Written by Captain Mary on Monday, June 30, 2008

I watched Broken Bridges last night and I am not really a fan of country music, but it certainly got my attention and perhaps changed my opinion. The story was about five men who lost their lives in a military exercise and it took place in the small town they lived in. The main characters are well defined, and all have some demon that is haunting them from the past. Its a heart warming story, like the good old days. About community, death, love and living. I don't know how many times I cried during the movie, but if you are looking for a story that touches your heart and soul I highly recommend this movie. I don't want to give the ending away, so check it out and give me your opinion, bet I'm right.


Written by Captain Mary on Monday, June 30, 2008

Yesterday we went out on the boat, my son and nephew. When we arrived at the marina it seemed a bit windy, but we were there anywhere. It was one of those times where our plan was to collect tropicals for our saltwater fish tanks, so diving and snorkeling were are main objectives. We head out the channel from Matheson Hammock Park, heading through the Stiltsville channel to the ocean we notice it is getting rougher and rougher. The last two channel markers are usually the telltale sign if it will be too rough, we began getting tossed around pretty good, so the decision was made to head back in. Turning back toward home, I said to the crew "why don't we try a place protected from the sea?", the guys didn't really want to go in, so we headed behind some of the barrier islands south of Stiltsville. Carefully navigating the shallow waters we stopped when we found some deep spots in the middle of the grass flats. Jason jumped in to scout out the location and he said that it would be a good location for tropical collecting. We got the hooka ready, the hooka is a floating air compressor, that allows us to go diving without all the equipment, it is a surface supplied air source, so that we can dive and air is given to us by demand. That is as long as the gas holds out. We can stay on a shallow dive more than 4 hours on a tank full of gas.
As we decended there was an amazing sight indeed, there were very few rocks and they were litterly stuffed with lobsters (florida crawfish) we watched them, so many of them they were fighting for holes to hide in, the lobsters were walking around everywhere, when one found a hole it pushed another out, they were just walking around everywhere. Lobster are currently out of season and taking them is prohibited, our main objective was tropicals and these lobsters made it difficult to do so. They would get in the way and they would come towards us to see what we were doing. We had to shoo them away like flies. We also ran across a green moray eel, and Jason kept putting his leg over the hole he was in, the eel would smell him, and luckly didn't bite. We found some angle fish and returned to the boat.
The current was making diving very difficult, we moved to a couple of different locations, our last location was near a little reef, just beautiful with lots of tropical fish, but the current was really was strong, so diving was impossible, we snorkeled and Jason found some giant starfish to show us. It ended up being a beautiful day. A bad day of boating is better than your best day at work!


Written by Captain Mary on Friday, June 27, 2008

It was 7:10 AM on Thursday morning, damn it, something isn't right. I normally am out the door and on the way to dropping the kids off at school. You got it, I forgot to set the alarm. So off to getting ready. I start yelling out to the kids "it is time to get up," no answer. They are both sound asleep in my bed. We all fell asleep to Hannah Montana. Again, "it is time to get up." Jazzy starts to move, yes, some reaction and signs of life. JT, well, he just laid there, as if REM just started, out cold. I walk up next to him and start to rub his belly, "JT, time to get up." No answer, as if he had been drinking all night, 3 years old and hibernating. His arms cocked back behind his head, kind of the position you would find an old man enjoying the fruits of a good old fashion hammock. "JT, time to get up." He finally spits out the word "stupid," still half asleep. I start to rub his belly again. "Stupid." Wow he is an angry little man when he does not want to wake up. I move to other means and give him a zerbert. For those of you who are not familiar with the phrase, it is when you take a big breath of air and press your lips against a surface and let out the oh so famous fart sound. So I pull up his shirt and proceed. I then get the flying fist of furry right to the top of the nose. Checking to see if the little shit busted my nose, I smirk in aw and there is a little bit of laughter, yes, I am a bit amused by the whole situation. Once more, "JT, time to wake up." He replies, with eyes still shut, half ass asleep, "waking up is stupid." For those of you who do not know JT, he really is the sweetest little boy. More like that teddy bear you could never give up. He has this squeaky little voice, like a chipmunk on helium. His innocence is so nostalgic of your happiest childhood memories. Back to the story. Still nothing is working, just can't get this little booger up and going. The next step, bounce the bed. I feel this will annoy the hell out him and should do the trick. To my surprise, with a crumpled little expression, I get the shock of a life. My little angel, replies in reaction to the bouncing bed " you stupid fuck, I am sleeping" Wow, normally this would not fly in my household, but, today is just one of those days. I about bite my bottom lip off to keep from laughing. Jazzy has both hands over her mouth trying to hold back from laughing. Lets just say he finally got up and the day started. They say it only takes one emotion to set your day off, today, it was all good.

