Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Heat, Broken Boats, Wasp Stings, Tourist Traps & The E.R.... Join us for a re-cap of our Summer Vacation!

Okay, I'm gonna try to make this upbeat for the sake of family members who read this blog... They say I'm too negative but I'll let you all be the judge.

Lake Norman, NC

Family Vacation 2007 has come to a close and all I can say is, it's good to be home! We began our vacation at beautiful Lake Norman, NC. Where my sister-in-law and her husband own a condo. The plan was to spend time on their pontoon boat enjoying sight-seeing on the lake. Unfortunately their boat missed being properly winterized and it broke before we ever saw it, which I guess is a good thing since the picture of us sitting under the metal canopy of a pontoon boat in the heat we encountered would have likened us to white bread in a toaster oven... Not a pretty picture. After a few days of hunkering down in the condo or running from air conditioned facility to air conditioned facility we made our way to Charlotte, NC. Where my sister-in-law and her husband live when they're not visiting the lake. My daughter and I went shopping with my sister-in-law and enjoyed seeing some really great stores and if it weren't for Dante's Inferno raging outside every shop door we might've enjoyed it all the more.

The best part of our vacation took place while we were in Charlotte. We went to see 'The Lion King' at the Blumenthal Theatre downtown and it was fantastic! Our seats were perfect and the show was everything we'd hoped it would be and more. Take it from someone who knows 'The Lion King' as my daughter who is now 14 yrs. old, watched Simba bop his head to 'Hakuna Matata' at least 2,567 times along side her stuffed Simba we purchased at The Disney Store. It was a hell of a hot night to walk from the parking garage to the theatre and back again, 94 degrees at 11:15 pm... But once again, it was totally worth it!

Following our stay in Charlotte, we drove to Seagrove, NC... Home of all the pottery you can imagine! There are in the order of 100 potteries scattered throughout the Seagrove area and it would be impossible for someone one their own to see even half of them but for a family with a 17 yr. old boy who really did try to hold onto some sense of mild enthusiasm, it's not easy to see more than 5 pottery studios. Especially when said boy gets stung by a wasp, then it becomes downright impossible to do much of anything except find any way possible to help relieve his seering pain and fear of any door or window of the van being open even a milimeter despite the interminable heat. We were told at the pottery where he was stung that tobacco would help take the sting out. I wasn't about to break the bank for a pack of cigarettes so I could put the tobacco from one stick on his throbbing finger... But I did spring for a 99 cent tin of chewing tobacco. Lesson learned, Tobacco does absolutely nothing to remove the pain of a wasp sting. Eventually, after much freaking out, we found a pharmacy and the awesome pharmacist on hand recommended a stick of something called (I think?) 'Sting B Gone'... He even gave us an ice pack from his freezer (for FREE, Thank-You AWESOME Pharmacist, you are our Dudley Doo-Right!)

With the wasp incident well in hand the guys made there way to our hotel for the night in nearby Asheboro. Though they did manage to get lost so what would've taken 15 min. actually took 45. We ladies, my daughter, my sister-in-law and I took in a little more pottery but somehow the real joy had kinda been diminished so I had to buy a couple of pieces to try to salvage my formerly good mood... Spending money always seems to have a positive effect on me, much to my husbands dismay.

We took a few hours the next day at my daughters request, much to my surprise, to visit a few more potteries but left the boy child with my sister-in-law and her friend in Asheboro. My son wasn't going to take any chances with that wasp in Seagrove as he might've gathered together his waspy friends and formed an all out attack! I spent a little more money which served to make me even happier than the day before and then we were off onto new adventures.

