Saturday, August 15, 2015

More traveling????

Well, only in the electronic sense.....
Our new blog address is

Rushing2Ramble will remain up with the same content.
All new content will be on new blog..... as well as the good old Rushing2Ramble posts.

Please join us at

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Home Sweet Home - Trip wrap up

Ah, Home.

We flew home in the morning, early, early, in the morning.
The flight was non-stop, which we love.

Now we are trying to return to normal life.

But for the sake of wrapping up the trip, here are some stats :)

The mugs collected on this trip! 

Final Stats:
Miles total: 2661
States Total: 13
Starbucks Mug Total: 10
Editor's roller coaster total: 40
Number of unique roller coasters ridden by anyone in the family: 42
License plate state count: 39 states and 2 provinces

Wow! We had an amazing trip. All of us visiting places we have never been before and made lots of great memories. I have no idea when we will do our next road trip. But until that time, theses memories and pictures will remind us of the fun.
Thanks for tagging along.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Disney World Recap

East Coast Driving Trip 2015 - Days 20-22

Two parks, One day (Wednesday)
Adventurous, right.
We made it to Animal kingdom for rope drop and were in line for the safari before we knew it.
Lots of wonderful animals to be seen... some much closer up than others.

On the Safari Ride
Up close :)

people on a behind the scenes tour

From here we decided to split up. The boys went to ride some rides and the girls tried out hands at becoming a "Wilderness Explorer" from the movie UP. With our guide book in hand and a map of where all the badges could be earned... we were off.
With 4 badges earned we reconnected with the boys and did a few things together, including letting hubby have a run at Everest.
At this point we were thinking of lunch and moving on to park number 2.

Coconut Mocha Frappachino :)
We lunched at Pepper Market, which I always enjoy. The food is fine, but I like the space and the quiet - it's rarely crowded. Plus, at this point in time, its kind of a tradition.
Then we went to the studios to finish up our day.
With stunt shows and rides to keep us busy, the afternoon went fairly quickly. We split up again before we left the park for the Frozen Sing-A-Long, which was very enjoyable, but not the boys' cup of tea.
Frozen Sing A Long
I happily picked up two more YAH mugs today!! I am starting to get concerned for how we will get them ALL home :)

Epcot, or "let's see if our fitbits can catch fire" (Thursday/Friday)
Despite it having fewer rides than most other parks we have visited, Epcot is the biggest for walking... and walking, and walking. Oy.
The first day this whole trip that my feet have hurt -so that should tell you something.
We all enjoy Epcot and this trip was no different. We did see the circlevision movie in China, which we haven't done since the kids were old enough to remember.
And we returned to Epcot on Friday. After some pool time at our town home and checking out.

A fun day in Epcot
enjoying being a family

Our last hotel of the trip.... home soon! 
Tonight we sleep at the airport. It's better than it sounds. It's the second time we have booked a room at the Hyatt in the Orlando airport. Very convenient and a very nice hotel. This works very well if you have an early morning flight (as we do), or are coming in the night before a cruise.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Magic Kingdom

East Coast Driving Trip 2015 - Day 19

Today was our full day at the MK!
And I had a special treat planned for myself, a spa pedicure in the afternoon.

We used the FastPass+ system and to try and get to all of our "Must Do's" in the allotted time we had today. The morning went well and when it was time for lunch, I left the family and hit the resort monorail to find the Senses Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian.

Look at those storm clouds... glad I'm going to the spa :)
This little guy was on the wall outside the spa
I can't speak to much to what Hubby and the kids did while I was away for just over 2 hours. But I had a downright loverly time.
The spa at the GF is located off to the side of the new Villas. It is decorated very nicely and goes very well with the feeling of the GF resort.
When I checked in they asked for payment, and gratuity is already included. Once that was done, I was shown to the lockers and relaxation room. Given my oversized comfy robe and left to relax.
About this point I realized I hadn't had lunch yet and took a small bowl of nuts and dried fruit to go with my cucumber water. Funny the things that make a spa, a "SPA" :)
This also gave me a chance to get my body temperature regulated... it wasn't crazy hot out, but it was sooo humid I was just dripping before I arrived. Lucky for me, here I had a chance to rinse off and cool down. By the time my pedicure tech came to get me, I felt a million miles away from the Magic Kingdom.... and come to think of it.. That makes this place much more magical :)

The service was great, it lasted an hour and a half and I was given a small bottle of the polish I choose to take home - delightful.
Now it was time to rejoin the family.
I don't know if it was true or not, but the MK seemed even more crowded now than earlier. We met up and were able to ride a few more things, before calling it a day.

Waiting in line for Buzz Lightyear 
Dancing Fish... cause everyone needs this kind of joy in their lives. 
Great train! And yes, I didn't take enough pictures today - sorry.
Dinner tonight was at Noodles and Co. and then we hoped to come back to the town-home to swim before bed... but we got rained out. Hopefully we can plan it better tomorrow.

