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  1. #1

    Default Boca Raton FL to Charlotte NC

    Well, i finally arrived in Florida (Boca Raton), i'm staying at my great aunt & uncle for the weekend, then starting sunday, i'm driving up the coast, i have plenty of time (till June 26th) so i'm going to go slow, only about 200-300 miles per day. [Here is the link to the pre-planning phase of this adventure]
    If you want to see pics of my trip, starting next weekend i'll be putting them on my facebook page, just search Ya'acov Rothman., or go to this link.
    I'll update this thread every time I get a chance ( internet) probably once or twice weekly. For those interested, i'll include, mileage, directions, costs, & brief review of the sites i'll be visiting... next up cape canaveral...
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-25-2007 at 06:05 PM. Reason: Preferred URL and we look forward to your updates!!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise

    Default Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, NC

    A great tourist mecca is at Myrtle Beach, SC. Check out a Beach Music band if you get a chance. Farther up the coast, at the SC-NC border, is Calabash, home of Calabash fried shrimp, well worth a taste.

    Try to make a stop at Wilmington, one beautiful antebellum city right on the Cape Fear River. You can also tour the Battleship North Carolina which is tied up there.

    Farther south is Orton Plantation. You can also take a free ferry across the mouth of the river from Southport to Fort Fisher, site of the largest amphibious operation during the Civil War.

    Farther up the coast, you'll come to Carolina Beach. Definitely stop into Britt's Donuts on the boardwalk for some of the best you'll ever have.

    If you get a chance to have some pit-cooked Carolina-style BBQ, take the opportunity. Make sure to get the cole slaw, hushpuppies and wash it down with sweet tea.

    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  3. #3

    Default Road Trip Report

    Road dog,
    Thanks for the wonderful ideas, but i'm sort of heading west, i'm in Charlotte right now and i'm taking the blue Ridge Parkway to get to DC. On the way back south i'll hit those places. Any tips for the outer banks?

    To all, here's my field report for the first week, it's a bit long so bear with me:

    Day 1:
    Sunday - 5/27
    9:38 - Take off! I took my Grandparents Infininti and headed north. I took Florida's turnpike then the I-95 and i got to Cape Canaveral at around 12:30. Mapquest was pretty accurate with their time estimate, it took me 3 hours(no stops). Question: what the heel are thise bugs that keep crashing into the front window and clutter it up? And it takes forever to clean it off...
    Kennedy Space Center - Visitor's center It's expensive ($40.28 with tax) but worth it. When you get to see...feel...experience space travel, you know you got your money's worth. I started by going into the Robot Scouts booth, where you get an interactive display of robots that explore distant planets. Next I took the bus tour to the LC-39 observation gantry where you can see (from afar) the launch site, there was no launch today but you get magnificent views of the island (or cape?) Next, was the Apollo/Saturn Center, where you get an interactive display of the Apollo missions (very interesting...) Next was the Shuttle Launch Simulator, they strap you down and the room shakes and stirs, but I knew it is nothing compared to a real launch. Then came the clImax (ha ha), a 3D Imax movie about the international space station. Very cool & informative. Overall - everything is high tech (as one would expect) and you get an urge to experience more of space exploration. When are those
    commercial jets to the moon be ready? The phrase I heard today which I liked best was: "History was not made, Destiny was embraced."
    1st setback: as I was leaving the space center I found out I had left the headlights on, and the battery had drained and wouldn't start. A nice guy helped me jumpstart and I got back on the I-95 looking for a place to sleep. i stopped at the Microtel Inn at Palm Coast FL ($59.37, incl. tax with AAA disc.)
    Expenses day 1 - Space center - $40.28, Gas - $18.59 ($3.11/Gallon), Motel - $59.37, Total - $118.15, Total $ for trip so far - $611.85
    Mileage day 1 - 265, Total for trip - 277(12 miles on prev Friday)

