The Special Part
Before it gets too far away from being fresh in my mind, I realized I haven’t given a synopsis of my trip to state #38, South Carolina. Most of what I shared on Facebook was unpleasant as Orlando really was unkind to me. Between the lying car rental agent, toll/tourist traps, horrible drivers, and the hotel from hell it’s a surprise I came back from Florida alive.
Outside of Orlando though my trip was grand. I got a little bit of a late start on my way up to South Carolina because it took me an hour to get out of Orlando, but my stops were pleasant and my overnight in Charleston was restful. The next morning I was ready to go way earlier than expected and I was hoping to see dawn rise over the historic city. Much to my surprise given my early rising the sun had already up in full blaze. Oh well.
I took my time to figure out where I could get a solid breakfast and great coffee before going on my carriage ride. So while I slumbered in my bed I settled on what ended up being a sound decision with a charming server, big delicious breakfast, and copious amount of coffee. Despite later learning it was a chain, I would have never guessed such a homey place could be at all duplicated so well.
Though the historic market place/house was not officially open yet a few of the vendors were setup early. It was good to at least get a glance. Some of the other shops along the way were open to so it gave me a little comfort while awaiting for my carriage ride to depart. Charleston was still cold that morning, and after I checked in with the carriage company I went back to the car for another layer. I’m glad I did despite the sun coming out from behind the clouds 30 minutes later and raising the temperature probably 10 degrees.
I rode on a carriage pulled by a horse named Dakota and guided by Josh, a very well versed historian. This is certainly the best way to see and learn about the historic city in regards to its founding and crucial part in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. The multi-million dollar mansions on the waterfront, and the historic homes, churches, and and palmettos are just a huge treat. The hour goes by quickly and it was worth every penny.
I had to split to get back down towards Florida, St. Augustine to be exact. Since I took the early bird special in Charleston I was hoping to have some extra time to see a fraternity brother on the way down. So, about halfway near Savannah we met up and shared ice cream with a couple of his kids. An hour isn’t enough to makeup for a twenty year absence, but it was a nice little flash of visit that would have never been possible had I not stopped. I’m so glad I did given that Bill is such a sweet guy.
For whatever reason I seem to get off the planned path that delays me significantly. This trip was no different. I wanted to get closer to the coastline and go around Jacksonville, but instead it just led me to a prolonged slow circle, but I still got to St. Augustine at dusk. My purpose for going there was to see the holiday light display on the beachfront. It ended up being more in the harbor, but it was done well though I should have got on the trolley instead of walking. I did see the Castillo de San Marcos so that made it worth the stop as well. I got out of St. Augustine a little late, and hungry so I wanted to get out quick and get some seafood so off I went.
One of the few things I Googled before I went on the trip was a good seafood place in or around the St. Augustine area. The Outback Crab Shack was that place. A bit out of the way, but how cool! The giant loaded plate of fried seafood wasn’t the best diet plan, but the service and patrons were very friendly. I met a Bengals fan, and another patron who was just moved by my energy, Gala. Despite getting shorter and shorter on time to get back to Orlando at a reasonable hour we just couldn’t stop talking. We talked about each others journeys and how important it is to stay positive and so on. It was electric and soothing at the same time. Goodbyes are hard, but we exchanged information to stay in touch. I reached out, but for only reasons I can guess she has not returned the favor. Regardless, it was special.
At that point I was not going to get back to Orlando till like 11, and to make matters worse I made a wrong turn leaving the middle of nowhere (the seafood place) and taking me at least 20 minutes out of the way. Plus, I hadn’t heard from the hotel per usual to confirm my reservation. I finally called them about an hour out only to find out they didn’t have a record of my reservation. I couldn’t drive and try and get my booking number at the time so I just hoped it was a fluke. By time I got on the far side of Orlando, got turned around AGAIN, and finally got to the hotel it was freakin’ midnight.
In short, someone apparently hijacked my reservation, then I was given a key in which the room was already occupied, and finally the room I had to settle for was atrocious. The silver lining is I never paid for it. Apparently whomever hijacked my reservation paid for the room even though my credit card information was connected to it. No more Booking.com for me.
Despite the horrible room, I got about 3-4 hours sleep and voluntarily left for the airport early. The TSA douche was the worst I ever encountered, and I’m surprised I didn’t get arrested. I was super tired and pissed. Frontier couldn’t get their plane off the ground either which delayed the flight just enough I missed the airport shuttle at CVG and had to wait over an hour for the next when all I wanted to do was go home.
Bourbon turned out to be the best or only thing to suppress my rage by time I got home. I hadn’t done that in a long time. I watched some football and got some sleep. It was a bittersweet trip after a really long week. I was so glad I had the following week off. I really needed it.