Room 210, Hampton Inn

Once again adventure found us. And once again, it was not the adventure we had expected. 

Atlanta-Bound for Work

After the holidays we had planned on a week-long stop in Atlanta, GA. I had an opportunity to do an ExpressionEngine class there with both a local firm and some non-local students. The class is 4 days long so with an extra day or two on both ends it usually makes for roughly a week of work.

Time is Tight

The original plan had been to get our trailer back out of storage in NE Georgia, move back into it and stay at Stone Mountain, a theme park with campground in the Atlanta area.

The accident we had on the way home for the holidays changed these plans as we got our truck back out of the body shop with just three days to spare before our class was supposed to start.

We decided to wait to get the trailer back and instead booked a hotel room for the week of training.

Ice Storm Coming!

On the drive down from Kalamazoo, MI to Atlanta we checked the weather and learned of a predicted snow and ice storm for the Atlanta area. Knowing we’d want to be in place in the hotel before any storm hit we pulled a long day on the road and got into Atlanta a day earlier than originally planned. 

We then waited to see if the storm turned into what they were predicting.  And yes, it did.  First freezing rain, then snow, then more freezing rain piled up into up to two inches of ice in some places. 

Food Shortages?

Atlanta is not well-prepared for such weather (the city is said to have only 8 plow trucks) so the area was paralyzed.  We stayed tucked in on that Sunday and then on Monday, Data and I ventured next door to an open Kroger and bought a couple days supply of food.

Some of the shelves were already empty.

I will admit, I have never been in a spot like this trying to decide what was a responsible purchase to keep my family fed and what was too much.  I didn’t want to go into hysteria mode and start to hoard the available supplies.  The forecast had warmer weather a couple days out so that was reassuring.

New Games

eBook: Homeschool Legally While You Travel the USA

eBook: Homeschool Legally While You Travel the USA Worried about homeschooling legally while you travel?

The HSLDA says to "follow the laws of any state you are in for more than 30 days". But what do the states say?

We contacted all 50 states, asked them how to homeschool legally while traveling there, and compiled their responses into this 45 page eBook.

On Tuesday we attempted to get out of the hotel for a while on a family walk and it was treacherous!  We made it about two blocks, finding an open Toys R Us (where we purchased some new games to keep us busy) and an open restaurant for a fresh meal (and leftovers).

Class? Class?

The big puzzle during this whole time was what to do about the class we had scheduled.  Of the non-local students we had three cancellations, but two had managed to make it into town. 

One student had driven in from Florida, and one had managed to make it all the way from central Mexico. These two were close to our hotel.

The local students (who were also providing the facilities for the class) were actually not as handy, and the offices were not expected to open until Thursday.

Give Class. Repeat

We ended up splitting the one 4-day class into two 3-day classes. The first run-through was for the non-locals and we did it at our hotel. The second class was for the locals and held at their offices. 

While requiring two days more work this solution was the best we could come up with given the situation.  It did extend our hotel stay to 10 nights total.

Buckhorn Hampton Rocked

Speaking of the hotel, we do have to say that the staff at the Buckhead/Atlanta Hampton Inn was very helpful during this whole ordeal. We know there were several staff members staying at the hotel during the storm.

They kept up the hot breakfast even though they had to buy fill-in supplies at the Kroger. They opened up a conference room for our class and let us all use the wi-fi at no cost.

Throughout our entire stay they were friendly, helpful and personable. We noticed the staff had a bit of a “family” thing going on with peals of good-natured laughter often coming from the front desk.

We had pretty much settled on Hampton Inns as our hotel of choice and this experience confirms that decision.

Freedom!

Yesterday we finally checked out and drove two hours to where our trailer has been waiting in storage at a friend’s place. We re-mounted the bike rack and bikes on the truck, put our Rubbermaid containers inside the trailer, and drove about 15 miles to a state park.

The day was sunny with temperatures in the mid-50’s, and the park is pretty with a historic covered bridge, dam, and grist mill ruins.  We very much felt like the day was a reward for a few rough weeks lately, and are very much feeling back “at home” in the trailer. 

