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Published: September 1st 2011
Tamara was in her junior year of high school so we decided to check out colleges in which she had shown some interest in the Southeast.
12 April 2003 Saturday. Our first stop was Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. She wasn’t impressed, but Rosanna and Will were. Rosanna eventually went there and graduated in 2010. From Blacksburg we drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to Asheville, North Carolina, where we spent the night. The girls stayed at the hotel and got supper from room service. Will and I explored the town. We stopped at a Chinese restaurant and ordered. Will told the waitress this was the second best meal he had ever eaten. She asked what the best was. He replied, “I haven’t eaten it yet.” Back at the hotel, there was a prom going on, and the halls were filled with fancy dressed college students. We didn’t get much sleep that night from all the noise.
13 April 2003 Sunday. The next morning we picked up my sister Carol at a nearby conference center. We drove the scenic route to Taccoa, Georgia where she and her husband Steve and their three boys, Joshua, Jordan and Justin
were on furlough. By scenic route, I mean we got lost. Rather than driving south, we drove west and then backtracked. We had lunch in Highland. We drove from North Carolina to Georgia without driving through South Carolina. We arrived in Taccoa by late afternoon and the kids spent the afternoon playing with their cousins, mostly on their trampoline.
14 April 2003 Monday. We spent the day in Helen, Georgia. Helen is a fake Swiss Alpine village. We toured the southern Appalachian mountains of northern Georgia on the way back to Taccoa.
15 April 2003 Tuesday. Our next college stop was at Auburn in Alabama. Tamara liked it. She eventually applied and was accepted. She chose Colorado State instead because their brochure had pictures of students riding horses in the Rockies. The college rep told her that she would be able to ride also...that cinched it! Meanwhile, we continued to look at the other colleges. But first we took a break at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Fairhope, Alabama on the east side of Mobile Bay, which is where we drove to and spent the next several nights.
16 April 2003 Wednesday. We used the hotel's
beach and jet skis. Will had the time of his life as he was allowed to drive his own jet ski. Later in the day we checked out the local area and ate at a seafood restaurant on a dock on the bay as the sun set.
17 April 2003 Thursday. We went horseback riding in the morning. Linda’s horse didn’t cooperate as usual. A few minutes into our ride, it began to buck. Fortunately, the cowboy guide was close and he grabbed the reins. But Linda had enough so she was relegated to the wagon for the rest of the ride. She swore she would never ride a horse again...and she hasn't! The rest of us did just fine. The kids really enjoyed themselves. After lunch we drove to Gulf Shores and then east along the Gulf of Mexico to Orange Beach. We returned to the hotel and spent the rest of the day swimming and jet skiing.
18 April 2003 Friday. We spent the last day at the resort, enjoying the pool, beach, and jet skiing. We also explored the local area.
19 April 2003 Saturday. We had one more college to visit so we
drove east along the Florida Panhandle through Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, and stopped to see New Urbanism in action at Seaside; which is also the town where “The Truman Show” was filmed. Then we were on to Tallahassee to visit Florida State. When we visited colleges, first impressions counted for a lot. If the grounds and facilities were shabby, then we just drove on. Florida State was shabby, so we turned north towards home, which would take a few days to get to. We drove through Georgia to Greenville, South Caroline, arriving at our hotel about 9 pm.
20 April 2003 Sunday. We drove the rest of the way home.
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