On the week of August 12th – 18th 2013, Nick and I went on a grand trip of fun: 7 days, 5 states, all the awesome.
After having a mildly embarrassing start to our trip (we may or may not have left Brooklyn at 1:30 pm), we finally tucked ourselves in for the short drive to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I’ve never been to Gettysburg before, so I was silently excited beyond belief to finally get to spend time in one of our nation’s most beloved historical areas.
But first, we had to stop in New Jersey to look at some pretty highway scenes.
During the rest of our drive, Nick and I discussed a lot of current events and debated some serious topics regarding the ever-changingness of our existence, to which he tried to defend his point of the fluidity of our experiences by quoting unknowingly from Pocahontas. Debate was put on hold while I laughed to the point of tears.
We arrived in Gettysburg just in time to pitch a tent in a campsite that is on part of the battleground (which, at the time, seemed like an awesome idea).
Then we went on a nighttime ghost tour of Gettysburg. Nick was thoroughly terrified, and I was preoccupied with capturing the remains of Confederate soldiers on my iphone. This one is the best I got:
We were told to take pictures in threes so weird stuff would show in one and not the others–this is the only picture in a set that didn’t match the others. The bark of the tree at the base is a greenish-white color (by the grass). Take my word for it–I have all three if you’d like to be shown the difference.
Nick one-upped me, however, pausing his anxiety-induced panic to produce this masterpiece:
Then we returned to our haunted campsite, where we ate garlic kale (known to repel spirits), listened to some Night Vale, and then went to bed…
…only to be woken up a handful of hours later by hurricane rain that pelted our tent with the vengeance of one million late library books. All the rain seeping into the tent and causing puddles reminded me I had to use the bathroom, and at the ripe time of three in the morning, made Nick drive me to the bathroom so I didn’t have to run in the squall.
Here’s proof of how bad it was:
Several hours later, we woke up soaking wet, and sad. We packed up quickly, and bid good riddance to the leaky state.
On to Tennessee! We endured eight hours of driving to the Great Smoky Mountains, where we set up camp, worried about rain, then figured out we accidentally set up the tent wrong in Pennsylvania. Whoops.
The drive was really nice—Nick has the bladder the size of a hydrogen atom, so we stopped once every hour or so to bribe establishments into allowing us to use their facilities. This was great because this leg of the journey brought us through the most states and with Nick having to pee every time I got a good playlist going (just kidding), we got to see more than we usually would have.
From Gettysburg we drove south through Maryland, West Virginia, the entirety of Virginia, and finally part of Tennessee. Maryland won in terms of beauty—check out the highway we took:
I made us dinner of mixed veggies and vanilla pancakes. Sadly, the griddle wasn’t hot or non-stick enough for pancakes, so I ended up making scrambled pancakes.
Nick assured me they both tasted delicious and looked like something his cat vomited. Quality friendship.
Even though we tried to dry all our blankets from the flash flood we survived in Pennsylvania, many items are still wet, leading to a large amount of pouty faces from the two of us. Unless it rains tonight (again) and we wake up in water (again), tomorrow should prove a really nice morning.
Oh my God, I haven’t slept so well in my whole life. Even though my beloved quilt was wet, I wrapped myself in my sleeping bag like a caterpillar and the two of us slept until 10:30 am. For the record, we went to bed at 11 pm.
We ate a breakfast of fresh mangoes and then split the last banana in half. Nick was in charge of cutting it, so naturally he made it as complicated as possible.
After a divine shower, we headed out to the Great Smoky Mountains to go hiking. There were two trails we could have taken to see some amazing sights. One was really hard and a billion miles long, so I chose the easier one (so we could better decide if we wanted to do both or not). It was paved but took you up the side of one of the mountains. There were millions of ways to pitch over the side and die. I mean, they even had to post this sign:
However dangerous the hike was (it wasn’t, I’m just a big baby), the sights were gorgeous. Here’s a few highlights:
And of course, getting to the falls was totally worth it. I touched the water,
Nick drank it,
and then we made our way back from the falls. We even saw a mommy bear and her cubs on the way back. I took a picture but it didn’t come out so clear.
We spent the rest of the day in downtown Gatlinburg. It was pretty awesome. The best part was when we ate dinner and we were served by a guy named Bartholomew.
Back at camp, we spent time in rocking chairs,
explored, bought chocolate, and enjoyed an awesome fire (courtesy of Nick and his tenacity).
