Archive for the ‘Outings’ Category

We went to a wedding today

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Today we went to another wedding, but not as Lori usually does, being the photographer, but actually going to the wedding.

It was for Lori’s cousin Allison, she married Dan.  Seriously, between the two of our families there are a bajillion Dan/Danny/Daniels.  At least 4 on her side now, 3 on Daniel’s side, plus Daniel’s dad’s mother’s maiden name is Daniel, so technically most of them are Daniel’s too!

Our Second Anniversary

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

This is going to be an epic post.  It was a 4 day get away that felt like weeks, which is great.

Monday marked our 2 year wedding anniversary, it feels like longer than that though.  For our anniversaries we always want to go somewhere, do something, that way it’s special and never just another day.  This year, with Lori being super into Harry Potter, and because they have a giant Halloween thing going on, we went to Universal in Orlando, with a detour to Daytona just because.

Friday – Daytona Detour

Daniel was able to get a half day off work so we could leave early on Friday, which is awesome, a lot of the trip was in the day time.  Night time trip driving is the worst, well, worst behind pouring rain.  Since we can only afford to go to the parks once each, if we got to Orlando on Friday night we’d have all day Saturday with nothing to do, so why not go to Daytona for the night.  Neither of us have ever been (that we know of) and it’s only an hour or so away from Orlando so it’s no big hassle.  Except we didn’t know it was Biketoberfest.

So now we’re in Daytona, surrounded by motorcycles, tons and tons and tons of motorcycles.  We turned on the main strip and sat for five minutes barely moving at all.  We’ve been traveling all day, we’re hungry, we’re tired, we’re stuck in traffic.  When it finally moved enough that we could go maybe less than half a block we saw a Diner and turned in a few minutes later.  After feeling better about our tummies rumbling it was on to find somewhere to stay, that wasn’t already booked full with bikers, and that didn’t cost a fortune.  Hopefully one like we stayed in on our honeymoon in Charleston.

We found it.  After stopping at several small, shady, hotels that wanted $70 or more for the night, we found this one that was only $55.  Not as cheap as it should have been considering the look of it, but the bike fest was driving up prices everywhere.  It’s hard to describe the exact feeling you get when you walk in and the wet smoke smell hits you and you see where you’ll be staying, and pictures can hardly do it justice either.  It didn’t feel haunted like the other one we stayed in, but it did feel like someone may kick down the door and hack at us with a chainsaw.

Saturday – We’re going to Orlando

Waking up is pretty easy here, staying asleep is the hard part.  It’s like a motorcycle alarm clock you can’t turn off.  That combined with sleeping on a board with a pillow that is easier to compare to a hand towel when it comes to support and comfort.

On to experience what Daytona has to offer us.  Motorcycles.  Yay.  We kept getting the feeling we were going to see Daniel’s mom and dad here, and at one point saw the same Harley they ride.  It being a vacation and all, it just wouldn’t be right without put-put.  The course we found was kinda like Lost cause it was tropical and there was a plane crash.  This one is probably our second favorite at this point, right behind Goofy Golf in PCB.  You have to have to have real obstacles and challenges, not just putting around a corner, and this one used the volcano and cave theme to be awesome.  Lori tried to put through a wall at one point but wasn’t successful.

Then back to the motorcycles.  There is no escaping them.  Except at the beach.  The ocean was beautiful, the sand was firm and didn’t get stuck in between our toes, and there was practically nobody there.  Weird.  All these people in a beach town, but their riding their bikes around instead of going to the beach . . .

At one point while we were driving around I think we joined a motorcycle parade or something, because there were a gazillion motorcycles and their riders on both sides of the road and all those riders were walking or standing or sitting and looking at whoever was riding down that strip of road.  Surprise, it’s Daniel and Lori in their little blue car with the rose still on the antenna from two years ago.

Enough of this, we’ve got our fill, let’s get to Orlando and go swimming.  On the way we stopped at a mall because Daniel had the great idea that Lori should get the second ear piercing she’s always wanted.  Terrified, and terrifying little girls in the Claire’s, she got it done, but the girl watching (she looked like the girl from Hope Floats) decided she’d never get her ears pierced, ever.

