Thursday, June 30, 2011


It is now Thursday evening and I have 3 days worth of adventures to fill you in on.  Let's see...

Tuesday morning we awoke in North Caroline to beautiful skies and cooler temperatures since we were up on Sugar Mountain.  What a refreshing change from the 90 degree heat we left behind.  Our plan for the day was to explore Grandfather Mountain and then venture over to The Biltmore Estates and finally driving up into what I was hoping would be Ohio.  Well...Grandfather Mountain was absolutely beautiful, we drove up to the animal preserve and museum and the views from the mountain were breathtaking.  It was however quite an interesting drive UP the mountain itself hence the only making it part of the way up ;)  The animal preserve was beautiful and I loved the way that they kept everything so natural looking.  We saw three bears, a pair of otters and some deer...we couldn't find the cougars and the eagles were not on display unfortunately.  Oh well, maybe there will be a next time.  From Grandfather Mountain we ventured toward Ashville and the Biltmore Estate.  When I tell you that we barely made a dent in the grounds at Biltmore Estate it is because I don't think anyone can cover 8000 acres (yes 8 thousand) in a single afternoon.  What a spectacular property.  The estate home itself was amazing and then you have these lush, green, beautiful gardens, the inn, a village and a restaurant all to see.  Definetely someplace that I want to return to and spend more time at.  So we finished at the Biltmore and hit the road to Ohio!

Oh ye of great trust that I am I followed what my GPS said to do!!!  BIG MISTAKE!!!  So remember last blog when I filled you in on my driving in the rain and bridges...ADD CURVEY DARK MOUNTAINS TO THE LIST!!!  So let me set the scene for you.  We left the Biltmore Estate and the GPS said it is about 6 hours to Ohio...okay not bad should put us there at about 8 or 9 o'clock righht???  WRONG!!!!  I finally stopped STILL IN WEST VIRGINIA at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night!  Here is how things went...Stopped and got McDonalds for the girls as we left the Biltmore, gased up in North Carolina and hit the highway North and it started to rain :( okay no big deal.  Entered Tennessee, still raining on and off, no big deal.  Entered Virginia...WHAT ...yes Virginia, hmm a little odd but okay I'm following what Gertrude (my GPS) is telling me to do... need to stop for gas and find it for $3.23 (woohoo)  pull in and reach for my debit card...OH NO it's not there.  Yes ladies and gentleman my debit/visa card is GONE!!!  Should have stopped for the night right then and there because it only got worse from that point on...Now as I start driving again, worried about my lost card, I start to notice a trend...the mountainous highways that I thought I left behind in North Carolina seem to be getting worse, it is STILL raining and what the heck is this...we are entering WEST VIRGINIA!  So know I am getting a little bit panicky...lost debit/visa card, rain, lots of winding, curving, STEEP roads, it's getting dark, no street lights and LOTS of SEMI's...can it get any worse???  Yup we had to drive THRU 2 mountains...that's right, not around or over, thru them!!!!  The level of panic rising in my system was close to meltdown status.  Thank goodness for my girls because they helped keep me grounded on what I thought was going to be a never ending night!!!  Looking back now I realize that I should have stopped for the evening a lot sooner than I did, but I was bound and determinded to get to Ohio that night, unfortunately that did not happen!  I finally gave in when it became apparent that exhaustion was setting in so we found the nearest hotel in West Virginia and called it a night! 

So Wednesday morning rolled around and I was hoping that my lost card might appear somewhere in the car...No such luck!  Oh well, cancelled the card and spoke to the bank about there shared branch locations and then hit the road.  Amazing what day light and a little bit of sleep will do for a person!  With a renewed sense on confidence we hit the road to Ohio and guess what??? We FINALLY made it into Ohio!  The drive through Ohio was quite uneventful...we stopped for lunch at a wonderful place called Lucky's Cafe in Cleveland (it was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives) and had a delicous lunch and then continued on!  Hip Hip Horray we are in Michigan, but that darn Gertrude got us screwed up again!  We exited where she told us to and thank the good Lord I was paying attention because she was trying to make us get on the Ambassador Bridge!  For those that don't know it...that is the bridge that connects Detroit to CANADA!!!  I DON"T WANT TO GO TO CANADA!!!!!!  After multiple u-turns and another half hour of driving we made it to Aunt Nina's house!  Once we got settled we took the girls swimming so that they could burn off some of there pent up energy, came back to Aunt Nina's house, ate dinner, and then ALL crashed for the night!

Now it is Thursday and I will continue my blog on all of todays woderful adventures tomorrow as it is late and I am exhausted!

