Disney,  Photography,  Travel

Road Trip to Orlando – Through Mountains and Mayhem

I had a last minute work item that kept me downtown late, and so we didn’t get the early start we had wanted on our drive. In fact, it was nearly 2 in the afternoon when we finally got rolling. Most of the evening before and early morning spent doing this:

Finally though we had everything packed, in the car, all the cats were accounted for, the house/cat sitter had all they needed, and we were ready to get on our way. We decided to take I-77 south so we could get the pretty mountain view with the fall colors, and figured on stopping somewhere around Charlotte, NC for the night depending on how we felt by that hour of the road trip.

I snapped a quick shot of myself as I had promised my mom frequent updates from the road and during the fun in the parks. I’m normally not the “constantly post every second of my life to everyone” kind of person – so this was all for the love of my mom. Everyone say d’aww. However, I am a pro photographer so there will be copious amounts of pictures. I have a fancy camera, I know how to use it. You’ve been warned! :haha:

As I was saying – quick self portrait (woo PURPLE HAIR!) and then we were on the freeway. Oh, and for a bit of good luck (spoiler: it didn’t work…) I was rockin’ my Mickey tie dye from 2011 courtesy the amazing Pixiecrafts. This years’ shirt will be showing up later in the report.

We had rented some extra photo gear for this trip, a Sony A7 so that Chris could get some video (yes, there will be video too) and the occasional still photo while I worked my trusty Canon. We started off mounting it to the headrest for a “backseat driver” view, but quickly found this wasn’t as stable as we’d liked. Not to worry though, as we found a great spot to record from quickly enough.

A pic from the left (using my cell):

You can see the camera next to my head.

A pic from the right (on the Sony):

Ohio has some bizarre toll systems:

I don’t know what I’m paying for, it looks like the rest of the freeway… :shrug:

We stop for a snack (not pictured), and some last minute “forgottens” at Target.

It quickly gets dark (so much for seeing the mountains) but we amuse ourselves with photos anyway.

Crazy thin moon.

We stopped to switch off at a “scenic overlook”. There wasn’t much to overlook in the darkness but I got a quick shot of the stars.

More caffeine for Chris and water for me.

And a quick “update from the road” photo. It’s one am but we’re feeling pretty good.

Hours have passed and we’ve gotten so late as to decide to just find late night grub and push all the way to Charlotte and skip stopping for proper dinner. We get into the city at 3 am and soon the trouble starts. I didn’t pre-book a hotel, because I wanted to be flexible with where we stopped. I’m also not picky on where to sleep for a few hours in this case.

However, we get told at the first hotel was a cranky “they are doing an audit and can’t check anyone in and besides no one has any rooms in the city”. Um, ok… First, why the heck would you take your system offline entirely at any point like that? What if someone had to check out?? Second, how do you know the whole city is booked?

My face – it does not believe you.

Google maps routes us to another hotel and has us turn on Sheets Creek. No lie.

Really, that should have been a tip off, but we carry on.

However – we try 3 more hotels. Everyone has nothing. We have tried everything from the DoubleTree to Motel6 to the Hyatt to tiny independent places an hour’s drive away. NOTHING. I have gone from exasperated to outright EXHAUSTED.


It is 4:30 in the holy hell a.m.

We have given up on a bed. Chris is passed out in the passenger seat. I have decided to hit the all night food place that I’d picked out hours ago (remember how we skipped dinner figuring on grabbing a room first?) and head over to it, praying it is still there.

Not only is it there, and open, it was amazing.

Amelies logo

Amelie’s describes itself as a French cafe and bakery with a Parisian shabby-chic ambiance.

Everything in the case looked wonderful – and since it was nearly dawn, a lot was just coming out of the ovens, but I decided to start with just a sandwich.

Bacon, egg, spinach, and mozzarella on croissant.

It was so good.

My mom was up and saw my frustrated posts, and once realizing that I still had not gotten a room gave me a call. I was able to fill her in on the problem: the city was indeed booked full, and any conceivable distance around it, thanks to the Democratic Convention as Hilary Clinton had been in town giving a speech that afternoon. :/ Who the heck would have figured to plan for that?! Not to mention odds are I was screwed for a room unless I had reserved it when I booked my Disney trip, and I certainly would have never thought I needed to do that.

We were going to crash at a truck stop / rest stop for a small while and then head south more until we finally hit an area that had beds again, and then take a quick nap. I’d fill her in once that happened.

After finishing my sandwich, I ordered a few pastries to go. Some cinnamon sticks that had just finished cooking, (think croissant dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and then cut into strips and twisted before baking – they were divine), and a raspberry danish. I headed to the car and started back to the freeway. Found a rest stop, handed Chris a cinnamon stick, and managed to sleep for 2 hours.

We rolled on into St. George, SC before figuring we were safe to find a hotel. Turned into the first place we saw (an EconoLodge) paid, and managed to answer the phone and tell my mom that no, I hadn’t forgotten to update her, that I’d only just found a room, before passing out again. ;)

It was clean enough, and cheap enough, but lord almighty – even I had to duck to wash my hair under the shower head and the furniture…

Well, I don’t even know how that couch still exists. The beds were like cots from summer camp. But it was better than the car.

So let’s recap our drive shall we? Feel free to watch full frame!

The second song choice is appropriate as most of the drive was spent with our Spotify list streaming – we had 40 hours of music (and that’s just what we’re currently listening to that’s available online!). We were indeed listening to the music. :)

Day 1.5 is over.

Up next: We make it to Florida!

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