Sunday, November 13, 2016

North Carolina - One Year On The Road!

Destination: Asheville, North Carolina
Well folks, it has been one interesting year. The time has flown by, yet it feels like we have always been living this way. Some places my heart longs to be, while others I hope I never see again. Some places were unexpectedly great, while others that are supposed to be great are just too crowded. Sometimes it felt tiring to pack everything up and go all the time, while other times it felt good to step on the gas and go. Kansas and Missouri; thanks for the dance, hope I never see you again. Texas; I am going to eat a 72 ounce steak the next time I cross your border. 

  This past year I was also blessed with the opportunity to learn a couple skills. I taught myself how to fingerpick on the guitar, now I never want to touch a pick again. I also learned to build guitars. I think I may be somewhat of a better fisherman. I caught my share of trout in Arkansas, and was able to keep the freezer full. 

   If you have been following the blog you will know by now I hate cities, crowds, or just about any crowded town. I do like being able to get good groceries and bulk herbs, but I just don't like being around a lot of people. Asheville felt a lot like Ann Arbor to me, but we stayed about 20 miles out of the town in the mountains. We had a nice winding drive up and down the mountain to get to where we camped. Hana hated the drive, while I didn't mind. The payoff for me is seclusion. Can't get enough of it. I didn't fish or build a guitar a single day this month since I had the opportunity to hike through some nice trails as the leaves changed color. 

  I am really going to miss these hills in Appalachia, and hope to return. I learned a couple traditional songs of the area which I hope to play and sing for you, and wrote one of my own inspired by the area. I am also going to miss the farm store where I could get all hormone free grass fed protein. I stocked up the freezer on liver since it was priced so well and hard to find elsewhere minus the chemicals. Liver is really high in b vitamins, and is pretty much considered a superfood. I also got some yummy blueberry maple sausages which I am going to miss. They just take your senses to a place called home when they sizzle and the maple scent fills the air. 

 We may be returning to this area. I hope so. It was my second to favorite to Taos, New Mexico. There is also a bit of a drought here and all the streams are dried up in the hills, but while they don't match the beauty of the snowy trails I walked in Taos, I did not have to look out for any wildcats. I am really going to miss the hills, but look forward to seeing my Dad, Rosanne, and their new puppy Ziggy in a month. 

  All in all it has been a good year. I have to give thanks to God for the experience, the multitude of fish I caught, as well as the protection when Frankie and I faced a wildcat in Taos, or when a footlong stone fell off a truck and bounced off the windshield right in front of my face. I have eaten a lot of good food, and it shows. I have seen some beautiful places, and have made some friends along the way, some of which I still think about from time to time, hoping they are doing well. 


Blue Ridge Mountain views

It's been just over 1 year on the road now. We've had ups and downs. There have been times I wondered what we were doing, and times that I wished the trip would never end. Part of me wants to keep traveling forever, and part of me wants to settle down.

We've been to a lot of beautiful places in this country; mountains, coastlines, canyons, and forests.. Every place is different but the same too, and nowhere is perfect. A perfect place is something you make. That or you'll spend your whole life looking for the next best thing. As a person who gets bored easily and never quite feels fulfilled, I don't know if I'll ever truly be satisfied or have the feeling that I've found what I'm looking for. Maybe I like the adventure, the not knowing what's next. 

Smoke fills the sky, and ash falls down like snow flakes as we prepare to leave Asheville this chilly fall morning. Yet again, we leave on the heels of a raging forest fire just a few miles away as we did in Idaho. That's one thing I've never experienced in Michigan..

Next we are heading to Savannah to stay on the coast for a month, and then on to Florida. I definitely can't complain about skipping winter 2 years in a row ;). In fact, I've become dangerously used to having pleasant weather all year-round.

Thanks to everyone who supported our trip and followed the blog during the course of the year. We'll try to continue posting if we have something worth posting. As to what our future holds, your guess is as good as mine :).


BEST OF our travels, 2016

We in no way set out to find the best of anything, but here's what we discovered along the way:

Best Restaurants:
Cotton: West Monroe, Louisiana
Monell's: Nashville, Tennessee
Char Bar: Kansas City, Missouri
Biscuit Head: Asheville, North Carolina
Miguel's: Slade, Kentucky
The Big Texan: Amarillo, Texas
Orlando's: Taos, New Mexico

Best Pastries
Frank's Bakery: Amarillo Texas

Best Burger (this one was all James)
James Ranch: Durango, Colorado

Best RV Park:
Tom Sawyer: Memphis, Tennessee 

Best State/National campground:
Crab Orchard Campground, Illinois
Pokagon State Park, Indiana 

Best State/National park:
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Wichita Mountains Refuge Center, Oklahoma

Best Fishing:
Hot springs, Arkansas

Worst City:
Wichita, Kansas

Best Overall City: 
Taos, New Mexico
Asheville, North Carolina
Savannah, Georgia

Lastly, the two things you'll find in EVERY state/city in this country without question? Cows and Walmart.