Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Fat Free Vacation 2013

I just got back from vacation yesterday.  We had fun.  Nothing went right but, I would do it again.  I would have posted a ton of photos for y'all but, we had no cell service at the cabin.  Here's the daily recaps of what we did.

Travel Day

We left the house at 8:30.  I packed some fun stuff for the girls to do in the car.  A US map to track the license plates with, a game of Bingo and some questions for them to ask the family.  The best answer we got from the questions?

Question:  If you won the lottery what would you buy with the money?
Sunny’s Answer:  “A beach towel, A RAINBOW, jewelry and Monster High clothes.

They also had books, coloring books and crayons, a notebook, and their MP3 players to keep them occupied. 

I packed sandwiches and a ton of snacks for the car ride.  We ate at a rest stop somewhere in Georgia.

We arrived at about 4:45.  The drive was supposed to take 7 hours and 45 minutes.  We made it in 8 hours and 15 minutes.  {30 minutes to stop and pee a few time and eat lunch, not too bad!}  The last quarter of our drive was on and off rain.  We decided to ditch the tent camping idea and rent a cabin.  I had a bad experience camping with the Girl Scouts in the rain when I was younger so I didn’t want our stuff to get soaked.

The cabins we stayed in were called The Happy Valley Cabins.  I highly recommend this place!  The owners were Walter and Rhonda.  Super nice people.  They treated us like family.  We met their 2 dogs, Roger and Angel.  CLICK HERE to be taken to their website.  
There is no Internet or cell phone service at this place so you are completely cut off from communication with the outside world.  {For all you Candy Crush addicts, it still works without phone service!}

The name of our cabin was the RoadRunner.  It was 2 levels.  It had 2 queen sized beds, one upstairs and one down.  Electricity, running water, a full kitchen and a bathroom.  Oh!  And it had a hot tub!  It was $80 + tax a nite.  Not too bad. 

They have a catch and release stocked pond, a pool and a couple little hiking trails.  The cabins are only 15 minutes from Tallulah Gorge State Park. 

After we unpacked our stuff we went to the local grocery store, Ingles.  OMG.  Ken and I contemplated moving here just because of this grocery store.  It’s Georgia’s version of Harris Teeter.  HUGE produce department, and some harder to find things.  {I found my fat free cheese and Smart Squeeze, a fat free butter}  We spent a little over $100 for 3 days worth of food.  Not too bad!  It would have been lower but, we got a couple extra things since we had a full kitchen. 

Dinner was made in the oven since we were starving and it was getting late.  Veggie burgers for me, beef burgers for the rest of the family, mixed veggies, salad and OF COURSE s’mores!

Day 2

My alarm went off at 5:30 in the morning.  {Yes, even on vacation I set an alarm}  Sunrise was at about 6:30.  I really wish I could have seen it rise over  the mountains.  The girls woke up around 7.  Breakfast was cereal for them and a PB2 sandwich with a  banana for me.  I woke Ken up at around 8 and we left for Tallulah Gorge to hike.  We hiked the North Rim Trail.  I have no clue how far we went but, we hiked for atleast an hour.  Sunny actually kept up the whole time. 

After we finished our hike we went and checked out the “beach area” for lunch.  I packed sandwiches, granola bars, and dried fruit.  We planned on going back to the beach so the kids could swim but, due to weather we never made it back.    We got back to our cabin at about 1:45 and went for a little hike through the property after we got back.  At 2 it started to rain so we went inside and let the girls watch some TV.  After dinner {veggie burger and a veggie dog, ½ a sweet potato and sugar snap peas}, we made s’mores and hopped in the hot tub for a few minutes. 

Oh and did I mention before AND after our hike we spent an hour on the phone with our bank because they froze my credit and debit cards due to our traveling?  Yeah, that was FUN  a pain in the butt.  Word to the wise, always call your bank when you are going to travel.

Day 3
I woke up at about 5:00 this morning.  The weather was not too great.  It was on and off rain.  I woke up this morning wanting to leave.  I seriously wanted to pack up and head to Atlanta.  We made the best of the day though.  The kids woke up between 6:15 and 8:15 and I woke Ken up at 9 after we had all eaten breakfast.

