Pants Optional

Don’t worry. You won’t see us without pants if you watch this video. What you will see is a bunch of people that are terrible at golf, some Wal Mart shenanigans, and people that are really hot, temperature wise. Our air conditioner was still on the fritz.


Butt Trip Triple Play

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If you don’t know what a butt trip is go ahead and click here to get an idea of what a butt trip is. Essentially butt trips are small day trips to obscure places that adults appreciate more than children. The longer the drive and the more obscure the destination the better. We did a butt trip triple play in Tulsa as we visited The Center of the Universe, the Golden Driller, and a Volkswagen Bug on “spider legs.” This trip scored a 60 out of 67 scale. We didn’t have to drive very far to see it but we did see three obscure sites, one of which we all refused to get out of the car to look at.

We have been on higher scoring butt trips but this was one of the best due to the quantity of destinations. We have never done three destinations in one trip. The VW bug with spider legs might be one of the most worthless things we have ever seen.

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We are Miners, Hard Rock Miners

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When we were in North Carolina we had the chance to visit the city of Cherokee and go to a gem store. They had buckets of dirt that came from mines and you could buy a bucket and go out to try your hand at finding gems in the dirt.

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You would put some of your dirt in a wooden box with a screen at the bottom and as the water rushed through a sluice it would clean the dirt and you would look through rocks to find gems. It wasn’t really mining and more touristy but it was still fun because we found some cool gems.

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After finding the gems we took them inside the shop and they told us what we had. Our piles of rocks are visible here from left to right on the red mat you have citrine, amethyst, garnets, calcite, one tiny ruby, and emeralds.

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Our kids really enjoyed finding the gems. I’ve seen a lot of places like this in the South. I don’t remember seeing any in Utah or in the west in general. It was a fun treasure hunt. I hope I don’t get silicosis from the hard rock mining.


RV Problems

This week we had to make it to Hot Springs, Arkansas for a family reunion and we were having issues with our slide coming in but we didn’t have time to get it looked at. We decided to stop in Memphis and leave the slide in rather than risk getting it stuck again. This led to an uncomfortable crowded night and a fun drive to Hot Springs. Check out the chaos below.

Our Biggest Fan

Eva comments on almost all of our blog posts so I consider her my number one blog fan. The highlight of our Nashville trip was meeting her. We also visited the Nashville Parthenon, Antique Archeology, and this place called The Grand Ol’ Opry. Nashville was awesome!

Glass Blows……Literally

Nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, surrounded by rolling green hills that are full of “nature” you will find Asheville, North Carolina. We were planning staying in this area for 5 days before moving on to Nashville but due to some unforseen mechanical issues on our fifth wheel we stayed for 10 days. Although we would prefer not to have mechanical failures on our home, we felt like Asheville was a great place to have to stay longer.

The whole area has a lot to do both indoors and outdoors. The food culture has an amazing farm to table emphasis, and the people are extremely nice. We spent a day touring downtown Asheville. There are a lot of unique shops and restaurants including this double decker bus cafe’.

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We stopped in a local store and sampled a bunch of weird candy and confections that we haven’t ever had before.They had nice rocking chairs for us to rest on.

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It probably won’t surprise you to know that my kids didn’t love the ginger and licorice hard candies. We also determined that we aren’t much of a Moon Pie family.

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The highlight for us was Lexington Glassworks. You can see their awesome glass decor by going to the link. It’s great stuff.

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We really enjoyed it because the studio is open to the public. We were able to walk into the store and watch as they blew glass. It was really cool because they would explain what they were doing throughout the process. I could watch for hours and hours. It’s an amazing talent.

We don’t have room to fit anything really big in our fifth wheel, and glass doesn’t hold up extremely well in a moving house, but we did buy a glass Christmas ornament while we were there. Make sure and look up Lexington Glassworks in Asheville when you visit, they really blow.


The Not So Secret Garden

biltmore garden 5In my post about the huge 178,000 square foot Biltmore Mansion I mentioned that it was built upon an 8,000 acre estate. The grounds of the estate were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead who also designed Central Park.

The grounds are amazing and if I lived in the area I might buy a membership to the Biltmore Mansion to visit the gardens during different parts of the year as there are plants that grow and bloom throughout the year giving a different experience each time.

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There are several different gardens that you can walk through on the estate with paths that meander through. I was impressed by the variety and the beauty of the grounds.

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My favorite part was the huge greenhouse that houses several different types of plants.

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There were a bunch of different orchids….

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and cacti……

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and a bunch of tropical plants.

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I like gardens a lot so I think I actually liked the Biltmore Gardens even more than I liked the house. If you get a chance, visit the Biltmore Mansion and gardens in Asheville.



The Opposite of Minimalism


Ten months ago we sold most everything we had and moved into a 400 square foot fifth wheel. We have generally enjoyed living a more minimalist lifestyle. Sometimes we miss having more room and more stuff but we recognize that we have a lot of benefits as well. While we were in Asheville, North Carolina, we visited the opposite of the minimalist lifestyle that seems to be taking the country by storm. No tiny houses or mobile abodes here. Instead we found opulence, riches, and an insanely huge home.

The Biltmore estate was the dream child of Charles Biltmore. It is the largest privately owned house in the United States weighing in at a respectable 178,926 square feet. It has more than 250 rooms and it is located on a mere 8,000 acres.

Unfortunately it was very dark inside the house and it was hard to take good pictures. I took a lot of them but I didn’t get a lot of great ones. My favorite room was the library. It had more than 10,000 books and all of them were personally picked out by George Vanderbilt.

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George Vanderbilts bedroom was huge and it had a marble tub that was carved from one piece of marble.

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The main dining area was huge. I think they said it was over 2500 square feet. Throughout the tour they make it a point to tell you what normal and down to earth family the Vanderbilts were. I’m sure they were nice but a normal person doesn’t decide to build this big of a house. I’m not buying that they were just normal people like the rest of us. I’m not saying it’s bad to build a house this big. If you have the means and you want to do it, go ahead. Just don’t do it and then try to convince me that you are a normal every day family when your house is more than 85 times the size of a normal 2000 square foot home.

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The pool in the basement was pretty cool. Since they really didn’t have chemicals to keep it clean they would empty it every few days and then fill it up again when they wanted to swim again.

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To give you an idea of the size of this place, look at how big the chandelier is in the stairwell. MUY GRANDE!

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The tour was pretty expensive but I felt that the uniqueness of the experience made it worth it. I imagine that we were allowed to see 25% of the house and we were exhausted by the time we were done. In my next article I will show you the grounds and gardens which were just as amazing.