Great Smoky Mountain National Park

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Allow me to go back in time and post about the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It has been weeks since we visited the park when we were in North Carolina but I neglected to post about it.

I was surprised to learn that the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited national park. In fact, it isn’t even close. It has double the amount of visitors of the second most visited national park, Grand Canyon National Park.

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The park is huge and there are several entrances. We entered the park near Cherokee, North Carolina. There was a great visitor center there with a bunch of old farm buildings that gave a feel of how the European Settlers lived.

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While we were touring the buildings, there were  big fences around the vegetable gardens and fruit trees. I asked the rangers and they said that the fences were built that way to keep the elk and other animals out of the garden.

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We were able to go on  nice hike by the river and we even found time to skip some rocks. One of our favorite pastimes.

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We came across a bunch of elk on the hike. It is always so wondrous to see wild animals in there natural habitat. It was the highlight of our trip to the park.

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We didn’t get to spend as much time as we should in the park. I hope to be able to go back some day and spend more time there.

~Michael~

Birthday Boy

We celebrated Reece’s Birthday this week. It was a little hard as we are living in cramped quarters since our RV slide isn’t working. We still had a good time and made the best of our situation. If you watch the video you will see how much I love malls. You will also have to hear me vomiting. If you don’t want to hear me vomit, don’t click on the video. I’m serious, it’s not pleasant.

~Michael~

What is a Slow Day?

I quit my job as an Investment Coach so we could come on this one year trip and our main source of income comes from Marisa and her Essential Oil business. She works on the business a little bit on most days, but Tuesdays are the days dedicated to the majority of her work. She has a lot of meetings and trainings on Tuesdays so we call them slow days since we try not to travel and we don’t usually do anything big. Last Tuesday she had a few hours between meetings and work so we were able to take a mini trip to a local waterfall. Check out the adventure in the video.

~Michael~

Colder Than a Tin Toilet on an Iceburg

Fifty to sixty degree water sure takes your breath away when you drop in over your head but you do get a rush from it on a hot day. There is a place near Asheville, North Carolina, that is aptly named “Sliding Rock” with extremely cold water and fun to be found for all members of the family.

Close your eyes and imagine what comes to your mind when you think of a place called Sliding Rock. What images does it conjure? Do you see a rock that you can slide on? Good imagination, oh creative one. You nailed it.

We travelled through some pretty windy roads to get to the famous rock of sliding. There was a little weeping, a small amount of wailing, and I might have gnashed my teeth a little bit as half the family started getting car sick. Nobody hurled but we came close.

Since no one in the family blew chunks the car sickness was worth it as at the end of our roller coaster drive, we were able to climb to the top of a 60 foot flat rock, slide down, and plunge into the freezing cold water. As my dad would say, it was colder than a tin toilet on an iceberg with a north wind a’blowing.

If you go to sliding rock, wear some old shorts as rocks aren’t easy on thin swimsuits. it’s $2 per person to park. I am told it gets really busy on the weekends so try and go on a weekday.

~Michael~

Just a Little Short

I up and left my family in South Carolina and flew to Salt Lake Idaho 1City so I could drive to Idaho Falls and visit my parents. My Dad has had some complications with surgery and I wanted to spend some time with them. As I was driving to Idaho, I was able to investigate something that I have heard about but that I never wanted to pursue because I never wanted to make my family bored.

I had always heard a rumor of a grave just north of the Welcome to Idaho sign on I-15 and I wanted to see if it was there. Sure enough there was a gravestone and I found the story confirmation here. My sick twisted mind gets a little humor from it. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Here is the story.

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“Hugh Moon crossed the plains to the Salt Lake Valley in 1848, where he married.  Brigham Young asked him to move to Dixie in southern Utah to build up the church there, but he moved again after five years, this time to Henderson Creek in the Idaho Territory.

 He died in 1870 at the age of 54.  His wishes were to be buried in Zion which he concluded to be Utah.  Upon his death, his family took him far enough south that they thought they were in Utah, to a small cemetery east or Portage.  As it turned out, the burial site was just inside the Idaho territory.”

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I’m not sure why but I have always found this story humorous. In a time when transportation was so difficult, this man had one dying request which was to be buried in Utah. His family probably went to a lot of work to comply with his request and buried him about 10 yards shy of the Utah border. Then they put I-15 and the Idaho sign right in view of his grave so his spirit knew that his body wasn’t in Utah. It’s like someone was trying to rub it in. I need help determining two things.

  1. Why does my sick mind find this is a little funny?
  2.  What is the moral to this story? There must be something to be learned from it.

~Michael~

 

Farmers Market in Charleston

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We were lucky enough to be in Charleston when they were having a Farmers Market at Marion Square. The subtropical climate must provide great opportunities for growing because the variety and beauty of the produce in the various stalls was amazing.

There were tomatoes everywhere.

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I thought that the white and green asparagus was probably the most beautiful thing at the market.

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I wanted to buy all the herbs that I could see but it’s hard to have a lot of herbs while living in a fifth wheel.

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I know we weren’t in Georgia but we were close so I wasn’t surprised to see peaches as far as the eye could see.

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It makes me so happy to go to Farmers Markets and see so many people that grow such beautiful produce, and seeing so many people that appreciate it. Farmers markets are one of my favorite places to be.

~Michael~

 

Do the Charleston

The day after we visited Savannah we found out that Marisa’s parents were going to be in Charleston so we drove to Charleston to explore the city with them. It was a lot of fun to have a chance meetup with family and Charleston is another amazing city full of history. The old houses were so amazing and we spent a lot of time walking through the neighborhoods near the Battery.charleston 3

It was a hot day so we spent a lot of time in the shade. Our kids weren’t thrilled that we were looking at houses all morning but they were troopers. It seemed like every other house was a historical sites and you could read plaques for each one about their history.

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A lot of the houses had amazing garden areas. I felt weird because we spent a lot of time peering over fences to see the amazing garden sanctuaries that the owners have created.

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There were a lot of old brick streets that made me imagine what this city looked like 200 years ago.

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We were able to walk down rainbow row as well. Charleston is an amazing place. I wish we could have spent more than one day there.

~Michael~

 

You Don’t Look a Day Older Than 400

st aug 6In 1565, Spanish Admiral Pedro Menendes De Aviles landed near St Augustine, Florida in order to establish a colony for the Spanish. The city is the oldest continuously occupied European-settlement in the Continental U.S. We decided that after 451 years being occupied that it was time for our family to visit.

There are large areas of touristy shops where you can get your fill of salt water taffy, magnets, t-shirts, and expensive mass produced fast food disguised as local delicacies. Don’t let that deter you, old town St Augustine has a lot of great history and homes as well. The streets are made of brick and coquina which is a sedimentary cement like rock made out of seashells. The rock was excavated from a nearby island. You can see Mason inspecting a coquina wall here.

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The town is full of interesting old homes…..

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old churches…..

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and the oldest existing wooden school h use in the U.S.A.

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St. Augustine was a nice little town with a lot of history. The beaches near it are great. We were able to visit some forts and museums in the town and there was a lot of other stuff to do. I would recommend that you go if you get a chance. Don’t wait around another 450 years like we did.

~Michael~