one part travel, one part home, one part DIY, one place to create

road trips

winterplace

Today I realized its getting towards the end of February and I haven’t posted anything in almost a month! This past weekend David and I made a trip to Winterplace, WV for a day of snowboarding. We both share a love of snowboarding and have been anxiously awaiting our first trip together since Day 1 of our relationship! We may have taken a little detour on the way to WV due to good conversation while not paying attention to signs. But I reminded David of my motto – if everything went just as planned then we wouldn’t have any good stories to tell.

For example, we would have missed out on seeing this beautiful view.

Even though there hasn’t been much snow this season there was still plenty on the slopes for us to have an awesome time together and even practice some tricks on the terrain park. Only 15 more days until the annual family trip to Snowshoe!!! And the best thing ever – having a great boyfriend who loves snowboarding as much as I do to bring with me on the family ski trip! 🙂

Oh, and I made this during our road trip. Now available in my Etsy shop.

Advertisements

ole savannah

Last weekend myself and 8 other ladies road tripped down to Savannah for Nia’s Bachelorette weekend! We stayed in a bed and breakfast and had the whole place to ourselves – that was quite a treat! The weekend consisted of outlet shopping in Hilton Head, a dinner at The Olde Pink House, drinks on the rooftop of a hotel, a day of walking and shopping in historic downtown, lunch at The Lady & Sons, getting dressed up and going out on the town, and as always enjoying lots of good laughs and quality time together.


Day 11 – Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 – BLUE LAGOON

Our last day in Iceland started with more rain and snow. Oh, and coughing and nose-blowing and fever. Thankfully I was already improving but unfortunately for Nia she was worsening. I guess I should be thankful for the good immune system I have because I wasn’t near as bad off as Nia was  [I love you Vitamin C, even if your magic is all in my head].  The only good news about today is that we were going to the Blue Lagoon, and praying it would have healing powers!

We had some breakfast, or well not much of it since we weren’t feeling good, and made some sandwiches to take for lunch time. Then it was back up the baby elevator to pack up and check out. Checking out just involved turning in our giant key. And waiting for the bus to come pick us up for the Blue Lagoon, which was supposed to come around 9 or 9:15am but of course it was late because I don’t think Icelanders own clocks or care to own one. As a part of our hotel package we got transportation to the Blue Lagoon, admission, and transportation to the airport from the Blue Lagoon all included in our hotel rate. And it was a heck of a deal! When the bus showed up it was pouring snow and it was more like a big van that we had to stuff ourselves into with our 100lbs of luggage and 12 other people. Turns out the van was just taking us TO the bus, probably the same bus we were on the day before, and we were able to leave all of our luggage with the bus until it came back later to drive us to the airport.

We were the first group of people to make it to the Blue Lagoon that day, it was a little after 10am. This also meant we were pretty much the first people in the locker room. You got this bracelet that was a key fab (like this electronic thing that only worked for your one locker) and you could also charge stuff on it so you didn’t have to carry around a wallet. This was a great idea, except that mine took about 80 tries to get the locker to open and close. I warned Nia before the trip that we were going to have to shower naked in the open locker room before putting on our bathing suits and jumping into the lagoon. She didn’t believe me. And her and Dave just thought I loved nudity or something. Low and behold, the lockers had signs telling you to shower without your bathing suit. But to our delight they had made some shower stalls for Americans like us who weren’t down with being naked in a big room full of other people. The locker also suggested wearing a swimming cap and if you didn’t you needed to use special conditioner before and after swimming. We would later regret not wearing that swimming cap.

I was thrilled to be able to take advantage of my new waterproof camera for some sweet photos of the lagoon. We spent the first bit of time swimming around taking photos before putting the camera up and enjoy our last bit of time in Iceland while relaxing in the naturally heated, 105°F of heaven. We too advantage of the free silica mud stored in buckets around the edges and had an exfoliating facial and body scrub. It snowed nearly the whole time we were in the lagoon (notice the snowflakes in our hair!) which just made the experience even cooler. The huge difference in temperature of the lagoon and the air outside made for lots and lots of steam surrounding the whole place, so lots of the pictures were a bit foggy. As you may or may not know, one of the previous seasons of The Bachelorette was filmed in Iceland and one of the group dates was at the Blue Lagoon. Since Nia and I are big fans of the show, we were thrilled as we recognized many of the spots where scenes were filmed! Including a sweet waterfall and a sauna.

