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Observations From a Short Southern Road Trip

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By Stacey Dougherty

April 6, 2010 – This past weekend I drove my 14-year old to join a friend for spring break at the beach in South Carolina. Normally, a 12-hour drive over two days wouldn’t be something I’d normally agree to do. I do like to drive for the most part and putting myself in my daughter’s shoes, I can appreciate the idea of a week at the beach. Thinking about staying home for spring break with a bored teenager also made the drive seem like a small sacrifice.

So off we went, on Sunday morning, much later than I would have liked but the reason was entirely my fault. I worked too late the night before and I just couldn’t summon the energy to wake up at seven, as planned. Needless to say, my daughter wasn’t unhappy about it.

When I say I like to drive, I’m not exaggerating. Heading out from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia is a pretty straightforward 4 – 4 1/2 hour drive that’s rather uneventful from a scenic perspective. With the teenager in the back asleep or watching a movie on her laptop (I was hoping for some conversation but she is 14, after all), my favorite music playing and the open road ahead, it was almost zen-like how the miles flew past and I was so in the moment. Even yoga class doesn’t clear my mind and free me up as much as speeding down the highway.

The Pavillion at Tybee.The Pavillion at Tybee.
The other end for serious fishing.The other end for serious fishing and strolling.

When we arrived in Savannah and checked in to our hotel on Bay Street, I asked my daughter to accompany me to Tybee Island. You would have thought I asked her to put her arm in a beehive to remove the honey. After I calmly explained that I thought a peek at the ocean after spending so much time behind the wheel wasn’t an outrageous request and that there was no way I was going to leave her in the hotel alone, we headed over.

After that, an early dinner, a walk along the river and back to our room, where I nodded out early.

The next morning entailed a two-hour drive to Charleston where we met her friend and I handed her over to the mom after we all had a nice lunch. Although I didn’t get to see much of either city, I still enjoyed the time spent with my baby (yes, she’s still my baby even though there are times when puberty has changed her into someone I barely recognize). The opportunity to see the beach, the moss-draped live oaks and clear my head of all the noise made it easy to see that after I pare everything down to the essentials, life really is good.

Easter Sunday on the beach at Tybee Island.
Easter Sunday on the beach at Tybee Island, Georgia.
Even water temps in the low 60's didn't deter beachgoers.Even water temps in the low 60’s didn’t deter beachgoers.

Observations During a Two-Day Road Trip

• The RV industry may be hurting but there were more brand new 5th-wheels on the road this weekend than I’ve ever seen before. I really want one.
• Seems like all of South Georgia was nostalgic for Hazzard County. Chevy’s new Camaro was everywhere, especially the racing stripe model in white.
• The weather wasn’t hazy all the way down to Savannah, it was the pollen. Looked like a greenish-yellow dust storm.
• When a guest arrives at a hotel to check-in, a friendly “Good afternoon!” would be nice, not a bored, “Name?”
• Jennifer, who puts up the breakfast in the café at the East Bay Inn, was extremely accommodating and friendly.
• Tybee Island’s parking situation makes the Jersey Shore’s look like the epitome of fair and efficient.
• Tybee’s mix of eclectic homes and neighborhood streets exemplifies a true beach town.
• It’s so painful to see beautiful, young, flawless, skin covered in tasteless “body art”.
• It’s so painful to see old, dried-up, leather-like skin covered in tasteless “body art”.
• Had the best pan-seared scallop salad at the Boulevard Diner on Maybank Highway in Charleston. Desserts looked awesome!
• Why do so many SUV drivers hate it when you pass them? I just want to be able to see what’s ahead – nothing personal.
• It never fails – the straightest route from point A to point B always has construction on it.
• What’s the point again of a “no-helmet” law?
• The right-hand lane of I-16 West from Dublin to the Bibb County line is filled with potholes and uneven pavement. Stay to the left.
• Ran into traffic from the Braves game once I got into Atlanta. Baseball starts too early.

Top photo: Some of the sweets at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen.

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