Last night I read some more of my library book and then fell asleep at about midnight, I think. I slept in until 8:15 a.m. again! I got up several times due to the liquids I had drank, but I was very comfy and so was my daughter.
For breakfast I had another egg white omelet, a whole English muffin today (because when I split it, the top was tiny and the other piece was very big so I figured I might as well eat it all), 2 cups of skim milk (since they didn't have any light yogurt), and an orange. I brought a banana and a cup of coffee along on the trip with me to consume later.
Our first stop this morning was in Halifax, NC which was just a 15 minute drive from the hotel. Halifax used to be an important city back in the pre-revolutionary days and actually was the city whose representatives first called for American independence. It's called the Halifax Resolves and they still celebrate it to this day. After the Revolution, the city fell on hard times and never was prominent again, although it's still the county seat. We stopped by the Halifax Historic Site to see what it was about. The gentleman at the Visitor Center was very nice. We first watched a 15-minute movie about the history of the town, and then we told him we wanted to do the self-guided tour. They also offer guided tours but I didn't want to go by their schedule since we had other things to do today.
They had several buildings that were open for us to visit, a couple of them had living history "interpreters" to answer our questions and do demonstrations. The gentleman at the tavern was nice but we had no questions for him as we had just visited the Eagle Tavern that contained a lot of information about taverns already, and the gentleman working in the Clerk Office as a printer... didn't know anything. I asked several questions and he didn't know. Hmmm. My daughter and I weren't terribly impressed with Halifax, but we did get some walking and I did learn some things, which is always nice (and I'm sure I'll be forgetting them!). I left a $10 donation at the Visitor Center since they didn't charge admission.
From there we drove about 30 minutes to Scotland Neck.
First we visited Subway. I had planned on taking the food to go but my daughter was hungry so we ate there. We had spent a couple of hours at Halifax so it was already 11:30 a.m. anyway. She ordered her usual roasted chicken breast sub and she wanted a drink and apple slices (I had apples in the car from the hotel but they're red apples and she prefers green apples... the Subway slices are a mix of green and red, so I treated her) so she upgraded to the meal for $2.40 more. I just wanted a Diet Coke but I also upgraded to the meal and got another pack of apples which I gave her. Our bill was a little over $10, which puzzled me since in the past we'd paid between $7.xx and $10.xx (depending on the state!) for just our 2 sandwiches, but I put the receipt away and we started eating. When I was done, my daughter was still eating, so I pulled the receipt and looked at it more closely... the cashier hadn't charged me for my daughter's sandwich at all! It was a toss between being happy to have saved money and feeling bad that the cashier might get in trouble so I went back to him and pointed out that he hadn't charged me for one sandwich. He didn't quite understand so I had to explain it to him a couple of times, and then he wanted me to pay full price for the sandwich when he had already charged me full price for the drink and the apples, which should have only been $2.40 more on top of the sandwich for the "meal upgrade". I mean, I didn't want him to miss money in his drawer but I also didn't want to have to pay too much, you know? So he ended up charging me less for the 2nd sandwich but I didn't even try to figure out if I ended up paying what I was expecting to pay in the first place, more, or less. Then after we had left, my daughter said that he had put 2 chicken breasts in her sandwich instead of just one. Boy, that guy was very confused. I wonder if the restaurant is actually turning a profit!
When we got back into the car, the GPS wouldn't work. Aaargh. I love my GPS, I've had it for 6 or 7 years, I think. Also, we had NO cell phone reception for 99.8% of our day today so we couldn't use the phone GPS either. I'm on AT&T and my daughter is on her dad's T-mobile plan and neither had service at all in that part of the state. Crazy, no? It was the same thing yesterday, I think. I wasn't panicking since we had Greg's road atlas with us but I was annoyed at my GPS having given up the ghost. It had fallen off the dashboard onto the floorboard while we were eating and I figured something inside had finally gotten loose. Then I remembered that I was using an SD card in it to store the maps so I took it out and put it back in and the GPS started working again! Yay! I guess it's the SD card that had gotten a little loose.
So our next portion of the trip took us to the Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck. It was just 5 minutes away from Subway. I didn't expect too much, and my daughter didn't seem terribly enthused to go but I really wanted to check it out as I love watching birds and taking pictures of them. Admission was $11 per person, and I spent $2 for bird food because I know my daughter enjoys feeding birds. She brightened up when she realized it was a possibility, lol.
