So after months of preparation we were finally on our Epic US Adventure. You can read a bit of our journey here, in my guest post for Ross Goode After three wonderful days in Florida at the Omni Amelia Island Resort, post coming soon. It was off to North Carolina.
According to the Sat Nav on our luxurious Chrysler Pacifica rental car from Alamo. This was a 6 hour spin up I95 and I77 Taking us through the top of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and then the final stretch in North Carolina.
A rush to pack
It started well. When I say it started well, what I mean is we left later than planned. With no breakfast as the boys wanted one last dip in the pool. This resulted in a rush to pack everything. The boys were as helpful as ever. Only bringing their cans of Dr. Pepper (Two converts to the sweet nectar Skipah) bottles of Gatorade (The most vile drink known to man!) and their crisps/taytos/potato chips (depending on where you’re reading this).
Mrs OMG and I tried to grab everything else, from all the cupboards things had been hidden in. Dirty washing, clean clothes, swimsuits, phone chargers etc etc.
Everything crammed in we set off. Things were going well. A game of eye spy passed with no fights or accusations of cheating. Little Miss OMG napped and we made good time. Before we knew it we’d passed through Georgia and were in South Carolina. This is where things started to go a bit wrong.
Mrs OMG shouted. “The Passports!” I got that sinking feeling in my gut. I knew I hadn’t picked them up and if she was asking there was a good chance she hadn’t.
Luckily my Ma had left her phone with us just in case. A quick call to the resort and the passports were located. No mention of the Pop Tarts that were in the same cupboard. The maids kids were obviously going to be having pop Tarts for breakfast the next day. The nice lad in security said they’d put them in the hotel safe and we could pick them up on the way back to Orlando. Panic Over!
A food stop
A stop off for a bite to eat. Can’t beat the golden arches. Except the menu looks nothing like the Irish one. Thankfully a Happy Meal is a Happy Meal so the little ones were happy. Especially as they could pour their own drink from the soda fountain. Not so happy when given a choice of eight different Fantas Buddy didn’t like the one he picked. Dad to the rescue. Drinking the unwanted one so Buddy could refill.
Dopey Dad also forgot to mention only mayo on the chicken wraps. The teen wasn’t happy with lettuce and cheese on them. Thankfully the receipt wasn’t checked and they swapped them out.
A quick trip into the adjoining gas station. (I’m even talking like a native now!) To use the cash machine to get teens birthday money out and buy smokes. We were good to go.
The whole “quick stop” hadn’t gone as quick as anticipated so in order to make up time I might have put the foot down a bit.
License and Registration
For some reason they have three lanes of freeway ( motorway, I’ve this American talk down pat) that the speed limit varies on. So I’m cruising along, watching the time to destination, not the speed limit. When I notice the car in front of me. From my distance it’s a bit didficult to ascertain if its lights or a roof rack on top of it. As I approach it pulls into the middle lane. An alarm bell sounds and I start to slow. As I pull up beside it, I notice the South Carolina Sherrifs Department decals on the side. Moments after I pass it pulls back out and turns on the lights! Dammit.
I’ve seen this in the movies. “License and registration. You were doing 84 in a 60 zone!” WOW that sounds bad. I’m still not sure when we went from a 70 to 60 zone. Especially as it’s the same road.
He takes my license and registration documents to his car. Whilst my passengers laugh at the fact I was speeding, and pulled over by the cops for it.
They soon stopped laughing when he returned and inforned me that the fine was $180! As I’m from abroad it is reduced to $75 if I can pay cash on the spot. Remember that stop to use the cash machine. Well it was to get the teens birthday money out for him. The cop looked at me strangely when I asked the teen could I borrow $75 from him.
The fine paid. The cop went to his car and wrote out the ticket. We were back on our way.
Needless to say the rest of the journey passed at a more leisurly pace. There was much excitement from the boys as we drove past Carowinds and then the Bank of America Stadium. Hone to the Carolina Panthers NFL team.
I got excited too as it meant we weren’t too far away. The rest of the journey passed uneventfully. The sat nav then flashed up we were nearing our destination. I turned into what I thought was my parents driveway. It didn’t look quite right and a large collie cross dog appeared. I backed out and drove down the road.
Objects in the rear view mirror
As I drove away I could clearly see 4575 on the mailbox. My parents number. We turned round and back up the drive. Past the dog. (He looked smaller in the photos.) To the house. It was the right one. the fields were more overgrown than I’ve ever seen them.