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Category: Road Trip 2017

Road Trip 2017 – Part Two (Crystal Coast)

I don’t think Amanda wants to talk about the car ride from Charleston to Emerald Isle.  There may have been poop involved. A lot of poop. Not Amanda’s! Elise sure knows how to time the big ones. First on the to do list upon arrival at our rental house – wash the car seat cover!

N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

What trip to the beach would be complete without a trip to the Aquarium?  We took everyone over to the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and explored everything!

Harlan standing in front of a shark tank.
Harlan getting photo bombed by a shark

And then there was the sea turtle:

Eric, Harlan, Brittney (intern), and a sea turtle.
Selfie with a sea turtle (it’s hard to get Harlan to take a photo sometimes…)

The aquarium rehabilitates sea turtles and sends them on their way when they are ready.

Elise enjoyed looking at the otters.  Comparatively, she seems to be about the same size as the North American River Otter:

Elise standing in front of a picture of various otters comparing her height.
What otter are you?

Oh, and did I mention they have an awesome outdoor adventure area? Harlan and Elise both climbed this cargo net and spent time sliding down the slides and generally running around while Amanda and I hiked the nearby loop trail (thanks to Nana and Papa for watching them so we could make this hike and feed at least a hundred mosquitoes along the way).

Harlan and Elise climb a cargo net.

Fort Macon

Elise sitting atop a stack of cannon balls at Fort Macon.Harlan sitting on top of a stack of cannon balls at Fort Macon.Years ago we brought Harlan to Fort Macon and he really enjoyed exploring.  Elise was exactly the same!  This old fort has been through a lot and is now open to the public.  There are great views of Beaufort Inlet and Harlan really enjoyed inspecting all the cannons and guns.

And, of course, there is the obligatory cannon ball photo.  We took a picture of Harlan sitting on the cannon balls when we first brought him and we had to do the same with Elise.

Before leaving, Amanda, Harlan, and I were able to get out and explore the 3.3 mile loop trail that takes you around the state park.  Very cool area and the trail was pretty busy with folks jogging, walking, and exploring.

And then there was the beach

Harlan buried himself in the sand.
Harlan buried himself in the sand.

It’s been years since I had made it back to the beach.  Unfortunately we spent a lot of time on the go so I didn’t get to spend a lot of time just staring at the water but I did get in some sand time.  Harlan decided to bury himself in the sand, Elise chased birds in hopes of befriending one, and I had a disagreement with a ghost crab during an evening walk.

Harlan and Nana in the ocean.

We also went out on Bogue Inlet Pier and watched folks fishing. The observation deck was quite busy but I was able to bring a little piece of solitude back with me:

Next stop, Plymouth!

We bid farewell to the beach and to Nana and Papa and headed inland to Grandma and Grandad’s house to close out our trip.

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Road Trip 2017 – Part One (Charleston)

Our vacation, this year, is a road trip to see the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse and to see family down in Charleston.  It’s a long drive down from Maryland but well worth it to see a rare astronomical event (and to visit family).

The long drive took place on Sunday.  Traffic on the interstate was busy but everyone kept moving and there were few problems to cause delays.  Elise decided she was going to do her best to use the potty all the way down, and she did really well!  The kids read and played well in the back seat for basically the entire trip down so no complaints there.  Amanda was getting antsy, though, and was very happy to get to Charleston.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Almost second contact during 2017 total solar eclipse
Almost second contact.

The weather wasn’t great for the eclipse.  Clouds rolled in earlier in the day and some parts of Charleston County saw thunderstorms during second contact.  For us, it was just a light cloud cover that we could see through.  Not as great as a clear sky but certainly better than a completely obscure one.

After polling everyone it seems that this was everyone’s first total solar eclipse (Eric remembers the annular solar eclipse of 1984).  With everyone outfitted with solar glasses, we ventured out in the front yard to view the event.

Elise didn’t seem entirely interested (perhaps she didn’t realize the magnitude of what was getting ready to happen) but Harlan was paying attention and tracking the event in between clouds.  It seemed at the last moment that the clouds thinned just enough to see the Moon completely cover the Sun!

Total solar eclipse with light cloud cover.
Total solar eclipse as seen from Charleston, SC 2017.

Music Lessons

Papa, the musical one in the family, is making sure to pass along his passion to the little ones.  This time Elise got into the fray.

Papa and Elise playing music. Elise playing the drum

Papa Boxing

Up a tree

I’d be remiss if I didn’t pass along Amanda’s ability to find a tree to climb…

Amanda up a tree
Amanda up a tree

Yes, there was a Geocache involved.

And now… Part Two

Our Part One went too quickly but Part Two was guaranteed to be just as much fun!

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