We are back on the East Coast of North Carolina and heading south in a couple of days.
But, not before we have FRANKY BABY'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION HERE IN N.C. ... Yep, today is his birthday!
So glad to see the sunset from the East Coast over the flatter lands that allow the joy of this event each day.
We are back on the East Coast of North Carolina and heading south in a couple of days.
But, not before we have FRANKY BABY'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION HERE IN N.C. ... Yep, today is his birthday!
A perfect place to spend Frank's Birthday ..... his big present and treat for the day was doing the tour on the USS North Carolina Battleship ....... beyond impressive, beyond worth it, beyond imagination .... touring a ship this size leaves quite an impression. Despite its size, it is hard to believe how hundreds of men slept, worked, fought, received medical attention, etc. in the caves and belly of this massive piece of iron. It is quite a ghost ship .... and the stories are definitely softly hanging in the air. I remember my dad being on this ship ... very nostalgic for me.
As if by some miracle, I looked up at the sky as we were exiting the ship .... above us in a circle was a cloud formation ... only immediately above the ship .. no where else ... this formation circle ... hovering over the ship ... was it a message, was it angels, was it the energy ... truly breath-taking.
It was hard to top this visit .... but we headed out to lunch at the River Walk, which was wonderful. Wilmington certainly figured out how to preserve its River Walk area with adorable shops and scrumptious restaurants. Big competition for their beach goers .... we really preferred the River. Since the impending storm of Hurricane Maria encouraged us to leave a day early, the best we got from Wrightsville was a little drive through. Enough to know we will be back.
All in all, Frank had his birthday trip ... September was quite full. We were ready to return (or at least I was) home.
Staying ahead of the hurricane winds and saying goodbye to the fire in the sky sunsets, off we went to Savannah and the final leg home!
From the Horse Ranches in Kentucky to Almost Heaven West Virginia and the Daniel Boone Heart Center in Boone, NC .... and finally, headed back to the East Coast.
Our stop in West Virginia was sudden and unexpected as we were headed to Virginia at the time. However, lunchtime called and we stopped at the ever-loving Cracker Barrel in Huntington, WV and thought it was a cute town and why not just stay! So, we called the KOA and we stayed. So glad we did! Not only did they have a small beach (which this Floridian was sorely missing), but I had no idea we were so close to OHIO ... we crossed the Ohio River too...so pretty. Then, ... the next day we were able to visit the famous Blenko Glass Company and Manufacturing Plant where they blow the glass on site .. while we watch ... and they have a full showroom of so many of their designs and creations. Of course, we shopped! A quck visit to the nearby Charleston, WV the next day and then off we went to Boone, NC bypassing Virginia all together except for the street sign as we breezed through.
We were finally beginning to see signs of FALL ... and were ready to head to Boone, NC for an even higher elevation. Visiting Grandfather Mountain (breath-taking) and the town of Blowing Rock, were real treats.
At Grandfather Mountain we walked across the famous Mile High over 5,280 ft. bridge ... suspended above the valley .... kind of nervous, but we did it. A beautiful day with little wind made it the perfect outing.
Neither of us had been to this area before, so we were in awe of this small university town - Appalachian State College and a town crawling with students, art, music, food, and funky clothes. I even trusted the process and had my hair cut and colored at Shear Shakti!!!! The ocean and coastal air was calling me though, and I was ready to leave the mountains and begin heading east and some south :) ..... home was the light at the end of the tunnel after almost a month of travel...I am getting road weary. The thing is, we want to see it while we are here, because we probably won't get back this way for a while, so we try to see cities and areas that we wouldn't have access to over a weekend or so. Looking at the map, and bypassing Raleigh due to lack of campgrounds, we headed to Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach, NC. grandfather.com/
The best part of Blowing Rock for us since we only had one night there, was the great food .... fresh trout and chicken & dumplings at an outdoor restaurant patio - Speckled Trout - in the hills of North Carolina ....too fun. The next morning we headed to Wilmington, NC. See you there!!!!
Kentucky + Horses + Hay = Hay Fever For Me
Sadly, as one of the many millions suffering with asthma-related allergies ... this is no small sniffle for me.
Claritin + Prednisone + Portable Nebulizer = Back in Action Temporarily
Despite my issues, we did have 2 good days here in Kentucky -- an evening listening to really good music at the outdoor fountain and breweries. Drinking is a popular past time here, I fit right in.
Before I remembered my horse allergy .... off riding we went to the farms and ranches. A lot of land in these here parts!
A delightful stop at the Japanese American Gardens - Yoku-en ... not much in bloom, but the energy was sure there.
