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Just (2000 Miles) Down the Road

The interstate in my backyard, if followed long enough, will eventually lead to the small town of Holbrook Arizona.
It’s a little town that the old route 66 used to run right through until it got bypassed in recent years by the construction of big interstate 40. Holbrook also inspired the little desert town in the movie Cars.
The people behind the scenes of the movie Cars apparently spent some time in this cafe, planning out the movie.
(For some reason we didn’t eat there?!!)
We rolled into the town of Holbrook on a chilly late February afternoon, after spending the day wandering through the Petrified Forest. Old neon signs lined the streets, and big dinosaur statues guarded the many little gift shops scattered around.  I wanted to walk around and explore the shops, but it seemed everything was closed. There was nobody around, except for a random car passing by here and there. With the cold wind blowing through, Holbrook felt like a bit of a ghost town. Or at least on its way to becoming a ghost town.
I dreamed of what it might be like, in the hot summer weather, and what it had been like many many years ago.
I still find it amusing, when I listen to the cars on the interstate behind my house, that this little town lies way down the road. And then I dream of racing off, back to the desert.  It’s just 2000 miles down the road!



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Photo an Hour- Train Ride to Washington DC

I really like doing a photo an hour on travel days. I suppose it helps to pass the time and it ends up being a good way to start blogging about trips.

This was April 10th. The day we traveled to Washington DC.

Saturday night was the polar vortex’s last hurrah. I had to dig up my sad vegetables and bring them inside and cover up all my new little plants so they wouldn’t freeze to death.
 So Sunday morning my alarm went off at 5:45 so I would have time to uncover my plants and re-plant my veggies before we left.

6:00 AM

Preparing my face and body for travel.

7:00 AM

Riding in the backseat as my mom drove us to the Train station.

8:00 AM


I had never traveled by train before and was so excited I could hardly contain myself.

9:00 AM

My favorite part of the train ride was riding through all the train yards and seeing more train stuff.

10:00 AM

An overpriced train breakfast. 
I imagined that train travel would be a lot more like plane travel, with tight security, so I didn’t think we would be able to bring food and I imagined our bags would be searched. Nope. They let us hop right on and didn’t even check to make sure we had tickets until the train was already moving. Hah! And then on the train some old ladies next to us brought an entire suitcase full of food to eat for the whole trip. They knew what was up.

11:00 AM

Passing though cute little towns.

12:00 PM

Time for another overpriced train meal. I had a veggie burger which was just a patty on bread with some mustard, for 8 dollars. But at least it was surprisingly flavorful and filled me up.

We ate in the dining car and this river was one of the many lovely views we had.

1:00 PM

Somewhere in North Carolina’s armpit.

2:00 PM

Passing the time studying French.

3:00 PM

Are we there yet??

4:00 PM

First glimpse of DC!

5:00 PM

We were greeted with the busy crowds of a big city at rush hour, but managed to make it out of the train station and get our metro cards with only minor confusion. Then we made our way by metro to our hotel, with some more minor confusion that involved us entirely circling Dupont Circle because I momentarily forgot how to read a map. 

6:00 PM

After Checking into our Hotel we walked over to the grocery store and stocked up on bananas, peanut butter, bread and potato chips. I would have gotten yogurt but our room didn’t have a fridge. It also didn’t have a thermostat or hot water, but who needs those things?!

7:00 PM

Walking!  Where to? No idea! Just exploring. Dupont Circle is a pretty place!

8:00 PM

We ended up at the monument as the sun was setting and some mysterious steam from a vent was floating through the air. It was a pretty sight and a great way to end our first day in the capitol city.

9:00 PM

Our aching feet told us it was time to call it a night and metro back to our hotel. Little did we know that was actually the best our feet would feel whole trip. We ended up walking over 25,000 steps two of the days we were there. That’s about 12 miles! I thought for sure my calf muscles were going to burst out of my legs and run away they were so sore.

Stay tuned for my DC adventures!

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Photo and Hour- Drive to the Beach

I decided to do another photo an hour on the day we drove to the beach. Not really sure why I choose to do photo and hours on road trip days, maybe because these photos don’t really seem to fit into a post of their own, but I still want to share them.. Anyway!

7:00 AM
 On the road, driving into the sunrise!

8:00 AM
 A quick stop at W House for some breakfast. It’s becoming a fun tradition to stop for breakfast at a Waffle House on a road trip, in a town we’ve never been to.

