It’s been a couple months since it happened so it’s time. My Pepere has passed away. The stubborn man fought death for many years as he defied the odds. He proved a strong will and love can keep a heart beating. For as long as I knew him he was a kind and jolly man… though you didn’t want to make him mad. Then he’d turn into Donald Duck for a small period of time. However, he always forgave those he loved. He didn’t say that phrase all to often, but you felt it through the warmth he emanated. Whether it was playing cards, singing along to Irish songs, listening to his stories, watching a movie together, going out to eat, or simply talking about nothing; one would feel a smile spread across their face. Heck if he had a beard I’m sure he could have convinced everyone he was Santa Claus. After all he did have a habit of grabbing random presents for people around him. I’ll miss having these moments with him, but I can always treasure the times I had with him. He was there for my wedding, my graduation, my first house, most of my performances, holidays, and many more events. Supporting me in every interest I had by asking about it and being there when he could physically manage it. And even though I’m sad to say goodbye, I know he’s no longer in pain. See you later Pep, and though you don’t like to say it back all the time… I love you.
I do believe it’s been about a year since my last travel post. Let’s fix that shall we? For my wife’s and I’s one year anniversary we wanted to travel to somewhere new. Of course there was a slight factor which could alter our plans called COVID. So we had to find somewhere which wasn’t half shut down, didn’t mind visitors, and wasn’t on an off season. Out of the country wasn’t an option since we both forgot to acquire passports. No big deal, we wanted to visit all over the US. Both of us had charted most of the East coast which gave my wife an idea. She suggested we tried the West coast. Off we went searching as the clicking of keys filled the air. After a good amount of research we decided on LA. With a skeleton plan in place, we were ready for the week. To start was a plane ride… a six hour long travel time. We were prepared for the flight, but not for the turbulence. At one leg of the journey we hit a particularly bad part which sickened almost everyone on board. As soon as the jostling, bumping, and vibrating stopped there was a line for the bathroom. Thank goodness those were mostly sound proof. The only reason I made it through was the complimentary movies they had for us. Focus on the story… focus on the story. My chant seemed to have worked. Once we landed it was off to the car rental place… sorta. See where we had rented didn’t have a bus which went directly to it. Nor did it explain on our reservation. Through quick searching, asking a rude bus worker, and thinking we eventually found our bus. They kindly dropped us off for a shuttle to take us to our destination. Absolutely packed was the business with only two desk workers. Yet at home employees did our transaction… strange. The car given to us was an Elantra instead of the Sonic I reserved. The digital features proved useful but the body feature didn’t. See a Sonic has a relatively short hood, and almost all parking lots had a huge dip before going onto the roads. Now, I didn’t know about this part, but I’m cautious of this phenomenon everywhere. The scraping throughout the week was nerve wracking. Yet at the end of it all there was no damage. Though thinking about it now the low skirt of a Sonic could have been a problem. Guess I know why I’m not a mechanic. Anyways, we finally arrive at the hotel and thought we would try to walk around. But oh did our bodies feel heavy and our energy drained. However there was on part going strong… our stomachs. They complained with groaning and grumbling. Throwing a tantrum by rumbling. We had to give in. Away we went down the street to a bustling buffet. Strangely we were sat with others at a long table. It didn’t matter, both parties kept to themselves. Honestly, we assumed the busy atmosphere meant good food. This guess was proven wrong by the somewhat bland food. Yet there were some polished dishes among the rubble. The chip like food served with duck sauce hit a particularly good spot. Satisfied, the rest of our bodies demanded sleep and we obliged.
