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miss_mouse 6 Nov 18 08:52 PM

Mountains, Zombies & Disney Roadtrip - Travel/Day 1 - Heathrow to Atlanta to Chattanooga Nightmare!
Trip Report Index


‘’Don’t know what’s wrong with a Marriott? ’

The Travel Day – Friday 6th July
Heathrow to Atlanta – Then Atlanta to Chattanooga by car

Just to start, I'm Lisa - the planner and reporter. Ade is my hubby and he's our driver and there's Hollie who turns 19 on this trip and Louis is 16.

Here is my pre trippie for all the details.

This was set to be an amazing trip and ticking so many things off our list.
Last year (10 months previous) we had a wonderful 4 week trip in Orlando. We upgraded to Disney annual passes…yay! And this trip was meant to be a budget trip…it probably would have been too had I not have kept adding to it. I’m good like that!
We loved our roadtrip so much in 2016 and we loved seeing Dad and his wife who live in Indiana. So we asked them to meet up with us in Tennessee. I wanted us to treat them to a mini vacay. We rented the most beautiful cabin on a mountain in Chattanooga for 4 nights and they drove 4 hiurs with Ollie their dog to stay with us. It was the highlight of the trip. I’m so glad the kids got to spend this time with them.

Anyway…that’s how this trip came about. We included our love of roadtrips and our love or Orlando. We created the perfect holiday for us. We are trying to cram as many in whilst the kids still want to come with us.

This was us just before we left for Heathrow.
No lovely Premier Inn stay at Gatwick for us this year.
We live less than 30 mins from Heathrow so it’s pointless. There’s no twilight checkin and Hollie had a gap year to save for Uni. She was working at Waitrose and wasn’t due home til 8.30pm. We had a carpet picnic instead.

Luggage was left downstairs ready the night before so inn the morning is was showers and out.
Last year we’d paid £500 to leave the car at Gatwick for 4 weeks, plus the hotel and food bill. This year we paid £195 for a taxi to Heathrow and then home from Gatwick.
It’s a no brainer really!

Alarms were set for 4.45am, taxi was booked for 6.30am.
I didn’t want to rush. I wanted to wash my hair & clean the bathrooms after we were all done.
Hollie noticed the taxi outside at 6am. We all panicked but it was fine, he was just early.
The taxi was fab. (VGT if you are in the Hampshire/Surrey/Berks area). We booked a big van as we were making the most of our 2 piece each luggage allowance as we were travelling in Premium.

We arrived just after 7am outside Terminal 3 at Heathrow.

Straight in to Virgin. There were queues in economy but Premium was empty.
We’d used our miles again this trip so we’d just paid the taxes for our flights and we had free upgrades through our Virgin credit cards.
I can’t imagine doing flights any other way now.

The staff member was lovely and chatty.
Security was a little busy but not too bad.
It always seem manic around the liquids area. We pack our liquids bags at home to keep it nice and easy.
Ade, Hollie and I all got full body scanned and no hand bags were check at all which is a first time for us.

Departures was busy.
Ade had his free Whiskey samples.
We stopped in WHSmiths for drinks and candy for the plane. We all like our ‘choosing time’.
And I bought Louis a new neck pillow. WHSmiths were the cheapest at £13.99.

First elevator selfie of the trip!
None of us are duty free shoppers, so we found our way to the No 1 Lounge.

We get the use of the lounge free through Ade’s bank account. I do pay £5 each to book though as the first time we tried to use it a few years ago it was full.

It was busy! We managed to find 4 seats by the window and all got some breaky nibbles.

I was trying to film whilst grabbing food (I’m on YouTube – Lollipop Box Club) and managed to drop my cheese and grapes everywhere.

Louis and Ade also ordered bacon rolls. Hollie ordered beans on toast and the 2 of us went to the bar.

The alcoholic drinks are included. Bucks fizz for me and Vodka and Orange for Hollie.

It was far too strong for her though so she poured it in to a large mug and added more orange juice. Classy!

Louis needed a #2 and as always was gone ages to the point Ade was worried.
He needed a wee so went to the loo to see if Louis was ok. Louis could hear Ade chatting to another passenger whilst he was in the loo. They were talking about kids and Ade said he was waiting for his son, he was checking if he was ok. The guy had kids so was understanding.
Louis after listening to all this then felt really embarrassed walking out knowing full well this guy was probably expecting to see a little 5year old leave the cubicle and not a skinny hairy 16 year boy.
Made us giggle!

The gate was posted at 10. #19

Big queue for economy and premium was empty again.
Everyone was going straight on board.

Bums were barely on seats and the bubbles were being bought around.
We chose to spend £2.99 each to be able to send whatsapp messages. This was great for me so I could message my friends and family.
The kids paid £14.99 each for full wifi (Hollie treated Louis).