Written By Jason


Written by Captain Mary on Friday, June 27, 2008

I had a conversation with a friend today, who had just received a certified letter in the mail. The letter stated that in 45 days they were going to throw him out of his house.
Oh I know you want me to explain this one. He lives in an area that has Association Fees, what does that mean? Well, its a community that requires an association to keep everything maintained and beautiful. So they say. What they actually do is go around looking for houses that perhaps their lawn has gotten to long, or it could use a paint job, or even have some rust on the house from the sprinklers, and guess what you pay for this service. If you don't comply with these ridiculous persnickety things they fine you.
Anyway back to the letter, it so happens that my friend, through an oversight of some kind did not pay his 400 dollar a year fee for Association Dues, they filed a lien on his house, without informing him, and now what they are going to do is throw him and his children out on the streets in 45 days if he does not pay this amount. Which because of attorney fees has escalated to over a thousand dollars. He didn't recall getting any notification about the dues and out of sight out of mind, sometimes a person forgets these things. I made some inquiries and I found out that you could indeed loose your home for $400. Imagine that a person puts their life saving and family love into a home and a company simply removes it from you. Who the hell passed the law to make this kind of thing legal? I can't imagine any of the people who live in this world would do such a thing.


Written by Mini on Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 9

Well unfortunately, today is the day that we head home. Don't really want to but we have to go back to work at sometime. Money doesn't last forever! We started to depart from Stone Mountain at about noon. Now we have a long drive ahead of us. We have to go all the way from Georgia to Florida. As we were driving, the kids watched movies. At some point that evening my kids were going to be picked up by their dad. How can we arrange this? Well, my father lives in central Florida, so he can meet us there. We crossed the border at 4 pm. We only had about 3 more hours of drive time to get to dads.

We arrive at my dad's house at 7 pm, not bad not bad!!! Unknown to me, dad was going to have a little celebration for mine and JT's birthday. Mainly for JT, since he is the kid. During the trip I celebrated my birthday, so it really wasn't important. But of course, my daddy had to do something for me. We had cake and presents. The kids dad showed up at about 9 pm, and then they left. So now what, we have to drive to Miami. Ahhh!! Well that is going to be a 5 hour drive, at least. But it was cool. We arrived at home at 3:30 am on Monday morning. Jason was ready to clean out the RV, no way, too late, or early however you want to look at it.

I am sorry that I don't have any more pics to show, but this day was sort of uneventful, I didn't even take pics. I hope you all have enjoyed my trip, I know that I did. Maybe we will take another adventure soon!!!


Written by Captain Mary on Thursday, June 26, 2008

Teen pregnancy! It is on the rise, or are we just noticing it more. It certainly seems to me like its become some kind of fashion trend. The stars are doing it, well then it must be cool. Or what ever kids say these days. Well the thing about fashion is it changes every year or so, the problem with being pregnant is this fashion is going to last a life time. I really can't criticize because I too was pregnant very young. Then again, it was an accident, but in the 70's we were much more mature and we could go out get job and raise a family. What will these girls do, work at what wages, where are the baby daddy's? With today's economy there is no way to get a place to live on the salaries they can make at that age. Let me just mention that being pregnant can only be the least of their worries, how about the things you can get from unprotected sex. What if they get a fatal disease on top of being pregnant, then who takes care of this poor child, well guess what tax payers. The responsibility again goes to the over burdened public. Girls what are you thinking? You have to look past the initial thrill to see you are responsible for some little persons entire life. Think! Think! Keep your knees together and your brains working!