The next morning came as we adjusted to the time change. Surprisingly we woke up somewhat early. Off we went to reach our destination of Disneyland. After some trouble getting there, we arrived and parked on the Donald Duck level. From there the journey of a thousand steps began. A long stretch of road was the first trial before reaching the park. Once we arrived at the actual park we headed to the California Adventure Park. Oogie Boogie cackled and welcomed us over the intercom. As we entered, there was a realization I hadn’t made a concrete plan for the day. We didn’t think there would be a problem to get on all the rides. But soon the one hour wait times proved we wouldn’t make it to all of them. My brilliant wife figured out how to solve this dilemma. The park’s app showed us estimated wait times and which places did mobile ordering. It made the process much more efficient. Anyways, our first ride of the day became my wife’s favorite, the Incredicoaster. With Dash’s speed we darted off to catch Jack Jack. Many twists and turns dodged many of the baby’s powers. It was such a rush. The smell of churros filled the air and made our hunger awaken. We were off to Radiator Springs. My goodness it felt like we walked right into this world. Flo’s cafe was our first stop on our road trip. Parking ourselves on the gas pumps, my wife went to pickup the food. She returned with her burger and my lunch. It was a sweet buffalo chicken on top of French fries and drizzled with ranch. To cool any moments of blazing infernos, a Neapolitan shake was ordered with my meal. This was a real treat. The chicken had a full breasted meat which just enhanced the flavor. Whenever the heat was too much, I enjoyed my sweet treat. Filled up with gas we were ready to head to the races. Radiator Springs Racers was our next destination. This was my favorite ride in the California Adventure Park. The fun story line, unique features, awesome animatronics, and high speed race made this such a joy. Grabbing popcorn from the Cozy Cone, we smiled at the cute upside down cone container the snack came in. This we enjoyed while waiting in line for Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween. We watched many dances until our time in the car. The ride works by getting into one of Luigi’s relatives. Other riders do the same before the song begins. Then the cars dance around each other in different formations as they twirl about. We bopped around to the beat during the whole routine. Now, I’ll fast forward through the rest of the day. There were many ride we went on throughout the day. While waiting to ride them, my wife diligently got us into the digital queue for Web Slingers. Our time to go into line arrived as we eagerly made our way. We were called upon to web sling and web sling we did. Defeating our enemies with a job well done we continued through our day. Our final ride of the day was Soarin’ Around the World. The many different sounds, sights, smells, and feelings made our travels around the globe very realistic. Plus we liked our introductory flight attendant who explained the ride. (It’s a celebrity we didn’t expect.) Such a grand finale to were given at the end we all cheered on the attraction. It was now time for our journey back to the hotel… oh yeah right. See at this point our legs were getting sore. You remember how I said there was a long stretch of road just to get into the park? Yeah that wasn’t as fun the second time around. We managed somehow to stumble back to the car and make our way to the hotel. Sleep overtook us in seconds after hitting the bed.
Morning came with just a bit of soreness. We had to pace ourselves at Disneyland Main Park. First was that walking milestone to reach the entrance. There we were greeted by Pumpkin versions of classic Disney characters of Mickey and the gang. Inside we walked over to Main Street. A couple of fun vehicles came by for us to snap a pic before heading our way straight to Fantasy Land. See our goal was to ride attractions exclusive to Disneyland. Most of these were located in that area. After a couple of them, we grabbed some of those alluring churros to eat. We shouldn’t have waited so long. Crisp, fluffy, and blasted with cinnamon sugar were approved by our tasted buds. We went through a couple of fun attractions before our stomach needed a bigger feast. We decided to settle in at the Red Rose Tavern for one thing… The Grey Stuff. And believe me it was delicious. We made our way to the Matterhorn and survived our encounter with the Abominable Snowman by just a hair. Yet that would prove not the most exciting ride of the day. On our journey through the park, we ended up glancing to our lefts. To our surprise, the Indiana Jones ride had no wait time. With a spring in our step, we booked it through the creepy queue to climb into the ride. It took five minutes instead of two hours to get on. Eagerly we buckled ourselves in for your expedition. Over lava, dodging snakes, out running boulders, and navigating rocky terrain made this my favorite ride in the main park. Of course afterwards we went through another adventure with Jack Sparrow. Once at world’s end, we trekked across the park to conquer Space Mountain. Upon strapping into our seats we were unsure how fast the ride would be. Soon enough we figured it out by the blurring lights and giddy laughs which escaped our mouths. This becoming my wife’s favorite ride at the main park. It had been much later in the day at this point. Food was necessary. Luckily right below the mountain was Pizza Planet. I decided to order a weird pizza slice. I can’t even remember what was on it. Though the good taste was still there. My wife’s great timing made it where we snuck a few rides in before arriving to the digitally queued Star Wars: Rise of Resistance. It was an immersive experience. One honestly feels like your taking part in a Star Wars adventure; narrowly escaping troopers and blowing stuff up. Our finale of the night was watching the Halloween light show. Oh do those villains know how to throw a party. They danced along the sides of buildings and set the sky ablaze as their voices rang out. Each taking the bandstand and setting the stage for their number. Even the Matterhorn couldn’t escape their grasp. With such an ending, we called it day and headed back.