After swimming around for a few hours we sprinted from the lagoon to inside the locker room since it was so cold outside and showered and layered up again in our winter clothes. Conveniently, the locker room had hair dryers. Inconveniently, our hair felt like it had been soaked in a nice blend of olive oil, honey, and glue. Even after washing, rinsing, and repeating – about 3 times. Sick. Then we went out to the gift shop and restaurant area to enjoy our sandwiches with a nice hot cup of coffee. And made a few purchases to bring back to family and friends. Before long it was time to go and we took the 2:00 bus to the airport (thankfully our luggage was still with the bus). On the way out we took a few more photos of this unreal place.

Our flight didn’t leave until like 4:30 so we had a bit of time to kill at the airport. The airport decided we would kill some of that time by giving Nia extra security checks in private rooms. I’m still not sure what happened in there. After we went through all of normal security and headed into the gates, they stopped Nia and said, “oh, this is her, please come with us” and immediately Nia thought it was an emergency at home or something. Needless to say, it was just an emergency that required her to get felt up and questioned about who knows what. This once again proved Nia’s point that she has never once gone through security seamlessly. After all of those shenanigans we still had some time to walk around all of the airport stores (twice) to spend the last of our Icelandic monies. I’m pretty sure I also walked off at some point and didn’t tell Nia where I’d be and she wasn’t too pleased about that. But at least we wound up with some sweet souvenirs.

We agreed that on this leg of the flight I could have the window seat so I’d be able to get more sleep since I was going to be the one doing the majority of the driving home. This meant Nia got the middle seat – a middle seat that happened to have two messed up arm rests leaning in towards her seat – therefore, making the tiniest airplane seat possible. The lady on the other side of her kept leaning into the armrest making her seat even smaller. It turns out the row of 3 seats can convert into a row of 2 larger seats with a tiny middle for a table by adjusting the armrests. Our armrests were stuck in the “2 seat” position. Not long into the flight Nia asked the flight attendant about it and they made the lady on the outside of our row move to a new seat, leaving Nia and I sitting in two more spacious seats. And knowing airlines, that extra space probably would have cost us a few hundred dollars more. Too bad Nia was miserable the whole flight due to the cold/cough/sinus infection she had developed. I was at least able to get some sleep during the 6 hour flight.

We arrived at Boston Logan around 6pm and called the Red Roof Inn to get a taxi since our friend Rob wasn’t able to pick us up. The taxi man on the phone told us to wait at the departures zone. Turns out they are just too lazy to go through the arrival zone. So we waited and waited and Nia thought I heard him wrong about where to be or what color car – but finally he showed up to take us back to the Red Roof Inn. I said a few prayers that my car would still be there and not be destroyed by wind-blown scaffolding and buried in a blizzard. Praise God there were no problems! The driver helped us load up all of our stuff from his car to mine as he was suprised we were about to drive and not stay the night. Our original plan was to drive through NYC and stay the night with our friend Becca. It was now about 8pm – we got going a lot later than we thought we would since the flight got in late, the taxi man took forever, and Boston driving is crazy. First on the agenda was to grab a coffee and some double cheeseburgers at McDonalds. Then Nia and I decided to forgo staying the night in NYC and drive straight through the night home. Which really meant I would be driving us straight through the night home due to Nia’s condition. We made a pit stop at Walmart somewhere in Connecticutt for Nia to get some meds and I waited in the car. I got in trouble by the parking lot security twice for waiting in the fire lane. How was I supposed to know that it would take an hour to grab cough drops and Sudafed? I wasn’t aware that we were at the SLOWEST Walmart in America.

Tuesday night and Wednesday morning really blurred together since I was in the car driving for 14 hours; I’m not sure where one day began and where one ended. Well, actually I do remember that we were in NYC right at midnight, stuck in traffic. I didn’t know there could be traffic jams at midnight – traffic jams that consisted of me and about 100 tractor trailers – I guess we are the only crazy ones driving the Interstates through the night.


Day 1 – Saturday, February 19th, 2011 – ROAD TRIP

The day was finally here! I got in the car at about 4:30am to head to Nia’s house, my mind racing the whole 1 hour drive there trying to figure out what I forgot, because surely I forgot something.  Or maybe it was just the few 3 hours of sleep I got during the night that made me feel anxious.  Or the fact that I was leaving Nala and Reina for a week and a half.  Or maybe that we (read: ME) were about to drive 14 hours up to Boston.

I pulled up to Nia’s house a little after 5:30am, still pitch black outside.  We loaded up my car with all of our luggage, Nia’s mom loaded us up with coffee, and Nia said her goodbyes to her fiancé.  And then I almost wrecked us while still on Old Mill Farm Road – those curves just come so unexpectedly in the dark!  No worries, I’m an expert driver and just wanted to test out how fast we could take those curves in preparation for the long drive ahead.  And I needed to make sure Nia had her Dramamine.