Written by Mini on Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 8

Today we started out early, we had to start making some distance. We were only one day away from this beautiful vacation ending, boo hoo!!! So we jumped in the RV and headed out. We drove about 2 hours south, still in Georgia. Jeff got a phone call from his dad during our drive, he was recommending that we stop again in Ga. at Stone Mountain. OK, sounds good, something else to see before the fun has to come to an end.

We arrived at Stone Mountain campground at around 3 pm. We were very surprised at the sites, very nice. We had to eat like usual, but we were going in to the little town for that, so some snacks for now. We walked down to the lake where we were going to catch a water taxi to head to the mountain.

We were told it was something amazing to see. We could have walked to the top but with 5 kids, no way jose!!! When we arrived across the lake we took a tram to the base of the mountain. It was a quick ride, but man, it was HOT out!!! You could tell we were getting close to home.

So once we were dropped off, we chose to take the aerial tramway to the top of the mountain, how cool. Jeff was interested in how much weight the tram could hold so I took these pics for him, he is soo technical sometimes, another reason I love him.

It was a site to see once we were standing on the top. We learned that the mountain was created, oh some millions of years ago, by hot magma cooling with the rest of the earth around it eroding to expose the granite rock. So, that is mother nature at her best.

We saw carvings in the rock dated back to the 1800's. You could also see in the rock where water pooled, when it rained, and then poured down the side of the mountain. There was a gate around the whole thing so visitors would not fall off, that would suck!! The kids really enjoyed it, but also got bored with it quite quickly. Kids!!!

Once we were back at the bottom, we decided that it was time to eat. We went into the first restaurant that we could see. It was also a fun experience. They sat us all at a square table. The servers were all dressed up in the traditional southern dress. It was great, hot, bad service, but still great. I only say this for one reason. As we were finishing our meal, the server came by and asked us if we were ready for our check, we replied "yes". Shortly after that Jason says " Is my sister shrinking", huh!! Well then we looked at the table, it was rising. It went all the way up which was to my head, it was as funny as can be. Jeff stopped and took a pic once it was part way up.

Once we were finished with dinner, we headed to the base of the mountain for the 25th Anniversary Light Show. We sat right in front so that we had a good view. The carving on the mountain was of the three generals that fought in the war. It was done with blow torches, not sure how long it took, but still amazing none the less. Also not sure of exactly who the generals were, not too good with history. I will have to ask Jeff about this one.

The kids played around as we waited for it to get dark. What a way to end the last night of our trip, with a light show! I do want to thank Jeff's dad for his recommendation. As it was getting dark, a train passed right in front of us, that was cool. Well now we are anxious, we can't wait anymore. It all started with fireworks, which was the only thing that I could capture.

Not sure how clear it is, but you can see the carving on the mountain through the fireworks, awesome. The light show lasted for about an hour. Once it was over, we had to head back to camp. We took the water taxi back, which took about an hour itself, just because everyone had to get back and it was the last taxi of the day.

Once back at camp, the kids tired again, hit the sheets. It has been a long and exciting vacation, lots to see and do. No wonder everyone was beat. Well, I guess that we will see you in the morning.


Written by Mini on Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 7

Today is a big day. We are headed to Helen, Ga., where we would float around all day. The town of Helen is a very small Swiss town. They have all kinds of little shops and eateries. We didn't want to spend any time doing that, so we signed up to go on the Chattahoochee River.

We took an old school bus ride up the river for our two hour tube ride. It was an easy float for the most part. There were some sections that got a little rapid, but not too much that a small child couldn't handle it. I tried to stay back a little to make sure that everyone was ok. This was hard because depending on which part of the river you were on, you could speed past someone else quickly. I eventually had to hold on to some rocks to get some distance. The water was cool, but it was such a hot day, nobody minded flipping their tube. The water was also shallow, so there was nothing really to worry about.

While on the river, Jeff spotted a rattlesnake. The girls also saw a snake, but they weren't sure what kind. There wasn't much wildlife or fish to be seen, so they were lucky.