I got my first Starbucks/Disney You Are Here Mug today, and I LOVE IT!!!
Hopefully more to come!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Our longest driving day yet!

East Coast Driving Trip 2015 - Day 18

We woke up this morning in Alabama.  This is all kind of hitting me today. How many states we have seen/been to on this trip and how they are similar and different. So apparently it's a day of reflection? but mainly a day to drive. We drove from Opeklia, Alabama to Orlando, Florida.
And on the one hand we made it safely and without incident... on the other - it was a long day.

Alabama highway
Georgia Peaches
Rain, coming into Florida (the Sunshine State) 
Add to the 7 hour drive... that includes assorted stops for meals and grumpiness, an evening in the Magic Kingdom for a few rides and the fireworks show and you have some very sleepy, slightly whiny people on your hands. Considering how much we did today, we were in good spirits, but you could tell, there by the end... happiness was becoming more elusive.
The family who decided it would be cool to ride the PeopleMovers and scream (yes SCREAM) at every turn, almost killed it all for us. Hey, we are fun loving folks, but don't hurt my ears.
We can already tell there is a huge difference in crowds this trip verses our last in January. But we knew that going in.

We had our first "celebrity sighting" today. Our first ride of the evening at MK was the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  We entered the line behind a group who had a personal tour guide - which usually means they they want a special type of Disney experience and are willing to pay for it (some would say, people who have more money than time, choose this option). Anyway....I am pretty good at remembering faces... names, not so much. So, in passing, I saw a face that was very familiar. Nothing else stood out as familiar or even fitting the face. The people around her didn't make a case for my thinking I recognized this person. Then I glanced at her bag... this was not a bag just anyone could afford. It was a high end designer bag... I have no idea how I know this... I just do. So I quietly said something to hubby... "Doesn't that women, in the overalls, look just like Idina Menzel? Her hair seems wrong but boy, her face looks soo much like her." He looked over, subtlety (we are nothing if not discreet) and said, yeah, maybe.  Well over the course of the next little bit, random tidbits of info popped into my head or hubby's and before we knew it, we were both absolutely positive it was her. [Editor's Note: The final piece of information that clinched it was that she told me that the woman in question had some kind of gold henna tattoo on her hands, then I found this tweet on Idina Menzel's twitter feed.] No, we didn't stalk her around the park. Yes, we did check her twitter feed to see if she would own up to being at Disney. And Yes, we both smiled really big, when they played her "Let it Go" with the fireworks show - wondering if she was watching and could hear everyone singing along. What must that be like?  It was a fun diversion and we hope she had a magical time.

The town-home
Yay, it has a kitchen :)
We made it!!!!
Google Photos, "Stylized" this one... not bad
Ok, back to our town-home (we recommend All Star Vacation Homes if you need to rent in Orlando). Good Night.

In my first post I said this was our longest trip ever... I meant in the number of days we would be adventuring. Not in distance traveled - we will see for sure when it all wraps up, but we believe our 2012 road trip will still be the longest distance traveled.

Its almost like being there ;)

Miles today: 468
Miles total: 2553

States Total: 13 (+Florida)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

On the road again - parting thoughts on Pigeon Forge

East Coast Road Trip 2015 - Day 17
(it's a long post today folks, sorry)

Yesterday was a much needed day off. We all enjoyed the break from "road trip" mode.
But today we plan to get some miles under us. We are headed to the Georgia Aquarium.

As we leave Tennessee and Pigeon Forge behind us I have a few parting thoughts.
This location has been the biggest departure so far from the rest of the world. The town has about 6000 residents, but the main drag looks like a Family-themed Vegas (Vegi-Vegas, if you like).

Interesting looking attraction... nope none of these are casinos 
Lots of dinner shows.
Titanic Museum 
Wax museum 
Christmas Village - year round
I assume this place just got an bump in attendance, and no they are clearly not affiliated with the movie
Um... We'll take this swimsuit, those sunglasses and a LIVE Alligator?
They had a sister shop about a block down that had sharks :) 

Apparently Dollywood employs the equivelent of half the town. It's clearly very tourism focused.
Again here I haven't heard any foreign languages. Varying degrees of southern accents, and those have all been attached to some of the friendliest people we have encountered.
Only the tourists here are, shall we say reserved - the only person who cut us off yesterday had an out-of-state license plate.

We had the chance to do an Alpine Coaster while we were here.....
You ride in go-cart style cars down a track - you can ride single or double... so hubby rode with the  boy and I rode with the little lady.