Nia tried to get some sleep while I drove, but between Kacie calling and me waking her up to tell her something, she didn’t get much rest. I think her favorite time was when I woke her up to tell her to look at the giant flock of birds flying over us and wondering how they were flying in these heavy winds. Every state we drove through had traffic alert signs warning of high winds. Once we arrived in Boston, we realized just how much wind they really meant. I drove for nearly 6 hours until we stopped for gas and Subway. [side story – as some of you may know, Nia and I won a $250 Subway gift card at the state fair this past fall after competing in “Subway’s Great Fair-a-thon Challenge” scavenger hunt] And then Nia drove for a few hours while I napped and after a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts in ski town USA it was back to me driving.  We hit our first toll booth after driving over the Hudson River and past the Poconos (who hasn’t heard of the Poconos??) and into New York, and I shelled out a big $1 bill.

The second toll booth. I can’t remember which state it was in, as Nia called it – BFE. I’ve never done one of these things before, and neither has Nia correction: Nia HAS been through toll booths, it was just on a totally different highway. We slow down as all the other cars are but realize there is no person in the little both, so I keep on going through without stopping because no one else did. Fast forward about 20 miles when we get off the highway to get some gas. Now there’s the little man in the toll booth! I roll down my window and wait for him to say how much. He doesn’t say anything. I ask, “How much?” He says, “Where is your ticket?” “What ticket?” “The ticket! (holds up a stack of tickets) The ticket!” “I don’t have a ticket.” “How did you get on the highway?” “I don’t know, we’ve been driving on this road for a really long time.” “Fine, its $2 without a ticket.” I mean I thought we weren’t going to be let off the highway! Apparently the sketchy toll booth from miles before was where you got a ticket. No signs. No warnings. You’re just apparently supposed to know, stop, press a button, get a ticket. But no one else did it! …oops, turns out I drove through the fast pass lane, they didn’t need tickets.

We stop to get gas after exiting the toll road. Screw getting back onto that road, we will re-route. Don’t worry, we were on Broadway. All roads lead to Broadway. Even if the GPS tells you to turn onto a another street, you’ll eventually make it back onto Broadway. I’m still not convinced that dern GPS didn’t drive us in circles around the state of Massachusetts.

I wanted to a take a picture of every state we drove through, but that didn’t happen. North Carolina. Virginia. West Virginia. Maryland. Pennsylvania. New York. Connecticut. Massachusetts. 8 states in one day – and a whole lotta miles on the Honda. We took 81 and 84 most of the way, which hugged the mountains and passed through a lot of cute little towns. We paid a total of $4.50 in tolls on the way there. We made it almost all the way there in two tanks of gas – thankfully this was right before gas prices sky rocketed (weren’t too happy to see that a week and a half later upon our return…) and thankfully we filled the tank up completely before leaving town so we would come back to the states to a nice full tank.

Now if you’ve never driven in Boston then I need to give you a few warnings.

  1. There are no lines on the road and speed limit signs are rare. People just drive where they want to, however fast they want to. So you better hope you’re not in the way.  And if snow is covering half of the far right line, then you better believe those cars will just make their way on over halfway into the left lane, whether there’s cars there or not.
  2. If you don’t know where you are, just look to the left or to the right and there will be not one, but two, Dunkin Donuts to comfort you.
  3. Plan to only go to places on one side of the road. Because if you want to get to the other side of the road, you’ll have to drive approximately 5 miles to turn around and drive back down the other side.
  4. When in doubt, just take Broadway.

Red Roof Inn, we can see you in the distance, right next to Giggles Comedy Club.  We made it. Our home for the night!  Oh, hey, police cars and the news crew filling up the parking lot – man I sure picked a winner of a hotel.  Half the parking lot is covered in snow and the other half is covered in scaffolding and construction debris.  In the chaos, I ran over a giant plastic cigarette butt holder, which took about 15 minutes to dislodge from underneath my car.  With 100 mph winds the whole time, did I mention that yet?  Yeah, as if the cold wasn’t enough, there was some serious wind during our stay in Boston.  And this wind conveniently blew scaffolding all over the Red Roof Inn parking lot and toppled onto cars. Greattttt, and I’m supposed to be leaving my car here for 10 days? Very comforting!  So after a trip to Fuddruckers for dinner (I wanted Sbarro but then we realized it was in the mall, and we were definitely not going in the mall for dinner), we checked into the hotel and made ourselves at home.  Nia talked with Caleb to make our game plan for the next day while, surprisingly, I fell asleep.