Now, one must understand Disneyland is a lot of walking. So when we awoke Wednesday our legs were screaming. Yet, we couldn’t ignore the call of adventure. We were slow to arise out of bed. Our driving factor hunger was just the kick we need to start. This time we ordered from Farmer Boys which served farm to table food. Very delicious and just the way to start the day, especially when we rang the bell on our way out the door. Off we went to see the stars… and by that I meant the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As we set off, we noticed multiple celebrities earned more than one star. It wasn’t until much later would we figure it out. Each one has a symbol above the name. This indicates which field they earned the star in. Even more interesting was not all the celebrities were human. Some were cartoon characters like Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, and Kermit the Frog. This was rather entertaining, extending this trend to the Chinese Theater where Donald Duck had placed his feathers and webbed feet in the cement. Yes, we were acting very much like tourists. So add the cherry on top we went to a selfie museum. We laughed hard at the wacky photos we took that day. It was around time for supper at this point. So we stopped into degree twenty five. I think this was supposed to be a trendy bar. I had a weird type of flavored chicken which was both spicy and sweet. This I barely managed the spice with a shake. After our meal we continued on the walk when we were stopped. Apparently a VIP was going to one of the businesses. This was one of the few times we saw the LAPD. They were setting up barricades and a crew rolled out a red carpet. Interesting to say the least. We passed to make it to the hotel where we promptly didn’t move for the rest of the day.
Our next journey came in the morning as we went to Warner Brothers’ Studios. Here we had a studio tour for us to partake in. We were eager to begin as we sat in a screening room. This gave the introductory video to the studio. Our next step was to board the tram to see the lot. First we were led to a section which was used to film the Music Man. I loved this musical and it really felt like you were there in River City, Iowa. The next step was at another melodious movie stop known as Hudson Street Orphanage. Those who recognized it will know it’s from Annie. It’s a hard knock life in this beat up looking building. Keeping upon the theme. we saw the rises where the cast of Rent sang the song with the same name. Coincidently, another famous scene was shot in this alley way. It involves a certain upside down kiss with a web crawler whose oh so friendly. Soon we were off to the closed sets. These were less exciting since those were… well closed. The only one we did glimpse into worth mentioning was Young Sheldon; a show my wife watches and enjoys. The guided part of the tour was over as we walked into the old Friends studio. We perked up at Perk Place before continuing. The next part of the tour had two parts. The first was the sets of Friends and the Big Bang Theory. Here my wife and I took varying pictures with funny photographers who encouraged our touristy ways. After this energizing phase, we moved to the more technical side of how movies are made. We got to design costumes and a Batmobile at first. Then came effects of varying kind. A hobbit table was set for us to see the importance of perspective. I became the size of a tall wizard while my wife was as small as a hobbit. Keeping the them of Lord of the Rings, motion capture technology was on display. Those who don’t know, it was this movie which made the technique more broadly used. We became Dobby in several stages. The first layer was simple dots which mirrored the joints in the body. Next the basic 3D model for the character before the final layer which brought the polished look. Our elfish double copied every move we made, including the YMCA. I couldn’t resist. The sound stage was next as they displayed how sound is layered in movies. They chose to show off the unique methods used in Gravity. In this picture, they used the actual radio coms astronauts communicate with. Another feature was the way they hear sound in space. See there’s no air which was necessary for those kind of waves to travel. Instead, one hears through their feet. A similar effect can be found while underwater. The education didn’t stop once we exited the stage. Next, we were able to practice doing sound sound dubbing and voice over. Here we did so in the Harry Potter scene where he celebrated his first Hogwarts Christmas. Strange to say the least when little Harry had a very deep, adult voice rise out of his tiny frame. This was the end of this particular part but another half awaited us. Another tram awaited us to be taken to a studio filled with superheroes and magic. Props, costumes, and activities from varying DC comics and Harry Potter movies were displayed inside. Now I’m not a fan of the cinematic DC universe, but it was cool to be in the Batcave. Inside were the Batmobile, Batwing, the Tumbler, Batarangs, utility belt, and Batsuit. My wife’s and I’s interests peaked when we found ourselves in the Harry Potter exhibit. There the flying car from the second book/movie stayed over head to greet us. We found out