After the tube ride, we were all hungry. We stopped in at a restaurant that had a great selection of food. Everyone ate good, ok, time to head back to the RV. Well, there were cries of pain, "I can't walk anymore", so Jeff and I fetched the RV so no one else would have to walk. Aren't we thoughtful!!!

We were now headed to Lake Hiawassee, which was recommended by some fellow Floridians that we had met on the river. Well not to be coarse, but it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. No place to swim, what, on a lake. Can't be....but sure enough, it was. So needless to say, the kids were not happy about that, which in turn made me unhappy also. During the whole trip I had tried to keep them happy, nobody wants a nasty kid on vacation, much less five of them.

The kids played for a while on the playground that over looked the lake, and of course, I had to find the positive side to this. So this is what I found!!!

Alright then, this is a reason to deem it a great place to stay. The sunset was awesome that night. The first night that we actually paid attention to it, horrible thought, but it was magnificent!!! Sunset only means one thing, that it is getting dark and time to hit the hay. Day 8 coming tomorrow and it is going to be fun!!!!


Written by Captain Mary on Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We tested last week and tonight was the evening event, Belt Rank Graduation. If we failed we would be notified prior to our arrival. We knew we had passed our testing, no phone call. My daughter Monica and I were the only ones in the family who could attend. The evening is always a wonderful event for getting people together and having something to eat afterward. We always try to bring something besides sugary snacks and such. This time I brought my world famous Smoked Fish Dip. Seems a little strange in the middle of donuts, cupcakes, chips and cakes, not to mention all the sugary drinks. Anyway, by the end of the evening people were scraping the plate to get the last bits off of the lettuce garnish. If you would like the recipe email me

Back to graduation, I received my Red Belt Decided and Monica and Jason received their Red Belt Recommended. We have worked really hard to get to this point, so close to getting our Black Belts, the rest is going to be even harder though. With my bum knees and arthritis I keep plugging, I thought it was a personal achievement to ignore all my pain and continue toward my goal. Well, it did not go unnoticed. Tonight special awards were given out. Some of the children received personal achievement awards, they worked extra hard and were noticed. Another award that was given out was for Black Belt Attitude. Our Instructor Jesse announces that these awards are generally never given to adults, but in this case for the loudest Ki hap in the school and for practicing even with bum knees the award is given to Captain Mary. I was nearly in tears.


The Black Belt Ceremony for those who made their goals was a beautiful experience, some of the kids so proud they were giving their speeches with tears in their eyes. I really can't take this, so I end up crying and one of the kids, Stephanie added my name to her speech thanking me, well that was it, tears rolled down my face, Courtney had me in tears too, her speech was heart felt and then she tells us she will be leaving the school. I have fallen in love with this group of people who I now call my family.



Written by Mini on Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 6

Well, like I had said before, we were only about 5 minutes from the border of South Carolina. We decided that we would take it easy in the morning, no rush. We crossed the border at 12:15 pm. Since it was about lunch time, and the kids were getting sick of sandwiches, we headed in to town to get some pizza. We stopped at a little Italian restaurant, in South Carolina, hmmm, ok! Maybe they were on the witness protection program or something. Seemed odd. But it was a great little place nevertheless. Funny story there was after we were finished eating we proceed to pay. Wouldn't you know it...they don't take plastic. What, where are we, what year is it? Doesn't everyone take plastic? Guess not in these small towns, only checks and cash. So we had to leave Jason there while we went back to find an ATM machine, somewhere in this little town. Load the gang up, poor Jay, I'm sure he made good conversation. So finally back to pick him up, and then on the road again.