About an hour and a half of driving later, and being harassed by the ticket guy at the hotel that he could have saved us $8 (total, not per person) if we would have booked all of our tickets through him instead of going through the UniversalOrlando.com people, we we’re chilling at the pool.  Chilling being a good description even though the water was heated, half of the pool was in the shade of the hotel, making our faces cold, and the other half, the half where you would have a warm face, was full of splashing little kids.

Did you know that there are bad Chinese restaurants out there?  Well there are, and there is at least one in Orlando.  And to make matters worse, I looked up the address on my phone and it said 8 miles, so we got in the car and went down the highway an exit to get there, ate, it was terrible (buffet nasty), and we drove two blocks back to the hotel.  Did you catch that?  The directions made us drive down a highway about a mile, turn a couple times, then to get back we turned right drove a block, turned left drove a block and we were back at the hotel.  It hurt my soul to see other people out walking while we drove the two blocks back to the hotel.

Sunday – Universal Studios for 15 1/2 hours

Good morning non-scary hotel room.  Cold on the outside, warm and fuzzy under the covers.  The hotel is about twenty steps away from the world’s largest McDonald’s (I think).  You’d know it if you’ve ever been, it’s the only one I’ve ever seen with pasta dishes, and on display in glass cases on real plates.  You may find yourself asking, why go to McDonald’s, what about SuperSize Me, and what will Daniel eat?  True, they even sneak meat into the fries and hashbrowns (and Daniel’s McMuffin when he’s not looking, it took 3 tries for them to get it right), but it’s Monopoly time!  And it’s convenient!  And it’s America!  There’s probably 2 things for Daniel to eat for breakfast there (and no hashbrowns).

Our first day in a park, we got up early and super excited, unknowingly arriving right when they were announcing the park open.  Lots of fun stuff here, Shrek, Mummy, Twister, MIB, Jaws … The Back to the Future ride is now The Simpsons ride, same building, same concept, just Simpsons now.  It was fun, Lori absolutely loved it.  She hates roller coasters but goes crazy for the simulated ones.

When we’d done everything there was to do, and the park was closing, we got to stay behind, barricaded in the ’50s alleyways for an hour or so until they unleashed us for Halloween Horror Nights XX (20).  Yay haunted houses.  First up was Hades, it was then closest one, we weren’t thrilled by the description at all but we wanted to do it while there was no line so we didn’t have to wait an hour for something we didn’t want to do anyways.  But boy o boy were we wrong.  By far the best house of the night (we didn’t go through all of the houses).  They used strobe lights, stuck their hands out of nowhere in your face, made Daniel jump out of his skin smiling.

There’s something you have to understand about Daniel and haunted houses, it’s not about the terror or the fear, it’s about the jumping out and going boo.  The surprise gets him and makes him shake and giggle and sometimes (a lot of times) fall down.  He’ll do the Scooby Doo and his feet are moving but he’s not going anywhere, he’ll shake like he’s having a seizure and kinda skid around, he’ll stiff up and fall down, and sometimes he jumps backwards and head-butts Lori (which he is sorry for).

There were 8 haunted houses and quite a few Scare Zones (free range areas of the park where people in costumes walk around and try to creep you out). Most of the houses we did weren’t scary or jumpy at all.  There was the ghost one, just a couple people with glowing white masks on moving around.  The asylum was bleh.  The Catacombs were ok, the masks were cool and at least made us a bit jumpy.  And the Zombie one was fun, it’s the one where Daniel head-butted Lori as he jumped backwards away from a flesh eating zombie coming out of a van.  We were in the park for 5 hours during the HHN and didn’t do all the houses.  They were open until 1AM but we left at 1130PM because our legs couldn’t take it anymore.

Monday – Islands of Adventure & Anniversary Dinner Yummy-ness

This is what Lori has been waiting for, Harry Potter!  This park is full of rides that are built for Daniel and explicitly not for Lori, like The Hulk and the Dragon coasters, and maybe Jurassic Park.  We were in line, Lori said she wouldn’t ride, even though she would get to sit next to her hubby the whole time, then they showed a safety video right before you board and it showed the dreaded drop, which looked about 10 feet.  So now Lori is thinking maybe, until she asks the guy how far the fall is, 85 feet, and then she asks where the exit is.

