Catch-Up Post: To FL and NW on to GA

We've been offline for almost a whole week, mostly because we were visiting my parents and that activity requires our focus. But we do have some catching up to do on the day before and day after that visit.

Last Monday: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (and the rest of the Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios). We had a (pardon the pun) charmed day. Arrived just as the gates opened, left just as they closed, and we had very good luck in timing the rides such that we got to ride the 3 HP rides each twice, have lunch at the Hogs Head tavern/Three Broomsticks before the rush,

and have the entire RV parking lot to ourselves. Goodness, off season travel is fun. Plus, the county park where we stayed was so very close (about 4 miles) to Universal (and only $16/night) that the quick visit was just a joy. Much better than the Disney shenanigans we did last year, with the $100/night camping and the miles and miles of Orlando travel.

We only took in our iPhones (and mine has gone wonky), so the photos aren't great, but the little videos we took (but I can't upload) of the Hogsmeade shops are rather fun. There was a mandrake crying in one, and a Quidditch quaffle and bludgers trying to break out of their cases. I'd say the WWOHP part of the park was definitely worth a visit, but I sure wouldn't have wanted to make a multi-day resort vacation out of it.

The "town" part (shops, post office, restaurant/pub, wand store), Hogsmeade:

Platform 9 3/4 with the Hogwart's Express:

Hagrid's Hut at the Flight of the Hippogriff

The towers of Hogwart's Castle (really cool ride in there, based around the TriWizard's Tournament):

Lisa, picking out some of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans at Honeyduke's Candy Store. (I've had a few; there are some doozies.)

I didn't get a picture of the Dragon Challenge--the twin racer coaster that we actually rode two times in a row. We felt just like 7th graders, running off the ride and around for a second time. Had to ride each of the 2 trains.... But that did my tummy in for a few hours, so we explored other, non-HP parts of the park--Spider Man (great ride), Jurassic Park, and of course, Dr. Seuss.

Thing 1 or 2?

Then it was down to St. Augustine and our "regular" RV park for the rest of the week. The RV highlight of this visit was finally getting to meet Sharon and Mohammed (but unfortunately not Mello, their yellow lab) from the V/N list. It's been a running joke how every time we're in St. Augustine--their home town--they're somewhere else. Once they were even in OUR home town in CA when we were in FL. Great people and Sharon was even kind enough to bring some home-baked pumpkin muffins for us to enjoy that day and as we travel down the road. Yum! But, doggone it, I forgot to get a picture of them....

After treating Dad to his birthday lunch (it's #88 this month), we headed north and then made our big turn back west. We stayed at a ho-hum I-75 RV park because it was just getting too dark to get to the state park we were headed for, but that was just fine. We were able to cruise into Atlanta by noon on Sunday on a gorgeous fall day and pull right up to Fat Matt's Rib Shack 5 minutes before they opened. We were only about 6 people back in the line of hungry people waiting for the doors to open. My, oh my, we now understand why the nice Atlanta couple we met in Charleston, SC told us to go here. Melt in your mouth pork ribs, with a sauce that seems to combine the nice peppery vinegar of the Carolinas to the east with the tomato base found just to the north in Memphis.

Then we headed just 4 miles away to the Carter Center and Presidential Library. He was only 56 when he left office in 1980; his accomplishments post-POTUS are really impressive. And the $10 million renovation of the museum completed last year was quite impressive.


And the required Oval Office shot. Very Georgia-peachy.

A statue called "Hope" in the rose garden:

Our mission tonight was to stay in a COE campground (of which there are tons around here), but we noticed at the last minute that most are closed for the season. So, we're at a commercial campground, a little early, enjoying the wifi and cable TV as we are both still fighting colds. Best to be off the road when you're tired (and it's raining). Gotta get rested up for our fun week heading north, via the Natchez Trace, Nashville, Mammoth Cave, and who knows what other scenic KY/TN hamlets we might find on our way to Indianapolis. (Suggestions welcome!)

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