We traveled from Asheboro, NC on our way to Harrisonburg, VA... It was about this point that my son pointed out his finger that had been inflicted with the wasp sting was beginning to ache, was swelling and turning a bit red. We gave him some more Benadryl and made a note of it. At some point we decided to take a route over The Blue Ridge Mountains that would take us right past 'Natural Bridge'.... Hmmmm, what a lovely thing it would be, to see the 'Natural Bridge'... I'd seen it in pictures but I had my new camera handy and wanted to snap some shots of my own. Ahhh, 'Natural Bridge'... Carved away after millions of years of being shaped by the hands of nature.... Only to have a visitors center plunked down 1/4 mile from its beauty so some bastard could charge you $12 a head to shlep down a hillside to take in it's 'Natural Beauty'... Add a little more to your ticket price and you can see a renactment of 'The Creation' and the 'Wax Museum' next door! Needless to say, I was pissed! For the obvious reason that no one has the right to lay claim on the viewing of nature... But these people had it landlocked and unless you paid your $12 bucks you could kiss your photo of 'Natural Bridge' goodbye! (this photo obviously not mine, just borrowed from the web.) So I did, I kissed it goodbye and good ridance! If ONLY we'd seen the sign for this place sooner,

we definitly would've stopped. Unfortunately it wasn't visable until we rounded the bend at a good clip and were too far past it before we made the connection as to what it was. Then to later find out on the internet it was totally FREE, we're just hanging our heads in despair at the missed opportunity! You've gotta check out this website to find out how really awesome the guy is who created such magnificence! Mark my words, we WILL be planning another trip along the Blue Ridge and we WILL see 'Foamhenge.'

Oh well, missed opportunities behind us we made our way to Harrisonburg, had a great steak dinner and watched our sons finger continue to swell and redden. Next morning when he awakened he winced in pain and said, "My finger is so swollen I can't bend it." it was, and he couldn't. We got the name of a place called, 'Emergicare' from the hotel front desk but noted that it didn't open until 10:00 which seriously cut into our getting to 'Luray Caverns' time... But you gotta do, what you gotta do, right? Come 9:59 am we pulled into the 'Emergicare' parking lot, walked into the office building, in which it was located, only to find ourselves 9 people deep in waiting for the place to open. 'Round about 10:15 they finally unlocked the doors and we filed into the office in a surpisingly orderly fashion. Shortly thereafter, the nurse informed us that the doctor had just called and was stuck in traffic on the interstate and probably wouldn't be arriving until around 11:00... It's my guess he was really just waking up from last nights bender. The nurse then added that if anyone had a serious problem they should head to the ER. She began taking everyones name and info... And it was no surprise I was behind the latino couple who had their 10 yr. old daughter interpreting for them. When we at last approached the woman behind the desk and explained our plight I was informed that they didn't accept our insurance but if I paid up front and filled out mine, my husbands and my sons life history on a clip board, our insurance would most likely reimburse us. I almost accepted the clip board, when I stopped and said one of the wiser quotes from our vacation, "Wait, You said that if anyone needed to, they should go to the ER... Do you think they'll take our insurance?" She replied, "Yes, they take everything." So we beat a hasty retreat out of 'Emergicare' (good riddance!) and drove right down the street to the area hospital where we were treated promptly and most likely even before the 'Emergicare' doctor arrived at his post. After a bathroom break and a mildly annoying wait at the CVS Pharmacy we were back on the road again.

Luray Caverns - Luray, VA.

The Luray Caverns were beautiful and how could we have known to tour the place on the anniversary of its founding? Dumb luck I guess? Another plus, we somehow missed the majority of crowds who arrived sometime during our visit underground. The caverns were aglow with candelight, which only takes place on this one special day out of the year... Hey, something had to go right! The kids thought it was pretty awesome too... Even the boy with the swollen finger had to admit that this particular vacation event was a winner. My husband and I did the Garden Maze, created out of 8 ft. high hedges. We knew there wasn't a chance in hell that our son would be even remotely interested in this particular activity... Just the thought of him caught in a maze with a errant wasp strikes horror even in our minds... It would make for a hilarious video on You Tube though.

Ornamental Garden Maze - Luray, VA. (Image from the web)
So here we are, safe and sound (finger intact, swelling greatly reduced), home at last and a month away from our annual family beach vacation. Gee, I wonder what kind of adventures that's going to bring?

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Blogger Whiskeymarie said...


Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

5:41 PM, August 15, 2007  

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