We’re spending the day catching up on work and laundry and getting the truck and trailer re-packed. Our intent is to head out tomorrow for somewhere south.

Back in the saddle!

Trying to take a walk after the storm.

Trying to take a walk after the storm.

Storybird shows the problem - ice!

Storybird shows the problem - ice!

Data with his ice chunk

Data with his ice chunk

Ice on the shrubs

Ice on the shrubs

An open restaurant makes the fact obvious

An open restaurant makes the fact obvious

A hotel employee clears the parking ramp. No plows!

A hotel employee clears the parking ramp. No plows!

The parking lot at our training venue 5 days after the storm.

The parking lot at our training venue 5 days after the storm.

An omnimous portend on our trip down - 40 powerline trucks

An omnimous portend on our trip down - 40 powerline trucks

Grocery store shelves after the storm.

Grocery store shelves after the storm.

Killing time in the hotel lobby.

Killing time in the hotel lobby.

Data on his hotel-bound birthday. 14!

Data on his hotel-bound birthday. 14!

We watched a number of Redbox movies.

We watched a number of Redbox movies.

Buckhead church was just across the street.

Buckhead church was just across the street.

Hotel life is less glamorious that it sounds.

Hotel life is less glamorious that it sounds.

Data and Storybird lounging in room 210.

Data and Storybird lounging in room 210.

Finally packed to leave.

Finally packed to leave.

Initial Reaction

Walk for food

Family Walk. Or not.

Car trying ramp.

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5 Comments Room 210, Hampton Inn

  1. Picture of Phil L.Phil L.January 21, 2011

    Great to see you’re back on the road again! I’ll admit I’ve been checking in here regularly, hoping things were working out with the truck repair and your class schedule. Given the whole situation, it sounds like things worked out as well as could be hoped for - particularly given the uncertainty that the weather provided.

    If you get a chance, please let us know how the repair process worked out. The thought of dealing with a serious tow vehicle situation on the road - and repairs that might not be up to the stresses of real-life towing - has always been a concern of mine.

  2. Picture of BoyinkBoyinkJanuary 21, 2011

    Hey Phil -

    Thanks for the comment.

    Well, it’s funny you should ask about the repair.  The shop got the truck through as quickly as possible, and working with their people was great. The body work is fine and the truck looks good from the outside again.

    After we picked it up I was looking through the work done and noted that nothing had been re-done on the rear axle (recall that it had been pushed back on the driver’s side and we had it temporarily fixed at the Chevy dealer in KY).  I called the repair shop to get their input and they were confident that it was OK to hit the road with.  Since MI was under cold, snow and ice I really didn’t have a chance to crawl around under the truck and look at things.

    Just this morning I was airing up the tires and for some reason thought to look over the drivers side rear tire at the place where the axle is clamped to the leaf spring.  I was disappointed to see that the leaf spring centering pin is still broken and loose in the hole, and there is one u-bolt that isn’t seated properly on top of the spring.  It’s all good and tight, and might last forever, but I’d like it repaired correctly and put back the way it was before the accident.  I just don’t want to have to worry about the rear axle considering our heavy use of the truck.

    So, we’ll be on the phone with the insurance company to see what our repair options are now that we are in FL and headed West.

  3. Picture of Phil L.Phil L.January 24, 2011

    Thanks for sharing the details.

    Yes, I’d be concerned about rear axle attachment hardware that isn’t right - particularly in a towing situation. Sadly, it’s often best to check these things out yourself, as opposed to an after-the-fact discussion with the shop.

    I’ll recommend getting it looked at promptly, independent of your insurance situation. Safety trumps the “who pays for it” discussion.

  4. Picture of salguodsalguodJanuary 27, 2011

    I love how in pic #1 you guys are having trouble walking and pic #2 there’s a guy driving by in a late model Porsche 911.

  5. Picture of BoyinkBoyinkJanuary 28, 2011

    Tells you something about the mindset of a person who would own such a car…

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