Not sure how much we will get accomplished today ... I think a Driving Tour of the Farms/Ranches and a Bourbon Distillery if my nose holds out. Off tomorrow thru West Virginia (as fast as possible) and into VA to begin our descent!
Our home away from home again ... just sitting on the front porch rocking away waiting for the clothes in the campground laundry!
This was a combined trip to Knoxville / Campground in Sevierville / Entertainment in Pigeon Forge / Beautiful drive through Gatlinburg and the Great Smokey National Park.
We loved it here ... we were camped on the Little Pigeon River, and just a few steps down to the river banks ... lovely.....slow moving, just like the lifestyle here ...but magnetic. We were going with the flow.
We are always amazed at the design and creativity in these Bass Pro Shops .. wow. This was small compared to some we've seen, but still spectacular.
They really do cater to the outdoor adventures .. hiking, fishing, hunting, and more.
We enjoyed the moist mountain air on this dewy night ... but our surprise rainbow made it even better.
Definitely a lot of fun at the Dolly Parton Smokey Mountain Adventure
Tomorrow onward to Lexington .... Kentucky and Rocky Top!
Sure, we were excited about our Fall getaway....Sure, we were planning to have a great time .. about 2 days ahead of the hurricane ... but the worry and stress of our neighbors and family being back in the preparation stage of hurricane trauma sure putting a 'dim light' on this trip.
We were happy when our youngest son decided to evacuate his home in Cape Coral (Southwest Florida) and we were able to provide Safe Haven for him and his family. Actually, with us not being at home, left plenty of room for their entire gang and extended gang and dogs and cats. It all worked out, but still missed all being together.
Our home in Jacksonville ended up getting far worse than expected. My husbands offices (Howard Services) had 6" of water on the first floor, and the road to the office requires kayaking to access.
Everyone seemed to survive and get through it ... but, wow, cleanup and recovery will take a long time. We don't expect to be back until end of September, so leaning on our yard man to do the hard work!
As hard as it was, we continued North to Tennessee.
Chattanooga Choo Choo here we come!
We crawled up the highway along with all of the other evacuees ... staying overnight in campgrounds along the way.
Many trucks and RVs were camped on the highway shoulders ... basically ' No Room at the Inn, unless you had Reservations' .... scary to see.
Chattanooga was a blast. The Chattanooga HOP was the best idea. 2 days for $20, off and on whenever.
Really pretty City and they are constantly working on renovations and upgrades. The Tennessee River is a marvel, and puts the Big Muddy to shame.
We ended up being there during their Women's and Men's Ironman Triathlon .. which was loads of fun to watch and support.
But made me so hungry :)
One of the main highlights in Chattanooga, was of course, Lookout Mountain and the Incline Train....wow, what a view ... what a thrill ... what a rush! and, all of this with my Main Man .. Franky Baby!
Staying ahead of the storm, we headed to Knoxville, Tn for a couple days ... and then we are going to Kentucky. Never thought of or never planned to go to Kentucky. Like, where is that? :)
So, here we are in Knoxville .. enjoying another Dolly Parton venue .... seeing the sights and just trying to breathe in some clear mountain air....Ahhhh! So nice.
Check in at the newest blog for our Knoxville Leg.
I'm playing catch up here .... we jumped from #26 trip to #36 here ... a lot of small in betweens...but we are back and here you go!!!!
There's nothing like a hurricane to get kick things into ACTION.
Hey, we were planning our vacation anyway ... but then Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas and the surrounding area. The world shut down ... we all prayed for relief ... pained beyond words as to how we could help. No words, no way ... just stay away.
There went our carefully mapped out vacation to Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Sedona, and Four Corners. When they begin recovery and need the tourists and the love, we'll be there - Next year!
In the meantime, we are holding light and love for all the victims of that terrible storm and decided we didn't want to be part of the problem and needed to keep to our own part of the U.S.
Next, we decided to go to the East Coast Outer Banks ... then Hurricane Irma decided to advance ferociously on our Atlantic & Gulf waters. The biggest and largest Cat 5 hurricane to hit the Atlantic since hurricanes were recorded. There went our idea to go to the coast ... how and where could we NOT be part of the problem and still be safe and close enough to get home if we were needed?
Now what ... well, since they were evacuating south Florida, people were boarding up and filling sand bags in a desperate attempt NOT to end up like Houston.... we figured we were probably next .... we decided to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. We would get out of Florida, off the highways and into the mountains long before Irma visited our area.
Yes, hard to leave our home when a storm is coming. But, we battened down the hatches, tied everything down that we could, packed our essentials and important papers, hooked up HITCH (our 5th wheel RV), and headed to the mountains.
