Solar Eclipse 2017 Road Trip Diary // pt.2

Hello everyone and happy Thursday! Or more accurately, happy almost-Friday! During the summer, the days blurred together and a Friday was no more exciting than a Tuesday. Now that school has started I am acutely aware of the days of the week and have been looking forward to Friday since Monday! :)

In the spirit of Fridays and weekends and vacations, I wanted to finish telling you guys about my incredible, spectacular road trip in August to see the solar eclipse. If you haven't read the first part, easy peasy, just click on over here.

Done? Okay, awesome! So when we left off I had just had an astounding cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory in Baltimore (which later had consequences, as you'll soon find out). Dun, dun, DUN!!! Happy reading :)

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Our next stop was Washington D.C. We briefly visited the National Museum of American History, which we had already been to, so we just took a quick look and ate in the grossly overpriced and underwhelming cafe. Ah well, food is food. We walked to the Washington Monument and my brother ran around photographing planes until the suffocating heat forced us back inside. We had some freezing cold smoothies and hopped in the car to drive on.

Somewhere in the trip - I honestly can't remember when or what city it was - I missed a city because I got an ocular migraine in the morning (which is an explanation for a long post but basically I haven’t had them since I started eating healthy but the combo of too much sugar + not enough water brought one on). So I spent the day sleeping and feeling really weak. 

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Once I was back on my feet and feeling like my normal Beatrice-ish self, we visited the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia where we got solar eclipse glasses and watched a planetarium show about the big event. The museum was huuuge and we soon got hungry, so we grabbed Subway sandwiches. They didn't have any avocado, but no worries, I brought my own ;)

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We walked around a bit in the evening sun and explored some old architecture and monuments. We visited a beautiful cemetery where we spotted a little lizard that made me jump as I was trying to record a video of it.

Next was Charleston. I was so pumped for this one, and for good reason, because the city was even cuter than in the photos. It was already late so we didn’t get out of the car, but we drove around and watched the sun set as tourists milled about all dressed up for dinner (it was a Sunday evening), street performers sang and played their instruments on every corner, and glowing lights came on. We found a hotel a little ways out to rest up because...

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The next day was the BIG DAY. We really didn't have a plan for where we would watch the eclipse from, but we ended up in Santee, South Carolina, which was right on the centerline of the path of totality. This meant we would get to see the full eclipse for about 2 minutes 30 seconds! We were starving, so we first stocked up on some food, then parked ourselves along the edge of a highway. It was incredible how many people were there! Cars were packed in as far as the eye could see, and police cars slowly drove back and forth keeping an eye on everyone.

I set up my camera, and got a decent view by attaching my solar eclipse glasses to my lens using a rubber band. (#diy). It didn’t get darker until the moon had just about swallowed the entirety of the sunlight. Then, there was a gray tint to the surroundings, like smoke. It was bizarre. Nothing like a sunset, more like a sunfade. I felt like I needed to rub my eyes.

Everyone got out of their cars for the climax. As the moon slowly slid into place and a halo of light erupted around the sun, people cheered and clapped. I wasn’t expecting that, but it was beautiful. So many people had driven hundreds of miles and gathered in one place just to look at the sky for a moment of darkness.

And then, it was over as quickly as it had begun. The sun peeked out and immediately overtook the darkness with its blinding light.

We then drove back to Charleston, this time to walk around. We saw a gorgeous, pineapple-shaped fountain, walked on cobblestone streets (quite dangerous, actually, don’t sprain your ankle!), and had ice cream at Häagen-Dazs. I had the Belgian Chocolate flavor and it was absolutely incredible. If you know me you know that I freaking love chocolate (I mean, just look at my Instagram bio) and I hadn’t had it for a while, so I was so ready. It was perfectly smooth, with little bits of shaved chocolate throughout, and it was just sweet enough. I know what I’m having the next time I go to Häagen-Dazs!

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Our next stop was Myrtle Beach, the longest of the trip. I believe we stayed for 3 nights. It was so nice to finally just relax. We went to the beach, swam in the pool, and walked along the avenue lined with shops and cafes. Every night we played UNO, which occasionally got very intense :) We had dinner at a super yummy restaurant called ART Burger Sushi Bar, and went on a ride on the SkyWheel, a big fancy ferris wheel near the ocean.

After that, it was time to make the long trek home. We didn’t make as many stops this time around because we were all pretty tired and just wanted to make it home to our familiar beds and showers :)

We stopped in Cincinnati, where we hoped to find a boat tour but ended up just walking around and having dinner (I had an amazing avocado burger).

We drove through Indianapolis to see the city at night and stumbled upon a motorcycle rally, which was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Hundreds and hundreds of shiny, colorful, tricked out motorcycles were packed onto the streets.

Once in Chicago, we spent the afternoon at IKEA, which was an absolute dream. They had released their new collection and had a whole bunch of new set-ups, so I was basically walking had me drooling.

Finally, we arrived home. One of the best things in life is sleeping in your own big, pillowy, soft (or firm!) bed after a long, exhausting trip. Ah, I need to stop. It is 10:30pm as I write this.

