Friday, September 7, 2007

We are home!!! 6 Days and 11 States later!!

Nancy and Kelly

Cades Cove in the Smoky's

My first view, it was So Pretty!!

At the wild life preserve at the beach

Whew!! We are home sweet home again!! I think Kelly left off with us leaving the ocean!! I fell in LOVE with the ocean!! I just loved it!! I want to live there!! I was so sad to leave on Tuesday morning ....We have pictures of the sunrise coming over the horizon and it is beautiful!

Sunrise at the beach!

We left the beach and drove through Alabama and near Birmingham we had a rock hit the windshield and it caused a rock ding and a small 6 inch crack, we spent about 45 minutes with the rent a car place and got things taken care of and were on are way but not before seeing the iron man statue on top of the mountain with the bare bottom!! On up to a corner of Georgia then into Tennessee and on to the foot hills of the Great Smoky's !!

We went through Pigeon Forge with people sitting out on the side walks in rocking chairs in front of old time cars!! Then over to Gatlinburg. This is when we discovered I had not been out of the minivan enough on the trip up from the beach! My feet were in a horrible mess and I no feeling in them!! The girls put me to bed and we propped them up really high!! By morning I was fine!! of course, this did freak out the kids!!

We went back to Pigeon Forge and took Nancy to the big Christmas shop they have there!! She loved it!! Me too!! I took off with her and the girls lost me!! They asked the clerks have you seen a little lady with a walker go by with another lady!!! Yes they said..... They found their Mom!! It wasn't to much later another lady at the store said I lost my Mother too! Great Store!!

We went to another nature drive in the Smoky's, and drove the 11 miles around the mountains at Cades Cove.... It was just beautiful but I told the girls, lets go... I want to see the Smoky's.. and they said...MOM, what do you think these are?? I meant the views from the tops that you see in all of the stories about the smoky mountains.

After a late lunch we headed up to the Great Smoky Mountain park and the mountains were breath taking!!! it was awesome!

On top of one of them it was almost a mile high and that is when we had to get Nancy portable oxygen out !! We have some good pictures from there!! We continued to drive and drive in these mountains Karen had decided to take the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway and we were going to Ashville NC but it was getting dark and Karen saw a sign that looked like we could get off the top of the mountains and she was right!! YEAH... the mountain were awesome but after 3 hours of driving through them it was good to see civilization again!! We were very glad that we turned off that curvy, twisty road! Yeah for interstates!!

About a 1/4 mile later and we were on a freeway and stopped in Wayesville NC and then we headed out for Nashville , it was 1:00 AM when we pulled in to our motel and were we ever glad to see a bed!!

Karen took us by the old Ryman's grand ole opery house and down the streets were they record all the country songs.

We took off for home going though Tenn, KY, IL, and into ST. Louis and on to I-70 on to home

Kelly had made CD's that went with all our travels and we sang away part of the trip at the top of our lungs having so much fun!!

My highlight of the trip was seeing the ocean for the first time!! We had a wonderful time and I thank Karen for including us in her plans for a great vacation!!

For Miss Arnold's class we started out in Missouri, into AR,TN,MS,AL. over to LA,back to MS AL, into FL. then up through AL, GA,TN, leaving TN, KY. IL. and MO. Karen can give Miss Arnold all of the highways and towns if you want them.

I've decided I would love to retire to the beach! My son said, but mom you already retired..
I know.. BUT I want to move there!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Monday most everybody left and it felt like we had the beach to ourselves! A storm rolled in so we went east until we passed by it. We went to St. Andrew's nature reserve. The beach was pristine with white sugar sand. We drove around until we came to alligator lake and we actually saw an alligator! We were going to take a boat ride, but Grams thought it might be to hard. So, we drove over to Mexico beach. We found that really cool ice cream shop that we blogged from. Then we went to St. Joe beach. There they didn't allow any development on the ocean side of the road so Grams got to see lots of the ocean. We could have stopped and opened the door and Grams would have stepped almost directly onto the sand.

Then we went Cape San Blas. This was amazing. You could see the water on either side of you. We drove down to another nature reserve. There was camping sites available and we drove around to check everything out. The farther we drove into the cape the more it look tropical and almost like a jungle! We drove down to the beach and Karen and Kelly put on there swimwear and ran over to the beach. They said it was gorgeous. The water was crystal clear, calm and the was shallow enough to walk way out into the ocean.

By the time we got back it was pouring down rain! We went to a restaurant called Sharky’s. It was right next door to our hotel. It had live music and really good food. Nancy and Grams went to the hotel and Karen and Kelly played on the beach. Little fish kept nipping at their feet and legs. Kelly go out of the water and searched for sea shells. After cleaning up they went shopping! After a big day like that we all crashed.

This morning we got up at five o’clock am and got all packed up. We have a nine hour drive ahead of us. We are were all a little sad about leaving the ocean, but are all very excited to see the smoky mountains. The weather was perfect as we left. The air was warm, but not oppresive and there was a refreshing sea beeze. Before, we left we stopped and watched sunrise over the ocean. Now, we are on our long journey north.