Harry Potter time, or to better put it, tons of crazy fans packed into a tiny space and inside stores which are even tinier.  Lori was in heaven.  She got a chocolate frog (with Slytherin in it) and the every flavor beans that she wants to use for decorations.  Everything there was amazing looking, they even had owls in the rafters of one of the buildings (they were moving and Daniel got out of the way so he wouldn’t get pooped on).  There were so many people there that they had to have employees form lines for the stores.  Lori waited about an hour in line for the wand store while Daniel rode both dragon roller coasters and the little kid coaster.

Then it was time for the big finale, the new Potter ride.  Lori didn’t care if it was a roller coaster or not, it was Harry Potter so she was going to ride it.  It scared her super bad, she screamed the whole time, but got off and after five minutes said it was her favorite.  It’s kinda like the Spiderman ride where there’s screens and real stuff coming at you while you move around, except this one your in a roller coaster harness attached to one of those arms that builds cars, and it flips you and spins you and turns you and it kinda feels like a roller coaster, but your not on a coaster type of track.  It’s really cool.   After that there wasn’t much time for anything else.  We spent about two and a half hours or so in the Potter section.

We hobbled out of the park and back to the hotel room, cleaned up mighty nice and went out for Italian food.  It was a toss up between two restaurants, one was by a lake, the other had live music, but since the music one never answered their phone (multiple times throughout the day for two days), we went to the lake.  Great choice.  Great atmosphere, the lake was pretty, the company was amazing, and the food was delicious.

Tuesday – The dreaded trip home

It stinks that we have to take an entire day off of work, using valuable vacation days, just for travel.  But that’s how it goes.  We had an ok breakfast at the hotel with horrible service (too many people in there with too few staff) before jumping in the pool one last time before checkout and we were off.

PCB

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Last week we went to PCB so Lori could get her fix.  Seriously, she goes crazy without it.  While there, a guy walked by us in a blue jumpsuit . . . at the beach.  Found out yesterday that it was FEMA.  The last day we thought we found tar, guess we went just in time.

Hall and Oates and drama

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Today we shot a wedding, Hannah and Brent.  It was laid back and nice, not stressful at all, and we were out of there by 5:30 and on our way to Chastain for Hall and Oates.   It was our first time at Chastain, and we knew it was open air and we knew it was supposed to rain, but it’s Hall and Oates.

The concert was great, a total blast, and we got soaked, a total non-blast.   Maybe the rain brings out the crazy in people.  Or maybe it was the wine.  The group sitting next to us started throwing food at people a couple rows in front because they were standing up and blocking the view.  And then a lady in the row in front of us was mad at the people on the other side of us because they were calling her names or something, so she took her umbrella and held it out to block their view, and they almost got in a fist fight.  And then Hall and Oates played Rich Girl and everything was fine.  They did two encore’s.  Which we both agree is absurd.  If “Kiss is on my List”, “I Can’t go for That”, and “Private Eyes” are your encore then it was definitely planned, ’cause you can’t not play those.  Absurd.

Birthday Time – Number 25

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Friday was my 25th birthday and Lori planned an awesome party for me.  We went to Manuel’s for dinner, I didn’t know who was coming until they showed up, so I got really excited every time someone I knew walked by the window.   There was Adam, Wesley, Becky, Jessica, Ashton, Jessica, Marvin, Mike, Jenny, Catherine, Dustin, CB, Kristin, and Joy!  I didn’t think that many people would come for my birthday.

Then after dinner we went back to our place for drinks and cake and pin the tail on the donkey and a pinata!  I hope our neighbors don’t hate us already.  We did try to keep it down outside after midnight though, so they can’t hate too hard on a Friday night.  I fell asleep early as usual (right after they started playing Balderdash), probably 1oclock, but the last person didn’t leave until 230AM.  I consider that a pretty good bash.

Here are more pictures.  And Lori has plenty on her Facebook too.

Mountains – Gatlinburg

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Last weekend we ran away from work early and booked it to the mountains. It used to be that the women in the family would take a weekend away to go shopping somewhere and just get away, but has changed into an anybody that wants/can go kinda thing. This year (the first year either of us have gone along) we stayed in a cabin on the side of a mountain in Gatlinburg, TN. The view was great, the rooms were big, there was a pool table and an arcade machine and a hot-tub and a movie theatre.