DC
National Museum of American History

Columbia
South Carolina State Museum

Charleston
Häagen-Dazs

Myrtle Beach
ART Burger Sushi Bar
SkyWheel

Cincinnati
Brothers Bar&Grill

Chicago (Schaumburg)
IKEA

Sooo, my question for you is - of these cities, which would you most like to visit/go back to?

I hope you all have an amazing Thursday, make the most of it!

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 Road Trip Diary // pt.1

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Road trips are a challenge.

They are a vacation, sure, but they are not… a “retreat”. You have to be a trooper. You have to sit in a car for hours, carry heavy luggage and coolers in and out of questionable motels, navigate totally unfamiliar roads, and make a real effort to get to know the cities you visit, because there’s no one giving you an agenda.

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With every road trip that I go on, I realize how different they are from other types of vacations. You might not become thoroughly acquainted with any one city, but you get to know the world well. Because as you travel down those highways and freeways you are rapidly seeing new places, new people, new cultures. You may not get a long drink of any of them but those quick little tastes of adventure give you the big picture of the region you are exploring.

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The reason I am talking about all this is because I’m about to tell you about my latest trip :) In August, I traveled with my dad and my brother down to South Carolina to see the solar eclipse. As soon as I told my dad about this once-in-a-lifetime event (a solar eclipse going across the entire US) back in the spring he decided - we must go. 

So we planned a trip. Or, not really. We didn’t do much planning. We just picked some dates and went. We booked hotels along the way, and found tourist attractions on the spot. It’s a little different to my style of traveling. I wanted to make maps and lists and schedules, but my dad assured me it would be nice to just explore freely. So I let go.

We left our home in @#*%)# (No, I did not just swear, I just don’t want to give away my hometown on the internet). Our first stop was Indianapolis. We were there with one simple goal that was rained out when we visited the city on our previous road trip. We were going to ride a surrey bike around the canal. It was hot and sunny, but dry, so the plan was a go. 

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INDIANAPOLIS

The surrey was a cute little thing and easy to pedal. It had two steering wheels, although only one controlled its path. I sat behind the fake one, but due to having just learned how to drive, I would turn it by instinct. My dad would look over, “You know the wheel doesn’t do anything, right?”. 

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We rode along the GORGEOUS Canal 337. I loved all of the cute little cafes and apartments on its edge, and there were so many people walking and jogging. I was like - I want to live here (I would soon realize these would be my exact thoughts in almost every city we visited).

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COLUMBUS

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We drove past Columbus, the hometown of Twenty One Pilots. Sadly, we did not spot them. I believe they were on vacation. Sad. However, I can see why they like it there. It’s a beautiful city and the German Village is adorable. (Also see picture at the beginning of the post).

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PITTSBURGH

 

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In Pittsburgh, we took a trolley up a very steep hill. So steep, in fact, that the trolley was built diagonally. It was a short, slow ride with incredible views. We explored the neighborhood at the top of the hill, saw a beautiful church, witnessed an outdoor yoga class, and took many pictures. It was there that I decided that the formula for my dream city would be as such: big city + hills. I had visited San Francisco before and fallen in love. Now Pittsburgh confirmed for me that this formula holds true on the other side of the country as well.

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FLIGHT 93 MEMORIAL

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The next morning we found out that the Flight 93 Memorial was right on our way, so we stopped there. I was expecting a small little exhibit but was very impressed by the sobering breadth of the memorial. It was quiet and breezy and people spoke in low voices. It was hard to believe that such a terrible thing had happened in such an inconspicuous prairie. While listening to recordings of phone calls made by people on the hijacked plane, I wanted to cry. To everyone that was on the plane that day and showed incredible bravery - thank you.

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BALTIMORE

Baltimore was next. While driving around town I spotted a West Elm with all glass windows. I was practically drooling at all of the gorgeous mid-century modern furniture, but sadly, we didn’t make a stop there. Instead, we parked our car and went down by the water, where a crowd was gathered around a street performer singing and dancing to “24K Magic”. Little dragon-shaped boats bobbed in the water. Joggers weaved their way along the water. 

We ate at a Cheesecake Factory. I had this amazing California Guacamole Salad, although the portion size was insane. Even my dad’s jaw dropped. I don’t know about you but too-big portion sizes kinda bum me out, because you feel like you have to eat as much as you can and then you’re full and then the meal no longer feels pleasant… Maybe my rambling doesn’t make much sense, so I shall continue. We had cheesecake, of course. You are kidding yourself if you think I did not have cheesecake. It was chocolate hazelnut flavored and it was spectacular. There's a time and place for healthy road trip snacks and a time and place for cheesecake :)

And I would say that's a pretty good place for part 1 of this road trip diary to end. I hope you enjoyed reading it! I'll have part 2 up on Thursday, so keep an eye out :) Here is a quick reference of the places that we went to (that I can remember), if you are interested:

INDIANAPOLIS
Wheel Fun Rentals

PITTSBURGH
Monongahela Incline (this is the one we visited)
Duquesne Incline (another trolley you can take)

Flight 93 Memorial

BALTIMORE
Cheesecake Factory

Have you traveled anywhere recently?

Happy Sunday!

>> Check out part 2 of the road trip diary + a VIDEO <<