Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's Been a Busy Few Days!

We have done so much in the last few days! I can't believe tomorrow is Thursday already. I always get anxious that we won't fit in everything we want to do. I had a conversation with someone recently who said when their family goes on vacation they literally do nothing. They just sit at their resort, don't do any research, and even if they are in a historical area, they don't bother to see the sights...when they are on vacation, they truly do nothing. Uhm...what?? I don't understand. Of course everyone is entitled to their own choice of what they want to do but I don't get it. The whole intent of us traveling is to see and explore each new place so I can't imagine doing nothing. Although I say that but on day one I wished for one day of rain so we could just hang out and do nothing. I got my wish on Monday. But before we get there, let me fill you in on Sunday - Jack's birthday. It was his choice to do whatever he wanted. The day started with his favorite breakfast - chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, and milk. A growing boy's dream. Then the day was filled with a trip to the NC Aquarium where we surprised him with a behind the scenes tour. We have done these before at SeaWorld and the New England Aquarium....where it was feeding day for the anacondas...apparently they hadn't been fed in a month and outside their exhibit was a bucket of half frozen chickens and rats (complete with tails hanging over the rim of the buckets). So, when they opened the exhibits, it was like a snake charmers basket...it took 3 Aquarium workers to contain them...it was frightening to say the least. This tour was pretty tame but still very interesting. After visiting the rest of the aquarium, we headed out for lunch and then it was off to the driving range, mini golf, go-karts, and the pool. It was a very busy day. The next day was sunny so we decided to head to Wrightsville Beach, which we hadn't been to yet. It was amazing. Beautiful houses sandwiched between the intercoastal waterway and the ocean. We found a great spot with great waves and spent most of the day there...until the black clouds rolled in. We got everything packed in the car before it started to rain and on the way home it turned pitch black, like it was 10 at night...but it was only 3 pm. There was crazy lightening like I have never seen before and the thunder was so loud it was deafening. We hunkered down for the afternoon and had our "lazy day". The kids read, I took a nap, and Tim took a nap and then read. I never nap. I always have so much to do that the idea of taking a nap just doesn't make sense. But, I had nothing else to do so I ended up taking a 2 hour nap. It was awesome. When was the last time you napped?!The storm came and went pretty quickly so we were still able to grill and then that night we played a few games before heading to bed. p Tuesday brought us pouring rain in the early morning so we ended up sleeping in...again, no complaints from anyone on that. Finally it cleared and we headed into Wilmington which we had all been anticipating. First up, a self guided tour of UNCW. For the last few years we have tried to mix in visiting college campuses with our trips so the kids can get a sense for what they like. Jack had id'd this school as a potential interest last year when he was interested in marine biology but since that is no longer an interest (as of 1 week before our trip...and a main reason we came down here), we decided to visit it anyways to get an idea for scale and type of campus. It was nice...and a good size...but certainly doesn't have the character of campuses we are familiar with in New England. Next, we headed into downtown Wilmington and immediately jumped on a trolley tour of the city....interesting but not much to see really. Some historic homes but still seems like lots of renovation needs to happen downtown. We did learn that Wilmington is the third largest producer of hollywood tv & movies behind NY and LA. Mimi really wanted to do the Hollywood Walk where they show you were famous movies were made. Don't do it, if you ever come to this area. A few red flags..."90 min walking tour" in the 90 degree heat of the day at 2 pm...the only time offered. It ended up being almost 2 hours, it was so hot we could have passed out, and unless you are Dawson's Creek or One Tree Hill fan, it wasn't worth it. Always interesting to try and do different things but I don't recommend it. We were so hot after the tour that we immediately came back and jumped in the pool, swimming for an hour. Then we had dinner and played games again. I don't know about you, but we generally don't play games when we are at home. We all fall into our routines. That's one of the things I love about camping...we are in a small space, can't spread out as much, and end up interacting much more than we do at home. Today, we hit the beach in Wrightsville our favorite new spot. It was great...it was overcast but warm so it was comfortable on the beach. The waves were great...but then they got a little crazy. Tim went to go in the water with the kids and a local woman came over to say she had seen 2 rip currents right in front of us and she suggested we didn't go in...that the area can get pretty crazy and dangerous. Of course, I ended up being the bad guy with the kids when I said they couldn't go in. Finally Tim took them over to the life guards and they said you really had to be cautious...so of course the boys went out...when not another sole was out there. Whatever. Then we left and headed back to the camper to change for part 2 of our day which was to explore the USS North Carolina Battleship. So enormous...and such a great experience. We walked up and down through 9 tiny alleyways of the ship...it took 1 1/2 hours...and we weren't reading all the info. Pretty amazing to see. Then it was off to dinner and now everyone is slumbering. A very busy, exhausting few days...just how we like it. I should mention that when we had lunch in Wilmington at a restaurant on the Cape Fear River, the waitress brought us our check and said "Oh, before you go, you should check out the baby alligator that has been hanging out under our dock." WHAT? Sure enough, there was this baby alligator....like the size of a large iguana, floating by their dock, hanging out. I can't live someplace where there are dangerous or poisonous animals that I might encounter. Which leads me to the one thing that the kids want to do before we go, and that I wanted to do until this alligator encounter, which is stand up paddle boarding. The best place for us beginners to do it is in the inter coastal waterway but there is NO WAY I am paddleboarding in a place where I might get stuck in a death roll with a gator. No. Way. I have to call tomorrow...so that people can lie to me and say "No, we have never seen a gator in the water while paddleboarding". Yeah, right. We have 2 full days left and here is the list of things left to do: Stand Up Paddle board with gators, driving range (again), river cruise (meh), and shelling at Fort Fisher. And of course the beach again. The week has gone by so fast...it makes me sad but yet we have done so much and I have a new favorite place to come back to...if we ever lift the ban on going to the same place twice.

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