Sunday, April 08, 2012

Back From Vacation Part 1

Vicki and I are now back back from a 10-day vacation in Orlando with our wonderful niece Peggy and her two great kids, Natasha and Bruce. What follows is the first part of our travelogue, the rest of which I'll complete later in the week.

Here are Peggy and 16-year-old Natasha early on during the drive down there, little suspecting just how grueling the trip's going to turn out to be. We encountered the worst traffic I've ever seen on an Interstate, as we spent 3 hours late that first night traveling 20 miles on I-75 from Kentucky into Tennessee. Apparently there'd been a rock slide a week or two earlier, and that had caused them to shut down several lanes. It was an absolute nightmare, as it happened on a stretch with no exits, meaning that we were stuck and couldn't get to a motel with vacancies (since tens of thousands of fellow travelers were caught in the same mess) until around 2:00 a.m.! Not a great start to our vacation, unfortunately.

The next day was better, although we still hit several significant slowdowns. Then, to top that off, Bruce and I were chasing each other on the grass at a rest stop, and I stepped on what looked like a pile of red dirt. Immediately, I began to feel itching and stinging in my sandaled feet, and stopped to pull the footwear off. Apparently it had been a hill of fire ants I'd stumbled into, and I had about a dozen stings or bites to prove it! Vicki came to the rescue with some sort of ointment, and the pain went away pretty quickly. Eventually we got to Orlando, and were in our house-for-the-week by around 11:00. Yay!

We took our first full day in Florida to recover, and spent most of it in or near the backyard pool. Then it was time to head out for our first adventure: to Universal Studios! The place has changed completely since the last time Vicki, Tammy and I were there (probably back in the 90s). It's now two parks (U.S. and Islands of Adventure), and most of the attractions are new.

We started off with two that we knew, though: Terminator 2 (in 3D) and the Horror Make-up Show. Both were excellent, and much as we'd remembered them. Then we visited the Simpsons ride, an updated version of the old Earthquake setup (now called Masters of Mayhem: Disaster!), Men in Black, Twister, the Woody Woodpecker rollercoaster (as it was small enough Bruce could go on it) and the big Red Rocket coaster that only I was big enough and brave enough to go on.

To be continued...

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