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Ryan and Megan's Carolina Itinerary
Saturday, February 14, 2009 - Monday, February 16, 2009

Howdy, folks! Well, it's been about four days since our last trip (and two whole days since Megan last flew on Southwest for work), so it's about time we take head out on another adventure! This time we will only be a couple states away, but we found some really good deals for the long President's Day and Valentine's Day weekend, so off we go to North Carolina! The weather won't be perfect, but LUV is in the air, and there should still be some fun stuff to see and do. Like what, you may ask? Well, most of our agenda is coming from a book called 1,000 Places to See Before you Die, which has sometimes picked some bizarre places that we could certainly have gone without. Nonetheless, check out our plans below!
~ Ryan

All times are local to the particular city. All of our travel will be in the Eastern Time Zone, so there is no difference for most of our friends and family who may be stalking us.

Emergency Contact Information:
Phone (Ryan's Cell): 410-259-4180
Phone (Megan's Cell): 443-564-1301
E-mail: (will be checked as often as possible)

Once again, we will be bringing a webcam along with us for the ride. Signal will be sporadic and reliant upon good power to the laptop, but whenever we can, we will try to pump new images to this page every 20 seconds - no need to open a new window or refresh! If the picture doesn't update, then we are out of signal. Just check back later.

*** OUTBOUND ***
  Flight #1/1: Saturday, February 14, 2009 -   TRACK IT!
  Southwest Airlines - Flight 2845 (Baltimore to Raleigh)
  DEPART Baltimore, MD (BWI) at 7:00 AM
  ARRIVE Raleigh, NC (RDU) at 8:10 AM

*** INBOUND ***
  Flight #1/1: Monday, February 16, 2009 -   TRACK IT!
  Southwest Airlines - Flight 999 (Raleigh to Baltimore)
  DEPART Raleigh, NC (RDU) at 9:05 PM
  ARRIVE Baltimore, MD (BWI) at 10:05 PM

Hotel: Night 1, February 14, 2009
Hampton Inn Franklin
244 Cunningham Road
Franklin, NC 28734
Phone: 1-828-369-0600
Room Type: Mountain View Room (1 King Bed)

Hotel: Night 2, February 15, 2009
Comfort Suites
1874 Remount Road
Gastonia, NC 28054
Phone: 1-704-865-6688
Room Type: Suite Room (1 Queen Bed)

Car Rental: February 14 (8:00am) - February 16 (9:00pm)
Alamo Rent A Car
1011 Trade Court
Morrisville, NC 27560
Phone: 1-919-840-0143
Car Type: Fullsize (Grand Prix GT or Similar)

Note: The numbers in the itinerary correspond to the map at the bottom. Hyperlinked items are from the book 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die. For context, this section was written by Ryan.

Saturday, February 14
Click for Raleigh-Durham International, North Carolina Forecast
"Hear the mighty engine roar, see the silver wing on high, she's away and [southward] bound, far above the clouds she'll fly... So I'd best be on my way, in the early morning rain." Yep, it'll be a cold and rainy morning to start off our trip [1], but we spend most of our time in the car on our trips, anyway. Our first stop is less than a half hour from Raleigh-Durham Airport: Duke University [2]. Why? Because it's there! From there, it's about an hour and a half drive to Old Salem [3]. Why? Because it's Moravian yesteryear resurrected (at least according to our 1,000 book). Besides, it's also near the Reynolda Mile to explore "the legacy of the founding families," whatever that means. Are you bored, yet? Hope not! History is exciting! Besides, now it's time for the real fun to begin as we travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway [4] to check out some of the winter scenery - or as the 1,000 book calls it, Music in the Mountains. Hey, now! That will take us straight through Pisgah National Forest and into Asheville, North Carolina [5]. We've been to this town before, but just to pass through on our way back from the Smokey Mountains several years ago. It's here that we can check out the Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa and the Biltmore (not the same one we saw 4 days ago in Miami). Yes, it may be Valentine's Day, but we aren't shelling out hundreds of dollars on a room for the night. But, as a treat to Megan, we decided against spending the night at the $35 Super8 to go with the much classier Hampton Inn [6] in North Carolina's High-Country Ramble, in the heart of Nantahala National Forest. Oh, yeaaaahh!

Sunday, February 15
Click for Buford, Georgia Forecast
"Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through. Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind." Hopefully we will be able to get up nice and early because we've got lots of driving to do today! Our first stop will be Helen [7], a town on the edge of Chattahoochee National Forest. From there, we'll make our way to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the town of Dahlonega. We'll head towards Spinger Mountain [8] to do a little hiking on the Appalachian Trail (the head of the trail, that is). From there, we're off to Atlanta. Now, this was not originally in the cards for this trip. After all, Atlanta is a LONG drive from Raleigh, but we decided to go for it, dispite the fact that we've been there before. However, on our original trip, we ended up losing lots of money and many hours because I missed my AirTran flight. Now it's time to catch up on the stuff we missed, namely the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library [9] and Stone Mountain [10]. By this point, it will be getting dark, so we'll make a short stop in Buford [11] to see where the previous owners of our house moved to (yeah, we stalk people, too), and then drive through the town of Athens [12] (part of the Antebellum Trail). After that, it's basically a 4-hour straight drive along I-85 through South Carolina to get to our hotel outside of Charlotte, North Carolina [13].

Monday, February 16
Click for Charlotte, North Carolina Forecast
"Who's gonna tell you when, it's too late... Who's gonna drive you home, tonight?" Today, we've got some places to go and people to see in Charlotte (so long as they don't see us) [14]. For lunch, we'll get some North Carolina BBQ [15] in Lexington. After that, it's time for the North Carolina Pottery Center [16] in Seagrove - or not - we'll know pretty quickly if this 1,000 book has led us astray again. From there, we'll drive by the famous golfing town of Pinehurst [17], followed by the Fearrington House Inn. A little further north lies Chapel Hill and the nation's oldest state college, the University of North Carolina (UNC). And, finally, we'll drive by the Magnolia Grill - it's in the book, but for some strange reason, they are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Oh, well, we'll find dinner somewhere *cough*Applebees*cough*. Once we get filled up, we'll head only a few minutes back to the airport to head home [18].

Don't have time to read all the nonsense above? I don't blame you. Just check out the map below to see our guesstimated route.

Just as before, these are some links where you might be able to track our flight. With all of these sites, be sure to hit refresh (F5) and click 'Retry' as applicable to view the latest information.

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