    Day 2 - Monday - 5/28
    For some reason I woke up at 6:00am (jetlag) but I got about 7.5 hours of sleep so I was set. Checked out at 9:00 and took off again...
    St. Augustine The oldest town in America, so they say, and looks it too, well... the historic district does anyway. All the buildings there were brick & mortar. My first stop in St. Augustine was the fountain of youth.
    The fountain was discovered by Ponce de leon in 1513 and he believed it
    contained the secret of youth, actually it's sulfur which gives you smoother skin.They have a guy standing by the fountain pouring water from a pitcher and serving it to the passers by, it tasted like raw eggs, but if it has the secret of youth, then why not? The fountain is actually part of a park, where they put statues and magnificent trees & plants, and a bird habitat. They even have a planetarium here, and an Indian Burial Ground. Overall, this place is pretty impresive, all the outdoor exhibits are quite exquisite, but the indoor exhibits are fake, all they did was put plastic Indian dolls near the historic landmarks, especially dissapointing was the fountain itself, bu the trees, plants and different types of birds (a peacock even joined me for lunch), the place is a great experience, and not just for history & nature nuts (i'm neither).
    Lighthouse Museum Florida's 1st official lighthouse. Is 165 feet tall, and needs 219 steps to reach the top. The view is great, but again everything was renewed & refurbished so authenticity is lost. The price of admission also includes a museum which has different rooms depicting different times and how the lighthouse was used & serviced. It was my first time in a lighthouse, so I was pretty excited, but when I got to the top I was breathless (View + climbing stairs). money well spent.
    Ripley's believe it or not museum At forst i was dissapointed, for $15 I was expecting live interactive exhibits that keep you on your toe. But, as it turned out the exhibits were interesting enough and at the end you get the fun stuff: swirling rooms and many other cool illusions.
    I finished at 16:00 and decided I was going to look for a place for the night en route to Jacksonville, which according to Mapquest is just an hour away, and ask the motel clerk if there was anything cool to do in that area, but by the time I got to the Motel (La quinta - $60.01) on the outskirts of Jacksonville (Exit 5 off I-295), jetlag was really catching up, so I called it a day.
    Expenses for day 2 - Fountain of Youth - $7.00, Lighthouse - $7.20, Ripley's - $14.83, Food - $12.92, Motel - $60.01, Total - $101.96
    Total $ for trip so far - $713.81
    Total Mileage for day 2 - 81, Total for trip - 358.

    Days 3 – 5/29 – Tuesday
    I slept for about 9 hours, and I feel great except I can’t seem to stay up through the NBA playoff games. Anyway, I got back on the I-95 and drove through downtown Jacksonville until I got to the Budweiser brewery. The Budweiser tour was great, the tour guide took us through the process of brewing, some history facts, and the bottling process. Did you know? It takes about a month to finish the entire process (21 days of aging). The tour takes about half an hour (absolutely free), and at the end you get two beers (anykind). So if you’re in the area, just go to 111 Busch Dr. in Jacksonville and get a free, interesting tour & free beer. I tried the all new Landshark Lager which is served in Florida exclusively, and something called Trojan horse, which is a mixture of two beers. Now I may not be a beer expert but that was good beer. I spent some time in the gift shop ‘till I felt I was ready to drive again. Next I drove to downtown Jacksonville and walked around a bit. Pretty dull, if you don’t know what you’re looking for. At around 17:00, got back on the highway (I-95) not before getting stuck in mild rush hour traffic (this is my first big city on the trip), and I crossed the border into Georgia at 18:09. The problem about highway driving is that you can’t stop and get apicture of the welcome sign. Oh, well… I got one at the welcome center (exit 1, I-95).
    Georgia’s scenery (as seen from the I-95) is so much nicer than Florida’s, rivers streaming everywhere, and trees giving the highway much needed shade. Pulled off at Richmond Hill, GA (exit 87) for the night – Royal Inn ($39.20). Finally a motel that you park the car right outside your room. Past two nights I stayed at motels where the room entrances are indoors.
    Expenses – Souvenirs - $4.07, Food - $19.23, Gas - $25.00 ($3.06/Gallon), Motel - $39.20, Total - $87.50, Total for trip - $801.31
    Total Miles for day – 165, Total for trip - 523

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Great trip report!

