Every October, we try to take a weekend trip – our Halloween trip – somewhere Halloween themed of course. Usually we go to Salem, MA. Two years ago, just to take a break from Salem (there is never really a break from Salem as we tend to end up there quite often during the year), we decided to try Sleepy Hollow, NY. It was fun. It was no Salem, but DC had his best friend BB, along so he had an exceptional time. Last year, we opted for NY ComicCon and a weekend in NY – DC’s favorite place. ComicCon – Costumes, Characters – close enough to qualify as our Halloween weekend away. Last year, I also discovered a festival in Kansas called, you guessed it – The OZ Fest. The OZ fest is held in late September, not October, but still close enough to count. The OZ fest was the plan for this year’s Halloween get-away. That WAS the plan….. until we calculated the cost of the flights, rental car and hotel for the weekend and realized that it was almost equivalent to booking a cruise for a week.
Plan discarded…………… (for now)
But now I had OZ on the brain and I was not going to give up the notion of getting DC to OZ. I remembered seeing photos that my sister-in-law posted from an OZ event that they had attended a few years back. It was at Beech Mountain, North Carolina. I facebooked her to get more details. She told me that this event was very popular, but only open for ONE weekend each year; this year on October 4 and 5. Tickets had to be purchased in advance, and I was told that it sold out very quickly.
We went about booking flights, but then the tickets did not go on sale on the day they were scheduled to, and not on the following date that was posted. We had flights but had no idea if we would be able to get tickets. Finally we just happened to go to the site to check for a new sale date, and there they were, on sale, unannounced. Tickets – purchased; we were good to go.
Doug, who loves to research everything to death, came to me after all of the plans were made……
“Um…. is there some sort of pill you could get for this trip?”
– That is never a good sign
“Why, what happened?”
“Well, you realize that this place is on top of a mountain, and we have to take a bus to the top.”
-Now Doug has had to deal with me in a car driving up to Mt. Haleakala –
- I was convinced I could not breathe (I could)
- Potato chip bags exploded in the back seat from the pressure, scaring the life out of me
- The gas alarm began to chime because we were headed straight up and I was convinced we would run out of gas, further scaring the life out of me (we didn’t)
- I yelled at him all the way to the top (and all the way down)
……and many other winding, hilly, mountainous drives that went just about the same way. Then there is the whole “car tipping over on the curves” fear.
Let’s just say, I am not the best when I can see the edge of the road and a very long drop. Let’s just say that.
“I really didn’t need to know that right now. Thank you”
At this point I was thinking that this just may have been a big mistake on my part but I wanted to get DC to OZ so we went ahead with the plans. We were also planning to meet up with my brother and his family from Tennessee, while there, so that would be fun too. They were to join us in OZ and DC was very excited about that.
The plan…. to fly down on Friday morning, head straight to Dollywood, back to the hotel and Saturday morning head straight for the mountain. The entire week before, the forecast was calling for rain, lots of rain, on Friday – Saturday was still looking good, with the exception of the “dress for winter” e-mail from the “mountain”, but sunny and no rain. We kept hoping that Friday’s forecast would change, but it never did.
We arrived in Charlotte at 8:00 am Friday morning to sunshine, but it was short-lived. It would be a 4 hour drive straight to Dollywood or a 2 hour drive to our hotel. The original plan was to head straight to Dollywood, but now it was pouring so we really did not know what we were going to do. We stopped for ‘second breakfast’ because DC had his breakfast at 3:00am at home. He was actually looking for lunch at 8am. I tried to explain to him that we woke up much earlier than usual and it was not lunchtime, he would just be getting to work if we were at home. I knew he really did not understand this. He had breakfast at home so surely it must be lunchtime, because that is what comes next… period.
We checked on-line for other things to do in the area, but most were outdoor activities, so we decided we would just head in the direction of our hotel and Dollywood. If it was still pouring when we reached the hotel – maybe they would let us check in early. If the weather changed, we could just continue on to Dollywood. Checking the forecast, the weather was actually looking worse; now predicting thunderstorms.
The hotel did let us check in early and I was really looking forward to a quick nap (more about that later), but we decided to call just to see if Dollywood was open. They were, so we decided to risk it and drive 2 more hours to get there. If the weather didn’t change we could always just try to find a bookstore and DC would be happy to just go back to the room with more books – and I would be able to take a nap.
We drove the 2 hours to Dollywood – pouring almost all of the way. The forecast still reading heavy rain and thunderstorms, but…. the closer we got the lighter the rain, until it had completely stopped. When we pulled into Dollywood, the clouds parted and the sun came out – full force – seriously, it was hot! We were not dressed for HOT, but whatever – it was amazing. While the forecast was still reading heavy rain and thunderstorms, we were in the blazing hot sun!
After only a few minutes, the clouds rolled in, but not like earlier, just enough to cool it down. It was perfect. I think the weather actually worked in our favor.
The park was not crowded at all. There were no lines for any of the rides. DC was able to ride on most of the roller coasters, before Doug began looking a little green. There were only 3 hours left of park time by the time we arrived, but it was plenty of time – everything moved very quickly.
We even had time for the carousel, train and the world famous’cinnamon bread’.
…….and it was me.
I do not like 6:00 am flights.
A 6:00 am flight means we have to leave our house at 4:00 am – which means we have to wake up at 2:30 am.
Having to wake up at 2:30 means I really will not be able to sleep at all because I am worried that I won’t hear the alarm or just won’t wake up in time.
I was lucky if I got 45 minutes of sleep.
I can not sleep on a plane – ever. I try, but I just can’t, never could.
This means that when we arrived in North Carolina at 8:00 am Friday, I had already been awake since 5:30 am Thursday morning – about 27 hours for those of you that don’t want to do the math. By the time we left Dollywood and started back to have dinner and find a bookstore, it was somewhere around 37/38 hours without sleep. I just could not take it any more. It was a meltdown of epic proportions.
We had dinner, skipped the bookstore and got back to the hotel all before 9pm. I got some very much needed sleep. I think I was “out” in all of 5 minutes – that never happens, no matter how tired I am – and I slept straight through the night, which also never happens.
The next morning was sunny, but cold and I felt much better after getting some sleep….
(No worries, DC made it to a bookstore on Saturday)
Next we were heading off to see the Wizard…………
(to be continued in next weeks post; “Because, Because, Because, Because….BEEEE CAUSE” )