Thursday, June 29, 2017

Journeys Of The Soul

Today, June 29, is the 2nd anniversary of the day we purchased my Kia Soul. 

Although I hadn't planned on buying a new car for a while at the time; the unexpected loss of my Vue left me without transportation. So, after some shopping around we decided on the Soul. 
 Here is the link to my You Tube video giving you the "nickle" tour or the brand new car parked in my driveway. Brand New Soul Tour

While cars are always look their best when they are brand new with a low number of miles on them, it's really the places it takes you that defines it's value. 

That's what makes me appreciate my Kia so much. Over the last 24 months the destinations Paula and I have reached by rolling down the highway in the Soul have provided some of the most memorable of my life. Here's are some of the journeys my Soul has been a part of in the last 2 years. 

Some of these trips I have written about before. For those I will include a link to the post(s). Those I'm mentioning for the first time will have a bit more detailed. 

Orlando, FL-December 2015
It's only fitting that the very first long distance road trip in my new Kia be to my personal favorite vacation area. This trip was to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary. 

This was our 3rd trip South Central Florida since 2004. But this time it was more of an Orlando vacation and not just a Walt Disney World vacation. 

We went to Disney World but it wasn't the only place we spent time.  Also, for the first time, we stayed in a condo that was not on Disney property.  

We spent a day at the newly refurbished Disney Springs Area. Where we had some pretty good food and saw the holiday decorations.

There was a giant Christmas tree...

 a Muppet topiary...
and my favorite Lego sea dragon, Brickley. 

 Our other Disney day was spent visiting the resorts surrounding the Magic Kingdom. 

The Polynesian is where my wife enjoyed her first dole whip dessert. 
 The main reason we went to the Grand Floridian was to visit the full size gingerbread house. 
We then spent the evening at the Magic Kingdom enjoying Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party. 

We were able to get into the park while it was still light. We were greeted by the giant Town Square Christmas Tree. 
We were able to go to Tomorrowland and purchase a pair of souvenir t-shirts. 
We got to enjoy the "Enchanted Tales With Belle" and "Under The Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid" attractions for the first time. 

Paula met Tinkerbell (probably our best character experiences ever). 

The Cinderella's Castle, which was lit up, like it was covered in ice, the show featuring the "Frozen" characters that made it that way...
and the fireworks...
were my favorite events of the night.

The combination of our time at the Magic Kingdom, the resort hopping, and the time as Disney Springs gave us just enough Disney without wearing us out. 

One of our days was spend at Sea World. Among our favorite things there were: 
the trained seals show...
 and the Killer Whale show...

and the Dolphins show. 
But the favorite thing for both of us was the penguin exhibit. 

Without a doubt the highlight and most memorable day of the Soul's first long distance trip was the Tuesday excursion 90 minutes west to Clearwater Beach. 

Paula had been wanting to go to the beach for quite a few years. On her 50th birthday, along with a beach themed surprise party, I gave her a promise that I would take her to the ocean as soon as I could. 

It took until our 13th anniversary trip. But she really enjoyed the serenity she found walking along the surf of the Gulf shore and of course, she loved the company. 

The first big trip in the Soul was unlike any other vacation we'd taken before. 
It covered almost 1900 miles and was filled with quite a few first time experiences. But our excursions in the little blue Kia were only getting started. 

Walt Disney World-March 2016
3 months later, completely out of nowhere, our son and daughter-in-law asked us if we wanted to go with them to Disney World the first week of March. Although totally surprised and unprepared by the idea, we couldn't say "no" to being with our granddaughter when she went to Mickey & Minnie's house for the first time. 

So at around 4 AM on March 5, with the Conner family in their Jeep SUV behind us, I drove the Kia onto I-65 heading south once again toward Florida. 

I wrote a very detailed report about this trip in a 13 part series on my other blog, Goofyguy909 blog. The series are included in the posts dated from March 25 to June 6, 2016. You can find them all through this link. 
Walt Disney World Trip March 2016

Saint Louis, MO-September 2016
Six months later my Kia took us west of the Mississippi to somewhere I had never been before, St. Louis, Mo. 

This was a quick trip to spend some time with our friends, Mark & Patty, who had moved there earlier in the year. 

Although it was only for a day or two we had a good time. It was great just to hang out again. 

I shared the details of that trip as part of this post last November. 
10 Things From The Last 4 Months Part 2

I didn't take many pictures during that trip but I did manage to get several shots of the arch. I have never posted this one. BTW, The sign in this picture is not accurate. 

Pigeon Forge,TN-December 2016  
Our 14th anniversary trip was to what, as a couple, is our favorite vacation spot. On the 2nd Friday of December we headed to the Smoky Mountains. 

Just like Walt Disney World the year before, Christmas was a central thread throughout our weekend getaway. An unusual mid-December winter like cold snap was a very strong factor too. 

The most memorable thing about this trip was the discovery of an amazing holiday lights display.

You can read all the details in a 3 post series starting with this one.
Anniversary In The Smokies Part 1 

Destin, FL-May 2016
The Soul's last journey during my first two years of ownership, was something Paula and I had never done before. We took a week long vacation to a beach town. 

I posted a 3 part series reviewing out time in the Florida panhandle a little over a month ago. You can look at the May posts in the blog archives list to the left of this post.

So there you have the 5 major road trips Paula and I have taken in the Kia Soul over the last 24 months. 

Of course there are many other places we've been to: Lexington, Nashville, Western Kentucky and more. Those were day trips but nonetheless are part of the Soul's travel log. 

I've got yet another long road trip planned for later this summer and perhaps even another getaway to the Smokies in early fall. 

I really love my sub-compact crossover vehicle. As of this post I've put just a little over 33K miles on it and I would not be exaggerating if I added that along with the distance comes that many memories. 

I look forward to many more years and a lot more adventures as this man and his machine continue our journey. 

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