Friday, September 20, 2013

Vacation 2013, Part 1: Country Roads, Take Me Home!

Country Roads, Take Me Home! 

When you grow up in the mountains of Wild, Wonderful West Virginia as I did, there's always a yearning to go back home!  Living in the South has its advantages: flat terrain, wide, straight roads, mild winters with flowers blooming most if not all year, and having a palm tree and orange tree in my back yard. Unfortunately, however, there are disadvantages, especially in the summer: HEAT and HUMIDITY!!

Going back home to the mountains is always an enjoyable experience: visiting with family and friends, as well as enjoying the beautiful scenery. During the summer, however, there's an added bonus - cooler evenings and mornings are such a welcome break from the summer's heat! 

This year we took our daughter-in-law Heejin and 3 grand-kids, Noah, Mia, and Alex, with us on our vacation. Mia thought we would see snow, but to her disappointment, Noah patiently explained that it only snows in West Virginia in the winter!

We rented a mini-van for extra room and convenience.  We agreed with the kids that the best part about the mini-van was the built-in DVD player! All three grand-kids could watch the DVD at once, and Heejin said it was like being in a movie theater with surround sound!

Yikes! Their tongues are turning blue!

I followed my own directions for traveling with kids:

Car Trips With Kids - Reduce the Chaos

  • We packed a container with non-messy snacks and took a cooler filled with bottled water and juice.
  • Each child took a bag of toys.
  • Yes, I did use rolls of quarters as incentives for good behavior, and it definitely helped! Very few quarters were lost!
On the first day, we left at 4:00 a.m. and drove approximately 700 miles.  

Our fearless driver
We stayed overnight near Chattanooga  Tennessee, where my husband had reserved us a suite. This hotel had an indoor and outdoor pool, so the kids were ecstatic! 

On Day 2, after breakfast at the hotel, we continued on our journey. It was awesome to see mountains again! 

Mountains in Norton, Virginia - a welcome sight!

Having fun after a restroom break!

The second's day's trip was significantly less miles than the first - only 400+ miles! When we pulled into my Dad's driveway, I was so happy, I wanted to kiss the ground. I reconsidered, and I hugged my Dad instead! It was great being back home and seeing My Dad, My Hero again! My Dad's home is surrounded by mountains, and the view on every side is simply breathtaking! You can hear all the sounds of nature there: birds singing, crickets chirping, the frogs, etc. Each morning we saw the local wildlife - squirrels, turkeys, chipmunks, and an occasional rabbit. We saw several deer, fawns with spots, and a "Momma" bear with 2 cubs! 

Sitting on the tailgate of Great-Papaw Shamblin's truck

Roasting Marshmallows over the campfire 
The grand-kids love our walks, and they were amazed to see the crystal-clear water in the creeks along with the fish and numerous rocks.

Picturesque view of a freshwater creek

This huge boulder (approximately 6'x4'x3') is resting
on the creek bank near my Dad's.

My Dad's cellar and "cellar top"
We loved eating the vegetables fresh from Dad's garden.

Dad's garden - fenced & safe from the deer

Daily feeding of the squirrels

There were several delicious home-cooked dinners with family and friends, and visits and meetings. There's never enough time to do all that we would like!

Carolyn's beautiful Watermelon Fruit Basket and
Fruit Dip served in a Pineapple Bowl

Visiting the aquarium at Cabela's

Our visit to the John M. Slack Memorial Park had several advantages: 
  • The kids got to play.
  • We got to see the Lower Drawdy School that has been moved to its current site where it was restored and refurbished. This is a one-room school that my Mom attended as a child. 
  • The Coal River Branch Library has computers and internet!

The Lower Drawdy School was built in 1917.

Coal River Branch Library 

We visited several local sights including Peytona Beach where I had gone swimming "Back in the Day"! People drove for miles to swim and picnic here. Honestly, it seemed bigger back then! 

Peytona Beach

Waterfalls on White Oak Creek
near Peytona, West Virginia

Drawdy Falls,
Peytona West Virginia

A visit to the cemetery & special memories 

Then it's back to my Dad's for more fun before we have to leave.


Washing Papaw Shamblin's truck

Bubble-washing fun!!

It's finally time to leave. We saw lots of beautiful sights and scenery on our way to Vacation, Part 2, Washington, D.C.

West Virginia's beautiful capital building
with a dome of real gold leaf!

Beautiful WV in stone

Seneca Rocks

An outhouse displayed at a
country gift shop

Don't feed the bears!

Windmills on the mountains near Elkins, WV

Coming soon: Vacation, 2013, Part 2 - Washington, D.C.

Great memories - walking down a country road

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