Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Feb 2015

I couldn't turn down the offer of a cheap ex-Dublin Tier Point run to Hawaii for the weekend.

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One of the photos on the wall of our hotel in Atlanta
One of the photos on the wall of our hotel in Atlanta
One of the photos on the wall of our hotel in Atlanta
One of the photos on the wall of our hotel in Atlanta

Holiday to Tennessee in Mar 2024: Day 2 – Atlanta to Tuscaloosa

By Nige on Sun 24 Mar 2024 at 12:21
Type: Post
Story: Holiday to Tennessee in Mar 2024
Tags: Alabama | Atlanta | Georgia | Hertz | Hilton | Holidays | Tuscaloosa | USA

In the end, I didn’t watch that much of the F1 Grand Prix. Max retired on lap 4 with break failure, and it looked like the Ferraris were going to romp home. So I decided to go to sleep after 30 mins of the race.

Enjoying a visit to Starbucks first thing in the morning
Enjoying a visit to Starbucks first thing in the morning
Enjoying a visit to Starbucks first thing in the morning
Enjoying a visit to Starbucks first thing in the morning

I didn’t sleep that long. I was awake with a horrible headache at around 3:30am. Vick was tossing and turning until about 4:30am, so an afternoon nap was definitely on the cards.

During the early hours, I started Vick’s application for Global Entry renewal. Mine was due later in the year as well, so I dealt with mine at the same time.

Stage one: we had to pay the UK government £42 each for doing a simple background check, so that we could get UK access codes.

First thought of this first day of our holiday was: where is the closest Starbucks and what time does it open? At 5am!

Breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn, Atlanta Airport/Millenium Center
Breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn, Atlanta Airport/Millenium Center
Breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn, Atlanta Airport/Millenium Center
Breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn, Atlanta Airport/Millenium Center

After Vick had got herself ready for public viewing, we drove 15 mins up the I285 to find a Starbucks that was open, that didn’t involve heading through security at the airport.

It was a nice store though, and as with all early-opening stores, there were the normal couple of regulars sat inside.

We have seen lots of “regulars” over the years. You never know – we might become “regulars” at a Starbucks store at some point in the future.

After heading back to the hotel, we went into breakfast, and I enjoyed the breakfast buffet, which included a hot plate of bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, and potatoes.

Vick had a bowl of yoghurt. What a greedy pig!

The route for today heading from Atlanta to Tuscaloosa
The route for today heading from Atlanta to Tuscaloosa
The route for today heading from Atlanta to Tuscaloosa
The route for today heading from Atlanta to Tuscaloosa

Back up to our room and the Vickster did some planning for the day.

We were heading to Alabama today, which would be our first timezone shift of the drive: Georgia is -4h and Alabama is -5h, so we would be gaining an hour.

Our Tesla Model 3 at the Supercharging station at Douglasville
Our Tesla Model 3 at the Supercharging station at Douglasville
Our Tesla Model 3 at the Supercharging station at Douglasville
Our Tesla Model 3 at the Supercharging station at Douglasville

We planned to take in another Starbucks, a charging session, and a visit to Cheaha State Park for a bit of walking.

First off, we headed to Douglasville to a Tesla Supercharging station. Just before plugging in, we picked up our second Starbucks of the day.

The supercharging station wasn’t busy, and we easily drew 115kw. Charging up to 100% took about 35 mins and it only cost us $6!

Next stop was the Cheaha State Park, which was about 20 miles off Interstate 20.

Access to the Bald Rock Boardwalk in Cheaha State Park
Access to the Bald Rock Boardwalk in Cheaha State Park
Access to the Bald Rock Boardwalk in Cheaha State Park
Access to the Bald Rock Boardwalk in Cheaha State Park

It promised some relatively short trails with impressive views and it claimed to be the highest point in Alabama (at 2,407ft), so we had to try it out. To be honest, 2,407ft is not that high!

We headed to Bunker Loop, which is a 5 mile one-way road visiting a number of trailheads. We had to pay a small amount at the Mountain Store to get access to the loop road.

We headed straight to Bald Rock Boardwalk, which is a 0.3m wooden path that leads to an amazing view at the end.