Even though it was rainy we made the best of the day and went to Goats on the Roof.  This attraction is about 10 minutes from Tallulah Gorge and 15 minutes from the cabins.  It's a total tourist trap but it's alot of fun.  The girls got to pan for gems.  You buy a bag of dirt from the local mine and take it out back to a trough and sift through the dirt for the gems.  1 bag costs $6 and 3 bags costs $15.  We got 1 and split it between the girls. 

When we got back to the cabins we took a hike to find the "river" that Kaylee and Mo had heard while they were exploring the woods behind the cabin.  We hike up the road and found a dirt path.  We hiked until we heard some people practicing their shooting.  When we got home Ken found a tick on his leg.  We did a tick check on the rest of the family and found that Sunny had one on her foot.  She was a trooper though.  She let him remove it without much of a fight.

Day 4
This morning I woke up at 4 with an upset stomach.  Luckily I fell back asleep around 4:30 and woke up with my alarm at 5:30.  After Ken woke up we packed the final bags into the car {we packed most of our stuff the night before}  We checked out at 9:15 and made it to Atlanta at around 12:30.  The trip was really easy. 

On the way we stopped at 2 little roadside attractions.  We saw a 20 foot rabbit in Rabbittown {an area of Clarkstown, GA} and we saw a random large rocking chair in a field in Lula, GA.  

We hit up the Super H Mart {a Korean store} to stock up on some things we can't get easily in Florida.  Ken was in heaven.  There was so much stuff to choose from.  I picked up a golden kiwi, golden plum, a Korean squash and Korean melon to try.  We are definitely making another trip back just for food.  We couldn't get as many things as we wanted because the car was already packed full.  

We grabbed lunch and headed to the hotel.  In downtown Atlanta we hit almost dead stopped traffic.  Traffic like that reminds me why I don't want to move back to the big city.  The hotel was AMAZING.  It was gorgeous.  The only downside was the fact that they charge for parking and Internet.  {$16 a day for parking and $15 a day for Internet}

We ate dinner at the restaurant downstairs.  I got the fish of the day.  On Friday it was Tile fish and it was DELICIOUS.  The best part about it?  It didn't cause me pain!!  It's a major score in my book.  They were very accommodating to my dietary needs.  They steamed the veggies and the rice was done plain.  The fish was seasoned and cooked without oil or butter.  If the prices hadn't been so high I'd go back again just for dinner.  

Day 5
The hotel had a breakfast buffet.  A variety or breads and muffins, fresh fruit, eggs, various breakfast meats, potatoes, biscuits, oatmeal, grits and an omelet station.  I got 2 big plates of fruit, a bit of oatmeal and an omelet.  They used pan spray for my omelet but, I think that's what caused my stomach pains after my meal.  

The trip home was rainy.  But, Atlanta is only 6 hours from the house.  I was so happy to be home.  Until we actually got home and I found out that we had no electricity because of the storms.  {How ironic is that?  Camping with electricity and when we get home we have none?}  But, by the time we got the car unpacked the electricity was back on so I could make dinner.  

Even though nothing that I had planned went properly (I had also planned on stopping at the Bell Plantation place to get some PB2 but didn't because of the rain),and I was ready to leave the cabin a day early,  I had a great time with my family.  The kids were great, there were only a couple fights during the 5 days and Sunny had a blast.  But, to use Ken's words "we are beach people."  So we have already decided our destination for next year, Apalachicola {where the best oysters come from....Ken LOVES oysters.}

How do you feel about camping?  Where are you going for vacation?

Our Cabin


The Gorge

The Interpretive Center at the Gorge
The beautiful scenery
Panning for gems at Goats on the Roof

Goats on the Roof
20 foot Rabbit

Rocking Chair
Super H Mart

Top Left --Fruit plate
Top Right -- My Tile Fish, steamed veggies and rice
Bottom Left -- Kaylee's Pork Chop, mashed potatoes and veggies
Bottom Middle -- Ken's Steak, mashed potatoes and veggies
Bottom Right -- Mo's Hot Wings

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