9:00 AM
 Bored in the car, and seeing this truck made me remember how good English Muffins are and gave me a serious craving. A craving that I could not satisfy, so I took a picture instead. Steven said “What are you doing?? Don’t take a picture of that truck!! o_0” 

10:00 AM
Stopped at a Sheetz for fuel.  I was a little too excited about seeing this screme egg..

11:00 AM
 The second half of the journey to the beach take us through lots and lots of farmland. 

12:00 PM
 BEACH!  By the time we get to the big bridge I am about to fly out of my seat from excitement. I think I may have screamed when I first sighted the water. Probably a good thing I wasn’t the driver.

1:00 PM
Since our check in wasn’t until 3, we drove straight to the beach access and ran to the ocean. It was a really fun thing to just drive straight to the beach, not stopping at our hotel first.

2:00 PM
Picked up a few groceries and checked out a couple shops, including this bookstore that sold all kinds of Outer Banks history books that I wanted to buy.

3:00 PM
Checked in to our Sand Dollar motel! The first time we stayed here we could barely afford the cheapest tiny cramped room with a tiny bed. This time we finally moved to the top, and stayed in the king suite, which included a little kitchen, a couch and a table! We felt like kings.

4:00 PM
Resting on the bed and watching HGTV. It’s probably a good thing we don’t have cable at home. That stuff is addictive.

5:00 PM Consisted of more HGTV and eating cereal.

6:00 PM
Back to the beach for an evening walk

7:00 and 8:00 PM

Still walking on the beach and then heading back to our room for more HGTV!

We had such a fun trip and I can’t wait to share all my photos!

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Photo an Hour- SC Roadtrip

 I have attempted a photo an hour post a couple times now, but always wind up forgetting about it halfway through the day. This one started out unintentional because I always take a bunch of photos during roadtrips, but then I decided to try and keep it up the whole day.

 We took a little road trip to Clemson SC the other week to see the organist, Cameron Carpenter play during his tour around the world. We found out about this guy about a year ago after we saw his crazy videos online, then we recognized our city in one of the videos and realized he lived in Winston-Salem for a few years, in fact just a few blocks from us! Then we became a little obsessed and knew we couldn’t pass up such a good opportunity to see him in person!

8:00 AM
On the road!

9:00 AM
Stopped for breakfast at waffle house. I always get the egg and cheese biscuit and this time we  splurged on a waffle!

 10:00 AM
We hadn’t planned on going to Ikea.. But as we neared Charlotte we just couldn’t help ourselves from stopping in.

11:00 AM
 Digging into the the chocolate we impulsively bought at Ikea and a starbucks energy boost

12:00 PM
Driving through downtown Charlotte. 
 Check out that rainbow lens flare!

 1:00 PM 
Stocking up on snacks at a gas station is always one of my favorite parts of a trip. But why I decided that doritos and  zebra cake would be a sufficient lunch is beyond me. Later in the day I was feeling pretty gross.

2:00 PM
The SC peach!  A giant peach sits along the interstate in South Carolina, keeping watch over the vast Peach orchards. I couldn’t figure out why it had suddenly turned yellow, and then I realized they were priming it for a shiny new paint job.

 3:00 PM
Checking into our microtel

Forgot 4PM. It involved watching TV in the hotel room and regretting my junkfood lunch.

Checking out the SC botanical gardens. They have a pond with GIANT koi fish.

6:00 PM
Still wandering around the gardens

7-8 PM
Watching the show!

 9-10 PM
Looking for a place to grab some late night food. Found this little pizza joint, and it was kinda awkward because we were the only ones in there..

 And that was our fun and busy day! It was nice to have a few days off of work and do something fun and different.

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Beach Life

Sure it’s nice to look at all the fancy rental homes, but I much prefer the little beach houses that people actually live in. 

One evening we drove around the little beach town and took pictures, I like to imagine what it would be like to live at the beach.

In an alternate life I would like to live on a house boat. Just floating along the coast, going where ever I want.

This place was called the Caribbe INN. Haha get it?! ._.

I can’t tell if I would love to live at the beach, or if I would get bored of it eventually. It’s hard to imagine ever getting tired of the sea side.
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Beach Trip- Crazy Catamaran Ride

There is a lighthouse close to where we stayed at the beach, but we had never been to it because it’s only accessible by ferry. I have always wanted to see it though, ever since I was little, so it was definitely on my list of things to do during our trip. We found out there was a two hour catamaran cruise that takes you to the island, serves lunch, lets you wander around the island, climb the lighthouse and then takes you back. It sounded like a ton of fun so we decided to do it.
And it was fun.. Until about an hour in and then we both got so seasick we almost barfed, despite taking motion sickness medicine beforehand. I had no idea it would be such a wild ride! The boat was going up and down like crazy, which was actually really fun, kind of like a carnival ride! But not fun at all once the seasickness set in..   

