Friday, April 30, 2010

RV PARK REVIEW: Southern Trails, Unadilla, Georgia

After a 1-hour walk through the Fort Wilderness campground at 6:00 am, we got ourselves and the motorhome ready for travel.  We left at 8:30 am Thursday and found our way to the Florida Turnpike where we connected with I-75 North.  Destination was Unadilla, Georgia.

A couple of months ago we made reservations at a Coast to Coast park here in Unadilla.  Strange as it seems, we spent last April 28 and 29 at this same park.  We checked in this time on April 29.  Last year we were heading south to Florida....this year we are heading north and away from Florida. 

We arrived mid-afternoon and were met by a nice woman in the office of the Southern Trails RV Resort.  She had our reservation form in hand and with a magic click on her mouse, she pulled up all of our information.  We didn't have to fill out a thing.   Since we were here last year, they have also added an affiliation with ROD.  That is new and we did not have this park listed in our ROD directory.  It could have saved us $10.00 if we had known that.  $10.00 for our Coast to Coast rate is still very cheap.  We did opt to pay the extra $2.00 for a 50 amp site as it is very warm and we want to use the A/C and do some laundry (watch TV, use the microwave, electric waterheater).

We selected our own site after driving through the 50 amp section.  They have 133 full hook-up sites and 58 with W/E only.  The rows in the 50 amp section are mainly gravel and narrow, but big enough to get into the pull-through sites easily. 

I think that the 30 amp. sites are actually nicer and have a lot of grass area, plus nice pecan trees to shade you.  Because it is so warm here, we skipped these nice grassy sites in favor of the 50 amp service.  These are some of the 30 amp sites.

This is the area of partial hook-up sites looking toward the Bath House.  This is the only true bath house in the park.  Up near the 50 amp sites, connected to the office, is a restroom with toilet and sink only.  I guess if the folks in the upper sites want to use the park restrooms, they have to walk quite a distance to get there.  Not great.  Here is also a photo of the ladies portion of the Bath House.  Neat and clean, but nothing to shout about.  We never use the park restrooms, but I try to include information on them in case a reader wants to know about that.

They have a small chapel and have worship service on Sunday mornings.  There is a small mini-golf course behind the chapel.  There is a nice pool that looked clean and well maintained.  The laundry room is attached to the park office and was clean, if nothing too fancy.

There is also a small clubhouse and we were told that "free" pancakes would be served tomorrow morning.  Ahh, we'll have to skip that as we are on a mission to get rid of a few pounds we somehow picked up at Disney World.   Southern Trails RV Resort is fairly close to Andersonville Civil War Prison and Plains, the home of Jimmy Carter, and we did both of those last year when we were here. 

This park is nothing fancy, but it is adequate.  It is right next to I-75 and you can hear a little bit of freeway noise, but nothing disturbing.  I don't think I'd want to spend more than a day or two here, but for an overnight it is just fine and dandy.

Until next long for now!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grand Finale

Our 2-week vacation at Walt Disney World has come to an end.  This morning we will be pulling out of here and heading north into Georgia.  It has been a great trip, but I'm glad we are now ready to leave.  We have made so many other plans for our trek back to Washington and we are anxious to get started now.

We did get the chance to enjoy the special Dessert Buffet and reserved viewing of the fireworks show over the Cinderella Castle last Sunday evening.  It was a little iffy there for a while as a big thunderstorm, with lots of lightning, rolled in.  We had wisely taken our umbrellas with us to the Magic Kingdom when we went over there around 4:00 pm.  We had dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern and then did some rides and attractions until 9:00 pm when it was time to go to the area for the Dessert Buffet.  Main Street was all ablaze with brilliant white lights.

There were a lot of desserts at the long buffet tables.  Typical of Disney chefs, they are made very small so that you can sample several different types.  They were sooooooo good.  There were probably 25 tables filled with guests.  Prior reservations were required.  The four of us enjoyed good conversation and those incredible desserts and some coffee. 

