Hilton Head Island Vacation – Sunday 7/13/08

Getting Around Town – Our first order of business, once food was taken care of, as with anywhere we go for the first time, is to familiarize ourselves with the area. Thanks to our Delphi NAV200 GPS we were able to quickly get to where we wanted to go. In addition to the GPS my phone, the Blackberry Curve 8830 from Verizon Wireless, is equipped with GPS, call VZ Navigator. The VZ Navigator was especially helpful in finding area restaurants, stores, and attractions.

Bike Rides – Our bikes were indeed delivered as promised by Patriot Bike Rentals of Hilton Head Island. They were excellent bikes for getting around the resort and getting to the beach. That was just about our first order of business, trying out the new bikes and seeing the beach. I was a little worried that with my injured ankle that riding a bike would prove too much. My doctor gave me the approval so I made the attempt and I am glad I did. I was able to get around fantastic on the bike. There was a short distance that I had to walk the bike to the actual beach, which proved challenging on the softer sand, but once I was on the packed sand, it was exhilarating riding the bike along the beach with the waves crashing to the shore.

July 5, 2008 – Smoky Mountain Knife Works then on to Hilton Head

We woke with the anticipation of officially heading towards the thrust of our vacation this year: Hilton Head Island. We woke to showers in hopes they would taper off by the time our started down the road. Now, no trip to Sevierville, TN is complete without stopping by the Mecca of all knife stores Smoky Mountain Knife Works 2320 Winfield Dunn Parkway Sevierville, TN 37876 Tel. 865-453-5871.

We initially made a trip there and spent roughly 2 hours, but we had to make one more pilgrimage there. Nathan wanted a knife with an “assist-open” feature. Typically, there is a spring in the mechanism that enables the user to “flick” the knife with your finger to open it. This is similar to a push-button feature found on switch blades, but is legal in most states. He settled on a Buck knife (about $70.00) and I too got a a couple of new knives. I’m fond of Gerber, SOG, Leatherman, Kershaw, Columbia River, and Buck knives.

  • Nate’s New “Buck Tempest” – See Pic HERE
  • My New “Buck X-Tract” – See Pic HERE
  • Plus several others

On our way out, we were stopped by a camera crew, it looked like a local Channel 10 News (WBIR) crew. They wanted to know if the high gas prices effected our travel plans. Of course, it did impact our trip, but only in that we had to budget extra money to offset the fuel prices. They also asked us how we liked Tennessee and what kind of plans we had. I’m not sure if they’ll air the footage or not, but it was sort of cool being interviewed.

From there we spent about 8 hours getting to Hilton Head Island to check into our villa. I drove all the way with a few stops for lunch, gas, and bathroom breaks. We ran into some weather on the way. We had some difficulty getting into the actual resort area since it wasn’t on the GPS, but all in all it was a good trip. We’re getting about 24 MPG, travelling at about 70 MPH.

Gas prices throughout where we were travelling were from $3.87 up to $4.05. Still beats Michigan’s $4.20.

Mangold Vacation 2008

This is one of our most exciting times of the year; VACATION! Each year, with the Lord’s help, we have been able to enjoy a modest vacation away from the hectic pace of life. This year, thankfully, will be no different. Our destinations include the following:

Pigeon Forge, TN: July 3 – 4
Hilton Head Island, SC: July 5 – 11
Charleston, SC: July 12 – 13
Frederick, MD: July 14 – 20


Pigeon Forge
We will be in Pigeon Forge, TN for just a couple of days to celebrate the 4th and to take in some mountain music and air! We booked a reasonable hotel at the Econo Lodge Riverside at 2440 N. Parkway Pigeon Forge TN 37868. It promises to be a great time, in a great location. I was told by the clerk that fireworks are viewable right from the hotel. I will be posting my review of the hotel during our stay. It’s been billed from a 2 to 3 star hotel but several sites. Incidentally, I located this hotel at Kayak.com for a rate of $79.99 (Thu.) and $99.99 (Fri.). This rate includes a non-smoking room with 2-queens with a AAA discount.

Hilton Head Island
We are super excited about this new venture for us. We have never stayed in Hilton Head and have heard many great things about it. Our friends, Pam and Ray Slone, recommended this destination to us. We booked a villa on the island at Resort Rentals of Hilton Head. This was a superb find and very affordable, especially when you can split the price with another family. In our case, my inlaws are going in “halvers” with us. The rate for the week came to $1386.45. Here is a link to the actual unit we will be staying in (LINK). As is the case with the accommodations at our other destinations, I will be posting a review of the unit here.

