Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth, and we have front row seats.
Atlanta to Tennessee to D.C.
We are living as we are called, reaching for the desires of our heart’s to see the world. The time we are spending here is to relax, meet up with family, and look over our route to make sure it’s working. We may have to reroute because of the weather, it will just depend on how the northern states look snow wise. Going across South Dakota and Montana in the winter months may not be an option. Sadly we may miss Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone, but one day we will visit them when the weather’s willing.
I think our favorite place so far was Atlanta (and not just because we ran into Josh Hutcherson from the Hunger Games). Sunday we found the Georgia Aquarium to be awesome and an all day event. Adrian ran around like a ten year old boy and it was hard to keep track of him. The whale sharks were our favorite, and the sea otters. One sea otter floated around, sucking on her paw like a baby. She was just too cute.
Monday we sat on the doorsteps of our aunt’s Tennessee home, looking out over the beautiful countryside. The weather was cooler and the trees are changing color. Who would ever want to miss such a sight?
We’ve also loved Tennessee. One of my cousin’s has a cabin up in the woods we are thinking about seeing if we could rent to stay in for a few days, maybe next spring. What a peaceful place. So far we are having a blast and no one’s ended up killing the other (or being killed). We’ve kind of learned in general that the morning times are our quiet times, and snacks are our best friend when we are getting hungry.
Out of 9 we have had two complete ‘free days’ of not spending money. If we want our trip to last, we will need some more of those. Especially to cover our over budget days (the aquarium was a $100 day).
1,700 miles into the trip, and have spent $150 on gas (by day 9). While the car is small, it sure does save us money even though we are sacrificing space. I’ve found 55mph roads with little to no stops extend my tank to the longest, I have gotten up to 31mpg.
Tennessee has been such a wonderful and relaxing experience. Monday through Thursday Aunt Carolyn spoiled us with a bed to sleep on for several days and a tv to watch. Hopefully we can go back to living out of our car.
We have met several people on this stop that offered us tips and advice. Hopefully they find our blog and send us those tips here so we can remember them all. Time was spent wisely with family. So much so that we will miss them when we leave. Our hike Tuesday surrounded us with beautiful waterfalls (and slippery rocks), at a local area called Rock Island. It was fun driving around with Aunt Carolyn and hollerin’ “stop! stop! That was the perfect picture!”. ‘Yuns’ and ‘yurt’ have been added to our vocabulary. Wednesday she whisked us away to Muddy Pond, places like this that we would have never known to look for ourself. Watched molasses being made, a special treat just for us because they usually don’t cook it down on that day.
I spent some time sitting outside typing because the weather has just been too nice. The sun had not risen yet when I started, and it was so cold. When it finally peaked over the trees I slowly felt the blood return to my ice cold fingers. Could not even begin to imagine camping in this weather, but that is just because we are warm blooded from Florida. Time to toughen up.
Lucky for us we are leaving right before the rain comes this weekend, and with it the cold. We did get to see the trees in their different colors, something that is only a distant memory for some Floridians. While I am not looking forward to it, snow is inevitable and will make some beautiful photos.
Still need to look over our route to make sure we are not going to be snowed out. The East Coast is supposed to get hit with a hurricane, which may bring on some cold nasty weather we want to miss – so we need to get a move on. We will most likely be rerouting after Chicago, but my hopes is for a warm winter.
Thursday we woke up early, feeling rested and rejuvenated. Gatlinburg was going to be a 3 hour drive, and we planned to arrive before the heavy weekend traffic. Goodbyes were said, but we know them not to be permanent markers. With our reroute to take a more southern approach to our trip we may even swing through again for a night or two. Everything was packed and we hit the road. Cities came and went, and we headed East barely on track. Flashy signs for Knoxville caught our eyes. Quickly we asked Siri, our oh so popular tour guide, what free things we could find in Knoxville. The 4th floor of the Sun sphere became our first stop. It was cool to see the mountains high lighted with cities, but we needed to hurry to our next stop – the Knoxville visitor center. Monday through Saturday they have talent come in from all over and play live 30 minute segments which are then put on air. So we rushed to the center, grabbed a cup of coffee and our seats. The Gloria Darlings were the first performers. I fell in love with their Mermaid Lullaby and look forward to their kickstarter for their first all originals CD. Be sure to add The Gloria Darlings on Facebook and keep an eye out for their fundraising program. I’m sure you’ll love their sound too! Right after them Tonight’s Noise played, and we also found their tune catchy! So much so that we stalked their band two hours North to Johnson City to catch them live again. If you like Latin meets Blue Grass meets Rock then you will be pleasantly surprised by their beat! Some only instrumental, others with catchy lyrics that will have you singing along in no time.