    Good detail and interesting observations. I'm chuckling that the big secret of the Fountain of Youth is the sulphur. My sister's well used to have the worst water before they upgraded their water purifier. Lotsa sulphur. Tasted horrid and smelled like rotten eggs. But if I had known it would have kept me youthful, I would have brought 5-gallon containers to fill and bring home to wash my face in, LOL.

    Enjoy and keep those reports coming!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default Awesome Reporting!

    I love the little details you're adding in to your report. I can't wait to read further installments. I've never really travelled in Florida and keep putting it off (the climate is too much like home). But now I'm going to have to really start thinking about it as a destination.


  6. #6

    Default Days 4-5-6

    Day 4 - Wed. - 5/30
    I was debating between Savannah & Charleston, cause I understood that both depict colonial times very well (or is it Civil war times, probably both). I chose Savannah in the end because it was closer to my route ( I needed to get to Charlotte), and because it has the oldest building that I relate to - USA's oldest synogauge.

    I arrived in Savannah at around 10:00, and the only parking I could find was a cheap lot ($1.00 an hour) near the visitor's center. I popped into the Visitor's Center to pick up a map of downtown Savannah, and right next door was the Savannah Histroy Museum ($3.75 for AAA, $4.25 otherwise). They had exhibits about all the different commerce aspects of Savannah: Boating/Shipping, Wood, Cotton, Rice & eventually railroads. They also had a 20 minute movie "commentated" by Jim Ogelthorpe who founded Savannah in the 1700's.

    Add another reason to visit Savannah to my list - Civil Rights! I went to see the Mark R Gibert Museum of Civil Rights, very nice exhibits & informative. I just don't understand how a nation so advanced in thought and built in the value of eqaulity, just 40 years ago had actuall laws segregating colored people. Savannah is unique in the fact that none of their protests turned violent. It was the only city to not record any riots, and eventually integration was allowed in Savannah one whole year before the bill passed in congress in 1964. THe museum ($4.00) was named after the person who led the civil rights movement in Savannah during those years.

    Moving along, I walked through Forsyth Park, to get to Mickve Israel Synogauge, and what an experience. The ladies at the gift shop were thrilled to hear that I was from Israel and that I had just been released form army service. Then I went into the service hall and prayed. it was extraordinary, in a lot of ways it had characteristics of a church: long, tall, glass stained windows, pews arranged in rows, a large pipe organ. But it's nice to know that even out here people gather to pray (even if it's only Friday night & Saturday morning).

    Next, I walked all the way across town to the historic River st. It's right next to the magnificent Savannah River and the setting is beautiful, the street itself is lined with marble & blocks rather than concrete, the river brings a cool but calm wind that was much needed on this high 80's (30C) day. The boats on the water and a saxophone player playing Blues completed the wonderful setting. I could've sat there for hours but it was already 14:00 and I still wanted to see the Maritime museum before I left Savannah. As I continued down River st. I happened to see a boat named: Dayenu, or in English: "it would have sufficed". I asked the boat owner and he corraberated that that was in fact the origin of the name.

    Next, I went to the "Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum", which is placed in Scarborugh house which is probably named after the person the fair is named after, which Simon & Garfunkel sang about. The museum cost $6.00 (for AAA, w/o AAA - $8.00) and inside were ship models of every kind, even the Titanic (Huge!) After a few rooms it gets boring but the models are cool.
    Tip: Savannah's downtown is very small, no need for that expensive trolley tour they offer, walking is a better choice, what's more the crosswalk talks to you and tells you how much longer you have to cross.
    I left Savannah at around 15:15 and took the US-17 (very scenic incl. a nice bridge) through southern South Carolina, 'till it hooks up with the I-95. The I-95, I-26 & I-77 took me to my Uncle jeff's in Charlotte. Took me about 5 hours ( with two pit stops - 20 min. each).

    Expenses: Food - $8.21, Attractions - $13.75, Parking - $5.00, Gas - $25.00 ($3.05/Gallon)., Total for day - $51.96, Total for trip - $853.27
    Total Mileage for day - 283, Total for trip - 806

    Day 5 - Thursday - 5/31
    Uncle jeff said it would be crowded in downtown Charlotte, because Clinton & Carter were there for some library opening, so we drove out to Stone Mt. State Park (1.5 hours north of Charlotte), and did the full Mountain trail ( 6 miles including a 3500 ft tall mountain climb.) On the way down you see nice waterfalls.