First stop ... a quck overnight in Valdosta, GA to get us on the road and ahead of the south Florida traffic.
I could stay here forever. Beautiful oak trees, nice RV sites, clean, and Valdosta is a hop skip and jump away. Love the mall there :)
So, here we are, taking in Mother Nature .. enjoying the freedom of the road, crossing our fingers that our trip is not wrought with concern for our home, friends, and neighbors. We aren't far away though .. thank you social media, texting, and campground wifi. Close, but so far away!
We arrived with little to no traffic ... the highways so far are clear but gaining momentum .. you can feel the energy of desire, hoping to get to safe ground before it is too late.
We landed at our home for the night - Eagle's Roost RVResort ... Franky Baby is getting us checked in under the oaks....just a few RV's ahead of us .. all eager to settle in and breathe in this adorable, off highway, nest for the night.
I couldn't resist this old Grandma Oak Tree with its little Fairy Door to magic
Thank you Mama Oak for letting me sit by you, play for you, attune to you, connect with you.
Stay tuned. This is leg #1 of a multi-legged trip.
Safe Harbors, Kind Winds, Slow Flowing Waters, and Peace.
Marilyn will be back tomorrow!
Why do we travel north in the summer from Florida -- to cool off! Does it happen? NOPE. Them thar hills are sizzling hot during the summer too. Did we go? Yep. Are we glad? Yep. Would we do it again in July? Nope.
But, here's the story:
On 7/6/16 …. Our summer trip to the mountains turned into quite a hot trip. From Jacksonville, fL to Tupelo/Memphis, TN; to Hot Springs & Eureka Springs, AK; to Branson, MO; Nashville, TN; Atlanta/Athens, GA; HOME
Our first overnight stop was Tupelo, MS - which turned out to be one of the best overnight stops we ever have lucked up on. Not knowing much abut Elvis' history, we were surprised to find his whole story, right there in Tupelo. We visited the house he was born and raised in, visited the museum and grounds, ate at adorable restaurants, and purchased Tupelo Honey. Now, that's a great way to start a trip.
The next morning we headed to our first destination stop - Memphis, TN ... but, we were much chagrined (is that a phrase?) ... We were excited about UNTIL a national issue was boiling along with the heat that summer. The Black Lives Matter Demonstrations and Riots were taking place everywhere that week, and we seemed to find ourselves right in the mix. We went down to Beale Street all excited but were met with cops on every corner, kind of a dirty nasty feel. Demonstrating kids with signs on the road and we didn’t think this was our kind of trip. Went back to the RV park to regroup, but were again dismayed by our choice of campgrounds. Initially we were excited about staying on the Mississippi River until we realized how filthy it was now and how little they are doing to preserve its history and abundance.
We stayed on that side of the Mississippi River that night instead of going back into Memphis due to the supposed danger; and, it was a good thing we did, because they shut down the main Interstate for hours. The demonstrators were climbing all over the semi’s that were on the road stopped and blocking cars .. it was scary and dangerous for several hours - but fortunately ended without too much conflict and no one got shot in Memphis that night.
We did go back to Memphis the next DAY to see the Blues Studio…. which was ok, but the feel downtown was much like a depressed hood. We sidetracked that day, just to kill time, went to the nearby city - Germantown - and were relieved to find a very affluent neighborhood where we felt comfortable to enjoy a few sites and restaurants. Poor Memphis is blighted terribly … didn’t like it at all. Even our scenic River cruise down the Mississippi was discouraging. The Paddlewheel boat was cool, but splashing along in a big puddle of mud and garbage, not so fun.
The Bass Pro Shop was amazing. A huge pyramid which held the tallest elevator (free standing) east of the Mississippi. We went to top of pyramid … and I walked out on the glass shelf patio. Franky Baby was a little unnerved by the glass footwork, so remained to the side ... challenge! I won! So windy up there, but made Memphis look better from that distance. It truly is their claim to fame. That was when we first realized bass pro shops were quite the thing and more was to come before this trip was over ….
We high-tailed it out of Memphis a day or 2 early and went directly to Hot Springs, AK … loved loved loved it. We couldn't leave without trying to big indoor pools & baths - filled with multiple hot degrees of spring water. We also enjoyed the spring water doming from the mountains and made bunches of jugs of water to gift and to bring home. but it was such a hot time of year .. record breaking .. hard to be outside ….
Headed to Eureka Springs because everyone says that was so much better …. a little too hilly for me since my foot, hip etc. were not in good sync. Did get a few nice clothes items in the great stores in both Eureka and Hot Springs, but we were ready to move on to Missouri …
A bit of a shock when we took the trail according to gps and ended up on PigTailTrail…..Frank was not happy …. even though we found out afterwards that many truckers like the trail and do it for adventure … but lots of opeople would avoid it .. frank for one. but too late now and we did it..we also ended up getting a RV GPS sent directly to us Fed Ex at the campground we were in.
