Hey guys. Me again with "the rest of the story" from Melissa Lasseter and her VBS gang from Miami Shores Baptist Church. I met Melissa Lasseter, Laura Miller, and Georgina Watkins, aka “Mom" at the Ridgecrest Preview and will see them again at the Preview in Kissimmee, Florida. Yes! They are attending 2 VBS Preview events - which totally qualifies them as Geeks of the Week! Since they're from Florida, the Kissimmee Preview should be an easy drive. However, the drive to Black Mountain, NC to attend the Ridgecrest Preview was quite the ramblin' road trip! (pun intended)
Here's their story (written by Melissa) of how they drove from Florida to North Carolina - Geek of the Week style!
The Story of Three Women and a Dream
Day 1: Passengers: Laura, Melissa, Georgina (Mom) – As we started up I-95 at 6:45 in the morning, the talking began. We had decided we were going to get off of I-95 at Ft. Pierce to catch the Florida Turnpike. But as the miles clicked past, and the tongue-wagging continued, we realized that we had passed our exit 10 miles back. Thus started the search for the Florida Turnpike. (We’ve all lived in Florida most, if not all, of our lives and we knew where the Turnpike was, we just couldn’t find it). We zigged and zagged across the state of Florida, until we happened upon the Turnpike. It was a nice scenic tour and didn’t throw us off course, too much.
Back on course, the tongue-wagging commenced and was sustained all the way to Macon, GA where we called it a night as our jaws were aching and our ribs were throbbing from all of the laughing.
Sidebar #1: We had only one requirement for the hotels we stayed in…they had to have Belgium waffles. We should have stipulated that they were GOOD Belgium waffles because we found that there were varying degrees in quality assurance in waffle making across the Southeast of the US. We could write a travel book on that.
Sidebar #2: We also missed all of the outlet malls because the driver (Laura) was on a tight schedule to reach her old-Kentucky home.
Sidebar #3: But, there are plenty of outlet malls up and down I-95 that we planned on hitting on the way home.
Day 2: Macon – The next morning we were greeted with icicles hanging on the rose bushes outside of the hotel and it was approximately 28 degrees. We pulled out of Macon and split GA in 2. Note: This hotel was one with poor Belgium waffle quality control – they were terrible and we were left wanting…. Oh wait, but there is more… as we traveled up the road, we discovered something very important was left at the hotel…mom’s pillow and blankie.
We made it through Chattanooga and Knoxville without incident – that means, no car trouble, no bad weather and no shopping malls…until… Melissa saw the sign “Tour Mayfield Dairy” and Laura pulled a “bat turn” and into to Athens, TN we rolled. It was lovely little town that didn’t quite know what to do with us. The tour was lots of fun and we ended it with lunch - ice cream cones as big our heads.
Then it was over Jellico Mountain and into Kentucky – our final destination for the day. Laura kept saying it was “Only 45 minutes away”, that lasted for a couple of hours. It was 16 degrees upon our arrival, but the house warm and toasty with tons of family waiting. After dinner, Melissa proceeded to trounce everybody in Apples to Apples (even the children) and Laura was sure she was cheating – not a very good example for a VBS Director (PS – I was NOT cheating)!
Day 3: The Next Morning - It was still freezing outside, but the sun was shining. We pulled out of White Lilly, Kentucky with a new passenger: Lucy Mallicoate (Laura’s mom), now our passenger list was complete. This day’s destination was Franklin, NC. To get there, we made a slight detour through Pigeon Forge outlet mall and the drive-thru of Taco Bell for a value pack of tacos. The food worked, but UGH – we could have done so much better, but the driver (Laura) was on a tight schedule (does this sound familiar) to get over the Smokey Mountains before dark. This goal achieved, we rolled into Cherokee, NC and headed down 441 on our way to Franklin…or so we thought. On one of our frequent bathroom breaks we discovered we were no longer on 441 and we were off-course. We re-assessed our navigation officer (Melissa) and course corrections were easily made getting us back on track to Franklin, NC for the night. Now, we needed to find a dinner location where the Orange Bowl football would be shown. This was harder than you would think – we discovered places closed early in Franklin. Our only option was O’Malley’s Tavern – they were open, showing the game and serving great food – or so the person on the phone said. When we pulled up, there were no outside lights on, but we could see people inside. Laura had to convince her mom that she saw somebody inside from her church and Melissa had to talk her mom into getting out of the car. It turned out to be lovely Irish establishment and the people and the food were great. Meanwhile, the Orange Bowl didn’t start for another 1-1/2 hours and we were full and tired and decided to go back to the hotel where Melissa and Georgie played Phase 10 and watched the football game and got a call from the front desk that they were too loud….who us?!?!?!
