Saturday, June 13, 2009

Florida trip

So, it's been a month, and I figure that I ought to record some memories of our trip to Florida.

First, I doubt that I will ever go to Orlando again unless I'm specifically doing the whole amusement park thing. Orlando is just a big sprawling city like so many others. Nothing much to crow about.

Unhappy to the point of screeching with our experience at the rental car place. It was quite a difficult back and forth and back and forth. This is all good and fine - I understood where they were coming from, but with two tired toddlers and three grandparents, I was getting very irritated.

We were surprised by the toll roads as we made our way from the airport to our condo. I can't stand toll roads. They drive me crazy. When we got to the condo, it was after hours, so we had to go through phone calls and a lock box and on and on and on. However, by the time we got into our condo, we were quite happy. It had four bedrooms instead of three, and two full baths. It was very nice. The best part? It was probably 15 yards from the pool, 25 yards from the BBQ area, and 50 yards from the kids playground!

We had a really nice time in Orlando even though it is very non-descript city. While there, we swam in the pool - a LOT. We went to Gatorland which was really quite cool. The birds were fantastic! Wood storks, egrets, ibises, cranes, flamingos, even a roseated spoonbill. We walked around Disney's mainstreet (the free area) one night. LOADS of people.

We went to Cocoa Beach one day and drove an extra 7-8 miles trying to find the beach. Turns out that we were driving alongside the ocean instead of towards it. I don't know how I managed to do that, but we finally made it there. We spent plenty of time under an umbrella and digging in the sand and splashing in the waves. The boys had a blast. They really played their hearts out! We loved the sand and the smell of the sea and the breeze constantly keeping everything cool. It was a very busy day and people were all about.

We were lucky enough to be in Florida for the last shuttle lift off. Bub was sick that day, which was really unfortunate. Following recommendations we found on the web, we arrived early. Of course, so did everyone else. Trying to find a good spot to view the whole thing was difficult. We found a decent spot next to a canal. The weather was HOT and the sun was unrelentless. So, we took turns holding the spot. The rest of the time was spent under some trees running and eating fruit and coloring. When the lift off time drew nearer, we packed up all of our stuff and took up or space by the canal. The hard-core space program junkies were so anxious that it was palpable. Then, suddenly, the engines blasted, and the smoke billowed, and it was off! Even being ten miles away, we could see it well enough that it was very exciting. Of course, by this time, the boys were terribly OVER it. But, they will be able to say that they were there for the last one. In a few years, there will be a shuttle replacement, and I would love to take them to see the first lift off of whatever it is.

Then, our time was up in Orlando, and we moved to New Smyrna Beach. LOVED it! It was so nice. The sand at Cocoa (50 miles south) was nice, but the sand at New Smyrna was like silk. Our condo was half as big, so we were really squished for room, but for just four days, it was OK. We planned to spend a day at the Kennedy Space Center, but by the time we got there (after dirving through a nature preserve), Sam was just acting not himself. I believe now that iwas like a car sickness, but we just didn't want to drag him around for hours if he was feeling badly. When he was feeling better, we spent more time at the beach.

We managed to go to the Ponce Inlet lighthouse, too. I booked it up the 205 steps in 2 1/2 minutes. Then, the clouds opened up and it began to pour. We took the boys to all of the lighthouse keeper buildings, but they were, understandably, bored. I really liked it, though. I think that lighthouses are fascinating.

Honestly, the trip home was miserable! We missed our flight because we had to stand in a ridiculously long and slow security line. The "family" line didn't have an x-ray machine that accommodated strollers or car seats! And, it was soooooo slow. The workers there could have cared less. Once we got through, we picked up our stuff and RAN to the tram that would take us to our gate. We got off the tram and RAN our butts off. Bub was pushing the boys, I was carrying a bag and car seat as was Sindi. We arrived at our gate 3 minutes after they had shut the doors! They just couldn't let us on. So, we were stuck in the airport for two more hours waiting for a connecting flight to Atlanta. The, we spent two hours in the Atlanta airport before that plane took off. By the time we got home, the people on the plane were happy to see us go.

Lessons learned: 1) It is extremely difficult to travel with grandparents. We tried really hard to keep our packing at a minimum. However, that is impossible when grandparents are involved. We returned with MUCH more than we should have. 2) It is also hard to travel with others, period. Someone is always making peace between the others, or somebody's nose is always bent out of shape. 3) No matter how little you have to spend, you will spend much more than that whether or not you can. How can you refuse these faces?


Anonymous said...

I'm exhausted after reading about your trip. You need a vacation from your vacation! :) I'm glad you enjoyed the beach and hopefully you created some lasting memories of the shuttle. I think that would be fantastic!
The boys are growing so fast! Big hug to all of you!

Isabelle said...

don't think I didn't notice the boys balloons. ;P

TooeleTwins said...

Oh yeah - got them t-shirts, too - Daytona Beach