Travel To Tennessee…

Hey y’all! It’s been a while since I’ve written, but I’m back!

Things are going well. It’s summer and the ol’ wanderlust has kicked in. I recently returned from a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee….in particular, the Great Smoky Mountains and had an amazing time. 

As crazy as this will sound, I think the most exciting part of the trip was the night a bear ran across the highway in front of my car. We were heading to the ice cream parlor and as it turns out, so was he…in particular the dumpster behind the shop. Both the bear and the customers at the ice cream parlor are all ok and the folks that were there have a great story to tell!

Our first day there we took a drive through the park and just enjoyed the scenery. It’s absolutely beautiful! I’ve been there several times over the years and never tire of it!

On day two, we took another drive…this time to Cade’s Cove where we enjoyed the beautiful scenery, took in the history of the area, and enjoyed a picnic in the the picnic area by a mountain stream. We were fortunate enough to see two bears playing in a field as we drove through. They frolicked in the field for about ten minutes before running off. I got photos but they are of poor quality because we were so far away. Here are a few from Cades Cove for your viewing pleasure.

After spending several hours in Cades Cove, we decided to drive over the mountain to Cherokee, North Carolina. It’s about an hours drive. The Cherokee Indian Reservation is located there and the scenery is beautiful in this area as well! We were able to get some delicious Indian fry bread while we were there, browse souvenir shops, hike to a waterfall, and we even saw an elk on the side of the road. I had no idea how huge they are!

In the summer they have an outdoor drama…Unto These Hills and the performance is acted out in an amphitheater built into the side of a mountain. It’s depicts the life of the Cherokee in the region and their forced removal…the Trail of Tears. We missed opening day by one week, but I’ve seen it before and highly recommend it!

On site is The Eternal Flame. The Eternal Flame burns at the entrance to the Mountainside Theater. It was carried on the Trail Of Tears to Oklahoma and brought back to Cherokee from Oklahoma in 1951…it still burns.

Day three we attended the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It’s a Dolly Parton venture and there are many. She grew up in the area and has a very big presence there. We love Dolly and we loved the show! Included with the show is a four course meal and it was absolutely perfect…tasted great and the service is excellent! However, utensils not included. You eat everything with your hands. The show is a way to look back over the area for the last three hundred years or so and is very patriotic. Again, we loved it and highly recommend it. Definitely worth the money!

Since we were leaving the next morning, we decided to take one last drive through the mountains on a driveable trail called the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It can be reached by turning at traffic light six in Gatlinburg and follow the signs. In my opinion it has some of the best scenery in the National Park. There are some old, mountain homes to visit that were lived in by the early settlers to the area and there’s even a nice waterfall by the side of the road. No hiking required. Just park in the pull off area and walk right up to it. Again, some of the best scenery the park has to offer AND some of the best hiking trails…many with spectacular waterfalls at the end.

The ending of this post brings us back to the beginning…after exiting the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which brings you out on to the highway in Gatlinburg, we encountered the bear about five minutes later. He was leaving the same area we had just left…and had ice cream on his mind, too!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our little adventure and if you ever have the opportunity to visit the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/Great Smoky Mountains area, you won’t be disappointed! 

Stay tuned for our next adventure later this month and hope y’all have a great summer and safe travels!


My Reverse Bucket List…

I got this idea from a new blogging friend from their blog. It’s called a reverse bucket list. 

With a traditional bucket list, you write down all the things you’d like to do before you die. A reverse bucket list is different. You write down all the things you’ve already accomplished. 

For me, some of them wouldn’t have been on my bucket list at all, but I’m still glad they made it on the reverse list. 

Most of my reverse list will probably involve places I’ve already traveled to because that’s a big part of my bucket list. However, a few things will make it on the list that don’t involve travel. I’m gonna give it a try so here goes…

I’m providing the link to my fellow blogger’s original post. I challenge y’all to make your own reverse bucket list.

My reverse bucket list:

1. Climbed the Staue of Liberty to the crown. 

2. I have a photo of myself on Liberty Island with the Twin Towers of The World Trade Center in the background. I don’t have to tell you why it’s now one of my favorite photos.

3. Visited The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution were debated and adopted.

4. I’ve swam in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

5. I’ve drank a margarita in Tijuana, Mexico and saw one of the famous Tijuana Zebras walking down the street.

6. I’ve been to the tops of the Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

7. I’ve roamed the streets of Times Square and Greenwich Village In NYC.

8. I’ve gambled in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. 

9. I am a mother to a beautiful daughter.

10. I was an extra in the movie A League Of Their Own and was chosen to walk in the background through the stands. My “scene” must have ended up on the cutting room floor because I never saw myself in the movie.

11. I did see Madonna and she waved to all the extras as she walked to the set.

12. My friends and I hung out with the bands Warrant and Trixter in a bar after one of their concerts. They stopped on their way out of town and sat in the same section as us. The area was secured once they got there and we weren’t asked to move. We got to chat with them for awhile and take some pics.