We ended up spending a couple of hours at the bird park! We really enjoyed it. She fed ducks and swans and also parakeets, flamingos and an odd bird called a blue-crowned pigeon. She had a great time and it was her 2nd most favorite thing that we did on our trip, I think she said!
I hope you like birds because I'm posting lots of pictures now, although they're not great pictures :)
|I was trying to take a picture of the wood duck and this other bird totally photobombed me!|
|This tree was covered in little parakeets of pastel colors. It looked like an Easter tree!|
|They hoped on you to come eat the seeds from the seed stick that we had bought. They were so cute!|
|I guess they were actually Budgerigars, though. The volunteer who worked there told us they were parakeets.|
|Everyone thought this was a beaver from far away (I zoomed in with the camera) but it ended up being a nutria, I believe. The fact that the pond surrounding it was named "Beaver Pond" kind of tricked all of us!|
|This picture cracks me up every time I see it because it looks like such an undignified posture! But I guess that how they paddle, isn't it? With their legs at their sides, not underneath them.|
|Swans look so graceful floating on water but when they come out. they have the ugliest stubby legs. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the girlfriend who had man hands!|
|26,000 FEET!!! That's unbelievable!|
|I wish my picture were better because its plumage was very pretty...|
|Another nutira. It's kind of cute, no?|
|And yes, I spotted a Cardinal!|
|It was huge!|
|Love the colors on its breast!|
|Emerald starling but there was some netting between him and my camera lens so the picture isn't great.|
|Another shot of the emerald starling|
|Those looked so tiny in comparison to the other birds we had seen!|
|This Costa's Hummingbird looked pissed. Another one was desperately trying to leave the netted enclosure and it made me|
|Baby swans for Pixel :) Look at their cute little rumps!|
|Another blue-crowned pigeon!|
|Duckling going for a swim!|
Our next adventure was to take a back road that would allow us to use one of the last 3 river ferries in the state, Parker's Ferry. I remembered taking such a ferry with my daughter's dad, about 27-28 years ago, on one of our trips, although I can't remember where we were when we did that. However, when we got on Parker's Ferry road, we found a sign that said that the ferry was closed that day. It wasn't supposed to be, according to the calendar, but I guess something had happened. Poop. I was really disappointed!
So I turned the SUV around, and my daughter took the wheel and drove us the rest of the way (90 minutes) on the back roads of North Carolina, to our hotel in Plymouth, NC. Since we had no cell phone reception, we couldn't stream songs on Spotify (she's been a great DJ this whole trip, I've really enjoyed the music she'd found for us) so we listened and sang along to songs she had downloaded to her phone, most of them being Disney animated classic songs :) The landscape was pretty and the traffic was light, once again.
|Love that house!|
|Those were growing wild everywhere! So jealous that they have such awesome wildflowers!|
|We saw these fields of purple plants everywhere and I didn't know what they were but I just found out that they're fields of clary sage and that this area is the only place where it's grown on such a scale in the USA. The article is quite interesting...|
|Those trees were also everywhere in Georgia and NC but I could never take a picture of one until I spotted one in the parking lot of our hotel. So pretty!|
We set about making plans for tomorrow. Originally, we were going to follow a route delineated in a library book I had borrowed called Back Roads of North Carolina (today's trip was mostly another route recommended in that book), that would have taken us to just before the Outer Banks, and we would have visited 3 or 4 nature preserves on our way back to Fayetteville, where we planned to stay. Then, we realized that the Outer Banks were probably very cool and we had decided to explore the possibility of driving all the way down to Hatteras, and then taking a ferry back to the mainland. Then we realized that you could visit Roanoke Island (site of the lost colony of Roanoke) so we thought we'd start with that and then go on to the Outer Banks and figure out the ferry thing.
But when we sat down to actually plan that today, we realized that tomorrow is Saturday and the information that we read on the official Outer Banks website is that it gets really crowded on the weekends with lots of road delays. Then, we would have had to make a reservation for the ferry but we had no way of knowing at what time we'd get there, plus there were 2 ferries to take. After conferring with my daughter, we decided not to do any of this. She wasn't very excited about anything, I think she just wanted to go home at this point. We tried exploring perhaps going to Columbia, SC or other places but nothing excited her. So I texted Greg that it looked like we might just drive straight home tomorrow. I wasn't excited about 10.5 hours on mostly I-95 in one day, and having to start cleaning and cooking 2 days earlier than I had planned, quite honestly! But he was excited that we were coming home early because then he wouldn't need to cook anymore, I think!