The Beach

We slept in until seven this morning! As we packed up the van you could hear the bull frogs croaking and see the thick Mississippi fog that everyone said would burn off by noon. Then, we drove back towards the ocean and drove west along the beach. It was so beautiful and peaceful. But it would take forever to get were we were going. So, we took highway 10 across and then down into New Orleans. We were shocked by the devastation that still is evident from hurricane Katrina. Then, we drove through the French quarter and we saw Decatur and Bourbon Streets. The architecture was cool, but the prevalent sin was not.

We drove through four states today. We started in Goutier, MS, (read go-shay, ms) and drove to New Orleans, LA. after that we backtracked through Mississippi and into Alabama. We were greeted by at least five Alabama State policemen waiting for the unsuspecting vehicle to come flying through their terrritory. We finally figured out that no one in Louisiana or Mississippi follow the speed limit. So, this must be Alabama’s way of welcoming people into their state. Luckily, for once, we were not speeding.

Driving through Destin was spectacular! The white sand beaches and the enormous sand dunes were breathtaking! The ocean still has everyone enraptured. We are staying in Panama City Beach and the Ocean is turquoise and lazily fades into deep blue. Definitely a dazzling site. We are right on the beach. Our back door opens up onto a balcony overlooking the beach.
Karen and I went down and played in the ocean. Karen had a big fish swim by her legs and totally geeked out on me. It was pretty funny, “A fish…Oh my gosh there’s a really big fish! It touched my legs…Kelly, there’s a fish!” I’m thinking…duh…it’s the Ocean…Mom and Nancy stayed up the deck and watched the ocean.

A cold front rolled in and it brought with very nice un-humid temperatures. We were all very comfortable and a little reluctant to leave, but we were starving! So, we loaded ourselves up into the van and drove around for an hour site seeing. Finally, we went to an Olive Garden for dinner. We all had the bottomless bowls of pasta, but each only ate one bowl. Finally, we drove back to the hotel and unloaded the van. We won’t have to repack tomorrow!!! We are staying a couple nights here. Karen and I took off and went swimming. One of the restaurants or hotels were shooting off fireworks and next door there was live music playing. It was pretty cool. Mom and Nancy were worn out and went to bed. I plan on going to bed soon, too. I want to get up early and play some more on the beach!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Ice Cream Shop

We were driving along the beach and came along a quaint little ice cream shop on the beach. It was awesome and has Internet access. We only get ten minutes, but wanted to keep everyone caught up on our trip. We are having problems with our own Internet. We'll update you when we can with cool pictures and stories.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

To the beach...

Today we got up really early for Nancy and me, it was 5:00 a.m. Nancy was concerned about what we'd have for breakfast and would we go to McDonalds... We had breakfast at the hotel and she loved it. It was make it yourself Belgian waffles and eggs, biscuits and gravy.

Miss Arnold, Make sure your kids know that we drove from Memphis to Biloxi, Mississippi via Hattisburg, so that they can track our progress.

Thank you all for reading the post.

Carrie, my missionary daughter in Guadalajara, Mexico, asked for more details,

so ... here ya go, Carrie. I, Karen am updating you... We rented a Hyundai, Entourage, which Kelly calls a floating sofa... and it does float, it drives like a Buick... each of us have our own leather captains seat, which helps with Nancy... and the back seat stows down into the floor, so we have plenty of space for everything.

In your honor, we stopped and shopped at a Wal-mart in Richland, Mississippi... Mom was cute... she said..oh cool, I'm traveling like Carrie (for those of you reading this who don't know, Carrie loves to stop at Wal-mart and does so ... on her way to and from Mexico)

Then we had a custard in a waffle cone that was AWESOME... so we've decided that this is officially a TOUR OF SOUTHERN DESERTS!!!

Then we headed on down, south, until we ran out of road at the gulf... Mom was really cute...and so amazed by the enormity of it. She said she will never forget the first sight of it as we rounded the corner. We brought the camping chairs and took a couple with us as she walked down to the edge of the water... She is saving dipping her toes into it until we get to Destin, but she was blown away by it all.

Now we are at the hotel and they are all asleep... even though it's only seven... we're "napping" tonight, so we will be fresh tomorrow... I wonder when I'll get to nap??? Since they napped as well while I was driving down here... oh well, good thing I've never needed much sleep.. I'm just happy to not be in the van!!

Tomorrow we are thinking of driving over to New Orleans to pick up some French Donuts, or Beignets.. see the desert theme here? and then we'll drive back through the gulf to our hotel on the beach.

Linda, You should see the devastation down here, even after two years in parts it looks like it happened yesterday...Makes me glad I'm down here spending money into their economy.

When Kelly gets time, I'll ask her to post the picts of Mom at the beach for the first time and some of the "hurricane" photos.

Catch you all later! I'm going to try to go catch a few winks myself...


Memphis Tour...