fortyish of the same car were made for the film Chamber of Secrets. It grabbed our attention so much we almost missed the signed copy of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice right by the entrance. As a fantasy writer, it was a delight to see a signature of someone I admire. Hopefully I can meet her one day as an established author and thank her for the extraordinary story which brought my wife and I together. Anyways we partook in many activities including interacting with creatures, making potions, wand choreography, pulling mandrakes, peeking at the Marauder’s Map, and sorted into our houses. The hat guessed my wife correct, but not mine. “Briefly” we perused the gift shop before heading out to Santa Monica. Once parked, we made our way onto the pier. Unfortunately, that day the amusement park was closed. They failed to post this online. Frustrated but not defeated, we enjoyed many of what the place had to offer. First was food at Pier Burger. My mouth enjoyed a burger which melted with flavor. Toasted bun and the best secret sauce found in LA. This last ingredient tasted like a mix of thousand island and ketchup. Such a tasty combo. To add to this amazing flavor was the drink paired with it called a Purple Cow. A special kind of grape soda mixed with vanilla ice cream made the unique float. Our next stop was the arcade. Here we played beaten up games, particularly enjoying air hockey with lots of laughter. Funnel cake allured us as we each ordered our own. Though this proved unwise due to the large size of our treats. Yet we tried to finish it best we could while watching the trapeze school practice. As they flipped in the air a sudden goal came to my head. I wanted to dip my feet into the Pacific Ocean. So we stopped at our car to drop off a few items. A woman came over asking if we had seen anything. Apparently their car had been broken into due to a bag left on the seat. The thief only snatched a bag full of kid’s clothes. We expected with a police station on the pier they would have reacted quickly to the call. Yet even after we went towards the beach not a single cop could be found. The sun set so prettily on the horizon as the ocean glittered. It’s rays had an alluring warmth which filled my being. This had to be shared with my wife in the form of a kiss. Invigorated my playful side as a jogged to the water. I pulled the legs of my pants up to dip my feet in. The first wave barely touched me. This wasn’t satisfying enough. So I took a couple more steps in… which proved to be foolish. For the ocean had a sense of humor as it swelled higher and soaked me up to my knees. However I did laugh at the other joke it played by getting my wife’s feet wet. Again we chuckled in our little moments. It was a great ending to our day as we washed our feet before climbing into the car.
The next day was the hottest. Coincidentally, we were heading to the zoo this day. A great combo right? The drive there was pleasant with the most greenery we had seen all week. Nature was the them of the day. Now this zoo was massive… so I’ll only cover a few. Swimming seals greeted us at the door. Around and around they swam a dance of the whirlpool. Australian animals gave us a view of an interesting species of birds. Remember Zazu from The Lion King? See he has a cousin… a much larger one which you may think at first glance was an animatronic or puppet. But nope it was a real bird. The next section involved animals from Africa. A big blubbery pair of hippos were being quite active. They look so cute and playful as they swam about. Though one should know hippopotamuses were one of the most dangerous and deadly animals you can encounter in the wild. After all, they fight with crocodiles for territory. So convert the aw and tension for the reptiles towards these creatures too. We caught our breath near the giraffes with their young at the only food place on the half we were on. The rest were all closed for some reason; we figured COVID or short staffed. Either way it was foolish. The scorching sun beating down without readily available liquid was making our journey difficult. Nevertheless we made our way through the orangutan enclosure. There the family was climbing up the ropes and obstacle course like environment in the trees. The youngest was sliding down the tallest rope with the adults standing close by to ensure safety. This playful spirit was shared among some Asian monkeys who inspired the Monkey King. We observed the youngest bothering the others (what a shocker). Playfully tagging the others at first and chasing them around. It got too rough when it decided to hang by one of the adult’s tails. Then the biggest monkey (we assumed the alpha) came over and howled at the kid… who promptly stopped its mischief. We had the opportunity to see some animals I’ve never seen in person like a snow leopard, binturong, and harpy eagle. It was a good day, but exhausting. We tried to cool off with Dole pineapple ice cream and liquids, but proved ineffective. Thus we were forced to retire to the air conditioned hotel room. The last venture out into the LA streets was to grab food from Which Wich. If I were to describe the place, I’d say a much better version of Subway with a grill. It hit just the right spot as we devoured it back in our den.
