Friday, May 31, 2013

Vacation Day 8

Our destination for the day was Callaway Gardens. 
 I have wanted to visit the Gardens for years so it is really exciting that we are actually able to go.

Our first stop inside the gardens was to view the raptor show.

This red tailed hawk is named "Gwyn".  Shortly after I took this picture, Gwyn decided that he was done and flew across the lake in the background to an obliging tree.  That was the end of the raptor show since all of the handlers then had to go capture Gwyn.  It was fun while it lasted, and we got to view an indoor show later in the day.

Our next stop was the pioneer log cabin.

Bob and James at the cabin well

Next stop, butterfly garden

These were outside.  You might notice how much fun Papa is having with this.
Then, we went inside to see the tropical butterflies.  

This butterfly really liked Matthew's hand.

This one checked out Jonathan's knee for quite a while.

Finally, Nonnie's purse was of great interest to this one.

After the butterflies, we went to have a picnic.

After lunch we went to Mr. Cason's vegetable garden. 
 I got so many great ideas for our garden at home!

There is a little water feature right by Kristin with water lilies and water iris.   I had these before we moved a few years ago, and I miss them. 

Nonnie and Papa the day before their 51st anniversary!

Doesn't that look inviting?

Next stop, the memorial chapel.  This was quite humorous since we got quite lost in the garden trying to find it.  Sadly, once we finally got there, there was a wedding rehearsal going on inside so we couldn't see it all.  The outside was quite beautiful, though.

After the chapel, it was time to go back to the campground for a little swimming before a late dinner.


The ABC trio

Matthew helping James learn to float.

Tomorrow we pack up again and head out. 
We'll see if we can do any better trying to leave on time.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vacation Day 7

Well, today was a big travel day so our planned time of departure was 8:00.  Once again we didn't make it and our actual departure time was again 9:30.  This is going to take some more practice apparently.  We made it to the Georgia state line around 12:00.

We had a nice lunch picnic at the Georgia welcome center too.  This included the extra added bonus of hunting through the garbage at the rest area to find a child's orthodontic appliance after it was mistakenly thrown away. (I won't say whose.)  That was a definite highlight of the day!

Once we reached our destination, we unhitched the trailer and were off again to spend the rest of the evening with friends in a suburb of Atlanta.  It was a great evening and we are tired!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vacation Day 6

Today we spent the whole day in the Smokey Mountains.  It was so beautiful!  We took over 50 pictures, but don't worry, I won't be posting many.  We headed out this morning toward the mountains and took some great "through the car window" pictures.

Our first stop was Newfound Gap which also joined with the Appalachian Trail.

We decided not to walk to Maine but...

Nonnie and Papa wanted to try but couldn't make it so we turned around :)

Kristin straddling the state lines.  She wasn't exactly sure where she was at this point.
Next stop, Clingmans Dome

This is the view from the highest peak in the Smokeys.  It is 6643 feet.

The brochure said, "Clingmans Dome is reached by a strenuous half mile walk from the parking area." That is an understatement!  Nonnie and Papa decided to wait "for us all to roll down".  They're so kind! They never even offered to catch us!

Then Emily and Kristin took a trail ride while the rest of us watched a movie at the visitor's center.  It had great scenery and the girl's had a great ride.  (Although they might be just a little sore...)

Last stop of the day was Laurel Falls.  This was a 1.3 mile one way hike so a total of 2.6 miles of hiking with two people who have "short leg syndrome".   Yes,  Nonnie and Papa decided to go have a leisurely dinner while we did this, but I actually meant James and Helena.  (They ended up getting carried quite a bit.)

I know this is the world's worst picture, but those little black spots are two of the four black bear cubs we saw on the trail along with their mother.  It was really fun to watch them...from a distance.

All at the falls.

Another of those rare mom and dad shots.
We'll all sleep well tonight!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 5 Extra

As Nonnie and Papa were getting ready to head back to their hotel, they found a baby robin on their windshield wiper.

 Kristin to the rescue...

After finding an obliging stick, she removed the little one.

Now it is on the stick and doesn't want to leave.

She eventually coaxed it off and onto the ground.  We think mommy was nearby, so I am sure it was rescued after we left.

Vacation Day 5

Day five meant it's time to move on so...our planned departure time was 8:00 this morning.  Our actual departure time was 9:20.  We're getting slightly better at this.   Today's destination was the Smokey Mountain National Park.

Heading into Tennessee

Picnicking at their nice welcome center

Our travel trailer looks so huge to us until we see it up next to some of the others.  Do you see our "tiny" van and trailer?

Some of the beautiful scenery

One of the best things was meeting up with Nonnie and Papa at the campground!

Next we went to take sight-seeing helicopter rides

Benjamin got a special picture since he turned 11 today!!

Off they go!

Finally, I rode with Matthew, Emily, and Kristin.

The girls and I sat in the back.

Matthew sat in front and peppered the pilot with questions.  What a great guy!  Matthew learned a lot.

The views were amazing.

Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake for the birthday cake.  Yum!!
Happy Birthday Benjamin!

Everyone enjoyed the cake!

Creek boots for catching frogs!!

After opening his gifts, the guys got together and played their quintet repertoire for Nonnie and Papa.