13. I’ve climbed to the top of Clingman’s Dome…the highest point in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’ve also hiked to numerous waterfalls, walked behind a waterfall, and crossed paths with a black bear while hiking.

14. I’ve jumped off a high dive into a pool. May not sound like a big deal, but it was for me!

15. I’ve mentioned this before, but I wrote a poem in the fourth grade. My teacher loved it so much that she had it published in the town newspaper.

16. While driving, I had to wait for a herd of long horned cattle to cross the road in rural Oklahoma and was able to see several buffalo in the same trip.

17. I’ve visited the gravesites of Geronimo  and Commanche chief Quanah Parker (who is a distant relative of mine)

18. I’ve had two of the best pets anyone could ever want. A cat…for 16 years who passed away 7 years ago and a dog for the past six years. He is the sweetest dog ever!

19. I had always wanted a Firebird so it was the first car I bought when I started working as an adult. 

20. While visiting Washington DC and walking to the White House, the Secret Service directed us away from the main road because we would have been too close to the President’s motorcade on its way back to the White House. Needless to say, visiting the White House is still on my bucket list…

That was harder than I thought, but I guess I’ve accomplished a few interesting things after all!

My Happy Place…

The beach and the mountains have always been my “happy place”. My wanderlust kicked in this weekend and not having either of these places close by, I took a little drive just to relax and get away while the weather is still nice. I wasn’t disappointed.

Sometimes you just need to relax a little and get away from all the “busy” in the world. Nothing but the sound of the wind blowing thru the trees and the birds singing. A quiet place to reflect. I’m realizing that once you figure out who you are and what you like about yourself…everything else starts to fall into place.

This was my new happy place for a short time and it gave me a sense of peace and happiness this weekend. I thought I’d share my photos with you and a few thoughts I had while I was there. 

If you know one place well, you look at all others differently. If you love one place you can also learn to love others and they all hold special memories that are unique and one of a kind.

The maps we make for our own private worlds are precious.

G Eazy & Roadside Farmer’s Markets….

The title is misleading…we did not see G Eazy at any farmer’s markets! 

We did see G Eazy in concert. If you don’t know who he is, he’s a rap artist and my daughter has been begging me for months to go to his concert in Indianapolis. I gave in and took her. It’s not my kind of music and I don’t like the message the music portrays. but I gave it a shot and as the saying goes….try it once and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again. Mission accomplished!  I do like a few of his mainstream songs, but I can’t say I’m a big fan. However, he does put on a good show and his stage setup is pretty awesome. Beware of the bass though. I wasn’t prepared and I’m pretty sure it almost knocked me off my feet a few times! Here are a few pics I took at the concert. We did have good seats.

Now, on to the part about the roadside farmer’s markets. I always think part of the fun of traveling is stopping at places along the way. We had some extra time and Indy is only 3 hours from where we live. In between there’s a lot of farm land and many farmer’s markets and unique little stores that we’ve passed a few times over the years, but never stopped at.

The first place we stopped was The Melon Patch. A cute little store with a small restaurant attached to a gas station. They sell home grown fruits and vegetables and a variety of things for your home. I didn’t walk out with any of those things. 

What did I get? A bag of home made cupcake flavored taffy and a bag of berry flavored taffy. Good stuff!

I didn’t stop there because I noticed they also sold home made fudge and it was buy a pound get a half pound free. Vanilla peanut butter with peanuts, orange dreamsicle, raspberry vanilla, chocolate peanut butter, plain ol’peanut butter, salted caramel, and chocolate caramel pecan flavors all went in the box! It’s gonna take awhile to try them all, but I guarantee you they will all be amazing!

The next stop was at The Big Peach. You can’t miss it…there’s a giant peach you can see from the highway so you know where to exit. Naturally I bought peaches and also corn, tomatos, zucchini, and cucumbers. They also sell watermelon and cantaloupe and many other vegetables. Home made dressings and sauces line shelves along the wall and they also sold bottled sodas that I’d never heard of. They had a lot of unique items. I shouldn’t have, but I also bought a small pecan pie as I was checking out. Good thing I bought some healthy fruit and vegetables to balance out all the sweet things!

All in all, I had a nice little overnight trip with my daughter. We listened to some classic rock, country, and 80’s music on the radio on the way home to banish some of those rap lyrics out of our heads, and I even heard her say she liked more than several of the songs she heard….or as she likes to call it, old people music! She even let me sing along and that folks is a rare occurrence!

Now ya know why the title of this post went from G Eazy to roadside farmer’s markets. Hope y’all have a great weekend! 

Thank You…

I’ve reached 100 followers! Well, 101 to be exact, but who’s counting….

Almost three months ago I started my blog. It was a scary decision to put my thoughts out there for others to read because overall I’m not an open book type of person. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to read what I might write about.

Fast forward to today when I got the message…100 people have followed you! I know the things I write about aren’t that great or even that interesting, but if it’s made someone smile or helped someone feel better or know they’re not alone, then it was worth it. I write for myself in the hopes that someone can relate to it. I also hope you’ve tried some of my recipes or got a kick out of my travel goals and experiences. 

