute little bookstore right beside it so we had to pop in. Jeremiah found a new book he couldn't live without. Then we drove all the way down to Hatteras Lighthouse. It ends up being about a 2 hour drive down there especially from Currituck. It's a beautiful drive though. We watched some kite surfers and stopped real fast to see the lighthouse and then headed back to our Kill Devil Hills area. It ended up being a LONG LONG day of driving again but Mom's happy. She got to see her lighthouses again. We had a delicious dinner and are DONE moving for the day haha. No pictures so sorry for the boring post. Hopefully I'll do better later. Right now it's mostly things I already have pictures of. Tomorrow we are going to take a lazy day other than a quick grocery run and eating our meals. We need it already. We are tired and isn't vacation supposed to be relaxing? LOL

Oct 1, 2016

Day 3

We hit the road this morning. It was a 6 hour drive but we swear it felt like 8 days. What a long trip. But the point is we arrived safe. We had several large cities today but we made it through without any problems. We got here and got our room. The ocean is waving at us and telling us how much it has missed us. Several dolphins even stopped by to say Hi. I sure do miss this view! We went and had a delicious dinner. There is a buffet that Mom and us had always wanted to go to but it opens later in the day this time of year and we normally eat before that. Fred and I was able to eat there when we visited this area last June. It was delicious. Since we got here late in the day we were able to eat there. Yum! All you can eat crab legs. Jeremiah and me LOVE them. We ate way too much of course since we were hungry. Now we are all miserable haha. Sight seeing starts tomorrow. Enough of this traveling to get here stuff haha.

Now there is talk of a hurricane. I swear this happens every time I come here. I love storms but please send us good thoughts/prayers that it stays at safe level. There is still a lot of uncertainty in the track they said. So we'll see what happens.

Sep 30, 2016

Vacation Day 1 and 2

It's our 2nd night already. Nothing interesting happened for a 1st night post haha. We arrived safely in Mt Airy, North Carolina today. We had two great travel days really. No problems at all.

Today we stopped at the Tamarack. They have high priced artwork but we always love stopping there. They also have a delicious food court. We were sitting there eating and this lady came over and told us her husband got too much ice cream. Could Jeremiah please have some? Sure. He loves ice cream.

After they walked away we realized how much it meant to us. My Grandpa (who passed away awhile ago but we were very close to) used to take Jeremiah to eat ice cream every Friday afternoon. He got butter pecan every time. Then he would take Grandma home a little Tupperware container of butter pecan for the freezer. Yep it was a huge bowl full of butter pecan ice cream on a Friday afternoon. I don't know what you believe but we believe in signs that our loved ones are watching over us and helping us with our travels. Boy what a sign we just received. We just keep smiling and feeling the love that was shared with us today.

Sep 28, 2016

Sept Whimsy Finished

I'm a day early but tomorrow we hit the road for our vacation. So here's my September Smalls SAL check in. I was able to get the Sept Whimsy all finished up...
 (Finish # 24) September 27th
A Year of Whimsy by Dimensions (Out of Print)
Stitched on Perforated Paper
Used Suggested DMC
Started whole project for DUCJC Jan 1st, 2016.
Took 5 Days.

I love the way he turned out. All ready for back to school. Next post will be from on the road. See ya then!