Road Trip – Southeastern Adventure Part Two

Hey ya’ll! Just thought I’d finish up my review of our camper adventure here today. We had done so much and traveled so far, it was too hard to put it all in one post! Where was I?

Oh yes.

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After the Dixie Stampede, we found Riveredge RV park off of the GoodSam RV website. Pretty nifty little website – and it lead us right to the most sparkling clean camper site I’ve ever seen. The bathrooms… the bathrooms were nicer than any bathroom I’ve ever owned. Not kidding. I thought… this is camping? Double shower heads and bronze metal finishes?  Sheesh! Best campsite by far. Yep. I took a picture.

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The next morning we headed into the Great Smokey Mountain National Park for a hike. Despite our best efforts to go in the morning so it would be “cool”… it was still a sweltering 90 degrees by the time we parked and walked to the trail we wanted to hike. Probably not the best activity in the middle of July.. but we went anyway. Glad we did! It was beautiful. We tried hiking the Rainbow Falls trail, and although we didn’t make it all the way up it was still a great “moderate” hike. The shade of the trees definitely made it tolerable. I highly suggest doing your research – find a hike you can manage, bring lots of water, and watch out for bears because THEY LIVE THERE.

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On Friday we found ourselves in Asheville, North Carolina. We got a two for one special on tickets to the Biltmore Estate through our 4th RV site : Mama Gerties. The Biltmore House is an amazing mansion built by George Vanderbilt (yep, those Vanderbilts) cloaked within the scenic North Carolina Forests. They have restaurants, hotels, and gardens galore to walk through and admire. The tour itself takes almost 2 hours to get through, so if you go make sure you hydrate and wear comfy shoes! It was a great experience.

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On Sunday we had to start making our way back to MO. We drove through Atlanta, GA and stopped at a Farmers Market in Birmingham, AL. We ate lunch at a great BBQ place called Deerman’s BBQ, where all the cute southern ladies came in their Sunday’s best after church and each one vowed to take the baby home with them. She probably would have – my little social butterfly. We also had the chance to stop by Talladega Superspeedway and use as many Talladega Nights quotes as possible because, if you’re not first you’re last.

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Mississippi, Arkansas, and finally back to St. Louis where our Southeastern Adventure began.  Thanks for sticking with me through this long post! Hope you enjoyed the pictures and that you get to visit some of these places too. Get out there!

Road Trip – Southeastern Adventure Part One

Oh man! Why can’t I just be on continuous vacation?

Recently, my husband and I did some renovations on his dad’s old camper trailer. We needed to use up some of his personal days at work, so we decided to take the camper on a trip. I’ve never been camping in a camper-trailer before, so I was intrigued to see how I would fare. I should say camper again. We packed up and hit the road.

The past has no power over the present moment.

Our first stop was to see my sister and her family in Jackson, TN. We stayed there a few days, just to soak up the family time. They just got a new couch from  wayfair.com … how pretty is that!

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On Wednesday morning, we made a few adjustments to the camper and headed out again. This time we didn’t really have a destination in mind, just that we wanted to go southeast.

We stopped for a late lunch at The Aquarium Restaurant in Nashville, TN. This place was fantastic! There’s a giant cylinder aquarium at the front entrance. We knew it had to be good because of the 45 minute wait at 2PM. We didn’t mind the wait though, since we had no where to be. Since the restaurant is in the Opry Mills Mall, they texted us when our table was ready. This was a relief because baby girl gets fussy if we aren’t moving around much so we just walked and shopped until we got the text.

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Inside there is a humongous salt-water tank full of colorful and exciting sea life.  I don’t think there is really a bad seat in the house since the restaurant is built around the aquarium. The service was attentive and friendly, and obviously used to parties with kiddos. The food was good, and you get a proper amount. Financially it was a splurge for us, but totally worth it. I highly suggest you try it out if you’re ever in Nashville!

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From there we traveled east and stopped at Southlake RV park in Knoxville. No big surprises here… just a regular ole’ campground – but quite cheap! It even came with a welcome committee…

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On Thursday morning we made our way to Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains. I had two major to-do’s here… to hike, and to pig out at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. We accomplished both! The stampede was worth the money – so much food and such good entertainment! The baby loved it, and our waitress was great. You aren’t supposed to video/photograph during the show so you’ll have to check it out for yourself. The riders are quite amazing and seemed like they legitimately enjoyed being in the show. It just made me love Dolly even more :).

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As if I could eat any more after the stampede, we went out for dinner at the nearby Old Mill area. There’s this beautiful old water turbine that used to run the mill. It doesn’t work now but it’s still attached to the mill that has been turned into a restaurant. We ate at the smaller Pottery House Cafe in close proximity to the Old Mill. This darling little eatery was as delicious as it was beautiful. Here, they serve their own made-in-house bread on their own made-in-house ceramic plates. You can tell a lot of thought and love went into building this place… right down to the moss growing on the wooden shingles! They even took the time out to have a manager ask me about any wheat or nut allergies, since I had mentioned to my server that I didn’t want any nuts in my chicken salad.

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Whew…. That’s a lot of stuff packed into one post! I have more to show, but we’ll just have to wait until my next post for now. Have a great weekend~!

 

Camper Remodel – Phase 2: Use it.

Since the hubby had some personal days at work to burn, we decided it would be the perfect opportunity to take the camper we’ve been renovating out for a spin. (Still thinking of nicknames… Any suggestions?)

I gotta admit – my husband is the handiest dude I know. His dad taught him a lot, and he’s teaching me a lot through this project. He was able to get the old propane stove working, as well as the water connections. He also re-wired the lights to get it highway legal.

So with most everything working, and a few coats of primer and paint, we set out on an adventure! We tend to be really spontaneous (a.k.a. bad at planning) when it comes to these things, but it’s often more fun for us in the long run.

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We packed up and headed south east. For the first time in my life, I lived in a camper for almost a whole week! We ended up driving through eight different states : Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Click this link to read about our Southeastern Adventure.

I thought for sure I was going to have to name this post “how to start a fight with your husband when traveling” since I’m not an avid camper and our little 8-month-old baby girl came along – but nah! It was all really good! All three of us had a fantastic time. Whenever we got tired, we took a break. When she needed a nap, we just planned our drive times so that she’d sleep in the car. When we didn’t want to drive anymore, we just found an RV camp and parked. It was so nice to not have to carry luggage or check into a million hotels. We saved money by cooking our own breakfast every morning, and keeping snacks around. Everything we needed was in the camper, plenty of storage for our things!

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One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to go on another road trip. I’m glad we got the chance to use the camper so that now we know we like it and the money we invested wasn’t in vain.  We still have more work to do on it but I’ll keep you posted on the camper renovation and makeover. I’m thinking blue paint and copper Moscow mule mugs are in its future…and hopefully some rock in’ flooring!