I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read the things I write about and following my blog. It’s part of my daily routine to take the time to read what you write as well. I’ve felt nothing but welcome from the blogging community and I’m so glad I took that step.

Thank you again!


Travel Is My Therapy…

We travel because we want to see new sights, meet different and interesting people, try new exotic foods, and experience different cultures and ways of life. We travel because we want to feel. The feeling may be different for each of us, but traveling makes us all feel something.

My life may not have turned out the way I thought it would, but overall I’m very happy. I try not to complain and I’m thankful for all that I have. I’m not an “I want more” kind of person except when it comes to travel. I always want to travel more!

If there’s a mid life crisis in my future I don’t plan to feed it with a new expensive car or a relationship with a younger man. Hmmm, maybe I’ve already had a mid life crisis and didn’t realize it…that would explain a few things! Anyway, if that mid life crisis does ever arrive I’ll feed it with travel! Travel will be my therapy. And who says when I get to where I’m going I can’t rent an expensive sports car to drive around in with a younger man in the passenger seat! 

In all seriousness…
Some people travel to run away from something or run to something. For me it feels like I’m running away from the responsibilities of every day life and running towards adventure! I love discovering new places and meeting new people. I usually never have an itinerary. I just see where the day takes me and run with it.

We all want new life in our veins. Wash away the old ways and breathe in the fresh air of unfamiliar places. It’s always a wondrous moment when you see things for the first time that you’ve only seen on a screen or in pictures. 

There are discoveries to be made wherever you go….finding a favorite place that you’ll always remember. A meal that you’ll never be able to recreate or find anywhere else. The warmth in the smiles of strangers that you meet. Making friends along the way and staying in touch with them. One of the best feelings I get when traveling is collapsing on a bed that isn’t mine and thinking…what a great day it’s been! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! New memories with every breath and every step.

You don’t always need a therapist’s couch. A beach chair or beach blanket on the sand is a nice alternative. How about laying on a hammock watching for falling stars or sitting in a hot tub on the deck of your cabin in the mountains? A picnic table in a secluded spot near a waterfall is always relaxing. Even in a poolside lounge chair talking to other parents while the kids swim is a good place to be. 

Travel. It’s excellent therapy. It takes your mind off of your problems and troubles. You can take a break from yourself and once you realize there’s a whole new world out there waiting to be discovered, you can actually feel those troublesome thoughts drift away and feel carefree… even if it’s only for a short time. 

Travel isn’t only about the destination, but the memories and experiences you gain during the journey….and if you lose the negative thoughts and energies along the way, then even better!

Summer Vacation 2016

Hello friends! One more day and then it’s time to go home. This isn’t coming from my beach chair as I had hoped, but from my balcony overlooking the beach. 
Things started off a little rough. We weren’t able to stay in the water the first day due to the June grass. If you don’t know what it is, it’s disgusting. For lack of a better description…it looks like green snot and we didn’t know it was there until we got in and were covered in it! We didn’t let it stop us though. We hung out on the beach and stayed out of the water. 

The next few days Tropical Storm Colin passed within the area and delivered a lot of rain, rough waves, and rip tides. Once the rain stopped it was back to the beach, but not in the water. Double red flags mean stay out!

If it sounds like I’m complaining I don’t mean to. You can’t fight Mother Nature, but we were disappointed. A day at the beach even out of the water is still better than being at home!

Things started looking better by the fourth day and we’ve swam and floated in the Gulf every day since! 

If you read my post from last week the following will make sense to you. I did get some crab legs and they were awesome! The girls ignored me, but not as bad as I expected. They actually spent time with me! I would like to note however that I am now immune to eye rolls and exasperated sighs!

 I’ve taken lots of awesome pics that they weren’t thrilled about posing for and as predicted, they asked me for every one of them so that they could post them on Instagram. 

Earlier I was sitting in the parent viewing area at a local restaurant while the girls were in attendance at a teen night dance party. They just hung back and observed because we don’t have anything like this back home. Let me say this though….if some of the kids I observed  were mine, I’d have drug them out of there so fast they wouldn’t have known what happened and then I’d enroll them in a square dancing class!

Here’s a little story from earlier tonight. One of my daughter’s friends is just the sweetest most innocent kid I’ve ever known. Whatever pops into her head comes right out of her mouth. As we drove to the dance party she told me while they were there I should go out and get knocked up!?!  She had no idea what it meant…she thought she was giving me permission to find someone to hang out with while they were at the dance. I had to tell her what it really meant and no, I didn’t get “knocked up”! It’ll be a great story for her to remind me about when she comes to visit me in the nursing home one day!

I’m now at the condo sitting on the balcony with a glass of Moscato listening to the waves crash on the beach. I’m gonna miss that along with the evening walks on the beach.

It’s been a great vacation.  We made a lot of memories, made some new friends, and ate at some unique restaurants. Best of all once the weather cooperated, we spent some relaxing days on the white sandy beaches and in the turquoise blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico in Destin Florida. 

Tomorrow we’ll spend our last day at the beach and take it easy. Hope for a yellow or green flag for us!