West Virginia – the Perfect Getaway

Can’t believe that it’s already 2020.  Crazy how fast time is moving!

Exhibition Coal Mine, Beckley, WV

Back in October, hubs and I went on a small vacation.  We were looking for something a little different, something slower paced – where we could relax.  We found it in West Virginia.  One of the first places we visited was an exhibition coal mine.  Not being from a coal mining area, I never gave too much thought to how difficult mining could be.  After visiting the mine, I came away with a new respect for the miners.



Cass Scenic Railroad – Bald Knob Trip

We ventured north to Cass where we took a train ride. We chose the trip up to Bald Knob.  The scenery was beautiful and the smell of Red Spruce was spectacular.  Our trip included a hobo lunch (sack lunch of a sandwich, chips, pasta salad and a cookie).  The engineer was very entertaining.  (click here for link to Cass Scenic Railroad)


The Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park, Fayette County, West Virginia

About twenty miles from the New River Gorge, you’ll find Babcock State Park.  This was one of my favorite stops.  While at the park, we took time to check out the Grist Mill before we went hiking. We chose to hike around the lake.  I think the trail was classified as easy to moderate.

This little vacation comes highly recommended.  It’s perfect for those who want to unplug from daily stresses and recharge.  Totally felt like a new person when the vacation was over.  

A little peak at our hike.



A September to Remember, A September to Forget


Destination:  Utah

Nothing crazy.  Visit family.  Hiking.  A little sight-seeing.  A lot of relaxing…

I’d waited all summer.

We were about 20 minutes into the flight to Atlanta when the pilot announced that a sensor on our plane had activated and we’d have to return to the airport.  Mind you, we had to fly around for another 20 minutes or so to burn up some fuel as our plane was too heavy to land.  (Side note:   Our pilot made sure to fly over areas that were very rural.  I’m assuming that was done to minimize potential ground casualties if something would have gone wrong.)  Long story short – a missed flight and luggage delay, we made it to Utah.

Before going to Utah, I’d researched some places that I wanted to hike in Cache Valley.  The Wind Caves were at the top of my list.   One of my sons offered to carry me on a short evening hike in Dry Canyon – kind of a warm up if you will.  All I can say is when you’re live at sea level, the air in the mountains gets really, really thin.  At about 6500 feet above see level, I thought my lungs were going to collapse.  Suffocation seemed like a possibility.  I seriously drank water hoping my body could pull some oxygen from it.  Not sure how mountain folks manage to breathe “nothing” and survive.   I’m convinced they have something evolutionary happening in their bodies in real-time.

View from Dry Canyon:

Dry Canyon, Cache Valley, Logan Utah

Rode the train out of Heber City.  Saw some sights:


Discovered Tiger Blood flavored slushies – which is kinda like what would happen if a strawberry daiquiri and a pina colada  had a baby – alcohol free of course.

And got hooked on Stranger Things – seriously hooked.

Back to North Carolina – where the air is so heavy with humidity, it feels as though you’re being hugged.  It was the best welcome home ever – the weight of the air – breathing never felt so good!

All in all – my vacation was pretty close to perfect – marked some things off my bucket list, hung out with my family and relaxed.

Hurricane Florence:

I was back at work on Monday the 10th.  On the 12th, I was evacuating for Florence.  My husband and son stayed behind to work the storm (LEOs) and for the first time, I packed my things and left them – not knowing what I’d be coming back to.

Evacuation became a semi-vacation to the mountains of North Carolina.


Bat Cave, North Carolina





We (my mom and me) stayed in Bat Cave until Hurricane Florence decided that she wanted to visit the same area.  Potential mudslides had us heading to Mt. Airy.

I got home without a problem – before all the serious flooding set in.  My home was fine.  It was like God placed His hand over it – not a shingle missing.  I’m blessed.  I have friends who weren’t so fortunate.

Back to Work:  Receptionist at a busy insurance agency

Work has been stressful to say the least – long days, weekends, and the calls don’t stop.  Finished week 3 post Florence – and my brain is mush.  A visit to the chiropractor and to the massage therapist and the horrible headaches have eased.  Life is better when you’re head isn’t exploding.  For that I’m grateful.   And – strange as it may seem -I’m  grateful for Stranger Things.  That little bit of time away from all the worries and stress, where I just get sucked into the story, that’s what is keeping me sane.

During all this – my debit card was declined… At Taco Bell no less.   Why?  Because some jerk stole my card number.  Not sure where, when or how they did it but they were shopping on my dime.  (Thank goodness my credit union froze it because of suspicious activity.)   And Taco Bell – the cashier insisted I take the drink and breakfast quesadilla – because she’d been there and knew how it felt to have her account information/money stolen.   On the bright side – I got my money back.  More importantly, I was reminded that even though some people choose to be #@%%$, there are people who are just genuinely nice – like the cashier at Taco Bell.

Apologies for the long and rambling post but carrying all this inside me – it was – well, I needed to let it out and let it go.

Here’s wishing you a great October.












Disney & My Electric Fry Pan

Many young families are financially challenged.  Mine was no exception.  I look back on those years with fondness as they contain some of my most precious memories.

The Commons Getty Collection Galleries World Map App … Flicker.com

When you are financially challenged (poor), you get very creative. While other families are going off on expensive vacations and wonderful weekend trips, we were firing up the charcoal at the local park or gathering the necessary gear (a box) for a frog hunting expedition.  Our kids loved the outings but we wanted to be able to give them a Disney experience.

We set our goal. We scrimped and saved until finally we had enough.

Image – https://tvcinemaemusica.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/michael-chabon-vai-escrever-o-roteiro-de-the-magic-kingdom/

After loading up our Isuzu, we headed south.  Staying on Disney or even close by was out of the question.  Instead, we stayed at a Motel 6 about thirty minutes away.  As our budget was very tight, we realized we’d only be able to eat one meal a day in Disney.  So, I packed a cooler full of prepared foods.  All we needed was a microwave and dinner would be served.

Being from the south, I grew up believing that Pop-Tarts were okay but sausage was better.  I pulled out my handy-dandy electric fry pan (You read that right – I carried my electric fry pan with me on vacation as I wasn’t sure the motel room would have a microwave – we are talking Motel 6, twenty years ago) and started cooking the sausage.  It never occurred to me that this might not be the best idea…  I’m sure you can imagine our panic as the smoke detector started blasting and there we were desperately trying to disable it – so that the sprinkler system didn’t activate!  At this point, I must admit my Ohio born husband wasn’t feeling the love for my backwoods ways…

We spent two wonderful days at Disney.  On our way home, we stopped at a rest area – had a picnic and tossed a ball around.  During the last leg of our journey home, I asked our boys what their favorite part of the trip had been. I was sure they’d choose Space Mountain or maybe the dinosaurs from Epcot.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  They unanimously agreed that the rest area picnic was their favorite part.

I was floored.

My husband muttered, “After spending all that money, all we needed to do was drive to a rest area and have a picnic?”

The moral of this story – It doesn’t cost a lot to make kids happy – they just want your time and attention… And it’s a really good idea to avoid frying sausage in a motel room.  In fact, make sure to leave your electric fry pan at home.

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