MIA

MIA

Yes, I have been MIA…for this entire year. I thought I was going to be able to blog all the way through this, but it turns out I can’t blog, leave my job, pack, have a sinus infection, and road trip all at the same time.

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Blog Face Lift

Blog Face Lift

It’s finally Friday.  I haven’t been one to really live for my weekends, but I’m finding that lately, I’m doing this much more often.  To start celebrating the weekend, I’m happy to announce that my blog has gotten a face lift!  I’ve still tried to keep it really basic, but hopefully you’ll enjoy the new look.  A ginormous thank you to my husband for helping me with this…well, that is, for doing all the real work!

And before I run off to start my weekend, here’s a photo I recently came across that I took last year during our cross country road trip.

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Happy weekend everyone!

On Top of Old Smokey

On Top of Old Smokey

I heard it before I saw it. It was the day we were to drive through the Great Smokies, and I woke to the familiar sound of rain. And it wasn’t just a drizzle, it was a downpour. What was to be a day of hiking and enjoying the great outdoors was quickly turning into a day of just…driving.

Then, miraculously, as we drove into the park, the rain began to clear. Even though it was still cloudy, we were graced with the occasional ray of sunshine. The downpour made the trails a little too muddy for hiking, but the clouds made it a great day to take photos of running water. My sadness about the rain quickly turned into excitement. Excitement because I was going to have the chance to experiment with my tripod.

I just have a cheap, really light tripod that I bought many years ago when I knew even less about photography than I do now. Even though I’ve had the tripod for a while, I’ve rarely had the opportunity to use it. And now, empowered with my tripod, I became so obsessed with photographing water that we spent nearly our whole day taking photos…of the same stream! Every time I thought we could move on, I had to see what would happen if I held the shutter open just a little longer, or if I bumped up my f-stop just a little more. I was so engrossed that we almost didn’t make it to Memphis in time to grub on some Corky’s. I know! But notice I said almost. Of course I got my Corky’s!

I really do wish we had had more time to enjoy the Great Smokies. But the lure of BBQ pork ribs was just too great.

Some of my favorites from the day:

This is what I thought our whole day was going to be like. And that’s what I felt like. A boiled peanut.

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But…ta-da! No more rain!

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I’m sure we spent well over an hour here. It was so gorgeous that I just did not want to leave. And I was having too much fun with my tripod.

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Road Trip: America’s Largest Home

Road Trip: America’s Largest Home

“What?! $50 to go see a house?” We had finally made it to Asheville to tour the Biltmore House and were suffering from a bit of sticker shock. But we hadn’t come all this way to not see America’s Largest Home, so we took the plunge and purchased our tickets even though there were only a couple of hours left to enjoy the property.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was pretty blown away. Not only was there the mansion (with indoor plumbing! just before the turn of the century!) but there was a winery, restaurants, horseback riding, lodging…it was like a fancy version of Disneyland. I only wonder what George Vanderbilt would think about his home turning into a theme park.

250 rooms and 43 bathrooms later, I still don’t think I can ever understand how big old money really is. Imagine having the Great Smokies as the view from your backyard. And I might have complained about the admission fee, but it included a free wine tasting, which was actually pretty decent!

By the time we made it into downtown Asheville, the sun had set and we were ready to grub. I couldn’t resist and had to get some buttermilk fried chicken. Mmm mmm good.

Some photos from our afternoon in Asheville:

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Road Trip: Detour

Road Trip: Detour

I thought that while we were on our road trip, I’d have plenty of time in the evenings to edit photos and update my blog. Well, I turned out to be completely wrong. Our road trip turned out to be a process of waking up early in the morning and driving half the day, with jam-packed sight-seeing in the afternoon/evening and then dinner. By the time we would make it to a hotel, I was exhausted and in no condition to be blogging.

So now I’m playing catch up. I left off in Charleston, and our next stop was Asheville, NC before heading through the Great Smokies.

We stopped quite a bit on the road to Asheville, getting distracted by picturesque, country scenery. Or maybe it was just me who was distracted by it and constantly stopping. And when Edwin saw the sign for Columbia, we ended up making a detour so we could gawk at the Conferderate flag in front of the state capitol.

Some photos from the day:

I just can’t get enough of those country photos. Looks like maybe I haven’t been the only one.
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What is bushhogging? I still need to look it up…
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And I actually did kind of get on someone’s front lawn for this one.
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I spotted this sign from the highway and made Edwin drive back so I could get a better look. Turns out it’s homemade!
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Arriving at the state capitol
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I thought this was going to be much more dramatic and controversial, but I can totally see why they have the flag flying since it’s part of a memorial to the Confederate Army soldiers. It wasn’t quite as bad as people make it out to be.
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And then after all those diversions, we finally got back on the road. Biltmore House, here we come!