• maui

    Already hit our 50th state…

    We went ahead and headed to the beautiful island of Maui this past October on our school break. It would be pretty tough to get here in...

  • calisunset

    Hitting 44 of the 50 United States!

    We will be hitting 44 of the 50 states along our RV tour! (Already did Hawaii and Alaska will be in the spring..) Since we are focusing...

  • springbreaktreasures

    Nothing beats spring break in Cali!

    Dana Point, California is where we normally spend all of our family down time, school breaks and summer vacations. It is a beautiful, relaxing spot in Orange...

GreatSmokyMtns

This was our view as soon as we pulled into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! Elk everywhere! We later learned that this was really rare to see them out like this, so we felt even more blessed for their wonderful welcome into the Park!

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We loved hiking in the Great Smokies and you can see why! We got to hike a few more miles along the Appalachian Trail that runs through here. Our first AT miles hiked were when we were in Harpers Ferry, WV so it was fun to jump on the trail again for a few more miles.

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Our home base while visiting the area was the Cherokee/Great Smokies KOA. We were fortunate enough to be here during their first Halloween weekend celebration! This meant pumpkin decorating contests for the kids… How cute that they came up with a KOA theme on their own.

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After a costume contest, the kids all went around the park trick or treating in the afternoon. It was so fun! My big kids were hesitant, but luckily we’d purchased some new costumes from the Goodwill in Mt. Pleasant, SC so we were all ready. Aidan had to dig into his hockey bag in order to grab his treats!

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This KOA had the first indoor pool that we’ve come across yet! The kids loved coming back after hiking all day in the park to jump in for a warm swim.

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The grounds are just beautiful here!

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This fishing pond at the front of the property is quite popular. You have to get a fishing license though, so it’s a little more serious than the fishing we’ve been doing!

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We even extended our stay here in Cherokee one more night so we could enjoy some whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River. We chose a guided excursion with Adventurous Fast Rivers Rafting and loved it! It was the companies last day of the season so we lucked out!

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Now it’s time to talk laundry. There has certainly been no escaping this task while on the road. It has been very interesting acclimating to keeping up with the dirty laundry along the trip. We do have a stackable washer and dryer in our motorhome, Ally B, that I am so very thankful for. But, with a family of six it’s sometimes way too much and is just easier to head to the laundry mat.

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The positive thing is that every KOA has one. The downside is that they can be busy and sometimes not too appealing. Doing laundry side by side with strangers is not my idea of a good time, but you do what ya gotta do when you are living at the campground. In Cherokee, I spent my Saturday night right here. I planned my laundry time right in the heat of the Halloween festivities at this KOA as I figured I’d be the only one in here and I was right.

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These washers were only $1 for a load too, which is the cheapest I’ve come across! It’s usually $2. It’s the little things people! I am now a laundry mat connoisseur. Who would’ve thought? I used to collect quarters for my parking meters in downtown Chicago and now I gather them just to get the clothes clean. Gotta love life’s journey!

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Hope you are enjoying your October and all that Fall has brought your way!

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It’s hard for the average person to not feel blessed by the surrounding beauty of Fall while in northwestern North Carolina. I was even more blessed by a family who picked up my lost cell phone and went out of their way to return it to me this past weekend.

I’d been trying not to think too much into how I could’ve lost my phone or why I didn’t notice it drop from my purse on that rainy Monday at the Asheville Fun Depot. The rain was so bad that we had to veer from our other plans to find this indoor place to pass the time. It definitely wasn’t on the original Asheville itinerary. The kids were ecstatic to find themselves in a place full of arcade games, go karts, mini golf, bowling, laser tag and more. It wasn’t an establishment that normally would put me in my happy place, but the kids were entertained, so that was good enough for me that day. I even took the time to play mini golf with my sons, which on a normal day I just wouldn’t do. But, It’s on that course that I lost my phone. I took this terrible picture and then I must’ve dropped it. I was too into my golf game I guess!

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All along I had a feeling that I couldn’t shake that my phone was going to make it’s way back to me somehow.  I went back to the Depot the next day to no avail and I called them a few more times just checking that it possibly had turned up. No phone. I’m not sure why after a a few days I’d never called AT&T to cancel it or put in the claim to have a new one sent to me even. I was trying my best to be still and patient. Obviously, the phone was no longer where I’d dropped it, so where was it?

