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Back From Vacation- Whatever That Means

Back From Vacation- Whatever That Means

For the past 12 days I have been on a National Lampoon family vacation around parts of Canada and the Eastern US.

We left home in Alabama and spent the night at the in-laws in Indiana and then off to Alliston, Ontario to visit my parents and celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday.

 

    After a few days there we headed to Toronto for the July 1st Canada Day holiday. Toronto is a great city and even through  I parked in the wrong spot when we went to check out Allen Gardens and walked past a homeless shelter I felt some concern but no fear. They seemed more concerned about the guy with a light then the tourist family walking by.

        It was a good lesson for my daughters about keeping your eyes open and looking way up the street when you walk. We did take a different route back to the car.

 

         We tried to hit a variety of the tourist spots downtown including China Town, Eaton Center, Kensington Market, Distillery District and the Harbour Front.

 

           The family pass for the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) is a great value on weekends and holidays. For $11.50 we had unlimited access for the entire day for all four of us so we made sure we hit the subway, street cars and buses.

 

              A cool expedition was  a boat tour of Toronto Harbour. I had taken the ferry to the islands before and been on a couple of tours with the larger boats but the small boat and tour guide gave a different perspective. Use the Groupon for a discount on tickets

 

            Next stop was the Butterfly Park, Niagara Falls and an awesome room overlooking the falls.

 

          It was only an overnight stop but always neat to see and something the kids will remember.

 

             Hershey Pennsylvania was the next stop for some rides at the park (go after 5pm for the Sunset Price). We toured the Hershey Museum the next day and headed for Chocolate World but due to a light rain it was the attraction of the day so we bought some souvenirs and headed to DC.

           On the way we made a stop at Gettysburg and walked around for awhile trying to grasp what had happened there. I had been there years ago when they had the old tower by the cemetery so I was trying to remember the places I saw before.  The rain and sore feet made this a quick stop and we continued to DC to catch the July 4th Fireworks. We had a spot on the Memorial Bridge that had a good view and easy access to the Metro for the return trip.

 

            The first subway on the way home was jammed and we couldn’t get on but the second, although full got a few more people on when I spoke up and said ” We all want to get home surely there is a little more room, please keep moving”. I stopped short of the Japanese style of physically pushing people in although I think the kids were secretly hopping I would.

 

   It must have been a good party on the Mall as this is what we found the next day. But actually they are installing irrigation, rain water collection and some new grass. Completion time? Early 2017.

 

   A walk past the White House… 

 

One more day in DC included the Natural History Museum, American History Museum, lunch at the cafe and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

     Although it was hot, a long walk and we were tired with sore feet it was still worth it to witness firsthand the dedication, commitment and discipline of the Guards. Once at the tomb even the kids realized it was a time to be quiet. There was one little peep out of  a baby and the required kicking over of an empty water bottle, twice, but still a moving moment to see the lone guard and then the changing of the guard.

 

             Back on the road the next morning for one of the few long drive days to Pigeon Forge TN and a night at the Inn at Christmas Place. Yes it seems a little hokey at first but once you are there it’s hard not too smile. And don’t forget to take an “elfie” with Santa.

 

            It was Popcorn and Movie Night at the pool so after some trips down the water slide and some coaching of the young kids on how to go fast (keep your suit material off the slide, lay down and slide on your heels and shoulders) we dried off and gathered around the inflatable screen for a viewing of the Polar Express. I had only seen this movie for the first time last Christmas and was surprised at how much of a fun movie it is. The breeze blowing when the  train was headed down the hills was a nice effect as well.

              Breakfast and a quick tour through Gatlinburg and it was time to head home. Well there was a quick stop at Unclaimed Baggage to check on some school clothes for the girls.

    This is why I own Laundromats. Stay tuned for information on how I was able to put my business on Auto-Pilot and be gone for 12 days.

 

Ken

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