Our plans were to stay at the Devil's Fork State Park. It was beautiful. The campsites were nice and clean, and they each had their own sandbox for the kids. Awesome! At the bottom of the mountain range was a huge lake, this is where we spent our entire day. Some of the locals said that the lake was down 25', that is a lot of water. Lots of fish to catch too, but you needed a license and we were only there for a few hours. The kids swam, built sand castles, wrote in the sand and played monster trucks. Not much of an eventful day compared to the others so far, but just as fun. It started to get dark, so we packed up our beach supplies and headed back for showers and dinner. The kids were pooped that day, so right after dinner, they were out for the night! While the guys were cooking, I went for a walk in the dark. I wondered off to the beach area just to admire the starlit sky, it was soo amazing. There were no lights to block the view. When I returned, the guys went on their own walk, this time to look for bugs and stuff. Funny thing is that while they were flipping rocks, they found, more than one, black widow spider. Not so cool, thinking that the kids were playing with the same rocks on the beach just earlier. They came back with some cool pics though and now time to relax then hit the sheets. We have a pretty long day ahead of us!!!


Written by Captain Mary on Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It is monday morning and as usual I get myself together to head toward work. I pull my truck up to the job and begin getting my supplies together I hear a BANG!, what the heck! I go inside and my customers are sitting there in the dark, well I can't do my work without electricity. So I packed up my supplies and went home, look at that an extra day off. After this weekend I sure needed it. Traveling out of the country, cooking fish and having friends over, then picking up afterward, I was exhausted. When I got home from almost work I was greeted by my dogs and the kitties were at the back door looking in. This will be a great opportunity to clean the house. It does seem to be a joy once in a while, when I know it will stay clean. After the scrubbing and mopping and laundry I made a sigh of relief, sat down and took a NAP. It has been a long time since I have slept that good. A day with nothing to do. Everything happens for a reason, thanks for the power outage.


Written by Mini on Monday, June 23, 2008

Day 5

First off, I want to apoligize for the delay in getting day 5 to my viewers, most of you know that I was busy.

Though not as exciting as yesterday, we still had a blast....The usual start in the morning, and then off to the Pisgah National Forest. As we were in route, we passed a sign that said "Blue Ridge Parkway", so we decided that it would probably be beautiful so "let's drive it". Well, after driving for about 2 hours, we realized that we were in the wrong spot. AHHHHHH!!! We had traveled north two hours instead of south. Ok to be honest, I literally cried. I didn't want to take more time to get where we wanted to go, it wasn't that far to begin with. The good thing about it is that we did get to travel the parkway, and see tunnels and overlooks. One of the overlooks was at 4000'.

We also got to see the Cherokee Indian Village. It was a little town, so we drove straight through. Now, lets try that again, this time no Blue Ridge Parkway.

So we are on our way to Sliding Rock, a natural formation at the bottom of a fast moving stream. As soon as we arrived at the rock, the kids ran out and went to the stream directly in front of the RV. They were ready to get wet. We first had to have lunch, then they were free to play. They changed once again. Their suits pretty much remained wet. We walked down the steps to the bottom, just to walk back up the rock to slide down. Well of course, I had to go, at least once to say "I did it". It is cold as can be, 52 degrees. So, that was enough for me. The kids on the other hand spent two hours going up and down the rock. Jason and his bunch were not able to go as often. Jazzy was just plain ole afraid, JT was too little and Jason had to watch JT. Jason did get to go a few times, but he was also very happy watching JT play in the shallow part of the stream. Jeff was hooked instantly, he couldn't get enough. There were rules for sliding down the rock, but my group wouldn't listen. They slid down on their belly's and backwards, both no no's. What can you do, kids will be kids. They were having fun and no one got hurt, that's whats important.

We made one more stop after leaving Sliding Rock. Only a mile or so down the road was another waterfall. It was not as impressive in size as Cumberland Falls, but just as pretty. It was called Looking Glass Falls. There were some kids swimming in the water down at the bottom, that was cool.

Well, again its getting late, so we needed to find a place to camp for the night. We ended up at Black Forest Campground. Which was 5 minutes from the border of South Carolina. So I am sure that you can guess, that is where we will end up tomorrow.


Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, June 22, 2008

I had been watching the weather all week and it was looking good for the weekend. My problem is I couldn't find anyone who wanted to go, so I told myself I am going no matter what. My daughter was busy with work, my son busy with his children, who would go? My son suggested asking Jeff and Shelah, my best friends in the whole world, after all their children are on vacation at their grandparents house. I asked and they were thrilled, Shelah and Jeff are so easy going but lack in boating experience, but what the heck, I'm going.

