a short visit to sanford...

Jerome and I went on a little road trip to Sanford, NC to visit Justin, Sam and Peyton.

How things have changed from 3 short years ago.  It's mind boggling.  Justin is the best advertisement for parents that want to have their kids join the Army.  He has done a 180!  He was always a nice and charming kid, just misguided...now he is an upstanding citizen, just what every parent wants for their kid.

He's got a good paying, good benefits job (with opportunities for advancement), a car, an apartment, "stuff" (like a nice flat/big screen TV that his dad bought them), a wife and a baby!  Oh, and bills :)  He was telling his wife to turn off the lights in the bedroom the first day we visited!  That is hilarious to me.  Then he mumbled something about bills.  LOL!

I guess they all grow up at some point.  It's really cute.

So, we stayed for the weekend; Friday evening to Monday morning.
Friday evening we took them out to a restaurant in the downtown of Sanford.  It's not a huge town, but southern quaint.  The restaurant we tried, The Steele Pig, was really good - they specialize in BBQ and "slow" cooking.  I had the Slow Cooked Chicken with the Herb & Garlic Fries and the Sweet Corn Succotash.  The chicken, I guess because it was slow cooked, was the kind that just fell off the bone.  So good.   The fries were a different spin on the mundane, also very good; highly recommended (along with their dipping sauce which is a type of house BBQ sauce).  And I had to try something southern, so the succotash was a good choice, but probably not something I'd later crave.
Justin had wanted a burger, but this was not the place for that...so he had the Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork and I think he was fine with that.  Jerome had the Pulled Pork Sandwich and Sam had the Caesar Salad.  Peyton had some banana puffs and anything else that would keep her attention...at one point it was a (clean) diaper since we forgot to bring any type of toy.  Oops!

Saturday morning we needed to be at the Open Eye Cafe by 10:45am to meet for the Chapel Hill / Carrboro Walking Tour.  This was a really nice tour of the small towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.  It was a food tour where you walk with a guide to the different restaurants, store fronts and farmers markets and sample some of the food and drinks that they offer.  (taken from the website, but so true) We sampled innovative and upscale southern dishes, house-made chocolates, local cheese, made from scratch pie, organic wine, local beer, and more.  Jerome and I had done this type of tour once before in Seattle with our niece Sam and her hubby Mike and thought it was pretty cool.  This tour was even better, I think, however they both have different things to offer.  Anyway, I would highly suggest doing a walking food tour on your next trip to "Wherever USA"...because I'm sure there will be one in close proximity to where you are staying.
Neal's Famous Pastrami Biscuit - sooo good!
So, the tour consisted of visiting the following: Neal's Deli, Carrboro Farmer's Market, Carrboro Beverage Company, Acme, The Chocolate Door, Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe & the Open Eye Cafe.

The tour itself lasted for just over 3 hours, but we were there either waiting at the beginning or at the end for an additional hour.  Surprisingly, Peyton did fantastic during the whole tour.  No crabby baby here!

Afterward we went back to the apartment and took a swim.
We bought tickets for Sam and Justin to go see a comedy show in Raleigh that evening and Jerome and I got to watch Missy Peyton!  She was very good, but I got the steps wrong...I fed her a bottle, which put her to sleep...but then wanted to put her to bed, but needed to change her diaper, which woke her up and then she didn't want to go to sleep any longer.  What we forget after 24 years!  Eventually, everything worked out - but I think I still didn't do it right because she woke up crying a couple of times before Sam and Justin got home...and then again during the night.  Not used to me, I guess.

Sunday was a lazy day...well, lazy for us.  Sam and Justin worked to prepare our breakfast; pancakes, bacon and hash-browns and later that evening they prepared our dinner; brats, kielbasa with peppers and onions, chili and pork 'n beans.  In between we swam, Jerome took a walk around the area (in the 100 degree heat - no thanks!) and we were all mesmerized by our iPhones and iPods.  Someone should have taken a picture of all of us playing 7 Little Words.  Justin needed to go to bed early so playtime was over around 10pm.  Gave him a nice hug and watched a Netflix video in the bedroom, which Sam & Justin so graciously gave us use of during the weekend.
We left Monday around 10am heading to Burnsville, NC.  This was my sister D's old stomping grounds when she was in college.  She worked during the summers at the Parkway Playhouse and I enjoyed visiting her there when I was a kid.  So, I dragged Jerome all the way there to see if it was still there.  It was!  Even the B&B that my mom, sister Terry and I stayed one summer.  The only thing that was no longer there was the Yancey County Country Store.  We stopped in at the Chamber of Commerce to see if I really remembered it correctly...if it had been there in the past.  And it had been...but burned to the ground in the 80's.

Then we headed toward The Stairway to Heaven, which is a portion of road from Abingdon, VA to Elkhorn City, KY.  It takes about an hour and a half to drive through this windy-curvy road.  Someone from our MINI Club had mentioned it on the forum and so Jerome thought we'd try it.  It was a really nice drive but I had to make Jerome slow down one time because I was getting a little scared.  We were done driving around 9pm and then needed to get a hotel room.

Jerome had this great idea to go to a McDonald's and book a nearby hotel using Hotels.com at hopefully a lower rate.  While in the McD's parking lot, Jerome started booking it and decided that before he hit the button to purchase the room, he would call the hotel and make sure we were getting the best deal.  He called the number on the website and as it turned out, it was the number to Hotels.com.  The guy on the other line told Jerome that there were no rooms at the Holiday Inn in Pikeville for that evening.  Jerome told him that the website says that there are rooms.  So he went though the whole process of buying the ticket over the phone with the guy on the other end of the line.  At the end, Jerome said, well, I was able to book a room and the guy was dumbfounded, but said that there may have been issues with his computer and they hung up with each other.  I looked over and said "well, it didn't work out the way you had planned, did it?  You wanted to call the hotel and see if the rates were any better and now you've purchased the room anyway without finding that out."  He agreed and then a thought crossed his mind about the date he put into the computer.  He rechecked and it seemed to him that he had typed in the 5th rather than the 6th, but how could Hotels.com allow him to book a room for the night before...?  We drive to the Holiday Inn and start explaining the whole thing to the clerk.  As it turns out, Jerome not only had the day wrong, but he had the month wrong too.  He had booked this hotel for September 5th.  He hadn't changed the date from a previous search he had done on that website for a different vacation.  Luckily, they still had one room available and they ended up charging us the same amount that we would have paid on Hotels.com.  Jerome had to then log on to Hotels.com and cancel his September reservation, at no charge.

We go up to the room and the whole floor is a smoking floor and the room is a smoking room!  I think we must have smoked 10 packs of cigarettes that night between us.  It was really awful, but that was the last room they had.

The next day, we still had 9 hours of driving to complete before we were home.  Since Jerome had driven the entire time yesterday, this was my day to drive the whole way.  A long boring drive.  We got all the way home on one tank of gas that we had filled up in Pikesville, KY.  We had 15 miles to empty when we drove up our driveway.

Got into the house, which was HOT and turned on the TV so we could watch The Voice when Jerome heard the TV squeal and pop.  There was a black bar on the screen that went from left to right and then he saw and smelled smoke coming from the TV.  It died right there and the smell of burning electronics filled the air.


dynochick (Jan) said…
It's always something.
Deni said…
I love reading your blog. I actually enjoy talking with you about your life too, but somehow the blog has the best stories. Love the shots of that baby,,,,she is so cute! And Justin and Sam are such a beautiful couple.
baby sister said…
I think it's because with a blog, there are no interruptions of my train of thought...you HAVE to listen to everything I say and so you get the whole story.
Anonymous said…
What do you mean?

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