The rain kept right on raining but the lightning had finally stopped.  They delayed the start of the scheduled 10:00 pm fireworks to make sure the weather would cooperate and they finally got underway around 10:20.  I took several photos, but since my camera is fairly simple they weren't the best.  I am posting some of them anyway....because it is all I have.  In the evening hours the castle is lit up and it changes colors about every 10 minutes.

The fireworks could have been a little better because there were still a lot of storm clouds above WDW.  Still, they were fun to watch.  It brought back memories of our trips to Disneyland with our kids when we would stay until the nightly fireworks were over. 

I still have a few WDW photos left over, and I may just stick a few in from time to time.  In the meanwhile, it is time to move on to bigger and better things.  I hope you all enjoyed our trip to Disney World.

Until next long for now! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

EPCOT Has Japan And China

Today is Bruce's birthday.  He is 63 years "young" and is celebrating at Walt Disney is our final day here.  So...Happy Birthday, Bruce!! 

I'm running out of time here in the Happiest Place on Earth, so I'm lumping some World Showcase pavilions together for one post.  We'll be leaving WDW on the 29th and getting back to the real life of fulltime RVing.  The vacation will be over.

Let's Look At Japan:

Japan is beautiful and serene.  There is a lot of vegetation surrounding this pavilion and I've read that they are all varieties of native Japanese plants and trees.   There are some semi-hidden paths for exploring some of these native plants.  There is a lot of natural beauty here.

The building in the left photo is a 2-story building with 2 restaurants on the top floor and a huge retail shop at ground level.  It is one of the largest shops in all of the World Showcase.  The photo on the right shows the same building (right side of photo) and a walkway through a large courtyard which will take you to another shop entrance or to the Bijutsu-kan Gallery.  The gallery shows off some beautiful Japanese artifacts.

The 5-story blue-roofed pagoda is the centerpiece and landmark for this pavilion.  The roof detailing here is amazing.

We are not eating at the full-service restaurants here this time.  Last June we ate at the Teppan Edo and it was very good.  The teppan chefs prepare your meals at your table.  Guests sit around 3 sides of the cooking stove to be entertained.  The other restaurant is called Tokyo Dining.  We have never eaten there.

Downstairs in the large shop you can buy anything relating to Japanese culture.  They have a huge selection of chopsticks and a large toy department and home goods department, besides many other things.

Up by the quick service cafe is a beautiful garden with a koi pond.  It is hardly ever busy and we enjoy eating there.

Now Let's Take A Quick Trip To China:

In contrast to Japan's pavilion with the quiet color scheme of blue and white, China is a kaleidoscope of bright, vivid colors.  The main entry to the pavilion shows those beautiful colors.

There is also a beautiful 1/2 sized replica of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.  If you walk into this "temple" you will find a waiting area for the circlevision 360 film.  This is a fantastic film showing many of the wonders of China.  We always see this film when we visit.  There were a pair of beautiful Chinese women standing on the temple steps to welcome the visitors.

Both small and large details are seen in the architecture here in China.  I can only imagine how beautiful the "real China" must be.  There is a large pond in front of the temple and this time there was a large dragon in the middle of it.

There is a very large gift shop here, much like in Japan.  There is also an exhibit representing the Tomb Warriors that have been discovered in China.  They had several replicas of the terra-cotta warriors and some information about the excavation still ongoing.   I thought about buying this hat, but decided against it.

Quick trips to 2 countries, but I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Until next long for now!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's The United Kingdom Here In The Colonies

When you enter the United Kingdom pavilion in Epcot, you will see that the design is somewhat of a 'mish-mash' of styles.  They have tried to cram a lot into a small area.  There are buildings done in the country thatch-roof style and some building styles (Palladian exteriors, pre-Geogian plaster style) from the large cities that are lumped together on one curved road.  Hey...this is Disney World and they will do what they want, even if it may not make total architectural sense.

(click on photos for a larger view)

It is still a cute and quaint looking place to look around in.  Unfortunately, there is no film or attraction to keep you here for very long.  Pity.  We have found on these last 2 visits that they have some sidewalk entertainers come out a few times a day to lure you in to staying longer.  Mostly you will find shops in this U.K.  The Toy Soldier has Paddington Bear items, books, costumes and plush toys.  There is also a store that sells good quality ($$$) football apparel (soccer), balls and books.  There is also the usual perfume and toiletries for sale plus a ton of imports from Ireland that feature woolen goods.