I was up at 4:30 am boat packed and Jeff and Shelah showed up with breakfast and supplies for a trip on the water. For greenies they sure caught on fast. Launched the boat and out we came through the channel looking toward the ocean and gazed at the beautiful calm seas that we were to explore for the day. Started trolling when the water was deep enough, not many signs of life in the Big Pond, a fond name for the Atlantic Ocean. We trolled and trolled, just enjoying the peace and the sea. Time passed and somehow we ended up in Bimini, Bahamas. Something comes over me when I see the tiny speck of islands. This is where I would love to live, there is happiness and a feeling of well being, sort of like being on a really cool drug. I must look ridiculous with this giant frozen smile. This feeling is contagious, because my friends got the disease too. We snorkeled, we walked the streets and enjoyed the brightly colored homes, that dotted the perfectly matched turquoise waters that touched the white sand beaches.

The time passed and it was time to head home, thought we would catch something on the way home. I saw birds diving, which is a great signal that there is hungry fish at the surface. I headed toward the birds and the water was so clear and blue the fish appeared like magic. We began catching fish, and then one fish jumped in the boat, check this out Click for Fish Whisperer a great story about the event. We had so much fun and it gets crazy in a school of dolphin, (mahi mahi), we trolled more on the way home and picked up a couple of Barracudas, a great fight and released back to the wild, we continue home. The day was perfect and the company even better. To read Jeff and Shelah's version of the story and see the pictures click Bimini for the details.

The fun didn't end that day, the next day was the big fish fry, we ate our fill and drank great Bahamian Beer, after the meal was a watermelon filled with Rum from the islands. A great day with my kids and friends. Every weekend seems to turn into a party.


Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tonight was testing for our new belt rank. I am testing for my red belt decided, my daughter Monica and son Jason are testing for their red belt recommended.
We have to do some sparring, without contact and our form for our rank. It is a nerve racking event.

The Black Belts who are moving up in their ranks are always first and the more we sit waiting the more nervous we become. Somehow we always get up and do our performance. Sometimes we draw blanks other times it goes off without a hitch. Here are a couple of photos of myself and Monica and Jason.


Written by Mini on Friday, June 20, 2008

Day 4

Well like I said before, this was going to be a great day. The regular morning routine and then off. The guys wanted to go for a hike and that we did. As we started to feel the incline we made walking sticks from what we found. We walked up part of the Appalachian Trail, it connected to the campground we were in so it was nice and easy to begin . Most of the trails that we were on were also horse trails, so it got a little messy in spots. We saw nature in the raw. There were trees down and rotting. There were little streams of water that ran down the mountain side. The air was cool and so fresh and clean. I never thought I could breathe so easy. JT was the only one to spot wildlife, in the form of a turtle. I thought it was weird to see a turtle at such a high altitude, but hey you never know. The best thing that I saw was a weed of some sort covered with ladybugs, love em. So, I'm sure that you would guess that with 5 kids were weren't able to go too far, so we didn't. We all started home to get ready to go to Fontana Village.

We got back to the RV and headed in to the village, where the kids could hang out for a while. It was only 5 minutes up the road so we wasted no time getting there. I decided, the mom that I am, to do some laundry while we were there. We all changed in to our swimsuits, had lunch and headed to the new pool and lazy river. They had just opened it two weeks ago, lucky us. It was lots of fun! Everyone spent most of the day in the little lazy river, drifting around and flipping each other out of the tubes.

Jeff and I took off on a little walk while Jason was with the kids in the pool. We found a baseball field where I showed off my skills, ha! Then we went inside what was an old house from the 1800's. There were pictures of the history of the house and the village when they were building the Fontana Dam. After seeing that we had to go check out the dam. So we went back to the pool for a little while longer and then packed everyone up and headed to the dam.

When we first reached the dam, we went to the picnic area. mainly just to see Fontana Lake, that was the high side of the dam. We found a little trail that had steps at the bottom that went right in to the lake. This was cool, of course, they had to get their feet wet. Seemed to be what happened anytime there was water.