In between Knoxville and Johnson City we decided to squeeze that little town known as Gatlinburg in. Ever heard of the place? You know the one we originally trekked out to see. We made it their, headed up the mountain to Clingmans Dome. After doing our ‘good deed for the day’ we made it up the mountain just in time to catch the most spectacular sun set over the mountain.
Thursday night we curl up on our cozy car’s seats and pull on our dream girl eye patches to block out the Walmart 24 hour sign. Dozing off with the help of ear plugs and sleep aids.
It’s amazing how a night of unrest can drain you so quickly. Thursday night we took our sleep aids so we could fall asleep in the car, but the cold woke us up quickly. I know a lot of websites recommend cracking your windows when sleeping in your car so you can get fresh air, but when it’s dropping to 40 degrees outside you learn to appreciate the stuffy air inside your vehicle.
So far our longest fight has been over who ate my zebra cake. I swear when I wasn’t looking he gobbled it down because I don’t remember eating it. If you hear one of us bickering at the other saying “you ate it” when we are 90 years old you will know what we are talking about because this is a fight I’m willing to take to my grave. West Virginia and Virginia were on our schedule, but we skipped them and headed straight for the bustling city of DC. Mid-route we stopped at McCormick Farm, and walked a short trail. The place was beautiful, equipped with log cabins and friendly geese. Have you ever heard of Groupon? It’s this great app that offers discounts for things like food and activities. We have a tour tomorrow through Groupon, but on the drive over we realized we were starting to get hungry so we looked up a groupon nearby. Pines of Florence was the restaurant of choice with our groupon, and it was an excellent choice. We spent triple our budget and realized we could no longer afford a hotel. However, the time we had there was worth every penny. It will be a night we remember forever. The food was relatively inexpensive and the service was wonderful. We just couldn’t resist and ordered to our hearts content. They had the sweetest old man playing piano, we just had to get a picture with him. He offered to take our picture so we handed over the iPhone. Then he proceeded to do the cutest thing ever. He turned the iPhone backwards so the screen was facing us, and put his eye up to the camera lens. All we could see of his face was one eye expanded 5x the normal size peering at us through our iPhones camera. After dinner we decided it was time for bed. So it was time to upgrade our Walmart car stays from Motel 6 to the Hilton. We bought some extra pillows, made it so we could stretch out the full length of our car. Perfection.
A huge hurricane is supposed to hit so we may need to reroute. The trip goes on.
What’s the craziest thing you have done? I think the craziest thing we’ve done so far was out of sheer desperation. We were camping at Honey Hill, and desperately needed a shower. Honey Hill is a no amenities FREE campground, which fits right into our budget. However, when they say no amenities – they mean none. Zip. Zero. Zilch. You pop your tent up on mother natures fine dirt, stray wild cats try to eat the food you leave out. The attraction on site is rotting, rusted, and if you make the wrong step going up the six stories the stairs will cave out on you, and at the very least you will break your neck. (Which may be why there is a locked chain fence around it). The bathroom only has a toilet, and more flies than toilet paper and absolutely no shower head or running water (not that you would opt to shower in there in the first place, we actually chose to do our business outside). So where were we, oh yes – in desperate need of a shower, and willing to do what some may consider crazy. The nearest state park had shower heads outside, a nice cold shower to wake you up. But they wanted $10 for us to get in. That’s half the days budget! We were driving back to the campsite, dirtier than before from all the searching, but we didn’t let our spirits get down. We were going to find a shower, and it was going to be; free, private, and hot! It’s one of those things that it’s better to ask for forgiveness later (if you get caught). Then we saw our ticket… risky… but worth a shot. The unthinkable, we walked right into the Country Club, headed straight for the bathrooms – and voila! Hot, private shower and no one said one word to us. It was certainly our lucky day, and we may never be so lucky again. God was looking out for us this time, or maybe He was tired of smelling us.
What’s the craziest, most desperate thing YOU’VE done?