My daughter was hungry and we hadn't seen much in town as far as restaurants we might have wanted to visit. There is a Bojangles just across the hotel parking lot so we decided to just go there to buy dinner and bring it back to the hotel. Season 5 of "Orange is the New Black" dropped on Netflix today and my daughter loves that show so she was eager to start watching it on her laptop.
I picked a grilled chicken sandwich and a large order of green beans as my side. But then the hotel lobby had warm cookies! We got 2 but my daughter ate both.
Back to our trip, I was feeling all disappointed that our trip would end on a "blah" note: no ferry, nothing fun, just drive, drive, drive back to Florida. But walking back to our room from Bojangles, I suddenly suggested that maybe we could drive to Atlanta tomorrow and then spend Sunday at Six Flags Over Georgia since she's never been and she loooooves roller coasters. She was so excited! I had no idea of how long it would take us to drive there. So we looked all of that up while eating.
The weather (I double checked) is supposed to be cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms on Sunday, Not all that unusual for the South. It'll be 85F (argh, I haven't missed high temps at all!). The drive to Atlanta will take us between 8 and 8.5 hours. Arrgh. Oh well, she's excited and I want to make her happy. We found a Holiday Inn Express just 15 minutes from the park that is cheaper than the Holiday Inn Express where we're staying tonight (in a little podunk town, it's still costing me $150 after tax for just tonight!). We bought the park tickets online. They have pricing that is adjusted according to the day you want to visit (Disney is starting to do that too!) and we saved about $17 per person by buying the tickets online in advance. If I had known at least 3 days in advance that we would be going, I would have saved more and just paid the child price. Arrgh. Oh well. Parking is apparently $25 per day! Arrgh, again. I declined to pay it in advance, I'll just pay when we get there. The pass to be able to schedule when to visit an attraction? Between $45 and $90 per person! So we skipped that and we'll be standing in line. It'll probably be bad. But you know, I love roller coasters but more and more they make me nauseous so standing in line will probably be better for me as it'll give me time to recuperate in between rides :)
Right now, our plan is to leave Atlanta whenever we get out of Six Flags and start driving home. It's a 6 hour drive home from there. We could possibly make it, if we take turns driving, but I think we'll probably stop in Tifton, about halfway through. On Monday, I'd like to swing by Gainesville, FL on our way home so my daughter can show me the apartment complex where she'll be staying this coming school year, check out her neighborhood, etc.
So we informed Greg of our change of plans. He's a good egg and said it all sounded great. He's planning on going fishing tomorrow morning. I also talked to Youngest Son who apparently met with his library friends at the local park this afternoon and they spent 3-4 hours just chatting and having fun. I'm proud of my son and relieved that he finally is making connections with other people that will draw him out of the house. Hopefully they're kids who aren't doing stupid things. I'll have to check, but my librarian friend knows them quite well for the most part and told me they were good kids.
Then tonight Middle Son called me to ask if I was free to go to Disney with him next week to get my Photography lesson. Yay! He's going to call me back with a specific date.
As for my Daughter and me, it's been great that we both brought our laptops and that there is free wi-fi at the hotels where we have been staying. Despite sharing a room and also sometimes a bed, we've each had plenty of "me" time, as she's been able to watch shows on Netflix with her headphones on, chat with her friends on Snapchat on her phone, and download Spotify playlists for our road trips. As for me, I've been spending my evenings planning the next day's trip and booking our next hotel, recording my food intake on my Food Journal and also on My Fitness Pal (I've done pretty well, with the exception of today because I didn't walk all that much actually and I ate more than I usually do), catching up on the news and on blogs (yes, I've been reading but not commenting, sorry, I'm on vacation!), and then usually reading my library book as well. I hope to have it finished before we get home on Monday so I can return it for the next person in line and only pay 30 or 40 cents in fines!
With that. it's already 10 p.m.! I'm going to take a shower and then start reading my book. It was a pretty good day today and I'm excited about our grand finish (well, not about the long boring drive tomorrow, but that couldn't be avoided at this point without lengthening our trip).