Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 1 - The Breakers

We left around noon and drove five hours straight. We just stopped to get gas and go through the drive-thru at McDonald's. We took no bathroom breaks! This, for us, is quite an accomplishment. I cannot believe we made it five hours without stopping at a rest area.

Paradise Tower behind the parking garage

We arrived to the Breakers and temporarily parked outside of our building, Paradise Tower. It's rather confusing to make reservations at the Breakers because they have three towers - North (oldest), Palmetto (the short tower), and Paradise (the nicest-looking from the exterior and where we've stayed with the Beta Club in years past). So, we had to walk over two buildings to check-in. The front of Paradise Tower smelled like a dumpster.

Now, having driven five hours without stopping to use the restroom, we all needed one desperately. However, there was no public restroom facility to be found.

Upon checking in, we were informed by the rather rude employee that we had "an oceanview on the side." "On the side? We wanted oceanfront." "Well, you booked oceanview. It means you have a view of the ocean." Normally, this is when one would offer to upgrade us. "So if I stick my head out of the window and look to the side, I can see the ocean?" She didn't find this funny.

We walked back over to where we had temporarily parked our car and got a luggage cart. It took us a while to get out the bags we needed (we had my pageant dresses and stuff in the trunk, too). Mom took the car to park it in the parking garage across the street, and Rachel and I headed on up with the luggage.

This luggage cart was epic fail. It had a major pull to the side and would randomly spin around. We made it into the elevator, and someone immediately took notice of our baggage. "You must be hear for the dance competition." Maybe it was the garment bags that caught her eye.

Our room was on the fifteenth floor at the end of the hallway. It was an "oceanview studio" according to Ms. Smarty-Pants at the front desk. It appeared that our room and the room next to it (which I would assume to be an "oceanfront studio") could be rented at the same time and connected.

Now, I had stayed in Paradise Tower twice before (Rachel once before), and with the exception of the matching bedspreads, our three-bedroom villa looked nothing like this studio.

Two queen beds

The bedroom had a flat-screen television. There's a closet on the left and then a water heater on the right.


Living area

Sleeper sofa (I suppose this room could sleep up to six)

The living area had a flat-screen television, as well.

The cabinets had water damage.

The refrigerator was old and bent out of shape.

More water damage

There was a flourescent light over the sink. With a pull cord.

Our "side balcony"

"oceanview" (look left)

What you saw if you looked right

Straight view

Look down. There was loud music coming from here at most times during the day and night.

Small parking garage (this should really be for compact cars only)

Star Systems Dance Nationals at Myrtle Beach

We've never been big Myrtle Beach fans. In fact, every trip to Myrtle Beach that I remember has been with a group. I went two years in December with Beta Club, once in February with dance, and three summers for dance. So, the majority of my time at Myrtle Beach has been spent at the lovely convention center.

Anywho, I was there July 10-12 for Star Systems Dance Nationals. Mom and Rachel stayed until the fifteenth, but I had to leave for South Carolina's Junior Miss.

Read on!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 8 - Destin Commons and Johnny Rocket's

We needed to swing by Bass Pro Shop to see if they had any lifevests (mine is beginning to show some wear). They did... there just weren't any cute enough for me.

They were having a Fourth of July sale. Rachel got a $5 tee-shirt with the American flag and a bass in front of it. It's so redneck.

We went into Build-A-Bear to get a Destin bear tee-shirt for Rachel. I don't know why she wanted it. I suppose to dress a bear (that would make sense, wouldn't it?).

We wanted to eat lunch at Johnny Rocket's - it's tradition. Johnny Rocket's didn't open until 11:00, so we had about 40 minutes. I had been asking about a Disney store, and there's a Disney Character Outlet at Silver Sands, so we decided to drive to Silver Sands, then come back for lunch at Johnny Rockets, then hit the road.

The traffic was fine until we wanted to get into Silver Sand's. Dad was in the left turn lane, and the light was very short (not to mention the cars were taking their sweet time turning). Only four cars made it through each light. We sat there about twenty minutes until we got into Silver Sands. We headed directly to the Disney Character Outlet and... in it's place was a Levi's. What the heck? I don't want Levi's! I want Disney! We circled Silver Sand's just to make sure it hadn't moved to a different location. Nope.. wasn't there.

So, we went back to Destin Commons, and stood right in front of the door to Johnny Rocket's until they let us in.

We were the first seated, and we all knew exactly what we wanted to order (for me this was the Original - no mayo). Our food was brought promptly, and we ate in good time.

We then loaded up and headed back...

As you can see, everyone fell asleep but me.

We made good time (with few stops) and got home in time to go out on the lake and watch fireworks.

Day 8 - Checking Out

The garbage truck woke us all up at 7:00. So, we just got up, got ready, and started packing.

We were loaded at about ten after nine.

Of course, before we could leave, we had to take our annual airbrush tee-shirt pictures.

We're such rebels...

Day 7 - The Track

We brought our balls back to The Track to finish our round of putt-putt from the previous night. We decided that we'd play the first five holes, and you could count the better of your two scores. I think I only improved on one hole. Putt-putt was still pretty backed up, but we didn't think it was as bad as the night before. However, we did have a lot of goof-off time in-between holes...

Helen shot her first hole-in-one EVER!

After putt-putt, we headed over to race go-carts. It's a multi-level wooden track that goes around in circles. It's fun, but the line is always very hot and completely outrageous. Dad thought we didn't have enough tickets, so he bought six more. It turns out we had just enough before. It's three tickets per person to ride (and the minimum age to drive is 14).

We waited about thirty minutes until we finally got to go. We were at the back, and no one passed me the entire time. I passed two people, I think. I know I passed one guy because I got right in front of him, then slammed on my brakes. I was also swerving from side to side so he couldn't pass me. I'm pretty sure I ticked him off.

Helen spun out. bahahaha... she was right behind me, then I wasn't paying much attention. Apparently the guy I passed and made angry rammed right into her right before they were going back into the loading area.

Dad had his camera out and was trying to take pictures, but the lighting is terrible. He did take video, though.

Here's our one picture after, in front of the track.

Day 7 - Beach

It was our last full day in Destin. By now, we have this down to a routine - wake up, eat breakfast, BEACH.

There were a lot more umbrellas on the beach, today. We figured that people had come in for the Fourth.

We were stuck beside the drunks, again. They taught us a drinking game - shotgun. Apparently, it is quicker to cut a hole in the bottom instead of trying to drink it out of the top. This one girl could puncture a beer can with her teeth. It was hardcore.

We decided to eat in, tonight, so we'd have more time for putt-putt and go-carts at The Track. We finally left the beach at 5:00. I don't think any of us wanted to go, though Meredith was the most resistant (Rachel was a close second).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 6 - High-Steppers at HarborWalk Village

After the air show, we ventured in the other direction to find the High-Steppers, a dance company composed of mainly senior citizens who performed "exhilarating" patriotic tap routines.

We were told that the fireworks show didn't start until nine, and we didn't want to hang around for another hour, so we decided to head back towards our condo. Rachel requested that we stop by the $5 Souvenir store on our way back. As soon as we get out of the car, we see fireworks going off in the distance. So much for starting at 9:00.

It turns out that everything in the store isn't $5. However, we did pick up three $5 tee-shirts for friends.

While we were in the store, it started storming, again. We think maybe they set off the fireworks early because of the weather.

Day 6 - HarborWalk Air Show

We hadn't walked too when we noticed the air show start above us.