Pic of the mountain and some track... no cameras allowed on the ride
This was by far my favorite ride of the trip so far. Funny thing to say and a bit unexpected. The ride up the hill was about 5 minutes through the trees. The trip down... faster :) but just as scenic.
We were able to control the speed if needed. They encourage you to "Hammer Down" meaning go as fast as the sled goes... it has an auto brake to keep you below unsafe speeds.
Well the girls went first, and the boys were behind us. I was slightly concerned about going fast, but was very comfortable with the track and the ride, so I had every intention of going for it. However, the woman in front of me... did not. They ask you to stay at least 80 feet behind the person in front of you and say DON'T BUMP the car in front of you. But they also say DON'T STOP along the way. So I slowed down a number of times to keep an appropriate distance. But it wasn't long until the boys caught up with us. At the bottom when we went to unload the attendant asked "How bad was it?" I didn't know what he meant.... then he said "Did you have to go really slow?" Oh, Yeah, I guess so. But it was ok.
Well, he apparently realized the woman in front was slowing often [Editor's note: Not a hard realization with 5 other cars lined up behind her by the time we got to the bottom] and offered us all a 2nd ride for free. Wow. We took it. This time we knew what to expect, which is a big hurdle for me and we went "Hammer Down" all the way... Woooo HOOOOOO!!!!!!!! What a ride.
The difference between the two rides was marked. The first ride we could see and were close to the person in front of us the whole time. The second... that car was no where to be seen. I braked a bit towards the end... one of the last curves snuck up on me. It was a great ride - a must do if you come out this way.  Long swooping curves and turns, some tighter than others, but all fun. No big drops or steep downhill parts, but you definitely come down the mountain faster than you went up :)
I am so glad we got a chance to check this out.

Welcome to Georgia
We have driven through Georgia in the past, but never stayed more than however long it takes to change planes or when we drove through to Hilton Head from Orlando, years ago.
Today we spent several hours in Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium is great. A serious contender for best aquarium I have ever been to. Beautiful exhibits. But Oy the crowds. So much so that you get assigned a specific entry time for the day of your visit. And it was packed. We were able to see it all without any issue. We didn't do any of the behind the scenes experiences, but we enjoyed out visit. I took some issue with the dolphin show (in a nutshell, if you think you need to create some crazy musical type event to make a dolphin show interesting, maybe you shouldn't be at the aquarium? When you have to warn people about the lighting effect and the fog effects before an animal show, you should just assume I am rolling my eyes.) [Editor's note: If that doesn't seem like a "nutshell" you should have heard the version she gave me...]

Beluga Whales :) 
In the Ocean Voyager Exhibit 
Whale shark and Manta Ray - Huge critters
Bye bye Whale Shark!

Watching the fishes :)
at the top of the Beluga tank.... a few harbor seals on the deck
So one thing we noticed....the whole southern hospitality thing... it's gone now. I will give the good people of Georgia (in specific, Atlanta) the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to being in a big city. But warm and friendly... not so much. No biggie, we are city folk ourselves and used to the general attitude of go Go GO! (not that WE would adopt such aggressive behavior... at least we don't mean to). But it was a bit of an abrupt switch - welcome back to reality.

Our journey wasn't over yet... Home for the night is Alabama. Yup, another state!

Welcome to Alabama
And.... drum roll please! Hubby's last state. Yes, he has now been to all 50 states!!!! Can you believe it? I think he skipped Connecticut and just won't admit it ;) [Editor's note: I have vivid memories of Connecticut... My memories of Louisiana and Mississippi are kind of hazy though...]

So we will sleep here and yes, go to Starbucks here tomorrow, before we head out :)
Oh! And we realized somewhere around the Alabama border... that Alabama is in the Central time zone.... we have been living in the Eastern time zone for two weeks now... and to dip our toe in the Central zone for only 12 hours.... well, it kind of cracked us up.
[Editor's note: And yes, we did drive ~2 hours out of our way just to spend the night in Alabama...]

You Are Here Mug count up by 1.  I got Atlanta today.

Miles today: 365
Miles total: 2085
States Total: 12 (+Georgia, Alabama)
Starbucks Mug Total: 6
[Roller coasters total: 36 (+Alpine coaster)]

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Delightful day to rest

East Coast Road trip 2015 - Day 16

When planning this trip it occurred to us that after three theme parks and four states in 5 days... we would need this day to rest more than ever. So we chose this resort with that in mind... the lazy river was part of that... the kitchen and extra room to be mellow was the rest.

So lazy is the word of the day.
We slept in (some more than others) and made pancakes for breakfast with the assorted sides.
We found a large bottle of iced coffee at the store here, instead of the individual ones and so I was able to easily stay caffeinated.

After a relaxing breakfast we wandered down to the lazy river here at the resort. I didn't take my camera. Instead I grabbed an inner tube and floated around the loop with the kids.

This is how we hoped the day would go, literally going with the flow. We had so much fun we actually came back later in the day, after dinner.

We broke for lunch and some driving around the town for a spell. Had an easy dinner in the room and then back to the lazy river.

Overall it was just the day we all needed.

Hubby got a pic when we returned in the evening

Right along the other side of the resort is this little green belt and river... a few pics to close our lazy day :)

And we closed the day again with the fireworks from Dollywood.

Miles today: 13
Miles total: 1720
States Total: 10