    On the ay back to Charlotte, we saw a sign for a vineyard so we stopped there for a tour. It was called Grassy creek vineyard & winery (off US-21 in Yadkin county, NC). Then we had dinner in Charlotte and Jeff drove me around the city to see the skyline and the Panthers stadium.
    Expenses - $0, My uncle is taking care of me
    Total mileage for day - 223, Total for trip - 1029

    Day 6 - Friday - 6/1
    Today Uncle jeff suggested we go to the Charlotte History Museum ( on Shamrock Ave.). The museum was OK, but you get a very interesting tour of the Hezekia Alexander hoem 7 grounds, who settled there in 1774 and was one of the signees on the county's declaration of independance.
    Next we went to downtown Charlotte where there is a food festival called a taste of Charlotte (on Tryon St/3rd through 8th sts.). They have food stands where you can get food samplings from different restaurants ( some are free/most cost money). They also have live entertainement (magicians, singers, dancers etc...) The festival is until Sun. June 3rd. We were there until about 17:00, then we called it a day.

    Expenses - $0 (and thanks to my uncle), The Museum costs $6.00 ($5.00 for AAA), and the food festival was $20.00 for 15 coins which get you about 5-7 samplings.
    Total mileage for day - 60, Total for trip - 1089

    Thanks for the replies, there keeping me going, I'm having a great time, and i'll update more next week.
    Links to Pictures I took
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-01-2007 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Added some white space for clarity

  7. #7

    Default Week 2 of Road Trip

    Day 7 - Saturday - 6/2
    Didn't do much, except at night, went with Jeff to a sports bar to watch the game ( Cleveland-Detroit 98-92), I really want to thank Uncle Jeff & Aunt Geri for being wonderful hosts these past few days.

    Day 8 - Sunday - 6/3
    I left Charlotte at around 9:00, and it was raining heavily. I started heading west on the Interstates (77, 85, 26, 40) and then took US-19 'till Cherokee reservation, where the Blue Ridge Parkway begins. I got there at around 12:30 and had a picnic lunch in the park.

    When I got on the parkway, well it's beyond words, miles & miles of scenery, mountains, valleys, vantage points. In the beginning, I stopped at every vantage point and took a picture, then I realised there's one every half mile or so. So I decided to enjoy the view from the car, and drive slowly (the limit is 45, I went at 30-35). I stopped at Mt. Pisgah for a leisurely trail (3.5 miles, but it was all flat ground). I arrived in Ashville at around 18:00 and pulled in to a Motel 6 for the night.
    Expenses - Gas - $25.00(3.07/Gal), Food - $13.10, Motel - $53.15, Total - $91.25, Total for Trip - $ 944.52
    Total Mileage for day - 303, Total for trip - 1396

    Day 9 - Monday - 6/4
    Got back on the Parkway at 9:15, and my first stop was the Folk Art Center just north of Asheville. I'm not much of an art... anything for that matter but they have a very nice craft shop, but the second I saw the prices I left (e.g. $78 for a laced notebook).

    Next I continued north 'till I got to Craggy Gardens. I got off the road 'till I reached the picnic area, and started the trail to the top. It tool me about 15 minutes yo get to the top where there was a shelter for backpackers, and a spectacular view. I walked down the same way I got up.

    Mt. Mitchell State Park - at 6684' it is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. Sadly, the peak was closed for undisclosed reasons and worse they only put the sign halfway up. Luckily, it's only a 0.75 miole trail so I didn't have to backtrack to much. Instead I got nice pics of the view from the visitor's center, which is close to the top. It was so cold I had to wear a long sleeve shirt.

    I stopped at Crabtree meadows for Lunch, it's just a nice grassy picnic area. I continues to Little Switzerland, and I wasn't impressed. Just a few kitschy stores and B&B. Further down the road I reached NC Museum of Minerals, excellent interactive displays about minerals & their qualities.
    Linville Falls - A selection of short trails take you to a view of the falls - Gorgeous1 (I'm running out of synonyms for that word.)