We ate s’mores, graham cracker bananas and had tea. We tried to see some stars, which we kind of succeeded in doing. I got to see a shooting star, which brings my total shooting star sighting count to two.
It got really cold at night, and I was freezing even wrapped up in my sleeping bag and quilt (while wearing a sweater and sweatpants). It was perfect.
We woke up, had bacon and cheese sandwiches, packed up and rolled out early-ish for Georgia. The trip took us six hours, and we got a chance to stop and see the Tuskegee Airman memorial in South Carolina.
It rained heavily for half the trip, which made me sad because that seems to be the theme of our vacation.
We arrived in Georgia, were I ran to our hotel room like a lunatic (I was a level of excitement I can’t describe). It was HUGE. There was a living room part
and a bedroom part
and a bathroom part and a kitchen part.
Oh my goodness, I don’t even. After launching myself onto the bed and touching everything I could touch,
we took a second to part from our room and get dinner.
We had the most delicious sushi imaginable
and then we had frozen yogurt,
which was awesome because they had these things that look like rocks but are made out of chocolate.
And I saw this car being held together by mustache duct tape
AND THEN WE WENT TO THE HOT TUB AND THE POOL AND SWAM AND SOAKED AND RELAXED.
I can’t even describe how absolutely happy I am. Everything is lovely and perfect and fun and awesome and relaxing and big. Georgia is awesome.
We woke up at 8 am (just kidding, we snoozed like champs until 11), and got ready for a ton of important exploring. We first went on a quest for some pizza, but quit after it started hurricane raining (again).
Instead, we ate at this really cute artsy restaurant where I had one of the most delicious salads I’ve had in a really long time. After that we drove to the beach, stopping briefly to buy some peaches from a farm stand.
This had been on my bucket list for so long–I danced the entire time I was buying them. I was so so happy.
While I ate the entire thing of peaches in the car–which were the most delicious peaches I’ve ever had in my life–we drove the rest of the way to the beach. It stayed not-raining long enough for us to park and walk down the boardwalk and over the ocean.
It was really pretty.
After that, we drove back to the hotel, then got all fancy dressed because I made reservations for fancy food and fancy theater night. It started monsoon raining on the way there,
which was silly of Georgia. I got one of these bad boys again:
But after fording the river, we got to the restaurant and ordered some fancy foods. Dinner was okay–the best part was the appetizer. There was a bug in my salad, and their solution was to just bring me more salad. Ew.
We walked to the theater after, at which time the rain was in full force and Nick decided to be a gentleman and let me have the umbrella. So he got to the tiny theater soaking wet, and cold.
We saw Les Miserables,
which I knew nothing about (because I am really good at not reading/hearing spoilers). It was okay–I was confused for most of it, and the woman next to me told me her life story and explained most of it during the show. Nick was thoroughly disappointed that this musical is not my favorite now. For those who are wondering, it’s still My Fair Lady (or the King and I, which is a really close second).
We walked home in the mild drizzle and had some late-night chocolate, talked about how Nick is in the wrong job and should be doing theater lights stuff (Production? Lighting? What’s this called?) and then I told him the entire plots of all of my NaNoWriMo books because he called my bluff.
This is the day we headed home and I was really excited to finish the last three items on my vacation list: 1. Find and consume pizza 2. Buy and eat more peaches (because they were really really good) 3. Do something in North Carolina. The original plan was for us to go to Roanoke and camp there a night, then come home, but we decided that we just wanted to fork up the thirteen hours it would take to get home one day early.
Before leaving though, we needed to hit our checklist.
1. Find and consume pizza as far south as we could.
2. Buy and eat more peaches.
3. Do something in North Carolina.
We did see a lot of awesome truck stops though! Instead of stopping in North Carolina, we stopped by my close friend Ally’s apartment in Maryland and had a (very) late dinner.
After eating, Nick and I continued home. Even though it was only three hours to Brooklyn, it was seriously the longest, and worst three hours ever. I nearly exploded with joy when we crossed the bridge into Brooklyn
and started seeing things I recognize.
Before going to bed, I took a picture of the time–5:30 am, Tripzilla ends.
All in all, I had the most amazing week–everything was mostly perfect and the company was great. I haven’t been this happy in a very long time. Even the rain was lovely and sometimes funny. Nick put together some maps showing that the rain literally was everywhere we were staying. When we got to Brooklyn, he looked up weather in Roanoke–monsoon rain.