All that was left was the journey home. A late plane made our original plan obsolete. For we originally had a layover in Chicago where we were planning to have the famous deep dish pizza. However our new layover was in Philly… blech. I’ve only flown a couple times, but I already have a least liked airport. Philadelphia doesn’t have enough seats for its passengers in the terminals and rude employees. We were lucky not to have a full flight and it being a slow day. It took longer to do so, but we were finally home. The vacation was fun and LA has tons of places to see and do. It felt so good to travel again. I highly suggest if you visit to try burgers here (especially Pier Burger). No matter where we went they just tasted better than anywhere else we have tried. Kind of like how pizza is the best in New York City. Don’t be shocked by homelessness in the California city. Tents line up some of the sidewalks. Generally, they leave people alone so it wasn’t that big of a deal. As with any city just be cautious when walking around at night and take your time while driving. I think if I was to go again, I’d do so with a bigger group and when more of the movie studio tours were open. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip. It truly was a blast and just writing about it put a smile on my face.
Any other writers out there mad at the process of querying? I’m sure there is at least a few out there. Those who don’t know what querying is… to put it simply it’s a cover letter tailored to pitching our book and ourselves to an agent. That person if they like your work and are hooked by the ONE PAGE letter might ask for more. Now, some are a little more reasonable and ask for the first ten pages or first three chapters. The operative word being little in that sentence. For what you get in reply to most is complete silence. You heard me right. Most don’t bother to even send if they rejected it or not. The few that do will give you a form rejection… ironic (the nicest word I can come up with) when they ask us to customize every letter written to them. The few criticisms I’ve gotten from responses are “well it didn’t really hook me in” or “it’s more showing then telling”. And all I have to say is… well duh. You don’t create a whole new world and just blaze through details. That’s how confusion happens. On top of this we have to set up the story no matter the genre. No one is going to care if someone is randomly running away or fighting an unknown assailant… for the reader is not invested on either side to win. Now, maybe this works for some stories, but I can’t think of a really good one that fits that description. There’s always an explanation of character, places, rules, and motives within the first couple chapters. Although it might not be the most fun to read at first… It’s necessary for understanding how the rest of the tale flows. Honestly, the whole process makes me distrust traditional publishing. They seem set on the same old same old, not producing anything fresh or exciting. Even scarier is it seems it wants to follow the trends of movies where action is in favor of telling an actually interesting development of characters and compelling plots which twist. It makes one set their eyes on a different path of self publishing. However, this requires much more expertise in fields I’m not entirely strong in. Not to mention the cost. I have much to think about and I hope my fellow writers find their way to being published.
I have found myself in the past week fighting a forest. You might ask what would I be doing in a forest? Well… it may not be as it seems. My terrain is actually a yard which is mine. As of the past couple months I have purchased my first home with my wife. And the yard… well let’s just say it was left in pretty bad condition when we started. Slowly, the transformation has begun. Where once was all but undergrowth and vines is now something that looks maintained. No longer do snaking vines try to choke my deck. They have been cut down to their den to thrive in a different burrow. Hidden “treasures” of beer and other waste have been removed. Yet there is still so much to do. Once this taming has been done, I can focus on the fun part… Setting up and decorating the outside. So many plans I have in mind. The question is what ones to follow through with. That I’ll let you all know when I’ve gotten it a little more set. Sorry for the brief blog. but it has taken a lot out of me as of late. Hoping you’re taking good care and remember to trim your forests as well.
Before we begin, I would like to apologize for not posting in a while. Lots of events have been having in my life as of late including a new house, holidays, and some work toward my career. But that for be for a later time. Let us begin.
