Aiken, South Carolina
First and foremost, thank you Clint and Taryn for having us! I met Taryn ages ago through a mutual friend that we played soccer with and the rest is history!
I think the trip turned out to be as expected.. luckily, no worse. Before we left I felt like I had planned horribly. I booked flights for late Wednesday and early Saturday. Which leaves only 2 days in between. Why I chose Saturday? Most likely because it was cheapest at the time. It was also a plus because it gave Jorge a day to rest between getting home and work on Monday. So here we are, flights booked, things are moving, and I remember there's a 3 hour drive from Atlanta to Aiken. Now that puts us getting in even later and leaving earlier. I was kicking myself for a couple of days but then realized we just had to make the most of it. Taryn and Clint had work during the day so I booked things for Jorge and I to do Thursday. Which included an almost 4 hour drive to Myrtle Beach! Again, when I booked these things I still had hope that Taryn could get off from work and we could go together but unfortunately she couldn't. I guess the moral of this story is to not plan a surprise visit? Or if you do be open to the fact that plans always change? Who am I kidding. Surprises are fun! Life is life, we just gotta roll with it.
To the Airport! (IAH)
I won't lie, I was a little worried we wouldn't make it. Luckily, Jorge brought his badge and we were able to skip the line. We made it to the gate with 10 minutes to spare! Then the flight was delayed. I tend to worry for nothing. Although I do think I'm getting better about it. Slowly but surely. We flew with Delta this time and the cheapest ticket got us back row seats, smack dab in the middle of the engines. I don't think we have ever been that close to the engine before and I wasn't sure how that might effect us. I remember my ears popping an unusual amount and said this has been the worst flight yet. Lord knows the worst was yet to come. Lastly, with this flight we were allowed a carry-on (small suit case or luggage) and one personal item (purse or backpack) for free. Which I'm finding is pretty typical with most flights. Except Spirit. Spirit flights are cheap as all get out but I believe you can only take a personal item for free. Everything else has to be checked. Don't quote me on that, it's always best to double check luggage allowance before you get ready to fly out. 😃
|By Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb|
|See, right there? Engine. In ya face. Not cool.|
When we leveled out I was able to read a little. I truly loved this book and honestly stopped reading towards the end because I didn't want it to be over. This was the first historical nonfiction book I've read and being able to research the characters' real lives makes it so much more interesting and fun to read. Meet Me in Monaco has it all: passion, hardships and miracles. I highly recommend.
Touchdown in Atlanta, Georgia
Pretty interesting installation in one of the terminals at ATL. We were hesitant at first to take the plane train but finally asked someone for directions. I think we walked 2 of the stops the train did? Not worth it. If you hear plane train, HOP ON! Those stops are farther apart than you could imagine. When you finally get to your stop you have more walking to look forward to. Next, we had to take the sky train to the rental car center. Now, online and over the phone, I was told the car I was renting was going to be $130 with the underage fee and insurance. Booyyyy was I in for a treat. After all kinds of random fees and daily protection of the car the total came out to be over $300. NOT including the $200 deposit. Jorge told me afterwards that a good rule of thumb is whatever it says online, triple it. So now I know and so do you! I can't believe I didn't get a picture of my first rental car. _._ It was a cute Nissan Versa with impeccable gas mileage. I mean we drove over 800 miles and filled up less than 4 times. Way better than my car!
I think we woke up at 9:00 o'clock the next morning? My Watch was a hour behind and got me all messed up. But while Taryn and Clint went to work, our next stop was almost 4 hours away. During the drive, I sang a lot of county on repeat because it was the only decent station I could find. Jorge watched his show under the towel to block the sun from his screen. Every time he had a commercial he'd come out of his towel fort and tell me what was happening in the show. Lol
Myrtle beach was actually a ton of fun. I purchased tickets to the aquarium, Hawaiian dinner and 5D movie theater for roughly $120, for 2 people. They were all Ripley's tickets so I was able to get a deal by combining the aquarium and dinner. Buuut we didn't do the dinner for the sake of time. The aquarium was interesting to say the least. The brochure has all of these different rooms or areas and makes you think it'll be huge. I suppose I was underwhelmed when we walked in and from the atrium you could see every one of those areas. But anyway, I was really expected the jellies to be my favorite but I think I'd actually give that to the shark tunnel. I've never seen so many sharks that size up close before.