By the way...  Gertrude...YOU ARE FIRED!!!  I will be mapquesting my way back home thank you very much :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Busy Few Days

So the last time I was on here was the day before we left and my intentions were to blog a little more often and I promise that that is what I will do from here on out.  So let me start out with Friday and continue on from there.

Friday didn't go off quite as we had planned but sometimes the greatest of plans just don't work out the way you want them to!  We started the morning at the crack of dawn (5:30a.m. to be exact) getting Emily ready for her final day of Marine Magnet Beach Camp and the BIG snorkel trip.  She was delivered to school by 6:30 and my day went on from there.  First picking up the car rental, packing the car, making sure the girls were all ready and finally a few minutes to relax before heading to my parents house and picking up Emily and hitting the road.  My first snag of the day was with Emily.  She was supposed to be back at school by 1:30...well in actuality it was 2:30 so we got off to a much later start than we anticipated.  Oh well again with the best laid plans :)  So for those of you who are reading this and don't know me as well as some let me tell you a little bit about me and driving.  I HATE driving over bridges...however more than my hatred for driving over bridges is my ABSOLUTE HATRED for driving in the rain and guess what???  Just South of Daytona I hit the nastiest thunderstorm :(  The rain was coming down in sheets and the visibility was awful, thankfully there wasn't a terrible amount of traffic on the highway; all the same though, I was white knuckled and my hands were killing me by the time we were through the downpour.  Once we hit Jacksonville we took a nice driving break and enjoyed dinner with our dear friends Chris and Lara.  It was a relief to be off the road for a little while.  Finally at about 11:30 we pulled in to Jesup Georgia and arrived at Grandma June's house!

So Jesup, Georgia is a town that is about the size of my house.  So what did we do for the next 2 days you ask???  Well we shopped a lot (running errands mostly), watched movies, and ate...boy did we eat; Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, and good old American.  We also drove around the town and saw some beautiful homes and churches on every corner of every block!  Incredible, I think that there is probably one church for every family that lives in the town!  So those were our adventures in Jesup...we will be going back through toward the end of the trip so there will be more to come later!

So now it is Monday and we are enjoying our evening in a beautiful Best Western up near Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.  The plan is to tour the mountain tomorrow and then head on up to Ohio tomorrow evening.

On a side note...for those of you living in Florida and enjoying all of those wonderful $3.65 gallons of gas (at least that is what I paid when I left) we are enjoyng gas prices around $3.35...amazing how the same stuff is different prices all over the place!  Oh well that is all I have to report for tonight.  There will be more to come now that we are on the road and sight seeing.  I hope this hasn't been to boring but it is giving me a chance to reflect and share our adventures!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ready Set Go!

So it is Wednesday June 22, 2010 and this is my first attempt at a blog.  Yesterday we celebrated Samantha's 11th birthday...actually we have been celebrating her birthday and Father's Day since Saturday, but who's counting.  With work, Father's Day and Samantha's birthday all behind us we can now start focusing on our long anticipated trip this Friday.  The packing is almost done (well in reality I have packed and repacked a half a dozen times), house cleaning is almost done and so is the laundry.  Emily's Marine Magnet Camp is the only thing holding us back now. 

So Friday's plan is...Emily has to be at school at 6:30 in the morning for her final day of Camp and boy is she excited.  They have been doing all sorts of cool things with the Marine Magnet Program and Friday is the big day, they get to go snorkeling down at John Pennecamp in the Keys.  After Emily is dropped off I will be coming home to get ready for the big drive ahead.  Need to pick up the rental car, pack the rental car, load up Bekka and Sam, pick up Emily at 1:30 and head North to Jesup, Georgia.  We will be spending the weekend in Jesup with Grandma June.  I am so happy that I have reconnected with my Maternal Grandmother after so many years and I am truly looking forward to the first leg of our trip.  On Monday morning with will be leaving Jesup and head for our next adventure.  We will be heading further North to Detroit, Michigan to visit with Aunt Nina, with some fun stops on the way there.  We will be staying in Detroit until Saturday (a week from this Saturday) and then we head West to Holland, Michigan where we will enjoy a visit with Aunt Sylvia.  After a week in Holland we will be heading back down South with sightseeing stops in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, back to Grandma June's and then finally back home.  It will be a whirl wind trip, but one that we have been looking very forward to and can't wait to get started with. 

I will try to update this blog every couple of days or so with our adventures and pictures for your enjoyment.  I hope that if you are reading this that you enjoy hearing about our adventures as much as we are enjoying sharing them with you.