So I took a week off from writing – My husband and I were going on this incredible vacation and of course we were also spending time with friends and family for turkey day. ANYWAYS THAT SAID – sit back and let me tell you about the worst vacation I’ve ever been on and ALMOST died during. (Spoilers)
To preface this, let me tell you our actually plan:
Saturday morning leave around 7AM and drive up to Savanah, Georgia for lunch. Then continue driving to our campsite in Asheville, NC before 5PM. Set up camp, cuddle and make s’mores . There was a meteor shower that was happening this night! So we were planning on staying up late to see it.
Sunday morning wake up and see the sunrise over the mountains at our campsite. Then drive further up north to Grandfather Mountain to do a little hiking before lunch. For lunch, drive back to Asheville and check out this taco joint downtown. Head back to the campsite, enjoy a hot dinner and get a good rest.
Monday morning wake up and pack up camp. Head back to downtown Asheville and find somewhere to have breakfast. After eating, start driving to Charleston, SC for lunch and site seeing. After lunch, head home and be home before dark.
It sounded like a perfectly simple plan. Super relaxing. Not over-planned (like my usual style) So let me tell you what actually happened:
We packed up our little Kia on Thursday, Friday we pre-made our meals and packed the cooler. We were prepped! We don’t normally drive our Kia, my husband and I are blessed enough that we don’t need a second car. But our little Kia is there in case we need it. So it doesn’t have many miles on it and it’s relatively new. (I’m going somewhere with this – just hang on).
Friday night: we couldn’t sleep. This vacation was going to be AMAZING. Around 3AM on Saturday, we decided “HECK we are up – Let’s just go!!” So we did. Tinsel the dog, my husband and I pilled into the small Kia crammed with our camping gear and we headed off to Georgia.
Around three hours in, our car starts giving out. The Kia is sputtering down the highway and we make the call to turn around. Still staying positive, we decided to head home and pick up a rental car. As long as we were back on the road by 9:30AM we could at least make it to our campsite before dark.
My husband pre-paid for our rental car and set a time for us to pick it up. We got to the dealership early and two ladies got there before us! They even cut our place in line, spent 45 minutes inspecting the car (it’s honestly like they never saw a car before) and we still didn’t get a car until 10:30AM!!! (Ok calming down). We finally made it back to our house with our rental car, we moved over all of our camping gear and got back on the road.
At this point we decided to forgo seeing Savanah, Georgia because we simply did not have enough time. We knew at this point, that we would have to put up our tent in the dark. Surprisingly still optimistic.
We drove straight to Asheville; a full eight hour drive. We got to the point where “google maps ends” and we had to follow the written instructions up the mountain side to our campsite. (In the dark, while it was raining, in a unmaintained gravel road).
Saturday 7PM: Our campsite was BEAUTIFUL. A fully fenced in, private deck overlooking the mountains. Oddly, the wind was picking up? We had no cell phone service and it looked like a storm was rolling in. At this point, we had no choice but to set up camp. We didn’t know how to get back down the mountain side, we had no cell phone service and the storm was starting to pick up.
My husband quickly threw me the tent. I grabbed it and quickly tumbled down two flights of stairs to our deck. Luckily, it was so cold – I felt no pain 😂😂 (to update currently: my wrist is swollen, along with a severely bruised knee)
We set up the tent and the wind started getting worse. We decided to take all of our camping gear out of the car to help weigh down our tent for the night. My husband finally got a little phone signal and was able to look at the weather for a split second. We were in a dangerous wind advisory – 50-60 MPH winds were going to hit us directly on the mountain cliff and we were stuck. We had to open the windows on the tent in order to allow some of the wind to pass through – which meant we were drenched from the rain. It was dropping bellow 30 degrees and the wind was tearing apart our tent. We could feel the deck shifting below us due to the strain. We could hear our car slipping and sliding in the gravel above us. The tent was lifting us off of the ground. And we were trapped.
We didn’t sleep at all. Around 2AM we heard two loud SNAPS. Two of our tent poles collapsed under the pressure.
Oh did I mention? Tinsel (our pup) got so terrified she peed. She peed all over me. Fantastic I know.
Sunday 5AM: The sun was starting to peep out. We had enough light that we could finally leave. Our tent shifted so much, the tent door was now on the roof and we were pilled under our belongings. We quickly threw all of our belongings into our car and headed off to town. We found a Starbucks about 45 minutes away and quickly filled up on warm beverages; keeping the heat on full blast in the car.
My husband (being the real hero of our whole trip) stayed positive. He asked me “Ok so last night sucked. What else is on your list?” I knew the answer to that one – hiking Grandfather Mountain. So we hoped into the car and headed off. As we were driving up, snow to fall ! (For this Florida girl – it’s a HUGE deal). Tinsel got to play in snow for the very first time and had a BLAST.
We had an incredible time playing in the snow – but now we were even more excited about hiking in it. So we kept driving. We made it to the state park and started driving up the mountain. The car slipped in the ice and slide right into a ditch. We tried to get it out, but the car was saturated in ice and was unable to move. We had to call our AAA service to help us out. The good news? Our nice warm car had no cell phone signal. We had to leave Tinsel in the car and walk a mile down the mountain side to get cell phone signal. The even better news? The towing company wants us to stay by the cell phone service in case he needs to call us. The even better better news? It was going to be two hours before he could help us. See that cute little black dot walking down the road? That’s me
For those that are uncomfortable about things: just skip this paragraph all together. Remember that venti Starbucks beverage? Well yeah I finished it and now we were stuck on the side of the road waiting. I had to PEE. I had to pee more than I have never needed to pee in my entire life. I HAD TO GO. So I took that venti Starbucks cup and I FILLED it.
We waited. We waited some more. We played in the snow. We waited and waited. AND FINALLY the tow truck guy showed up! He pulled us right out and we were on our way in less than 30 minutes!
Exhausted and fed up. We decided the best bet would just to head home. We were exhausted, our tent was destroyed and we had little supplies that were not ruined. The three of use pilled back into the car and headed towards downtown Asheville for lunch. We wanted to get a good meal before another eight hour drive.
We stopped at the White Duck Taco and got well…..tacos 😉. We ate while driving. About three hours into the drive, my husband looks at me and says “I don’t feel so well.” Yeah you guessed it – poor guy got food poisoning it time. We are still trying to stay optimistic- so we get a hotel room in Charleston, South Carolina. We decided to make the most of this terrible trip and stay over night in Charleston. This way, we can still go sight seeing in Savanah and Charleston AND make it home before it gets dark (driving exhausted in the dark down the highway is not one of my favorite things).
Monday morning: Charleston is beautiful. Stunning. So many perfectly colorful buildings. Incredible architecture. I love this small town filled with southern charm. In Charleston, we hit up Rainbow Row (the beautiful colorful buildings in the top picture) AND we got to see the famous Pineapple Fountain in their Central Park. We stopped off in Charleston for breakfast and to refill our caffeine fueled hearts and we were off to Savanah, Georgia for lunch.
Fueled up, warm and fed: we finally made it to Savanah. We stopped to sightsee their Forsyth Park for a bit and take in the old oak trees. The weather was finally starting to warm up as we wandered back to our car.
Overall this was an insane trip. My car died, we almost died on a mountain camping,our car needed to be towed out of a snowy ditch AND we got food poisoning. But you know what? We didn’t argue once and we stayed positive the entire trip. I’m a little worn out still (and a bit bruised up), but next time we will be better prepared! We are currently in the midst of planning our next road trip, Florida to the Alamo!