They have a nice pub/restaurant here called the Rose and Crown.  We have eaten here a couple of times, but not during this visit.  It is styled like a traditional English pub and in addition to a dining room there is a large bar.  It also has an outdoor seating area.  The menu features things like fish-and-chips, glazed pork loin, shepherd's pie and bangers and mash.  The food is good but we can easily skip this restaurant and not be unhappy.  To the side of this pub is a walk-up window where you can purchase just fish-and-chips and beverages.  They seem to do a brisk business.

Behind the shops is a traditional English country garden and you can stroll through and take some pictures.  Back in the garden area you can find Mary Poppins or Alice In Wonderland greeting guests and posing for photos.  There is usually a line of at least 25 to 30 families.  We waited last June with the Grands so we did not need to meet these ladies this time. 

In the far back area of United Kingdom is another town square with a bandstand.  Several times a day you can stop, watch and listen to the group, British Invasion.  They sing all the old tunes from the 60's and early 70's of the British bands, mainly featuring the Beatles music.  After they performed, I snapped a quick photo of them.

Hope you enjoyed this quick tour of the United Kingdom.   Until next long for now!


Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Always Oktoberfest In This Germany

Saturday night the kids went off to their dinner in the pavilion of Mexico here in Epcot, and Bruce and I went to enjoy a great meal at the Biergarten Restaurant in Germany.  This is an awesome place to eat.  It isn't just because the food is so good....which it is....but they have a stage show while you enjoy your meal.  It isn't a long show but probably lasts about 25 minutes.  They do this every hour during the lunch and dinner seatings.

The pavilion in Germany, like all the others, is meticulous in details.  It is done in the traditional old-style German architecture you may see in a typical Bavarian town.  All the buildings surround a plaza area.

They have the usual assortment of shops featuring German made goods....cuckoo clocks, limited edition beer steins, glassware, Hummel figurines, a toy shop, and a huge Christmas shop with loads of beautiful ornaments and decorations.  

In the morning when the pavilion first opens, some young ladies stand outdoors with their country's flag.    Toward the rear of the cobblestoned plaza lies the entrance to the Biergarten Restaurant--Oktoberfest. 

In the plaza there is a clock tower with boy and girl figures that come out on the hour and ring the bell.  There is also a large statue of St. George celebrating his victory over the dragon. 

At 6:00 pm it was time for our dinner reservations.  We were escorted to our seats in the Biergarten.  The dining room is made to look like an outdoor village setting for a German celebration of Oktoberfest.  Guests sit at long tables for 8.  We always get to sit by interesting folks when we come here and enjoy some conversation with "new friends." 

The food here is served buffet style with "all you can enjoy" amounts.  They have roast chicken, spaetzle, sauerbraten, variety of wursts and sausages, salads, breads and desserts galore.  You can also order a wide variety of German beer and they come in huge glass steins.  We stuck to iced tea, as usual.  After we served ourselves at the generous buffet table, we sat down to enjoy our first course and the show. 

A four-piece oompah band came on stage to play and sing for the guests.  It is lively, happy entertainment suitable for the whole family.  The men wear traditional lederhosen and are really fantastic.  They play a few songs and then encourage diners to come on stage to dance while they play.  Zoey wanted to dance last June when we were here so I went out with her.  This time....we chose to sit and watch.  One musician came out on the floor to do some bell ringing and then 2 of them played these large horns to the delight of the crowd.  The final dance is the chicken dance and that really brings the people out to the dance floor to dance and play.

We had a great meal and a lot of fun, too.  Once finished, we wandered outdoors to check out the large model railroad that has been set up at the edge of the pavilion grounds.  It is quite something to see the work that went into this set-up.  After that great big meal we really needed to walk around the showcase lagoon and through the Future World of Epcot for a while.  The sun had gone down and the heat of the day was over.  It was a nice, cool walk.  Lots of people....too many people milling about....but a nice walk.  It was a good day.

Until next long for now!