My phone was not password protected and I questioned myself about why I didn’t do that to keep someone from getting into it and having access to all of my information. But, now I know if I had done that, I most likely would’ve never gotten it back. Ricky and his daughter, Lori, and her son were able to track me down through my Facebook app and by calling my favorites listed on my phone. We finally connected and made plans to meet up in a random Walmart parking lot.

I felt full of emotion as I drove along about to be reunited with my dear iPhone. Neither Ricky nor I are even from the area. He, on a family reunion, from Georgia and I, a long way from home on our family journey around this grand country of ours. I set off on the 45 minute drive through the glorious wooded trees on Saturday morning to meet up with this man who was in possession of my phone.

Tears came to my eyes as I took my phone from this stranger as we talked about our loved ones and our travels. I became overwhelmed with the fact that once again God had shown up in my life. Why me? Why does he chose to look after little ‘ol me like he does? It truly overwhelms me. I know that nothing is coincidence and everything that happens to us and everyone we encounter in this life is not by chance. I never prayed for my cell phone back. I honestly don’t pray for material things. I do pray for peace and wisdom to handle situations that I find myself in though and God once again blessed me through this family.

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I really wanted to ask Ricky if we could take a selfie, so I could have a photo of us together with my phone in hand to commemorate this divine moment in both of our vacations. Plus, I know you would’ve enjoyed the visual but it would’ve just been too strange! So, I just took a picture of the location as I waited for him to arrive. It’s really difficult when someone does something so incredibly selfless and thoughtful to not have the urge to repay them in some way. Should I offer him money? Should I send him a gift? Or do I just say thank you from the bottom of my heart? Thank you for having it on your heart to do the right thing. I hope Ricky felt how gracious I really was.

I am thankful today for continued faith in humankind and for proof that kindness and compassion still exist in people all around us every day, no matter where we may be. I am humbled at the fact that this family found me worthy of their time and efforts to see that I got my phone back. I am so thankful!

 

 

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No doubt that we are in the South! Fall is definitely in the air here in Asheville, NC! This mailbox made me smile and made me present to the fact that we are a long way from home y’all! This area has been on my list to visit for awhile so it was exciting that we were able to get here on this RV trip at the perfect time to see Fall in all it’s glory. Hopefully you don’t get tired of seeing my pictures of the leaves this week. I can’t stop taking photos! Living in Arizona for so long, I don’t get to see this type of autumn beauty anymore!

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Our first stop when arriving in Asheville, was Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest!

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This was not a warm day, nor was this water anywhere close to being warm. But, my family always embraces any time to get wet and wild in nature. This spot was amazing! It was so fun to watch them go up and down this natural waterslide until their poor bodies were too cold to go on. Here’s Sliding Rock from the top…

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All of the tourists bundled up in their fall attire enjoyed watching my crew as they were the only ones crazy enough to do Sliding Rock at this time! I, of course, had to take photos and couldn’t partake in the fun (glad for the excuse.) In the summertime, the lines are long for this, so if you get a chance to come in the fall, do it!

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During the weekdays in October, admission is free. If you come on the weekend or anytime in summer the cost is $2 per person to enter the recreation area.

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After Sliding Rock, we took the Blue Ridge Parkway back to our campground.  This was pretty much our view along the famous Parkway. Crazy fog but a fun experience nonetheless. We did end up on the Parkway at various other times and it is as gorgeous as everyone says! Glad we were driving our car and not the RV for this adventure though.

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Chimney Rock State Park was our next day’s destination and I was highly impressed with all that we found to do here! We did several of the hiking trails, including the main one up to Chimney Rock itself.

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There is a $15 adult and $7 “child” admission but it is totally worth it! I wanted to upgrade to an annual pass actually because I loved it here so much. Then the reality hit that we are a long way from home and most likely won’t get here again. It was wishful thinking anyway….

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The view of Lake Lure below is worth the hike up!  You can even take an elevator to the top if you aren’t up for the climb. It is very doable though and there are pretty views all the way. There is also a cafe and shop at the top where you can sit and relax to reward yourself after.

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Apple picking at a local orchard was high on the kids list, so we headed to Justus Orchard to do just that.

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The last time the boys picked apples was when they were in kindergarten and we were living in Minnesota.

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This is what I came for! Forget picking the apples, just give me the apple donuts and cider!

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This was the view leaving our Asheville West KOA. So gorgeous! I know I will make my way back to Asheville, NC hopefully sooner than later! For now it’s off to Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains we go!

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