Overthinking spontaneity

As much as I’ve enjoyed my two visits to Universal Studios, I had bigger, more ambitious plans for the two remaining weeks of this month – a rail trip up the coast to South Carolina culminating with four days at Myrtle Beach… which have been temporarily postponed.

It’s not that I don’t want to go, but the weather (58-61° F or 14-16° C) while comfortably cool by most NE standards isn’t really “beach weather.” Oh, and the reason it’s “four days” rather than a full week is because the nearest Amtrak station is 2hrs away in Charleston – which is itself an 8hr train ride from Orlando. So, the easiest way to get there is by bus which I believe runs ONCE per week… but Google Maps doesn’t have consistent schedule for it (is it Mon, Tues or Sat?), so if I miss it it’s an expensive Uber ride.

However, if I leave ORL on Sun, arrive in CHS late Sun/early Mon than I can spend Monday in Charleston and then take a Lyft across the river into the coastal town of Mount Pleasant where I can overnight and then take another Lyft (as Mt Pleasant is still close enough to the city to be served by rideshare) to Georgetown, SC, where I can get out, explore the city and get lunch (as it’s only 90 minutes northeast of Charleston) before calling another Lyft driver to take me the rest of the way into the city for dinner (as Georgetown, SC is on the periphery of the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area).

So, then if it’s not “beach weather,” what WOULD I do there from Tues night to Sun morning? The world class Skywheel… isn’t open due to COVID, neither is the neighboring Family Kingdom Amusement Park. As interesting as the “Gay Dolphin Shop” sounds (which refers to it being “happy/carefree” not GLBT-owned), I generally find shopping boring – especially these tacky, overpriced tourist ones. That leaves Ripley’s, Wonderworks and AMC Theaters… unless I can figure out a way to play miniature golf by myself.

Okay, so I don’t HAVE to “do” anything while I’m at the beach. But at some point, I’d have to come back from said beach… and THAT was the deal breaker for me. Not because I wanted to stay there for 2-3 weeks (trust me, I would love to), but because flights from MYR to MCO were over $250 one way for a halfway decent itinerary (though I could check for March’s prices).

As I said above, the trip isn’t “cancelled,” but with Spring Break rapidly approaching, I’d rather not risk going back in March – pandemic or otherwise. On the other hand, I could be overthinking this…

Categories: adventures, Amtrak, Autism, florida, flying, Orlando, ramblings, Rideshare, South Carolina, transportation, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day memes

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Memes: Discordant “Music”


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Loveless memes

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And, doggonit, people like you


Happy New Year! I hope that 2021 brings both acceptance and appreciation.

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Thanksgiving memes

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Soggy skies, brightening outlook

10am – Good morning from the damp and miserable center of Mouseland, USA. I got no sleep last night because of the torrential rain. It’s stopped… for the moment, but there may be a few feeder bands passing over this afternoon.

I forgot to start a live blog last night, and it’s too late to start one now. The important thing is, I’m still here and never lost power. I do have some shopping to do later in the day, but I’ll save it until after lunch just to be safe.

1:49pm – I just came back from Target. They didn’t have what I was expressly looking for, so I compromised… but forgot to buy the grocery items I went in pick up (I might as well make ONE trip as Uber/Lyft add up quickly). Thankfully, the rain held off while I was out.

7:38pm – Third day in a row that I forgot to make dinner. I also discovered that I’m out of blue trash bags (they’re surprisingly hard to find). This means I need to add another stop to the list. The good news is, I can theoretically walk from one store to the other… or just have Instacart deliver it.

Categories: adventures, Autism, florida, hurricanes, Orlando, Rideshare, transportation, weather, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

A spoopy half-day at SeaWorld

I just got back from a pleasant day at SeaWorld. Most of their rides and many of their restaurants were open (aside from a lack of pizza, they weren’t anywhere near as bad as Disney on the lack-of-food front), though most of their shows were scaled down considerably: “Dolphin Days” was 3x daily, now just one at 11am (and when it ends, that entire section of the park closes with it).

