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’.

asheville 5.jpg

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.

asheville 3

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.

asheville 6

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

asheville 1

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.

~Michael~

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.

biltmore garden 6

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.

biltmore garen 3

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

biltmore garden 4

There were a bunch of different orchids….

biltmore garden 2

and cacti……

biltmore garden 1

and a bunch of tropical plants.

Biltmore 8

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.

~Michael~

 

The Opposite of Minimalism

biltmore1

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.

biltmore 6

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

biltmore 3

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.

biltmore 2

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.

biltmore 7

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

biltmore 5

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.

~Michael~

So Amazing I Had to Scream

While I was in Craters of the Moon National Park with my brothers and sisters there were wildflowers everywhere. I know that doesn’t soundlike that big if a deal but the ground there is covered with black and maroon lava rocks. There isn’t any real dirt around so seeing the ground literally covered with multi colored wildflowers clinging to life in the harsh terrain was beyond description.

Even photos didn’t do it justice because we were literally surrounded by flowers in a barren sea of rock. I finally broke down and just started screaming because I couldn’t believe how amazing it was. My niece in the back seat of my car took a video of me freaking out without my knowing about it.

Craters of the Moon

craters 1
Panoramic view of the park and surrounding areas from the top of a large cinder cone

Desolation as far as the eye can see. A landscape ravaged by the Earth rending and cracking apart from 15,000 to 2,000 years ago. More than 25 separate cones created 60 distinct lava flows. The devastation remains 2000 years after the last lava flow trickled out and the Earth’s wound stopped it’s deluge of molten rock.

This is my second time visiting Craters of the Moon National Park in the last year. I decided to go with my brothers and sisters and their families while visiting my parents in Idaho. This place is in the middle of nowhere but it’s sure unique.

We spent times climbing cinder cones,

craters 2

pretending we could fly,

craters 3

exploring caves,

craters 7

hiking through gnarly fields of lava

craters 4

scaling rocks,

craters 5

and marveling over wildflowers growing out of the volcanic ash and rock.

craters 6

~Michael~

A Walk Among the Dead

cem 3

As I walked among the graves in Savannah’s Bonevanture Cemetery I travelled through history.

cem 1

The Oaks covered with Spanish moss bowed down under the weight of the history of those that lay beneath. There was a spooky calm that filled the 100 acre graveyard.

cem 2

I couldn’t help but feel the regret of those that passed to soon, or didn’t live the life they were destined to. I couldn’t help but feel the peace of those that experienced a fulfilled life. When I am buried how will others see me? When I look back on the life I have lived will I feel peace or regret, sadness or joy?

cem 4

I don’t know the answer but today is the day I can determine my trajectory. Today is the day I take the step on the right path. It is not yesterday, I can’t change the past. It is not tomorrow, for it may never come. Today is the day I choose, and live, and create my life. Today.

~Michael~