Tim and I returned from Cocoa Beach on Friday, around 5PM. We had an excellent trip, but it sure was nice to get back home again!
Here is a link to my Picasa Web Album with a few pictures from the trip.
We got off to an inauspicious start on Saturday. Tim went out to load up the car, only to discover that the battery was dead. *Somebody* (me) left the lights on all night. I swore up and down that kids must have gotten into the car and turned the lights on as a prank. I couldn’t have left the lights on – the car buzzes at you if the keys are removed from the ignition, and the lights are left on. Anyway, it wasn’t a big deal – Tim jumped the Civic, tossed the cables in the car, and we took off. After an uneventful 12 hour drive, we rolled into Kennesaw, a suburb of Atlanta. We got supper (the first of many very unhealthy, late meals) at The Varsity. It reminded me of Maid Rite, only much brighter and huger.
When we woke up on Sunday, it was raining lightly – no big deal, we figured it would burn off. It didn’t. It rained all the way to Florida. It got so bad at one point, that we pulled off and watched an episode of Futurama on my iPod Touch. We waited about 1/2 an hour and took off again, rolling into Cocoa Beach around 6PM on Sunday.
We stayed at La Quinta Inn – Oceanfront. It is a really nice hotel – right on the beach, nice p0ol with “Tiki” bar, accepts pets for no additional fee, each room has a balcony with a view of the ocean, and the rate was reasonable for an oceanfront property. Despite the weather, I wanted to head out to the beach and check it out ASAP. Fortunately, Tim turned on the TV and discovered that we were under a tornado warning! We went to the Front Desk to see where we should go. As the whole lobby area was surrounded by glass, they directed us back to the bathroom in our room. We anxiously watched the news and the thrashing palm trees outside our window – I made some last calls to my family, told them I loved them, gave Benny my purse collection should we not make it back, etc. About 6:45 the warning expired with everyone and everything in Cocoa Beach intact. The rain didn’t let up until about 1:30PM on Monday, however.
We discovered that there is not a whole lot to do in a beach community when the weather is bad. We got breakfast at a lame coffee shop (Cocoa Beach does NOT have good food, BTW), bought some flip flops at Ron Jon’s, got soaked while walking through Lori Wilson park, and returned to the room. When the rain finally started to recede, we got on our bathing suits and hit the beach for about an hour. Tim wore his hoodie and read from his Sony eReader. Obviously, he is not much of a beach person. I attempted to read (I’m reading Daemon by Daniel Suarez), but I kept getting distracted by people watching. The people watching was EXCELLENT! I wish we had our camera on the beach with us because there was this tall white dude with a belly who had on the very teeny tiniest pair of speedos I have ever seen. He had absolutely no butt at all. It’s a good thing the elastic was holding up. He was absolutely not self-conscious in the least. I was envious of his complete disregard for any one else’s opinion. It was fascinating. He was just one of many interesting people to watch.
For supper we went to the 3rd restaurant of the day that was closed on Mondays. We tried to go to Simply Delicious Cafe & Bakery for breakfast – closed. We tried to go to Roberto’s Little Havana for supper – it closed at 3 on Mondays. We tried to go to Seafood Atlantic for supper – it was closed on Monday and Tuesdays. Florida was really starting to tick us off. We ended up going next door to Grills Seafood Deck. We sat outside, got the fish of the day (Mahi Mahi for me and tuna for Tim), which was tasty, and had a couple of Konas. Despite having to protect our heads from the aggressive black birds flying about, we had a very pleasant supper.
The weather on Tuesday was beautiful – mid 70s and sunny. We packed up Lucent and headed to Orlando. We dropped Lucent at the Pet Care Center at SeaWorld and took off exploring. We split a roasted turkey leg, which was delicious albeit super sticky and greasy, saw sharks, manatees, killer whales, dolphins, exotic birds, sting rays, etc. We got to see the Believe killer whale show. It is completely amazing what those whales can do. The people portion of the show is pretty lame, but the whales were amazing. They break-danced, for goodness sake. They also had an excellent sense of comedic timing for splashing unsuspecting mom-togrophers down in the Soak Zone. About 7 minutes into the show, the trainers had to take a break from the normal show because one of the whales was not doing what he was supposed to. The trainer explained that when the whales don’t behave as trained, they take a break, let the whales play, and then see if they are ready to perform. We wondered if they were being extra cautious because of this. The show resumed after a few minutes, and it was definitely worth the wait. We also caught a side viewing of the dolphin show, which involved Cirque du Soleil-type acrobatics and costumes and huge, exotic birds. We didn’t get a seat in the auditorium, so we couldn’t see everything, but it was still fun to watch.
After our full day at SeaWorld, we picked up Lucent and walked back to the car. As we got closer, I used the remote start key fob to unlock the car. When I pressed the button, the fob just buzzed at me, as if it couldn’t find the car, even thought I knew we were just yards away. My heart sunk as I realized why the fob wasn’t working – the battery was dead again. The buzzer in the Civic that tells us the lights are on was broken. That’s what happens when you get reliant on technology – you get screwed when it doesn’t work. We have roadside assistance through our insurance company, so I called them, and within 20 minutes a super nice guy from Pop A Lock was jumping our car, and we were off to the Cirque du Soleil show.
We were running a little late, so we skipped supper and just grabbed a beer at House of Blues and chilled for a while listening to the live music. We queued up for the show at 8:30PM and made it into the show right on time. The show was tremendous. I really can’t use enough superlatives to describe it. It had amazing trapeze artists, acrobats, trampoline artists, singers, musicians, freestyle bikers (one on a BMX bike and one on a mountain bike), jugglers, etc. The show was only 1.5 hours – you would think that for your $90 ticket price, you would want more entertainment, but Tim and I both agreed that 1.5 hours of the show is about all your senses can take – the stage is constantly full of colorful movement and gravity defying stunts. There is no way to even begin to see everything that is happening. It was absolutely amazing.
The weather on Wednesday was excellent again. Tim and I spent the whole day on the beach – Tim huddled under the shade of the umbrella and me basking in the sun (under multiple layers of sunblock). Again, Tim read his e-Reader, and I sat on the lounge chair with Daemon in my lap, watching the people and the ocean. The water was pretty cold, but I eventually got in anyway. I only get to the ocean once every other year or so, so I have to take advantage. As I waded out to the breaking waves, something hit my neck. I looked up, and saw that a huge bird was trying to snag me with fishing line! I swatted away the line and saved myself. I body surfed the waves for about 15 minutes, and then spent the next hour trying to warm up.
We got some sushi and Thai for supper and then headed out to the Pier for some couples shots (see the photo link), some Presidentes, and some ocean watching. It was a very relaxing end to our vacation.
We decided to leave Cocoa Beach at 8AM in the morning, hoping that would get us through ATL before rush-hour struck. We were horribly wrong. We hit ATL at 3:15 and ground through the city for the next 2.5 hours. I had heard that Atlanta traffic was bad, but I didn’t appreciate how bad it truly is. I think it will be years before either one of us is ready to face city traffic again. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
We made it to our hotel in Nashville around 9PM and back to Dport at 5PM on Friday. Tim and I both agreed that while traveling to new places and seeing new things and people is interesting, coming home from being away for a few days is even better. It is so sweet to be back at home, back in our own bed, back in our relaxing routine.