Sunday, August 08, 2010

My Week of Vacation.

So, for the first time in a long time, I took an entire week off from my day job, and went on a vacation.  The impetus for this was my sister's destination wedding in Savannah, GA.  

The lovely Jessica accompanied me on this trip.  It was kinda scary, because we haven't been dating very long, and this was a pretty big road trip.  If we started wanting to kill each other, we were going to be stuck with each other for four days!  

As a preamble of sorts, before we left for Georgia, I had a match in Pittsburgh on the 31st.  Since I was on vacation and was in no real rush to get back to Cincinnati for any reason, I had a fun time with some of the boys after the show, and when it was all said and done, I didn't get back to Cincinnati until Sunday around noon. 

The original plan called for us to head out to Georgia Monday night at around Midnight, so that we wouldn't have to deal with traffic or anything, and we could hang out and enjoy the beach and stuff before checking into our hotel Tuesday evening.  To ensure I was rested and ready to go all night long (whoo!), my plan was to stay up all night Sunday, and go to bed around noon on Monday.  Since I stayed up all night Saturday, I failed at this with much gusto, falling asleep Sunday evening about 11pm, and sleeping until about 9am Monday.  

I did pretty well on the trip - driving all the way to North Carolina without needing any rest.  We needed a quick nap at 5am, and soon we were back on the road.  At about 8:30 I was starting to lose it again, so another quick nap and a breakfast got the job done, and it was smooth sailing to Savannah from there.  In all, it was about a fourteen hour trip.  

As soon as we exited I-95 close to Savannah, mother nature brought the pain - buckets of rain.  No beach for us, so we decided to drive around Savannah and find places we needed to be for the wedding.  

  After checking into the hotel, we met up with my sister and her fiance, and we headed to a local burger joint called B&D Burgers.  It was similar to a Red Robin, except they were local, and they had an eating challenge: Eat a 3lb Burger with all the fixings and 1lb of fries in 40 minutes, and it is free.  I decided I could handle this challenge, and I made my order.

As you can see, that is a big ass sandwich.  My first mistake in eating was not noticing the lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles were not spread throughout the entire sandwich, but were just with the top patty.  That made the last two patties really dry, and I didn't want to kill a lot of Dr. Pepperand fill my stomach up.  It took me 25 minutes to knock out the burger - so I had fifteen minutes left for fries.

All I had to do was get the pound of fries in my belly in fifteen minutes.  Let me tell ya, these fries were salty and dry.  I started pulling a Kobiyashi and dipping them in my beverage, to no avail - I couldn't plow thru them fast enough.  At the forty minute mark I had about 1/4 of my fries left - I failed epically.

After dinner, we headed to downtown Savannah to take a ghost tour.  Savannah is a pretty haunted city, and has a lot of supernatural history.  They actually give walking tours of the city where a guide takes you around, tells you about deaths in crazy places, and stories of ghosts there.  It is not unusual for people to take odd pictures or actually see strange things on these tours.  

On the way to the tour, we drove by the hotel, and it was on fire.  Really.  Actually, the fire was out, but about half a dozen fire trucks were there, and everything was roped off.  I soon discovered it was an overreaction, and it was a small isolated fire, and not in our room, so we continued on to the tour.  

The tour itself was pretty cool, but Collin our guide sucked.  He had no storytelling ability.  He would try to tell stories with a twist ending, but it was a ghost tour - we ~knew~ people died and their ghosts were seen there.  The 45 minute tour ended up going over 90 minutes, which was cool.  Nothing else was cool though - it was over 100 degrees with a ton of humidity in the night time air.  After the tour we went back to the hotel and crashed.  

The next day we kicked things off by heading out to the beach at Tybee Island.  It was nice - it was Jess' first time in the ocean, and the water was warm, wet, and pretty calm.  I finally got some sun this summer, and was a little red as we headed over to the Tybee Island Lighthouse.
The lighthouse is just that - an old school lighthouse on the island that you can walk up and check out.  Pretty cool.  172 steps to the top.  