Yeah, closing a third of your park at noon is good for crowd control, but if your kid is a fan of dolphins, sting rays or turtles and you arrive at 1pm? Tough luck. Oh, and forget seeing their famous Sesame Street parade or their show in the Seaport Theatre as both are on hold due to COVID (though character M&Gs were still happening on the stoop in front of Bert/Ernie’s apartment building). “Pet’s Ahoy,” which usually takes over the afternoon slot at Seaport, is also dropped from the schedule.

Anyway, I spent the morning taking photos at the Turtle habitat (the viewing area was open, the ride was not, a trait it shared with their Artic and Antarctic exhibits – the latter having its food court closed as well, so no Asian food either!) before getting a quick lunch at the Seafire Grill. After that, I was there for the surprisingly crowded – and not socially distancing – rope drop for the rest of the park!

I’ve already seen their sea otter show and walked through their shark exhibit (it’s similar to SeaLife Aquarium on I-Drive), so the bulk of my time was spent trying to find a restroom in Sesame Street Land (I know there’s one there, I just don’t know where). You would think an “Autism Certified” park would make Sesame’s sole Autistic neighbor slightly easier to find, but, noooo, she was relegated to half of ONE shelf in a dark corner in the verrrrrrry back of their gift shop. I mean I really had to search to find her.

(her stuffed toy, Fluffster, got more shelf space than she did)

That being said, their “Kooky and Spooky Halloween Maze” was kinda cute (and not at all “spooky,” lol), but the REAL maze was trekking through their Wild Artic queue on the way to the animal enclosures. I tried getting pictures of the walruses, seals and beluga whales… but none of them seemed willing to cooperate with my camera phone. They had some nice t-shirts and board shorts in the “sale” rack in the artic gift shop though.

The main path back to the exit was closed (as they are using it for their weekend “Trick-or-Treat Trail”), so I had to backtrack a bit to get back to the main shopping hub, but from there I could take the shortcut back to the entrance area. I grabbed a medium Starbucks coffee and a large cookie and made my way out the gate – all before my watch chimed 2pm.

Categories: adventures, Autism, Coronavirus, florida, Health, holidays, Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando | Leave a comment

I can’t go home again

Today (Tuesday, more likely Thurs) was the day I was planning on going back to Pennsylvania to visit my family and tour my estranged brother’s now fully approved projects. I could also drive past my grandmother’s newly painted house (it’s supposedly blue now, but I can’t link to a picture of it), check-in with the pizza place that is moving in below my old apartment, volunteer at St John’s Rummage Sale and take some photos at Knoebels Amusement Resort.

None of that is happening… at least, not yet.

Apparently, Pennsylvania, which has not fully reopened yet, has a 14-day quarantine on visitors from high risk places like NY, NJ, or Florida (though Florida’s infection rates are down and the state hasn’t seen a death from the disease in two straight days).

I guess there’s still Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to (assuming they aren’t cancelled too) but, as much as I want to see my nieces/nephews, I don’t particularly trust a rushed, politicized vaccine. Heck, I know some people who don’t trust vaccines at all (yeah, forget Measles, Mumps, Diphtheria, or Polio – we all know Autism is the absolute WORST thing that can happen to your child).

I guess this gives me time to plan a Disney or Universal photo trip this weekend (as I love fall at Disney). I know Universal isn’t hosting HHN this year, but they do have two pop-up daytime haunted houses – which IMMEDIATELY “sold out” for the entire day when they opened! If I thought SeaWorld was decorating for the season, I’d go there, but they aren’t… and I was just at Disney last month (though some less budget conscious sites post new photos daily).


PS: I wasn’t thinking about this when I was writing this last night, but Happy First Day of Fall!

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, coal region, Coronavirus, family, florida, Health, holidays, lehigh valley, Orlando, Pennsylvania, Williamsburg | 1 Comment

Memory: Feed the beast

This post originally appeared on my Facebook page two years today: Sept 9, 2018. The markings in red are my current stats. The beast must be fed…

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