My oh my was our honeymoon such an enjoyable trip… Looking back on that last phrase that sounded a bit too suggestive, my apologies. Anyways, we started out veeery early in the morning (4 AM) to grab our flight. Zombified, we made it to each terminal without fail until arriving in Atlanta, Georgia. Finding the cure, we awakened ourselves to explore the city with a rental car. I will tell you that there is no room for any car to move too smooth in that city. Now, its not because the roads are so tight (though it does not help), but the fact that bikes get so much right of way. They do not seem to care how far into the road they are or how close they turn to a car that has to suddenly slow down because of them. But, lets not focus on such agitations shall we?
We arrived at our distraction for most of the day at the botanical gardens. Even in fall this place looked oh so pretty and got us excited to see the Alice in Wonderland portion that was created. However, we did not anticipate how large this place was; tuckering us both out by the end of it. My wife then realized she did not have a swimsuit for the jacuzzi for the cabin. This meant adventuring further into Atlanta to complete this quest. Finding the location (Thank you Google), we discovered a unique shopping square complete with wandering concierges, a ride along train, movie theater, shopping, a decorated center, and restaurants. The latter we found ourselves in after obtaining the item we sought; and boy did I underestimate how much they would spice my food. Understand that I have an abnormally high tolerance for spicy foods. Once even eating a whole bag of jalapeño peppers with very little need for water. But… this took me for a loop. I ordered a buffalo chicken sandwich and let me tell you that first it was delicious. Even writing this now my mouth water for that perfect combo of crunchy and soft breading with nicely seasoned, moist, and fulfilling chicken that had me mowing down such a delicacy… causing my dilemma. See, I was not paying attention to the spice at all. Imagine my surprise when my mouth suddenly caught on fire? Quickly, I grasped the magical cure of soda that minorly quelled the flames. In retrospect, I really should have asked for water. C’est la vie. After our great meal, we headed out to our cabin for which was an hour and a half trip. We found it interesting that most of the exits were on the left. Soon finding it terrifying when it came time to cross two-three lanes of traffic to get to our cabin. Winding paved and dirt paths guided our car up the mountain to our destination; a cozy cabin that was jus beckoning us inside. Heeding the call, we entered to see a welcoming sight of a fireplace (not lit of course with a comfy couch and a couple of rocking chair situated ina half circle. A small table sat in between these to provide a place for food and drink. Behind this was a table with a small goodie tote bag of two souvenir cups and other assortments. This sat next to the open kitchen for our use. Our adventurous minds would not rest until we explored everything, even though it was dark. On the left and right side were a mirror set up of bedrooms and bathrooms that helped with the cozy feel. Through the open cabin gives us our breathtaking sight of the mountains. To enhance our enjoyment, there laid in the back deck a bench swing, a couple of chairs, table, bonfire pit, jacuzzi, and grill. We took full advantage of all our amenities throughout the week including the first night by taking a dip in the lit up jacuzzi.
A well deserved rest led us to our next day of adventure; a romantic carriage ride and tour of a farm. But before that, we needed some fuel… so I was dragged to my first ever Waffle House. Now you must understand something about your truly… I strongly dislike breakfast foods and places due to the hatred of eggs. For some reason I cannot eat cooked eggs in any form; omelets, scrambled, poached etc. you name it I cannot seem to like it. And do you know what comes with every breakfast meal? Eggs. Now is this dislike strange? Yes, considering I like eggnog and other products with the substance in it. Call it a quirk. On top of this, I do not like French toast (sticks are awesome) or pancakes, but waffles are fine. I know I know I hear the silent judging and I do not blame you for it. All I can say is that it is all about texture. Anyways, here we were in this place sitting right next to the kitchen. I actually found something I would like called a bacon and cheese hash brown bowl. Best part? No eggs. Not expecting much, I bit in and the rest suddenly vanished. It tasted soooo good… so much so that I conned my wife to let me try some of her waffle. Another astounding taste made me wish we had a Waffle House in our area. A good start to the day gave us the energy to continue our adventure. We arrived at the farm and shown a little around as the horses were made ready. There we were led to a small chapel built in the middle of the farm with old documents framed on the wall. A piano that sounded like it had one tooo many drinks was there and I decided to tickle the ivories before we boarded the carriage. Off we went as we learnt one of the horses did not like to listen; being badgered almost the whole ride. All in all it was a nice ride through the back roads of Georgia while we talked with the couple who ran the farm (yes they came with us). Halfway through our ride, we were given a small picnic lunch was provided with fresh produce for us to enjoy. On our way back the horses were unhinged to go full speed as the world blurred by. After that exciting burst of speed, we arrived back at the farm. There we met many an animal and shown their honeymoon suite above the barn (something they pushed hard on). We thanked them for the ride and went on our way to the grocery store. After seeing the grill back at the cabin, we decided we wanted to grill a couple a days during the week. We grabbed a few items we do not see at home along with the original target and returned back to the cabin.
