Monday, July 15, 2013

Time to Get Back To My Normal Life (sorta)

I'm home!!!! A L O N E!!

It has been a crazy, wild, fun, adventurous month! I have to say I am ready for it to settle down tho. We had a great 2 week roadtrip aka vacation - I mean GREAT! We picked up my mom and 2 oldest grandangels on the route home for them to stay 2 weeks and that was another fantastic adventure. I absolutely had so much fun with those 2 girls. They are now BFF's and not one single argument came about. (It was a little like twilight zone, 11 and 13 year old girls don't fight during a 2 week period??)

But this post is going to be about the vaca. (I'll save the 2 weeks with the family for another post)

We tried to do something in every state we were in (Mississippi, Missouri, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Ohio)

Here are some of the highlights:

DUCK COMMANDER in West Monroe, LA. It was a Saturday so none of the beards were there, but we still toured the redneck makeshift gift center that is part of the building. I do mean redneck - no A/C - it looks like a big garage sale in a way. Merchandise pretty much everywhere - from tee shirts to bumper stickers to bobble heads to ball caps. Big posters and lifesize cut outs of the whole family and mounted animals on the walls. As Jase says, "it was awesome!" We just love Duck Dynasty!

We also did a little casino stopping since we were in Louisiana but nothing to brag about there.

Tennessee - we love! we actually went to TN on the way to PA and on the way back. The first time through we went to Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain and took a trolley all the way to the top and back down again. We ate at Sugar's Ribs which we had been told it was a "must do" - umm, not so much. Neither of us liked it and my hubs is a BBQ freak. 

Our second time through was specifically for Nashville. We actually spent 3 nights because we loved it so much. We went to the Grand Ole Opry, Opry Mills Mall, did the General Jackson Riverboat Dinner Cruise, spent an evening downtown Nashville Music Row,  Broadway and 2nd - fun fun fun. One of our favorite things (well, 2 of our favorite things) was eating at the Loveless Cafe and Backstage Opry Grill. At the Loveless Cafe - food was awesome - plus, my husband met and talked with the BBQ Pitmaster, George Harvell - who is such a nice guy - gave us bites of pork butt right out of the grill - told us about all the famous people who stop in the cafe and there are 100's of autographs all over the smokehouse wall. I got a picture of the two of them together - Brad was in BBQ heaven!

At the Backstage Opry Grill - we met this cutie pie singing waiter who ended up singing 2 songs for us - and sat with us about 30 minutes telling us all about his band, Brassfield Aly - and they had just signed a record deal with a major recording company the week before. I took a picture with him and got his autograph because I am sure he will be famous someday. So nice! He won't be a singing waiter for long. no doubt!

At the Grand Ole Opry - the line up was Ricky Skaggs, John Conlee, Kacey Musgraves, Dierks Bentley, Terri Clark and then a couple of fiddle playing bands I wasn't familiar with. It was a great night!
The GJ showboat dinner cruise had  wonderful entertainment as well - a Musical of the decades of country music. So much talent in Nashville.

North Carolina - we went to Grandfather Mountain - SCARY! that is almost 6000 feet up and we DROVE to the top! Wow!! Coming down was even scarier - but we did it! There is NO WAY I would have driven. No Way! We walked across the swinging bridge - it was like you could see forever.

Pennsylvania - our destination goal - sooooooooo beautiful! We went to Lancaster - which is where we stayed the first night - and toured the Amish Country by horse and buggy. (Abe's Horse & Buggy) Our Amish tour guide was so kind and he didn't mind answering any questions we had (including those about Breaking Amish and Amish Mafia) We bought homemade pickles from a little 5 year old boy - even toured a couple of homes. The farmers market and all the little village stores are just so neat. I could live there! We went through Bird In Hand, Intercourse and Lancaster, PA. 

We also stayed a night in Nazareth, PA - which was another goal we had - touring the Martin & Co Factory and Museum. This did not disappoint!! We just loved seeing the steps of making a Martin guitar (we have 2 ourselves) and not only was it amazing - it was FREE! I bought a really cool metal sign to hang on the wall and Brad bought a Martin cap. 

Ohio - we went through Flushing, OH - and in the middle of no where - we found a tiny town that has all but dried up - and toured a little place called the Underground Railroad Museum - we thought it would be some hokey little nothing museum - as it really didn't look like much at all, but we drove all that way so we thought we would check it out - we are so glad we did! The man who run/owns the place was so nice - we talked to him almost 2 hours! He was so full of Black History - it also became one of our favorite stops of our trip. That little old bank turned museum is very fascinating - I highly recommend it! (Dr. John Mattox is the curator - you can google him and read more about his passion for keeping black history alive.)

We drove parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway - ate at some awesome places and some not so good places. We stayed in fabulous suites and a few dumps.
 I fell in the shower one night and scared us both to pieces! My foot came out from under me as soon as I stepped into their slippery shower. Thankfully, I landed on my bum and just had a little bruising. I almost got electrocuted in one hotel - the blow dryer lit up like a Christmas tree when I turned it on. 

When we were driving through Jackson, Mississippi - there was a horrible 5 car wreck on the opposite side of the freeway that had traffic backed up for miles and miles and we knew someone had died - they had sheets around one of the vehicles. We just started praying for all involved right then and neither of us could get our minds off of it. The next morning I logged in on Facebook and saw that people were posting about that same wreck and saw the exact pictures of what we had seen in person - then I find out that the 2 people who were killed - were from my hometown and I went to school with them. I just couldn't believe it. How strange to be out of state and driving down the interstate and see the remains of a horrific accident and then find out I knew the people. Such a tragedy. 

It only rained on us one day - and we were in the car pretty much during that time - so it didn't damper any of our trip. The weather was so beautiful...especially in Pennsylvania.

It was a costly trip - pretty much what we expected - but we wouldn't take it back for anything. We made so many fun memories.
We hope to do it again next summer - just a different route - maybe north.

Now it is time to settle back into my routine and enjoy the last few weeks of my summer vacation before having to return to work. 

This is one of my very favorite pictures - Brad on top of Grandfather Mountain - God's glory all around. Just beautiful!


  1. i enjoyed your vacation post. We visit TN often. And have been many times to Ruby falls and Lookout Mountain and Pigeon Forge. I truly want to make it to PA and other parts of the NE states. BTW I am a Louisianian and like the Duck Dynasty's too.

    1. Thank you!
      There wasn't a single state we went to that people were not just as friendly as can be. We are only 2 hours from LA and have been there many times, usually only as far as Kinder (Coushatta)

  2. Ooo, I've always wanted to visit the states. I'm a big country music fan so I have a list of places that I would love to go to. Although country music is beginning to become more popular here in the UK it's not reached the point I would like it to!

    I'm one of the co-hosts for this weeks 'I Love My Post Blog Hop' which is how I found your fabulous blog :D

    Your newest follower :D

    Louise x

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper

    1. PS: How rude am I? I got carried away and forgot to say how lovely your pictures are and that it looks like you had a brilliant vacation x

    2. Thank you! It was fantastic!

  3. What an absolutely wonderful post. I've been to Ruby Falls, it's been years but I remember really liking it.

    1. It was a vacation to remember, for sure. thanks for stopping by!


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