Still dealing with terrible heat exhaustion and inability to be outside for long or for much … we did hit a few places downtown .. A Patsy Cline tribute … and then we hit pay dirt. I went to get my hair cut and done by the stylist of the RV campground manager .. We hit it off real well and she was telling me all the great things to do in Biloxi and Arkansas. She recommended The Top of the Rock … didn’t even know what it was .. thought it was a flat rock somewhere in the wide open spaces, but it was a tribute mountain and location to the Founder of the Bass Pro Shops. Had caves, museums, golf carts, shopping, and lots and lots of acreage, water falls, and money oozing out all over. Amazing tribute to the american indians and all the land .. his story is remarkable….click here for more about that and put it on you next trip to the area.
Funny — until we saw the Pyramid Bass Pro in Memphis we didn’t have any idea of the popularity of the pro shop designs … seems they are everywhere and get better and bigger everywhere. Who knew?
A resistant Franky Baby joined me on the largest Ferris Wheel looking over the Branson city and the next day we went to the Dixie Stampede - Dolly Parton's amazing experience. Loved it truly …. had it all ..
We left that area and headed excitedly to Nashville. We had ticket sfor the Grand Ole Opry and were hoping to get the to Blue Bird Cafe …
We did it, we sang, we marveled, we toured, we loved. Stumbled upon the Parthenon and had it not been for my painful hip I could have enjoyed all of it much more. This place was beyond belief and held my namesake mentor model and guide in early days … Athena the Greek Goddess.
Gold and 10 stories high.
We also tripped on a place on the outskirts of Nashville … based on a few friends back home who knew someone special … way out in the farm country we stoped by Lee McCormick's Farm/Kitchen/Store, Restaurant … and Music. What a treat! Great music, great food, great people and a sacred holiness about the location.
We wre happy and ready to head back home .. through Atlanta to see the chickadees …. and Christy and Penny in Athens where we did a ceremony for Kristy in honor of her help to us.
Quick, but delightful, and just after our move into our new home ... we headed back to see the munchkins and to celebrate a TWO-SOME FATHER'S DAY for Jaret and Franky Baby. I know we took pictures, but darned if I can locate them!
June 18, 2016 found us parked next door to Jaret in Cape Coral for Father’s Day. Always love to camp at Jaret’s side yard -- keeps us close, but in our own space.
Jaret fixed a meal fit for Father's Day Kings and we enjoyed the time there, but oh, so hot. More allergies ... too hot to sit outside made it worse with KittyDoc ... so our stay was again shortened.
We made time to visit the Burnt Store Marina while Jaret showed us around a bit more ... each time we see different fun things at that lovely marina and he is such a great Assistant HM and tour guide.
Great fun was had by all.
Why don't we ever visit our lovely Florida Panhandle? I asked Franky Baby one day.
That's all it took and off we went ... a long trip, but worth it.
So, in April of 2016, I got to visit my long time friend, Ellen - her new husband - and the panhandle beaches in one visit.
We stayed at Live Oak Landing … a darling campground with wandering creeks and big oak trees. A great get-away.
The best was the shopping in Santa Rosa and Seaside. I loved it there. We had a great time shopping and I found some incredible treasures, like my Mermaid Rosa and my ceremonial shell necklace.
It is very windy in that area which is why the hurricanes can be so devastating, but with the heat, we are always glad for the winds.
Such a good time .. I want to go back!
Will McLean Music Festival...Yay!
We don't really need reasons to travel and to hitch up the RV ... but, there always is a reason to hit the road. This March 2016 it was the Will McLean Festival in Brooksville, FL. Great music, like Remedy Tree, and so many more filled the stage.
This location is so much fun held at the Seratoma Boys Ranch and surrounded by fields, cows, lakes, and more. 7 tents keep us busy hopping around with workshops, songwriters circle, and vendors.
So wonderful there … except for the dusty dry weather in March - and the strange woman perched next to us-… I swore I wouldn’t go back and don’t think we did the next time….but since then we have been back....Hard to stay away.
As for the strange woman next to me, I felt entities jumping on me the whole time. She gave me the heebie jeebies..... She was weird and I dreamt about her for months afterwards.
We always go into Brooksville or Dade City to check out the surrounding area .. and this time, we stumbled upon a great RV Park for future dates and also a wonderful American Indian Trading Post - PEACE TREE. We WILL BE BACK!