Rain kept us in for the day as we enjoyed each others company while cuddling on the couch and watching Back to the Future. With a roaring fire, it honestly felt like perfection. A relaxed day ended as we had to arise early to get to our train ride. This we barely got tickets for… it was only achieved by my wife’s determination. Every day, she kept checking the site for available tickets. Her stubbornness paid off halfway through our carriage ride on Monday. But I digress. We arrived early to try to grab a parking spot at the direction of the company; learning we should have come earlier. Barely we found a parking spot at the end of the town parking. The lines had already formed to check tickets and bard as we scurried to join the crowd. Thankfully, it was such a nice day that we got to enjoy it and chat with others. The boarding began as we found our seats on an open observation car to nestle in. My lovely was kind enough to grab me a hot chocolate and some popcorn as the train began to whistle and whirl. I can tell you one benefit of Covid… no smooshed rides of any kind. Being particularly tall, I am ecstatic to finally be comfortable on such excursions. Nice and comfy were we as we held hands and watched the world move on by. From rivers to hills to fields our journey went as we arrived in a small town that was both in Georgia and Tennessee. Painted on the ground, we could state hp back and forth as we searched through the small town. First we visited a Cuban restaurant for their popular bunt cake which we took to the cabin to eat later (‘Twas okay). Next our journey took us to an antique place that sold fudge. That. was. amazing. Orange creamsicle fudge just melted in my mouth that it was gone after the first bite. A bit out of order, lunch was next as we stopped at a place on the river called Burra Burra. Although a bit noisy (due to us invaders), it was still a comfortable atmosphere with a friendly staff and delicious food. I have to tell you that their (at least for me) strange chicken sandwich was probably one of the favorite things I ate on our honeymoon. Paired with their unique riverbenders, my tummy was filled and satisfied. Rejuvenated, there was little time to doddle while we tried to see more of the little town. We ended up exploring the rest of the small shopping center that Burra Burra was housed in. From hiking stores, African culture shops, Christmas emporium, artistry outlets, and mining marts we found items to bring home. The whistle blew as we hurried back… only stopped at the train gift shop before boarding. Back down the same route we traveled, looking at expensive homes and cabins with stairs that led down to the track and river. This second time around we were able to see a Native American fish trap was made in the water. This has bee kept in tact through the years; one of few that still remain. The train returned back to start as we made our way to an indoor golf course. A tough battled ensued… We went from room to room until a challenger just barely pulled ahead… of whom I will not say cause I do not feel like sleeping on the couch forever. A small pet store caught our eyes as we thought of our cats back home. We found a multi-line, stretchy line cat toy that we were excited to bring home. (For it to be destroyed in the same night. Positive side was now they are batting it around the house.) My love of antique stores called as we stopped in one where I found a beautifully made Native American decorated pocket watch. We found our way to a comic book store (I will find out what happened to Zuko’s mother), a country store, general store, another mineral mart, and a bakery which was run by the winner of a famous TV cupcake show. A full day had, we went back to the cabin to enjoy our amenities.
Laziness hit us again as we chilled at the cabin. Steak was served while we enjoyed the deck and our view. As night turned around our jacuzzi looked and felt relaxing… until some noise we could not identify was stalking around our cabin. At first, we thought maybe something small was making such noise… but it kept getting louder. Next course of action was to be a little louder ourselves to see if that would scare it off. It worked… or so it seemed. Cuddling and chatting how it could have been a deer… the noise returned. You know the feeling when you know something is up? Yeah… seven alarms went off in our heads. Retreat was the best option as we shut down everything and chilled inside. Unfortunately, we still do not know what made those noises. But what were we to worry?