Charleston
Yet another recommendation from several people, Charleston is an historic destination by the sea. Some have even said, this would be even a better place to stay than Hilton Head. Of course, that remains to be seen. Our accommodations are at Sleep Inn Charleston 1524 Savannah Hwy (US 17 S) , Charleston, SC, 29407 Phone: (843) 556-6959. The rate was a bit more than I really wanted to pay, but not having been to the area, I had to rely heavily on the reviews of former guests at the hotel to determine a clean and safe hotel to stay at. According to Hotels.com this hotel would be recommended by 77% of its guests and is a 2 star hotel. Our rate was $115/night for 2-queens, non-smoking with the AAA Discount. With taxes, the room comes to $132. We typically like to keep it under $100/night, but again, not having stayed there before, we chose to hedge our stay by spending a bit more to ensure we are in a good area and at a good hotel.

Frederick
Of course, if you’re a visitor to this blog, you may have stumbled upon the fact that we have many relatives that live in the Frederick, MD area. Our accommodations here will be with family. Uncle Mike and Aunt Sharon Mangold will be our hosts and we so look forward to seeing them. But no visit to Maryland would be complete unless we frequented my Aunt Yolanda and Uncle Donny Johnson’s home where my Mamaw Dovie lives as well. This leg of our journey will be pure relaxation and lots of quality family time catching up with them. We have not seen them since last July. Way too long for my liking. Here I will visit with Mamaw and show her some of the new pics that my newly discovered cousins were kind enough to share with me.

Gas Prices
A huge crimp in our style this vacation is of course the gas prices. I created a spread sheet that I will be using to track gas prices as I go through the trip. I project our fuel cost for the entire round trip will be between $400 – $500. An actual figure, bar any other long distance trips, is $420. The total miles at 2168, with an average gas price of $4.00/gal. I know this may seem conservative considering gas is now over $4.00/gal in some areas. But, doing a search of gas prices in each area, the average still is around $4.00 with prices ranging from Michigan at $4.17 on down to South Carolina at $3.79/gal. So taking into account mountain driving and flat terrain driving, I estimate our price per mile will be approximately $.19/mile for fuel. I will track it throughout the trip to see how close my estimates are. Gas prices were taken from the AAA website Fuel Price Finder. Mileage and time estimates were made using Google Maps.

GPS
The GPS we will be using is the Delphi Nav200. I purchased this unit last November (2007) for $129 at Sears. It has been a terrific unit that has seldom steered us wrong. I tested this unit in 2007 for our trip to up east in Maine. We used to travel from Bar Harbor, ME through New York, NY to Maryland with excellence results. Just getting through New York sold me on this unit. Granted, there are slimmer and trimmer models on the market, but this unit has proved itself worthy of my demanding qualifications and will accompany us on yet another Mangold Family Vacation.

Celebrating 18 Years of Marriage – Weekend Getaway Day 2

Friday February 8, 2008 

Day 2 – Ludington to Traverse City
Shannon’s really into knitting. In fact, I’ve tried to talk her into blogging about her knitting thoughts and ideas and to even blog about the many knitting stores I’ve taken her to. We visited Nautical Yarn at 108 S. Rath Ave. in downtown Ludington. It was a quaint store that Shannon was able to purchase some leather purse handles for a project she was working on. 

The Yarn Market – Beaulah, MI
On our way to Traverse City we visited another quaint yarn store in Beulah, MI called The Yarn Market at 254 Benzie Blvd. in downtown Beulah, just minutes away from beautiful Crystal Lake. The store was at one time the bank for Beulah. In fact, the office of the store is located in the large vault of the former bank. Shannon purchased a magnetic pattern holder and some patterns.

Holiday Inn – Traverse City, MI 
From there we headed into Traverse City. We spent several hours turned around despite having a GPS. My GPS (Delphi Nav200), nicknamed Betty (it has a female voice), did an excellent job of getting us where we input the addresses, but when we wanted to get a general feel for some of the area, we got turned around. Eventually we settled for the night at Holiday Inn in downtown Traverse City.

If you are on a budget I recommend this hotel although the rate was cheap enough ($80/night). It is an older hotel, and clean enough, but the linens and decor were a bit dated. We even had a corner of our room with a view of Grand Traverse Bay. As another note, I did not sleep well in this hotel due to a convention of loud kids, with dogs, running the hall ways until almost 2 a.m. I called and complained. The staff immediately sent security up to squelch the noise, but right after the guard left, the noise picked back up with a vengeance. I think once the group found out they were getting to us, they relished in that fact and were that much more malicious. I yelled out the door once in a feeble attempt to quiet them to which the adults (yes they were bad as well) said, “now we know who complained!” I was greeted by their 2 poorly groomed Schnauzers. I quickly shut the door and stuffed earplugs deep in my ears.

Blue Tractor Cook-shop – Traverse City, MI
We had dinner before settling in for the night at the Blue Tractor Cook-shop in downtown Traverse City. I had fish and chips (cod, whitefish, and one other fish) and Shannon had a stuffed chicken breast. The meals came to about $35 with beverages. Overall we had a great meal in a rustic, but clean setting.