Day 4: Dixie - Our next destination was Brevard, NC, the home of Melissa’s mother-in-law, Dixie. We made it through Highlands, Cashiers, Sapphire Valley without incident, ie: no one (Melissa) got car sick. We picked up Dixie, went into the town of Brevard and began to make up for all of the lousy food we had been eating… we must give a shout out to Big Mike’s for his great soup, salad and pizza buffet and to Rocky’s for their ridiculously huge and wonderful ice cream cones. After returning Dixie home (we didn’t have enough room in the car for her – Melissa had to sit on the cooler in the back – or we might have taken her to Ridgecrest with us), we headed to Hendersonville, NC to shop some more and find a hotel. All we wanted for dinner was a hot baked potato because we ate so much at lunch, so we went to Wendy’s…they were OUT OF baked potatoes! We found a Fatz across the parking lot and had a yummy dinner.
Day 5: Shopping - Before we get back on the highway to Ridgecrest, we had to make a shopping stop to a store that was closed the night before. This delayed our departure and the driver was upset, but her mom purchased a lovely faux fur coat for $25!!! What a deal!!! (You don’t need to include this, just wanted everybody in your office to know about the bargain). And, oh, Lucy is still having “buyer’s remorse” over the coat!!! We then drove into Black Mountain, ate lunch at a darling little restaurant, The Veranda, and then made our way to Ridgecrest – the entire purpose of this trip. We are finally here and you know what fun we had because we chatted your ear off at the Pilot’s Club reception.
Day 6: The Conference Complete - We hit the road again and made it 100 yards to Sessler Road where we drove up Black Mountain to check on friends house. Then we went lunch in Black Mountain at Mac’s Burgers and then took a driving tour of Montreat. Once on the road we didn’t get far before stopping at a Hobby Lobby – we just couldn’t wait to look for VBS supplies! We made it to Ridgeland, GA for the night. (The map says Jessup – we forgot… we ate breakfast in Jessup and ate dinner/slept in Ridgeland.) We found a fun restaurant there, too. Melissa called to see if they delivered, but why would they deliver when they were just across the parking lot??? As we walked in, the manager knew we were the ones from Miami and treated us like family. Unfortunately, the food didn’t taste like family had made it. We had fun with the staff anyway.
Day 7: Home stretch…body count…0! Amazing! - We drove down I-95 and stopped at those outlet malls we missed on the way north. This entire stretch, we planned VBS 2012! Melissa read the Adult Bible study to everybody in the car (whether they wanted to listen or not), we planned new things for the kids and adults, we brain-stormed decorations and teachers, helpers, etc, etc. We planned our first VBS work day for the Saturday following the Kissimmee VBS Preview Event. Oh, did I forget to mention, we are doing this all over again?!?! We currently have 12 people registered!
PS – If you can believe this, this is just a summary of what happened on our trip. Of course, there was the usual drama that happens at the home front and the phone calls, etc. But, through it all, the Lord made Himself known. He protected us from weather, car trouble, and illness. He gave us hope and inspiration to continue on with our 2012 VBS plans. He was with us all the way and we are so thankful!
PSS – We need to give a shout out to our Moms! We get our love for service and VBS from them! They taught us what it means to share Christ with others. They also indulge us by letting us drag them all over the country!