Treats came around.

And grown up treats too!

Lunch was so good.
Pork mince chili. I loved it!
Ade had the chicken and really enjoyed it. Hollie had the veggie gnocchi and loved it too. As usually Louis said no to food.

Later in the flight we helped ourselves to more treats.
On this particular type of aircraft they have treats in the galley that you can help yourself to.

Ade went for a wander and came back with these which were amazing. So buttery and light.

We may have also shared a Pink Willie!

I was messaging with my Mum. She’s super gullible.
I was trying to tell her how we can message in a plane.
I told her instead of wifi when you’re on a plane it’s called ‘Wifly’.

I watched ‘Blockers’. Unusual for me to get in to a movie on a plane, but I love Leslie Mann. She’s so funny! I absolutely loved it! My kind of silly movie.
I also watched Modern Family.

Afternoon tea came around.
We felt like all we’d done on this flight was eat!
The cheese sarnies were too cheesy though even for me who could live off cheese.
I declined the warm scones that were bought around but Ade had some.

We had 1.5hr left at this point.

We arrived at 3.15pm. 15 mins early.
I love that feeling just as you’ve landed and the pilot welcomes you.
This one was funny. He said ‘Welcome to Atlanta. We are 15 mins ahead of schedule and 15 mins ahead of BA’.
Everyone laughed!

We got straight through immigration, It was just our flight and we were one of the first off.
The officer was really friendly. Made a lovely change.
The cases were already going around when we walked out…all 6 of them one after another. We did a quick loo stop. Absolutely spotless and smelt lovely.
We walked out of the airport and straight in front were the car hire buses and one was waiting.
How perfect is that arrival?
Does it get any better?

It was a little drive to the car hire centre.
The bus drops you outside and they are all upstairs.
We’d done the online checkin so headed straight out to the garage.
I feel like we have this traveling lark down to a tee now.

Alamo were having a bit of a party. Music was playing, the feather boas were out. Everyone was laughing and having such a great time.
We had booked a Tahoe. He offered as an upgrade if we danced.
None of us dance and certainly didn’t want that upgrade enough to dance for it.
He suggested a song. Louis knew it. He then turned the music up in a car really loud and we still wouln’t dance.
We told them how we could never imagine anyone doing this back home.
They were just having the best day at work.
They were doing their best to find us a super car and we ended up getting the free upgrade anyway despite not dancing.
We got a GMC Yukon XL and it had only done 1100 miles. It still had a new smell.

Someone was a happy bunny!

We left Alamo feeling like we’d made new friends.

The sat nav was set. It said 130 miles.
Under normal circumstances it should take 2hrs, but seeing as Virgin kindly changes our flight from 9.15am to 11.15am after we booked, We were now hitting downtown Atlanta right on peak time and naturally just as we leave the car hire centre it starts absolutely pouring down.

The plan was to come off at Downtown Atlanta just 20 mins in to the journey. When I was researching the trip I found Martin Luther Kings birth place just off this main road, but with the weather like this we kept to the main road.
It was really storming by now. Thunder and lightening, the kind of rain where your wipers can’t keep up.

And being the huge Walking Dead fans that we are, we’d wanted to stop at Jackson Street Bridge to take some photos.
But this was our current view…

Instead of this…

It’s on the bucket list for another time and we had some even bigger Walking Dead stuff planned for the following week.

The drive through Atlanta was a very long one.
It was finally good to start seeing the Chattanooga signs.

I always plan all our stops on our roadtrips.
I planned a food stop here in Dalton, just 40 mins awau from Chattanooga.

There was lots of choices but McD’s was the favourite.

There was a garage just over the road so Ade ran out and grabbed essentials like bread, loo rolls and juice.

This was our first sighting of Look Out Mountain where we were staying.
We realised the following day that our cabin was exactly half way up.

We arrived at the cabin. It had taken almost 4 hrs in the end.
It was dark and raining.

We missed the turning to the cabin. It was really badly lit and with the rain too and the fact that you couldn’t actually see the cabin as the driveway was almost a sheer drop down the mountain and there was the tiniest of little entries to drive in. And we had a great big GMC.

We drove past. The mountain was getting steeper. We managed to turn and go past the driveway which was now on my side. There was absolutely no way we could do a right turn in, plus we were near a bend and on the other side of this narrow road was the mountain, there was just no room to turn. Thankfully there was a little store just down a bit on the opposite side so we pulled in there to talk and figure this out.

Louis is the nervous one in the family and asked what ever made me think that this was a good idea, I told him that it didn’t look like this on google maps. And no one in all the cabin reviews ever mentioned the steep driveway.

