PSA: Anyone travelling east on 94 watch out when you reach Toma, WI there is a traffic delay and it took us 1.5 hours to go 6 miles.
The trip down to South Carolina was actually quick & nice. We ended up in Bloomington, IL around 10:00 Friday night after leaving the school around 1:45 or so. The kids were enthralled with the story about Simon and the Shadow Forrest, a 6.5 hour book on DVD and let me tell you it was way cool. We had to listen to it twice that is how cool it is.
Saturday morning we left for Gaitlinburg, TN and then over the Smokey Mountains to Salem, SC. Tracy received a couple of loaner gifts from her work friends one the aforementioned DVD and another was a Garmin, you know the directional device you put on your dash, that repetitively tells you to make a u-turn you are going the wrong way. In our case the device was adamant that we take 65 south through Louisville, which prompted the u-turn incident.
The day was nice and sunny and we made it into Gaitlinburg around 7:00 just in time for rush hour, seriously it took forever to drive the 7 mile strip, we finally stopped at a smoke house for dinner. Leave it to Kay to eat a salad at a BBQ joint, I had to make up with the deluxe pulled pork combo, awesome. We pulled into Grandma and Grandpa's around mid-night and woke the entire complex up, there is a reason the blog is named what it is named!
The next few days were full of fun and sun. We went to church on Sunday morning and followed up with basketball and swimming. Jimmy and Grandpa Jim were way into the basketball tournament and talking sports. Grandma and Kay were coloring and drawing up a storm while old Bill was catching up on some needed reading. Tom and Tracy got to work out and enjoy some quiet time. Sunday night we had Gary and Lynn over for cocktails and appy's before sitting down to a slow cooked roast dinner with all the fixing. We all must have enjoyed being there because no one got up on any given day before 10:00 in the morning.
Monday Tom and Grandpa Jim played a round of golf while Tracy and Grandma took the kids to the Leisure trail for roller blading and swimming. Tom was able to keep his score under 100 and only loose one ball, pretty good, Jim shot another 81! We went to the pool again and attempted to wear the kids out, which only worked to wear out the adults. Grandpa and Grandma volunteer at Clemson and Jimmy had to see the place, he is 8 and already scouting which college he wants to attend. The campus was great and the baseball stadium is one if not the best in college. We did of course make it over to watch the football practice. The highlight for me was the awesome ice cream shoppe the school has!Dinner was another grand affair and of course more basketball.
Tuesday Tracy and Grandma went to " book club" while Grandpa and Tom took the kids to the batting cage and to play put-put golf. Dinner was a Hickey family tradition, Chapulas, always a favorite. Instead of watching basketball we played a few games of dirty dog, a family fun card game the Millers taught us. It can be quite competitive , we played four hands and Kay won each one, an amazing feat!.
Thursday we pack up the cars and headed into the mountains for a picnic lunch before the Loudamericans headed back to Gaitlingurg. We found a great park and let the kids run around while the adults visited before saying goodbye.The loudamericans arrived in Gaitlinburg ready to tackle the sites! We each chose which place we wanted to go. Jimmy pick the Gusiness Book of records Museum and tourist trap. It was full of many of the facts he already knows from reading those ever so important record books. Daddy choose more BBQ and instead of eating the all you can eat ribs he went for the Mountain Man Special and by-pass surgery platter! Mommy rounded out the evening with a round of mini-golf complete with Kay hitting her ball over the fence, Billy hitting his somewhere, it is still lost and Jimmy getting a hole in one along with pitching several fits, it was however a good time.
Friday morning was Kay's choice and she took us to the Aquarium and proceeded to engage in being tour guide and event planner until her and Billy got lost and Daddy took over the role. The Aquarium was pretty cool and the kids enjoyed the two plus hours we were there. Billy ended the morning with a trip to the Dinosaurs Museum and Trinket Shop. The kids loved it and it was just the right amount of time and then it was off to lunch. I am unsure why however our kids will devour the Chinese Buffet and we found one. Several trips later and a bathroom break we were on the road again and being told to make a u-turn and head towards 65....