The two of us at the end of Bald Rock Boardwalk in Cheaha State Park
The two of us at the end of Bald Rock Boardwalk in Cheaha State Park
The two of us at the end of Bald Rock Boardwalk in Cheaha State Park
The two of us at the end of Bald Rock Boardwalk in Cheaha State Park

We walked along the boardwalk and found that it was very exposed to a chilly cross-wind.

That meant we weren’t going to be hanging around for too long. It was way too cold for us!

We realised that we had packed clothes for the weather that we wanted, rather than necessarily the weather we should have expected!

Neither of us had a jacket or any significant clothing for cold weather. Doh!

Irrespective of the cold, it was worth the short walk!

The Vickster at Pulpit Rock
The Vickster at Pulpit Rock
The Vickster at Pulpit Rock
The Vickster at Pulpit Rock

Our next stop on Bunker Loop was Pulpit Rock, which involved another short walk.

It started with a steep climb down to a ravine, followed by a easy path to a cliff edge with some amazing views.

In the full sun, and some protection from that earlier chilly wind, we finally started to feel warm!

The Cheesecake Factory in Birmingham, Alabama
The Cheesecake Factory in Birmingham, Alabama
The Cheesecake Factory in Birmingham, Alabama
The Cheesecake Factory in Birmingham, Alabama

Although we hadn’t walked that far, we were both starting to feel tired, so our next stop was our favourite restaurant in the Americas! The Cheesecake Factory (TCF)!

The nearest TCF was located on our way to Tuscaloosa, on the edge of Birmingham.

About an hour after leaving Cheaha State Park, we were fighting with other vehicles to find a parking spot on a typical out of town shopping mall.

There was one parking lot that was closest to all of the popular shops and everyone wanted to park there.

After one loop, we drove into the adjoining parking lot, which had plenty of spaces and we walked an extra 100 yards to go to TCF. The human race has become very lazy.

Vick's Sheila's chicken and avocado lunchtime salad
Vick’s Sheila’s chicken and avocado lunchtime salad
Vick's Sheila's chicken and avocado lunchtime salad
Vick’s Sheila’s chicken and avocado lunchtime salad

Since it was warm outside, we requested a table out on the terrace.

Warm chocolate bread was quickly provided with a couple of glasses of cold water.

We enjoyed our favourite lunchtime salads: Sheila’s chicken and avocado salad for Vick and a Sante Fe salad for me.

We just love eating at TCF!

From TCF, we had another hour or so on the road before we arrived at our next hotel: the Hampton Inn, Tuscaloosa East.

The Mexican across from our hotel in Tuscaloosa
The Mexican across from our hotel in Tuscaloosa
The Mexican across from our hotel in Tuscaloosa
The Mexican across from our hotel in Tuscaloosa

Our Tesla Model 3 decided we really needed to charge up, otherwise there was a risk that we might not make it. No point in taking the risk.

So we spent 15 mins at a Tesla Supercharging station at Mountain Brook, on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama.

The final hour on the road was easy enough and we checked into room 230 at the Hampton Inn.

We could see a Mexican restaurant just across the road and the hotel reception staff suggested it was ok.

Slightly disappointing nachos at the Mexican in Tuscaloosa
Slightly disappointing nachos at the Mexican in Tuscaloosa
Slightly disappointing nachos at the Mexican in Tuscaloosa
Slightly disappointing nachos at the Mexican in Tuscaloosa

As it happens, we both thought it was a lovely restaurant. It had a load of character and was classically decorated in bold Mexican colours.

Neither of us were that hungry after our TCF salads earlier in the day, so we started off with the freebie corn tortilla chips and mild salsa that you get in every Mexican restaurant.

Then we decided to share a bowl of super-loaded nachos with a side dish of guacamole.

The guacamole was stupendous but the nachos were a little disappointing. Although the ingredients were really fresh, there was something that was missing.

Since it was a Sunday, it was all-night Law and Order: Special Victims Unit on USA and that was enough to see us into a deep sleep!


Follow the whole story here: Holiday to Tennessee in Mar 2024


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Author Bio: About Nige

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Nige is one of the co-founders of The Billingham Blog and works as a freelance management consultant. He loves to fly in his spare time!

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