    The lynn Cove VIaduct is a system of roads on bridges placed adjacent toi Grandfather Mountain so as not to damage the Eco-Systems on it. At the visitor's center there is a model of the whole thing.
    Next, i went to the town of Blowing Rock, NC where legend has it: "an Indian Chief placed his beautiful daughter on a desolate rock so that the white man will not marry her. Anyway, she meets a young Indian warrior who is travelling and they fall in love. When it comes time for him to go back to his tribe, he can't bear to leave her so he jumps off the rock. She prays to the gods to save him, and they do by sending a big gust of wind that raises him back to the rock, and since then the wind blows upward there." It's a nice story and the view is amazing (Thesaurus-Please!), but it's not worth th $6.00 to get in. I stopped at Comfort Suites in Boone, NC-$96.97- that was the cheapest I could find, I could've continued to the next town but I was tired.
    Expenses - Gas - $30.00 (3.08/Gal), Blowing Rock - $6.00, Motel - $96.97, Total - $132.97, Total for Trip - $1077.49
    Mileage for day - 123, Total for trip - 1519
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-07-2007 at 02:43 PM. Reason: added some white space

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Blowing Rock seems like it was worth $6.00

    I dunno, I liked the legend and I think it was worth the $6.00 to pass it on here. Thanks for the latest field report. All good stuff.


  9. #9

    Default Week2 - cont.

    Day 10 - Tuesday - 6/5
    Woke up and got back on the Parkway. First stop of the day was e.b. Jefress Park. It has a nice short trail (30 min) that goes to a river then loops back. I didn't eat there but it's a great place for a picnic.

    Next on the menu, I stopped at the Northwest trading post. Nothing to see, just a gift shop. I wanted to see brinegar cabin but it was closed. So I continued north and stopped at this desolate place called Cumberland Knob, just a picnic area but it's great. Next, was the best experience I had on the parkway, the Blue Ridge Music Center. There wasn't a big concert today, but they had something I think is even better, two guys playing folk music (one on guitar, the other on a banjo). They just sat outside and people gathered around and listened. It was such good & pure music that I sat there until they finished their set (0.5 hour). Oh yeah, and this was my first stop in Virginia.

    I noticed a difference from NC, there were less inclines ( meaning flatter hillls), & farms & houses started appearing right next to the parkway. The scenery also changed from tall trees to green grass plateaus & farmland.

    Mabry Mill - a rural "town" that has a house, a blacksmith shop & the highlight is the mill - very picturesque.

    After that I just moseyed untill the end of the parkway and at 20:50 - after tons of curves, views, mountains, trails, but most important - desolate nature - I completed this very scenic byway (end to end, 469 miles).

    I thought I would make it to Chevy Chase, MD (have an Uncle there too), but I had to stop at 23:00 at no less "Sleepy Hollow Inn" $55.00 in Culpepper, VA.
    Expenses - Food - $11.51, Gas - $37.00 (2.90/Gal), Motel - $55.00, Total - $103.51, Total for trip - $1181
    Mileage for day - 439, Total for trip - 1958

    Day 11 - Wednesday - 6/6
    Got up at around 10:00 and continued my way to my aunt & uncle'e near DC. Got there at around 13:00, and spent the rest of the day entertaining my cousins (ages 8,5).
    Expenses - Food - $8.24, Gas - $23.39 (2.84/Gal), Total - $31.63, Total for Trip - $1212.63
    Mileage for day - 91, Total for trip - 2049

    Day 12 - Thursday - 6/7
    Today I started touring DC, I hit 3 museums.
    The Air & Space Museum
    The Native American Museum (Excellent Cafe)
    The National Gallery
    I'm commuting into the city by metro, so as not to get into city traffic and pay hefty parking fees.
    Expenses - Food - $12.00 (Native American Cafe), Total for trip - $1224.63
    Mileage for day - 0
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-07-2007 at 04:06 PM. Reason: added link to RTA field report

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Wow! Keeping this timely

    Thanks again for a great field report.


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