Beacon Is Bleh, Carowinds Is Yay, And Great Wolf Is Something Else Altogether.

We promised Shug that if he was a great camper we’d take him and Shugie somewhere really special.  Well, to Shug, somewhere wonderful would be someplace with roller coasters.  We’d seen an article about the brand-new Fury 325 at Carowinds in Charlotte, the tallest and fastest giga coaster in the world.  So that’s where we were headed.  And to make our stay even more fun, after seeing so much about Great Wolf Lodge, we decided to stay there. Hotel + water park = serious fun for two kids, right?  Wellllllllll….

So here’s what we did — left camp:

Shug and Shugie at Camp//

Saw Clemson:
Clemson University, Clemson SC//

…had supper at the Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg SC. Hmmm.  This place has been on a lot of different shows, they apparently sell more ice tea than any other restaurant in the US (I didn’t see what the big deal about it was), but their Yelp reviews aren’t great.  I told Av that we could give it a chance, with so many people comparing it to the Varsity in Atlanta.  Well, it’s not a drive-in in the same way that the Varsity is, but it does have people yelling.  Other than that…

The Beacon Drive-In, Spartanburg SC//

This gentleman yells “Call It!” when you come up to order. He’s the translator between what you call food and what the restaurant calls its food:

The Beacon Drive-In, Spartanburg SC//

The Beacon Drive-In, Spartanburg SC//

The Beacon Drive-In, Spartanburg SC

The Beacon Drive-In, Spartanburg SC//

So Av wanted just a plain hamburger — which had a super-thin piece of meat in it, and if you order it “a-plenty” they put the greasiest onion rings and Sysco fries right on top. Have to say: yuck.
The Beacon Drive-Inn, Spartanburg SC//

The most average peach cobbler in the universe, yet it was the highlight of the meal:
The Beacon Drive-In, Spartanburg SC//

Since we were just staying one night on our way to Charlotte, we got a room at the North Spartanburg Hampton Inn, which was fine.
Hampton Inn, SC//

The next day, we saw the Gaffney, South Carolina peach water tower by the interstate:
Peach Water Tower, Gaffney SC//

Av dropped Shug and me off at Carowinds (Shugie’s not quite tall enough so since so many of their rides are for the 54″+ group, he went with Av to Discovery Place, a children’s science museum).  We rode several of the rides and was able to walk on to every single thing because we had the Fast Pass Plus wristbands.  In fact, our first ride on the Fury 325 (the tallest/fastest one — the one that we came here for) was in the *front row*
Carowinds, Charlotte NC//

…which was amazing:

We rode twice.  Whew.  Two was plenty.

Did I mention it was 100* outside (literally 100.)? We were crazy hot.  So it was a good thing they had a water park there!!  Shug and I were in the lazy river for an hour!!  We had super-fun!

Av and Shugie picked us up when they were done with Discovery Place, and we headed over to the hotel, the second part of our surprise.  They’ve seen commercials for Great Wolf Lodge so they were super-excited when we pulled up:

Great Wolf Lodge, Concord NC//

We had the standard room:

Great Wolf Lodge, Concord NC//

Mostly inside is the water park — a place just for babies, another really fun looking area for older kids, a regular pool, a wave pool, four different tube/mat rides inside:
Great Wolf Lodge, Concord NC//
In the wave pool, I noticed the lifeguards doing this ‘routine’ and at first I thought they were making fun of each other, but this is actually the way they watch the crowd.  All of them.

I sat out this once to get a pic of the boys on this slide:
Great Wolf Lodge, Concord NC//

Here’s the thing: the boys were pretty oblivious to this, but there were some seriously rough-looking people there. One guy had a tattoo of a gruesome motif all over his back. A 20-ish girl had an instrument of torture tattooed all on her upper leg.  Tattoos aren’t even the point, though I noticed inkless people were in the minority.  It was a weird vibe all around.  Did I go in thinking the clientele would be…I don’t know…more Tomorrowland and less Thunderdome?  Yes I did.  Yes I did.
Know how you don’t always get it right but you can roll with it anyway?  That was this day.  We left the next morning and had a fantastic time (thanks to Trader Joe’s, a Peruvian restaurant, and a museum).  That’s tomorrow’s post.  Much better.  Muuuuch better.

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