November 30, 2012

Here's The Plan, Stan

After many, many long conversations we've finally come to some kind of a decision about how we will proceed from here. Without further ado, here it is:

- We have decided that ultimately we want to live in Portland, Oregon next.

November 24, 2012

Quick Fun Facts

While traveling the last 9 months, we've kept track of all of our spending. Down to the penny. (I'm a sucker for numbers, what can I say?) Each time we spent money, we recorded how much we spent, when we spent it, where we spent it, and what type of expense it was (restaurant, RV parking, pet care, etc). This was useful in terms of comparing how we were doing against budget and also just fun to look back on, in retrospect. WE SPENT HOW MUCH ON GAS????

And Then We Were Home

Monday morning we packed up our truck and trailer in Memphis and set sail for our hometown, Fayetteville, Arkansas. We'd driven this 320 mile stretch many, many times before from when we'd lived in Memphis and went to visit home. Sky could have probably driven it blind by now. We drove by downtown Memphis, crossed the bridge over the Mississippi River, and then traversed all the way across the state of Arkansas on Interstate 40. Forty five miles further north from there, on Interstate 540, and we were home. WHAT???

November 20, 2012

Memphis, TN- Almost Home

After Nashville we only had one more stop before going home for the holidays, and it was Memphis. We had lived in Memphis for 3.5 years, and had last been there when we moved back to Fayetteville over 2 years ago. Having lived in Memphis for so long we knew what we would find there, but were interested to see it from a visitor’s perspective. I wondered if Memphis would seem different to us now that we’d seen so many other cities around the US and had something to compare it to.

November 18, 2012

Nashville, TN- The Music City

Thursday we drove from Knoxville to Nashville in just under four hours. It was just getting dark as we were pulling in and Nashville was lit up by a gorgeous sunset. Just off the highway we found gas for under $3/gl, which is the cheapest we've been able to find on this whole trip! We booked a KOA campground on the northeast side of town, right by the Grand Ole Opry, and after settling in we decided to take it easy and start our city exploring on Friday morning.

November 16, 2012

Knoxville, TN

Tennessee was our 33rd state on this trip and the last state we visited before coming back to Arkansas. After visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park we got back on interstate 40 and drove into Knoxville for an evening. Since we had promised back home that we’d be back by Thanksgiving, we had a somewhat tight schedule to work with and after allotting our other destinations (Nashville and Memphis) their days, we only had one night left over for Knoxville.  It was good to be back in Tennessee, we were excited to be back in the South!

November 15, 2012

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. What’s funny is that we had lived in Memphis Tennessee for over three years and not once had ventured any further east than Nashville. We’d always heard great things about the Smokies and had the desire to go see them. But, like always, when you live close to something you always put off seeing it. I guess better late than never; we are glad we finally took the time to visit the park on this trip.

November 13, 2012

Asheville, NC via the Blue Ridge Pkwy

Saturday morning we joined the Blue Ridge Parkway just before the border with North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469 mile long two lane stretch of scenic highway that runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains, a major chain of the Appalachian Mountains. The north end of the highway actually picks up where the Skyline Drive drops off. The road ends when it runs into the Smoky Mountains National Park, just west of Asheville. We’d done some reading on the Blue Ridge Pkwy and found out that the most scenic portion was right after crossing the North Carolina border, heading south. Since this road is narrow and quite hilly, we decided to skip the first 200 or so miles of it and jump on for the prettiest parts.

November 12, 2012

Boondocking: Wal-Mart vs. National Forest

On our way between Shenandoah National Park and Asheville we planned to drive a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We decided to stop just on the North Carolina border for the evening and then drive onto the Parkway in the morning from there. Our first thought had been to stay at an RV Park, but then we remembered that a long time ago (before the crazy days of New England) we had gotten away with free parking for the night by boondocking on backcountry forest roads and in Wal-Mart parking lots.

November 11, 2012

The Difference Between Sky and I

While hiking in the Shenandoah Valley the other day Sky and I had a funny moment. We were on the return portion of our out and back hike out to the waterfall overlook. At some point I realized that we hadn't spoken a word out loud in over twenty minutes. I had been thinking about our future plans, making mental to-do lists in my head. I had also been going over potential job interview questions, in the case that we decide to pursue jobs when we get back home. I was trying to remember the work vernacular, the jargon that I’d thrown around the last few years of my corporate career. Words like go-live date, supply chain optimization, forecast accuracy, and supply network planning were busy flying around in my head.

November 10, 2012

Shenandoah National Park

After all the cities we’d been to over the last month, getting back out into nature was a very welcome reprieve. Wednesday morning, after the elections, we packed up and went west of Washington DC to the entrance of Shenandoah National Park. The park is home to the famous 100 mile stretch of scenic byway called the Skyline Drive, and we had plans to drive that road from beginning to end.

November 08, 2012

Washington DC

We spent an awesome 6 days in Washington DC. While in the city we got to visit with three friends from back home (all three have made DC their new home), visit the nation’s Capital and the National Mall, and got the chance to meet back up with a new friend we’d made earlier on this trip. After Philadelphia we had originally planned to visit Baltimore for a couple of days and then make our way to DC just in time for our birthday. Then the apocalyptic storm of the century Sandy rolled in and we decided to scrap Baltimore and move further inland to wait it out. We drove to State College, in the middle of Pennsylvania, and spent three uneventful nights there. When the coast was clear (pun intended!), we drove directly into DC, having decided to save Baltimore for another time.

November 04, 2012

Life Choices

So here we are, in the home stretch, with just under three weeks until we're back home in Fayetteville, AR. We made the decision to be home for Thanksgiving several weeks ago, towards the end of our month long stay in Massachusetts. The decision to come home, instead of continuing to explore the East Coast, was mainly driven by impending winter and colder weather. With winter creeping in it has been hard to stay motivated about traveling and exploring. And while the East Coast has been entertaining and seeing our friends has been very rewarding, the constant city life experience has been taxing.

November 01, 2012

Our Birthday

Tuesday was Skyler and I's birthday. Yes, we share a birthday! Even though this was our 11th birthday to share with each other, the fact that its on exactly the same day delights me to no end. I grew up a single child, my parent's didn't have my sister until I was 18 and off to college. I grew up wondering what it would be like to share with someone else. Being a single child ensured that I very rarely had to share anything, and in the funny way that people with curly hair want straight hair and people with straight hair want curly hair, I wanted the opportunity to share.