The Jellies were still really cool though:)
|We got to touch the Moon Jellyfish. I'd say is comparable to touching a jelly-like chicken breast.|
Next, the Ripley's 5D movie theater. Honestly, I'm going to keep this park short. The ride/show was $12 each, so not too bad. The movement of the chairs barely matched what was happening on the screen, we got sprayed with nasty water way too much and the 3D glasses were terrible. My favorite part, however, was the fake snow. To be cheesy, it added a touch of magic to the experience!⛄
Honestly, the hour at the beach turned out to be the best part! It was clean, relaxed and not too crowded. There was plenty to do like gift shops, giant ferris wheel, restaurants and all of the Ripley's entertainment places. This part of the day really made the drive worth it. <3
When we finally got back we had super yummy burgers that Clint and Taryn cooked for us. If you've never had burgers with jalapenos mixed into the meat I absolutely suggest trying it!
The next morning, we strolled over to Augusta for a bite to eat at Southbound Smokehouse. It was delicious! And the price was $$, average for that type of restaurant. 10/10 recommend.
We may or may not have left a cute little drawing of Texas where there is a missing picture frame up there... #texasisforever
Lastly we visited the Augusta river walk. Right as you enter there are lines indicating different flood levels from the past.(Far right picture) It was surprising to see the levels displayed that way because you can really get a sense of damage that took pace. The rest of the walk was very peaceful and seemed like a good place to jog in the mornings when its cool. Along the way are some signs with history tidbits but other than that there wasn't much to do in the immediate area.We saw signs for gifts shops but I guess we didn't walk far enough to find them. I love when Jorge takes the time to carve our initials somewhere. We will visit that tree again one day and hopefully see where we left our mark!
On the way back to the house we found a garden center with a tiny fresh produce market. Cold Creek Nurseries is cute little gem where we bought fresh peaches and alcohol ice cream! We also couldn't help but buy and scratch off way too many lottery tickets. It was my first time ever buying one but no such luck. Jorge won almost $200 on a scratch off the night before!
We finished the day with Chinese take out and scary movies. It was really nice getting to see my best friend and her new home. Aiken is a really cute town and I think their apartment is in a really great area. It was quiet and peaceful. Although the roads are dark at night its different in a good way compared to the hustle and bustle of Houston.
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The are only a few notable things that happened on our adventure back home. Starting with the checkpoint into ATL airport. I've never had to walk past a detection dog before so there's a first. When I finally got to the TSA agent my ticket on the app timed out and I panicked. It was like my fingers and brain just shut down. I couldn't figure out what to do for the life of me. BUT! I logged back in and everything was fine. HAHA gotta laugh at yourself for silly mistakes like that.
We finally boarded the plane and this time we were another row back. The very last row of the plane which again was between the engines. Most of the flight home went well. There was a considerable amount of turbulence that was unsettling but the descent and landing did a number on Jorge. At the time he was in so much pain that he couldn't even tell me what was hurting him. He said it was the worst pain he's ever felt which says a lot since he's also gotten the tip of a finger cut off. He said it felt like his head was going to explode and his eyes were watering terribly. I looked for a flight attendant because I knew there was nothing I could do but considering we were already geared to land, I didn't figure they could do much either. Moving forward we will never sit that far back again. Buying the seats ahead of time now seems worth it and safer. If you have any suggestions on how to prevent this or an explanation of what happened I would love to hear it!
I want to encourage comments! I would love to hear your feedback. It could be anything: how I can improve these blogs, if you've been to some of the same places: tell me your story, suggestion for things to do or even questions. I want to hear it all!
Thank you for stopping by,
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