Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Were We Thinking?

We usually take a trip around August 25th, the birthday of my partner. This year we decided to skip our annual vacation. Money played a role, but the dogs and his return to school were bigger factors. With summer rapidly drawing to a close, rather than going without any vacation we decided to spend a weekend in the mountains. It seemed like a great idea at the time.

We reserved a pet-friendly cabin for this weekend at Unicoi State Park near Helen, Georgia. We thought it would be a nice little getaway and a good test of traveling with two chihuahuas. I imagined us enjoying a spectacular view in comfy chairs on the wrap-around deck of a quaint, secluded A-frame cabin perched on the side of a mountain. No television, no Internet, no noisy neighbors. Nice.

We went to Ontario, California--home of my Aunt Judy--in the Los Angeles area for our first vacation. She spent a week showing us all the sights. She put us up in the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood for a night and took us to a resort hotel in Laguna Beach. It was a fabulous vacation.

The next year Aunt Judy drove up to meet us in San Francisco. After a few days in the city, we drove to Fresno for a quick visit with a high school pal. Then we drove to Monterey/Carmel for a few days at the beach before returning to Aunt Judys' house in the L.A. area. Another incredible vacation.

We've gone to Myrtle Beach the last few years. South Carolina is not California. But it's close--we can be on the beach before noon by car. There's tons of stuff to do, lots of great places to eat, and it's not terribly crowded. Last year we went twice.

Friday afternoon we piled into the car with the dogs and headed for Unicoi. We picked up the keys (after paying $155 per night PLUS a $40 PER DOG pet fee) and went to find our alpine retreat. Smith Creek One turns out to be one of maybe eight dark little shacks piled on top of each other in the middle of the forest. No comfy chairs, no wrap-around deck, no scenic view, no privacy, no television, no Internet. No way.

We attempt to convince each other that we'll have a good time, though neither of us believes it. We unpack, put food and water down for the dogs, and settle in. When we returned from taking the dogs for a short walk, we noticed the food bowl was empty but couldn't recall either of the dogs eating. We put more food out. I got up to take Toodles out around 3 a.m. and noticed that the bowl was almost empty again. The next morning the bowl contained nothing but about a dozen pellets of mouse poop.

I've never been so glad to see a bowl of mouse poop in my life. It was just the excuse we needed to cut and run. We checked out--they even credited $155 back on my credit card. The entire fiasco only cost us $240 for one night in the cabin. Food mishaps added another $100 or so to the cost, but that's another story.

Next year I think we'll go back to Myrtle Beach. Until then, I'm still...

The Crotchety Old Man

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