Our voyage to Florence, South Carolina and all the crap that went with it!

Florence Travel Blog

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Courtnie (Roguefairy13) & Lena (bwitch16) on the train in route to Florence, South Carolina.

Friday, 11 July 2008 • 5:00 am


The alarm goes off and I’m up and in the shower. After Mike, Lena and Courtnie are up and ready, the car is loaded, we have a light but quick breakfast before heading out the door to the train station.


Our train is scheduled to leave BWI Airport at 7:45 am, so we wanted to leave the house by 6:30 am to get to the train station by 7:00 am.

My son Mike and me on the train in route to Florence, South Carolina.
This gave us plenty of time to avoid any morning rush hour traffic, park the car and get checked in. Oh but wait, we are just down the street from our house and Lena says "Stop, we have to go back!!" I'm like, what?? She forgot to put on her wedding rings!! Looks like this trip is going to be full of mishaps already. We'll make this #3.


Our train out of BWI arrived at Washington D.C. Union Station at 8:15 am where we had a train change with an hour and a half lay over. This gave us time to find our way around Union Station and get second breakfast. Some people asked why we didn’t just drive to Washington D.C., but I do not like driving through Washington, especially during the week with all the traffic, and I wasn’t sure of the parking at Union Station. I’m familiar with the station at BWI Airport, and it’s easier to get to the BWI station from our home in Annapolis.

Our hotel in Florence, S.C The rainbow tells us it's all ok now :)
The train out of Washington D.C. was scheduled to leave at 9:55am and be in Florence, South Carolina at 5:25pm. 


Now the decision to take a train and not drive to Myrtle Beach was made because Lena and Mike do not like sitting in a car for a long period of time. Myself and Courtnie are fine with it, but we thought the train would be more comfortable and an easier trip. Trains have toilets, and food, and drinks. They also serve beer, so that’s a plus for me! You are also able to get up and walk around and stretch your legs. All this is not possible if we are driving, and it’s definitely less expensive than flying!


Now mishap #4

While waiting for our train at Union Station in Washington D.

This is Courtnie & Lena singing the "Baby Shark" song while on the train between Washington D.C and Florence, South Carolina
C., the fire alarm goes off and an announcement is made that the entire station has to be evacuated! Holy crap!!! Evacuate? This is unreal! So the entire Union Station evacuates, very calmly I might add, with no problems at all. Of course this kind of thing always brings out the “crazies” that start spouting off about how it’s all a terrorist plot, or some government cover up or some crap like that, so we had to listen to two of these guys during our evacuation. We are now all outside the building when security personal tells every one to move away from the building and go across the street. At this time, here come all the fire trucks and rescue vehicles…how exciting. I take this opportunity to take a few pictures of Lena and the outside of Union Station. After about 15 minutes, the all clear is given and everyone heads back inside the station. Now we can continue to explore the beautiful interior design of the station while we wait on our train, and eat some more.


The train arrived in Washington D.C. on time, we boarded and found empty seats across the isle from each other, stowed our luggage over head, and the train left Washington D.C. a bit early.


Now the fun begins with bad event #5. The lady sitting directly behind Mike and me had two very small children sharing one seat, and they were watching some religious, praise the lord or we’re all going to hell revival shows on one of those portable DVD players…and they did not have headphones, so we had to listen to it too! Now don’t get me wrong or judge me, I believe teaching young children religion at an early age is a good thing. It teaches respect and many other great traits people should have. I went to church and Sunday school when I was young, but I’m older now and I have my own beliefs and opinions on religion. It’s a big world out there, and there are a lot of different religions and beliefs, more than any of us will ever know or be able to understand. You can worship whom ever, or what ever you like, it’s your choice, that’s ok with me, but I’m not a religious person so I shouldn’t have to listen to it if I don’t want to.  But this gets better, because after 20 minutes or so, a comedy show gets put into their DVD player and it is not very kid friendly with the language. After that, a kids cartoon is put in, but what ever was playing, I and the rest of the passengers should not have to listen to it! I do not understand how people can be so rude or uncaring about the people around them. Even her two older kids sitting behind Lena and Courtnie had a DVD player watching a movie…with no headphones! Come on people! Have some consideration for your fellow travelers! To top it off, when one of the kids would start moving around in their seat, the mom would start yelling at them and making threats! Unbelievable!! I know it’s not all the kids fault, but I was thinking a couple rolls of duct tape to all five of them and the entire car would have a nice quiet trip! Mike and I did watch a couple movies using Courtnie’s laptop, which has two headphone jacks, so that did drown out some of the noise for part of the trip. Of course, we could have not used the headphones and given the kids nightmares that night since we were watching Dawn of the Dead, and then Underworld…Zombies, Vampires and Werewolves, oh my! J


Other than the stupid people behind us, the trip went well. I had a few beers; we ate train food…uck, and snacked on the goodies we brought along. Of course, the train stops at all these little towns along the way, and sometimes just stops in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason, so we didn’t get to Florence, South Carolina until 7:00 pm, an hour and a half late…that was bad event #6.


Florence, South Carolina is about an hour drive from Myrtle Beach, and also the closest a train gets to Myrtle Beach, so this is where we get off, rent a car and stay the night. We prearranged a rental car, but the rental car place is at the small airport in Florence, not at the train station, and we didn’t have the local phone number to call them to pick us up. So, bad event #7, we took a taxi to the airport, which is about five or ten minutes from the train station. This was the most disgusting vehicle I have ever been in! The driver looked, and smelled like he was a homeless guy that was living in this minivan he called a taxi! He was a smoker, and since I’m an ex-smoker, I guess I’m more put off by it than some people (sorry to my smoking friends), so I had to roll down the window so I could breath. The ceiling looked as if it had claw marks on it and it felt like a wheel might fall off any minute now! Oh crap! We’re all going to die!!

Of course, I should have asked how much it was going to cost us before we got in, but I didn’t, so lesson learned. A 10 minute trip to hell and back, and 30 dollars later, we were at the airport.


The lady behind the car rental counter was extremely nice and apologetic that we had to take a taxi since they would have picked us up for free, but it was our choice and I didn’t expect her to compensate us for it. Thinking about it now, I could have called information or something and found the number, but it was a long trip, and I just wasn’t thinking at the time. The car we rented was a very nice four-door Hyundai Genesis with leather seats, XM satellite radio and all the bells and whistles a car could have.


After some directions from the nice lady at the rental desk and a 10 minute drive, we found our hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn. This is a very nice place, and after the journey we’ve had so far, it was a much needed relief to see we made the right choice staying here. As an added bonus, when we first drove up to the hotel, there was a rainbow over the place as if to say, nothing will go wrong here!


After getting settled, we went across the street and had dinner at OutBack Steak House. We have one in Annapolis which is great, so we figured, it has to be just as good, and it was! After a great dinner, we retired to our room and called it a night. Mike slept on the pull out couch in the sitting room area of our room. Courtnie had her own bed in the bed room with us, which had two queen size beds. A good end to a crazy day!


missandrea81 says:
Yeah, I hate that drive. We do it at least once a month to go see the mum-in-law. I'm always happy when the driving is done.
Posted on: Aug 08, 2008
marksreynolds says:
Our train trip to NYC was very easy and comfortable, that's why we took the train on this trip. Oh well, we know better now! We'll still use the train to NYC though :)
Posted on: Aug 07, 2008
missandrea81 says:
Yikes!!! Again... no wonder Americans don't like traveling by train. The worst train trip I've ever had was from Bavaria to Amsterdam. But it was winter and all the problems were due to snow.
Posted on: Aug 07, 2008
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