We headed up to the top of the dam. It was amazing! The dam stood 480' tall and 2365" long. It was started in 1942 and took only 36 months to complete. It had huge spillways, which are in case the lake gets too high. Shy was interested in how far they went down so she threw some ice in one. It took a long time for it to even hit the side, not something I would want to fall in. This picture is at the top of the dam looking down to the low side, also known as the Tennessee River. If you look down on the left of the river you could see our campground. That was a scary thought, hmmm, if the dam breaks, we get washed away, ok! Whatever, this was an adventure.

After seeing all this dam stuff, the kids were complaining about being hungry. It was time to go back to the campsite and have dinner. We hunted more bugs after dinner and then movies and bed again. Tomorrow we will be heading to the Pisgah National Forest, see you there...


Written by Mini on Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 3

Ahhh, it is morning now and its time to eat. Everyone is awake and ready for our next day. We decided to first check out our campground before leaving, since we were not able to see it when we arrived the night before. The adults switched off on the hikes because it was too dangerous for any of the kids. So off we went. The campground was not what we expected. Where our RV was parked is directly over us in this picture, you just cant see it. We walked around for some time taking pics of all the different things that we don't see here in Florida.

After we had been exhausted from walking up and down the steep incline of the mountain, we decided that it was time to start our adventure for the day. The kids were playing in the playground and they were starting to get bored, time to leave. The one great thing about having the RV was the fact that they all pile in and we go, simple!!!

We are now off to the Cumberland Falls State Park where we get to see our first waterfall. It didn't take us a long time to get there. That was, of course, driving on the Cumberland Parkway, which was a beautiful scenic route. We saw many trees as you might expect, also rivers and streams, again amazing!! I think that was my word the whole trip. So we arrived at the state park and headed towards the waterfall. We first walked out on the riverbank leading up to the waterfall. The water levels there were quite low so we were able to walk a good distance on the banks. When the kids were done looking at fish and collecting rocks, we went to the falls. Now as you know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this was beauty beyond any imagination. My favorite pic at this spot was when I was watching Max watch the waterfall. That is beauty, the innocence of a child in nature.

The Cumberland Falls is 125' of cascading waters. It was a beautiful curtain of water. Locals had said that many, many years ago you were able to camp down at the waterfall and go behind it, where they used to tell stories and have adult beverages. Ha! I wish I could have done that!!!! We stayed at the falls for two or so hours, checking it out from every possible level. After viewing the falls, the kids had ice cream and we departed to our next spot.

Because of where we were, we had to go back through Tennessee to get to North Carolina. We arrived back in Tennessee at about 2:15 pm that same day. We stopped at a local boat ramp so that Jason could collect his rocks. We played at the waters edge for a while, skipping rocks and wading in the cold water. JT was not supposed to go in being fully clothed, but sometimes you just can't help wanting to get wet, and he did.

We continued our trip to North Carolina. We knew towards dawn that we were getting close. We pulled off the road when we noticed smoke covering the roads and the water. We must be in the Smoky Mountains now, if not, we are real close. We realized then how the Smoky Mountains got their name. Jeff and Jason took off to take pics and I stayed back with the kids. The smoke of the mountains engulfed them as I watched from a distance. It was a little cold and creepy, like out of a horror flick. When we first arrived at this spot, you could see a bridge in the background. By the time we left, the bridge was covered with smoke. Awesome!

Well from here we continued driving until we reached the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, about 8 pm. We headed to Fontana Village, which I already knew from a previous trip had a campground. This one was a sight to see. We set up camp and again relaxed by the fire. This was the first night that we could explore, so we did. We took the kids in groups for walks in the dark. We saw all kinds of bugs and they were huge! There were so many different kinds of moths, spiders, flies, and caterpillars. I took a lot of pics of the bugs, I love bugs!!!! Jason was in the bathroom when he noticed a beautiful green moth. I know that we don't see these in Florida, at least I never have.
The adults enjoyed the rest of the night after the kids went in to watch a movie and go to sleep. We sat around discusing our wonderful day and what was going to be next.......