I had never been so happy to see land in all my life!  They dropped us off at the tip of the island before taking us to the lighthouse, which supposedly is one of the best places on the coast for finding shells, but by the time we were able to choke down our lunch and start feeling better we barely had any time for shell searching and didn’t find any good ones. 🙁  That place was amazing though! I definitely want to go back and spend hours there; the water was crystal clear and there were so many shells!

 One the boat there was a wild sea dog! The captain said she had been riding the seas with him for eight years.

They also served two dollar yeunglings on the boat! Which I partook in once I was feeling better on the trip back.  I realized what the secret was to not getting sick; keep your eyes looking forward. Duh, I should have known that from riding in the car, I’m the kind of person that gets carsick if I do anything but look out the front window. Heck I’ve been known to get sick from swinging on a porch swing!
The Cape Lookout Lighthouse! In addition to protecting ships from the dangerous shores, it also acted as a compass. The middle of the black diamonds point north-south, and the middle of the white diamonds point east-west.  The lighthouse also got in the middle of a civil war battle and ended up having two holes blown into it with a cannon! Poor guy.

Once you get to the top you have to crawl through this silly door. I felt like I was in a submarine.

It was the BEST view I’ve ever seen! 
Click here to see this photo full size.
 The captain of our boat said it was the best view on the east coast, I think he was probably right!

It was definitely worth getting seasick over!
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Beach Trip- Part One

I love any type of vacation, but to me, nothing ever compares to a beach vacation.

I’m not sure what exactly I love about beaches the best; watching the waves while soaking up the sun, the endless sand castle possibilities, early morning shell walks.. I get so excited every time I think about the beach!

For this years beach trip Steven and I went to our favorite spot, Atlantic beach. It was the first ever trip we took together, and second time we went we got engaged! This was our third time going and we had a blast.

We always stay at the cute little Sand Dollar motel.

One of the cool things about North Carolina is that is has 200 miles of  barrier islands banking the coast, known as the outer banks, which is home to many light houses, wild horses, small islands for exploring and plenty of seashells! 

During the drive to the beach I can hardly contain my excitement, and by the time we get to the big bridge, I’m almost jumping out of my seat!

From the top of the bridge you can see across the island to the ocean on the other side!

One of the places we visited was sand dollar island, which is just a giant sandbar in the middle of the ocean that is home to tons of sand dollars and conchs! A ferry drops you off at low tide and then comes back to pick you up before the tide comes back in and the whole island gets covered by the water.

I had never seen a live conch before, some of them were HUGE, just wandering along the shore. But by the time I went to get my camera all I could find was this tiny guy.

Of course taking living guys isn’t allowed, so it was back into the sea with him! 

I loved sand dollar island so much! I had never seen a sand dollar except for at stores, and there were soo many live ones just hanging out in the sand! I am so excited about all the sand dollars I collected!
On the ferry ride over we passed a few islands and got to see some wild horses.

These photos are from an early morning walk to watch the sunrise, but I forgot that the sun doesn’t rise over the ocean at this beach because it faces east-west instead of north-south, so my sunrise pictures weren’t that exciting. But I was pretty happy with the other pictures I took in the morning fog.

We ate at a couple ocean front restaurants, such a great view!

 We ordered a pizza for lunch one day and took it to a little beach side picnic area (and pretended we didn’t see the no alcohol signs!) :0

Probably my favorite beach activities is just sitting on the beach all day, watching the waves and reading while drinking delicious beachy drinks. When I get too hot I’ll run into the water to cool down, then maybe I’ll dig in the sand and build a castle or something. 

Writing this post made me miss the beach so bad, even though we just got back. I can almost hear the waves crashing and taste the salty air as I look through these. I have a few more beach posts to come, so stay tuned!

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Monticello Trip- Part One

Last month my Aunt and Grandma came for a visit and we took a little trip to Virginia to see Thomas Jefferson’s house, Monticello. The name is Italian for “Little Mountain” because the house sits on top of a large hill, overlooking the beautiful mountains.

We saw an Amish crossing sign on the way up! Sadly we didn’t actually see any Amish people..

Posing with TJ!

Man he had such a cool veggie garden…

I’d been here once before when I was five. My only memories are running around this pond like a maniac and falling out of this tree.