Ade wasn’t happy and said he’d walk down the driveway and assess. See how steep it was and how much space there was to park. There was no lighting down there at all.

I’ve watched too many American horrors…in my head this was the last we were ever seeing of Ade. Doors locked and nice chatting with the kids trying to reassure Louis that if we’d been doing this in the day and in the sun it would have been perfectly fine.
Ade did return and in his words ‘’ Well, we are going to have to do this’.
We went for it.

Nice and slow, we approached the entrance to the driveway.
The problem was, it was such a steep drop down that the nose of the car stuck up so the headlights didn’t show us what was below. As we came down we just couldn’t see a thing. It was super scary. And then there was a tree in the middle of the driveway.

It didn’t help that there was a sign on this tree that said not to use the driveway if snowy or wet.
Once we got past the tree it was actually ok and there was a good amount of space to park.

It was a combination lock to the cabin and thankfully that worked first time. We walked on and felt warm and welcome.
The lamps were all on and the tv was on too.
It was beautiful.

Welcome to The Nest

The door that we used came in to the kitchen. It came through a little entrance way first so we left our shoes in baskets out there.

It was really dark when we arrived so I took these photos the next morning.

I was going around closing all the blinds.
Again….all those horror movies when they can see in but you can’t see out.

Everywhere was beautiful.

The kids shared this room.
They also had their own bathroom and walk in closet.
We had packed all our roadtrip things in to a separate case and everything was backed in cubes. So it was easy to take out the kids cubes which included their sleepy stuff.
They were knackered.

This photo was taken from the kids door and there were more rooms downstairs.
We kept this area for Dad when he arrived the next day.
There was the main front door on the left and the other door down on the left was another loo.

Down the stairs to Dad’s room.

It was huge down here.
Little corridoors.

Another bathroom.
Walk in closet.
A door to their own wrap around decking.

A laundry room.

Our room was off the kitchen. I loved this room so much.
We had a massive walk in closet.

And a big bathroom.

We had a door from our room that went on to wrap around decking that looked out over the mountain.

There were so many doors exciting this place and windows and nooks and cranies.
I really did feel like I was in a horror movie.
Louis doesn’t watch them but was petrified.
Apparently he said to Hollie ‘’I don’t know what’s wrong with a Marriott’.
He told us the next morning that he went to bed never feeling so sacred before.

Anyway…spoiler alert…we all survived!
No slasher movie incidents that night.
We all slept well after a really long travel day.

I do have videos on my YouTube channel. The travel day and you can see us tackling the driveway and there’s a cabin tour too.
We ended up loving this place.
Thanks so much for reading. I can’t wait to share the next day with you.

Melbatb 6 Nov 18 09:14 PM

It looks amazing! Though a bit of a long day! The driveway sounds challenging!

Mamie Baldwin 6 Nov 18 09:21 PM

Oh I was hoping you’d do a trippie after watching your videos. I adore your Motivational Monday ones too and the organisational ones, in fact them all! 😆

miss_mouse 6 Nov 18 09:32 PM

It was a really long day.
I think had we have arrived in the day it would have been so much easier : )

miss_mouse 6 Nov 18 09:33 PM

I've been meaning to. I feel gutted that I never finished the last one, so would love to get this one done and then finish last years.

Oh you watch?
Thank you. I'm so pleased you enjoy them. Thank you so much x

mrsdjh 6 Nov 18 09:36 PM

Premium economy looks great - we are doing it next year on our return flight courtesy of airmiles and upgrade vouchers and I cant wait. The extra luggage allowance will be a bonus for our planned shopping!

The cabin looks lovely but getting onto the drive sounds like my idea of a nightmare! I had to chuckle at Louis comment about a Marriott - that would be something me or my girls would have said in that situation!

Diane x

janey2000 6 Nov 18 10:12 PM

Lease don’t delay in posting as I’m so excited to read this! We are going to Nashville in February half term (flights were £250 each so I just couldn’t say no!). We are then going to our friends in Atlanta for a few days and spending a few days with them In Chattanooga! So your report is super exciting. We did Pigeon forge/Gatlinburg Easter 2016 and loved Tennesee. I wish we had time for Memphis as I really want to go to the civil rights museum, there’s one in Birmingham Alabama so interested to see if you went there?

chriswol 6 Nov 18 10:29 PM

Hi Lisa, :wave:
Glad you are doing a trip report as well. You made me laugh about your son in the toilet! Classic embarrassing parent time 😂
Love your videos on YouTube


Palm trees 7 Nov 18 12:12 AM

I'm very pleased to see you're doing a new trip report. Your holiday accommodation looks beautiful, I know what you mean about closing all the blinds though!

summersun 7 Nov 18 08:42 AM

fab start x

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