Jenny & Jake exchanging vows
That afternoon we headed back to get ready for the wedding that evening.  The ceremony was at the Dresser-Palmer House, which was a historic building in downtown Savannah that is now a bed & breakfast.  $250 a night.  The ceremony was small - just family - and was in the garden in the back of the house, which was pretty nice. 

Mr. & Mrs. Ladrigan
After the ceremony the pictures were taken, the cake was cut, toasts were made, and we enjoyed some delicious shrimp & grits. 

There wasn't a formal reception - instead there was a big dinner at the Moon River Brewery in downtown Savannah.  The highlight of this portion of the matrimonial festivities was the private tour of the building.  


Well, the building is considered one of the most haunted in Savannah, and a number of different investigations have been done there on television shows like Ghost Hunters.  No one is allowed on the 2nd or 3rd floors of the building, but we got a private tour of the building.  
I didn't get anything crazy in any of the pictures that I took, but we did hear a few crazy noises.  We did see a rail that was shaking for no real reason, and when we tried to get a picture of it, neither my camera nor Jake's (my brand new bro-in-law!) would work.  In fact, his drained from full power to under half for no explicable reason. 
Stairwell to the forbidden 3rd floor of the Moon River Brewery.

The next day was the last in Savannah, and we kicked the morning off by going shopping down on River St.  There were a lot of cool things to see there, and we picked up some souvenirs for the folks back home. 

One of the places we stopped was the Savannah Candy Kitchen, where they make fresh candy and other assorted confections.  It was located in a city along the ocean, so of course there was a saltwater taffy making set-up - and it was very Wonka-like.  Jess loaded up on a few treats and stuff for gifts there.  

After the shopping was done, we headed northwest on I-16 towards Atlanta, for a stop at Stone Mountain National Park.  If you have never heard of Stone Mountain, click here.  
The infamous Stone Mountain Carving
Once we got to Stone Mountain, we discovered that there was an amusement park type of setup there, and it wasn't just a big recreational park where you could view the carving.  We had fun checking out a few of the places, including a place that blew.  Well, they blew glass there - it was a glass blowing works that made different decorations and stuff that were for sale.  Jess picked out a glass flower she really liked, and then we were off to go see the sculpture.

Some guy blew Jess' flower.
Stone Mountain was impressive.  Not only was it bigger than I imagined, but the scale of the thing was incredible.  Mt. Rushmore gets a lot of props, but Stone Mountain does not - probably because of the history behind it (What, you didn't click my link earlier?).  Regardless, it is truly an amazing man made wonder, and the rest of the park itself is beautiful.  The different plazas commemorating the Civil War and the Confederacy are amazing.  We would have loved to stay for the laser light show, but we didn't know anything about it before hand, and we didn't have enough time. 

Folks was yummy!  Go there when in Atlanta!
After leaving the park we were famished - we had not had anything all day long.  We stopped by a place a little bit north of Atlanta called Folk's Southern Kitchen, because we both wanted some authentic southern cooking.  Well, this place was the jackpot.  Not only did they have all-you-can-eat ribs and sides for $12.99, but it was good.  It wasn't smoked on a grill ribs - but it was the best damn oven cooked ribs I ever had.  The sides were amazing too.  Jess' got a combo platter of southern fried chicken and ribs, and it was enough to feed a horse!  After killing 2.5 racks of ribs and a ton of sides, we purchased a tub of their infamous Peach Muffin mix to go.  Our waiter Thomas was the bomb too - hooking us up with ice so it wouldn't spoil. 

After that hearty meal, it was back on the road to Cincinnati.  We pulled in to Jess' place at around 4am, and crashed out.  In just under a week's time I put over 2200 miles on my car.  I had a fun time.  I saw some cool places, ate some awesome food, saw my little sister get married to a pretty swell guy, did some ghost hunting, and spent some quality time with a wonderful girl. 

More pics are to be uploaded soon, but check out the photo album on my Facebook page. 

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