Our little camera is broken, it won’t open the lens at all, just jerks and sputters and gives up, and we didn’t feel like hauling our big cameras around, so we only have a few phone pictures to show. ByTheWay, anyone that wants to get rid of a small point-and-shoot camera can inquire within.

Friday while we were on our way up everybody else went shopping at Tanger, which is fine with us because we don’t have money for shopping anyways. Saturday we walked around Gatlinburg in the rain then went to the Dixie Stampede, Dolly Parton’s more wholesome version of Medieval Times, with cowboys. Advice for vegetarians: eat before you go, the generic pasta they served me was gross.

We also played black-light mini golf, which was lots of fun, and did go-karts with my dad. When we went to Panama City Beach earlier this year with Mike and Jenny we found out we like go-karts. Lori screams because it’s too fast at first then gets into it and screams to go faster. There are a bazillion tracks to pick from in Pigeon Forge, we chose the one next to the goofy golf course (not really Goofy Golf, but close). The only problem was going up and down the spirals so many times got boring. Nobody else was around us and the guys running it let us keep going on and on and on and on and on and on and on because nobody else was there to ride. It was still fun though, Lori even liked the hill you go over that turns your stomache, and she absolutely hates that stuff.

First Anniversary!

Monday, October 26th, 2009

It’s been a year, can you believe it?  Wow.  It feels like only a few months ago we were shaking our groove things at the beach.  To celebrate this year we went back to Charleston, which is where the cruise ship left from on our honeymoon.  Last year we spent the night in a dinky motel in the smelly part, about 5 or 10 miles from the good part.  This year we stepped it up and stayed at the LaQuinta right across the bridge from the good historic part.  Not so smelly, and we were right in front of a dock with lots of fancy boats, Lori was thrilled!

On the first day we walked around and did mostly window shopping. Lori found a dress she absolutely loved, but they didn’t have the right size, then miraculously on Monday we found another store that did have the size!  Something to note about Historic Charleston if you’ve never been is that it’s like that long street in Savannah (not River Street) where all the shops are, but times four.  And it’s a giant maze.  We walked so much and saw so many shops we thought we’d seen it all, but the second day we parked in a different lot and realized there was another section of stores we completely missed.

Saturday we decided to give gifts to each other, so we could enjoy the presents all weekend.  Lori got a Peacock Feather head band, and Daniel got a veggie T-shirt.  There is a long market there with artists and jewelry and purses and basket weavers and more jewelry, where Lori found her new favorite purse.  Adam gave us a Starbucks gift card that had nothing left on it so we bought coffee to try and keep us going.  We were going to eat at a veggie restaurant outside the Historic part but realized we’d have to leave and come back and park again so we stayed and had bar food.  That night we had Japanese Steak House, which is what we usually do for special ocassions because it’s so awesome.  No one there believed we were old enough to be married.

Sunday we went to see a giant old tree, but the tree was closed until later.  So we went back into the city and ate at Yo Burrito.  It was ok, salsa was good but they were out of tofu.  How do you run out of tofu?  Then it was off to the museum where they were having a special wedding exibit.  Anyways, for dinner we went to Mercato, an Italian restaurant, for our actual anniversary dinner.  Oddly enough, there were two other couples seated in opposite corners from us that were celebrating the exact same thing.  One of the couples brought their cake top with them and ended up throwing almost all of it away because it tasted like cardboard.  Our cake on the other hand was just as great as a year ago.  We couldn’t help ourselves and opened it the night we got to the hotel and nibbled on it the whole trip.

The day we left we went to a corn maze that wasn’t made of corn (bushes).  They said if we found 6 of the 10 hole punches for our punch cards we would get a small prize.  We found 9 of the 10, but would have had all of them it someone hadn’t stolen one of the punches from the pole.  When we went to collect our prize there wasn’t anybody there.  The lady that told us we’d get a prize was driving away when we got out of the maze, a full hour before they were supposed to close.  They left us in there alone, in a maze, possibly dead or dying or injured or making out.  Good thing we gots the smarts and could find our way out of what they say is one of the worlds largest mazes.