Our next day was planned full of food for we had signed up for a food tour. But first, my phone decided to misbehave. So my wife, who hates when my phone is off/not working, set course for a local repair shop. In my head I am thinking, It is not going to be cheap to fix. I am sure it will need new parts and we are a little far from home to wait for that. What if it was completely trashed? Is this a new expense? When will I get that done?.. Aaaaaand so on and so forth. All of that was shattered in a mere seconds as he cleaned out the charger part. I do not know if I was more relieved or embarrassed. My victorious wife led us back to the car as we laughed at the whole incident. The tour was marked from the beginning. First, the lady running it said to meet at a landmark that was no longer there. Long enough that only one person around seemed to know where it had previously been located. Finding ourselves with another couple, our guide was still no where to be found. Ten minutes passed when we were supposed to meet and she finally finds us; saying that the others had gathered at the platform instead. Before I go on, I want to stress something about the experience. How it was advertised on the site was we were going to get the best of southern food and enjoy many different flavors. This expectation led to the experience we ended up having that day. The tour began at a wine bar with some fancy food; none of which I would say was very fantastic. Their wine though… made even a wine hater like me enjoy it. Next we went to my favorite stop on the tour called Southern Charm. We were given fried mozzarella balls and fried tomatoes to eat. So delicious… The breading that was used was the same kind traditionally used for chicken. Even my wife liked the cheese dish; something she would not usually eat. In all honesty, I wanted to stop the tour and just eat there for dinner. Sadly, that was not meant to be as we went to our next destination. Confusion was met as the staff had no idea we were coming; followed by rude service and shouting as they begrudgingly gave us our food. This meal was a selection of tuna, chicken, egg, and pasta salad scooped on a plate. Oooo ah how hard was that to set up? I am sure everyone felt a little pressured by the staff to leave; even though the guide was still praising the place and telling us how it used to be a garden. I am thinking it should have stayed that way. Anyways, an unique experience promised to lift our spirits. Making our way into an oil shop, we were met with vanilla ice cream served with oils poured on top. So weird and yet it was so yummy. My favorite was a blackberry and lemon mix that tasted so tangy and sweet to wash out our pallet. It was looking better as we got to the restaurant the tour guide had hyped up since the beginning… and were met with confusion yet again. Seems they were also unaware of our visit and had nothing prepared. On top of this, they were refusing us seating inside for being over the max capacity for COVID regulations. One of the servers had a “great” idea to solve this problem. Out in the cold, darkening air we sat as they brought out the chosen food. I don’t even remember what it was… all I know was it offended all five senses. However, the weird vinegar drink we were given tasted decently good. Now at the beginning of the tour we were promised full stomachs by the end… that did not happen with my wife and I. She ended up finding a restaurant hidden away that served freshly made pizza. This place knocked the socks off most of the eateries we had gone on the tour. Very relaxed, good food, comfy seats, and a friendly staff were such a plus and great end to the day. As se settled back into the cabin for our last night, we decided to try the gas bonfire. Oh boy.. How the instructions were worded did not mention to put the lit match in before turning on the gas. A burst of fire almost singed us both before we settle next to it. We soon realized we liked real fires better when no great heat came from the flame. Watching the stars for a little while, we decided that the jacuzzi would be a better idea. Ah, how inviting the warm, bubbling water was to our cold, stiff skin. We cuddled and reminisced over the week.
The time had come to make our way back home, but first we needed some sustenance. Since the beginning of the week, we had our eyes on a local market call Mercier’s. Its specialty was apples, but it had a variety of goods. Our noses led us to the bakery in the busy place. Through the bustling people we went to the back where the pleasant scents had emanated. Sooo glad we stopped here before heading back. Between the two of us, we had an apple fritter, mini apple pie, and a cinnamon roll. Each dessert was warm, moist, crisp, and tasty that we scoffed down the treats in seconds. Back on the road we went as we traveled back to the airport and headed home. All and all I would say it was a very relaxing and loving trip. I felt as if we got even closer (did not know that was possible) and really able to find what we loved about each other; sharing dreams and of our future in that nice little cabin in the mountains. Such thoughts led to an exciting new chapter in our lives… which I will share next time. Thanks for reading and I hoped your enjoyed hearing about our time in Georgia.