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Coast 2 Coast Couple

The Smoky’s

Day 2 began with some breakfast at the campsite and breaking down the tent from the light rain we got late the night prior. In fact, there was some great heat lightning that we admired from the car as the sun set, but the thunder accompanying it later that evening made Nicky rouse me from sleep to remind her that everything was ok. 
As day 2 went on, we left OH, passed through KY via routes 275 and 75 South into TN where we found a BBQ place for dinner, Buddy’s. I note it not for its delicious fare. Quite the opposite. I draw attention to its name to ensure it is avoided in the future. The food was alright for a place that had been “smokin’ since ’79”, but the humidity in the air made water droplets condense on the AC ducts above us and drip into our plates of ribs and pulled pork. 
Afterwards, a scattered shower and ominous clouds guided us to the entrance of the massive Smoky Mountains Nat’l Park. This place is truly huge. I had hoped to take Nicky to hike Clingman’s Dome after setting up our tent, but the slightly grumpy female ranger that checked us in pointed out it was almost an hour’s drive but still inside the park. We settled for a short hike just down the road from our campsite in the Cody Campground. I was somewhat disappointed since I had hoped to be able to day I had at least hiked somewhere on the Appalachian Trail in TN. 

It turned out to be a great decision. A father and his two young children were tented just across from us; apparently camping in all the lower 48 states. They made the recommendation and joined us shortly after we departed. I use the word tented loosely as it was a glorified “top bunk” perched atop their suburban with a steel ladder leading down the side to the ground. Apparently all three of them stayed in it. 

The hike itself, just under a half mile, led to a clear stream cascading over numerous rocks beneath a rustic wooden bridge stretched from bank to bank. We spent over an hour soaking our not so tired feet until they were nearly blue, figuring that borderline hypothermia was the best way to sleep somewhat comfortably in the July heat. 

    

Dunking our heads in the rushing water sure helped to make things more comfortable too. 
Afterwards, our first fire of the trip. I know I know, “weren’t you just complaining about how hot it was?” Well, we got Smores stuff and we were going to have desert damnit! Getting the firewood for said snack proved to be a small adventure due to what we presumed to be a stray dog wandering across the main road who refusing to be afraid of oncoming traffic. 

As I write this, the sun has decided to set and another day of this trip is done. It’s hard to imagine another week and a half of all this traveling. But, I’m certain that once it’s done, I’ll look back and think, “where’d all the time go?”

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Couldn’t Sleep

Ever had a morning where you woke up just before your alarm? Well, this wasn’t that kind of morning; yesterday was our last day on the east coast. 

We grew up there, made friends there, fell in love there, and a part of you doesn’t want to let go when one has to move.

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Our first day began with a delicious breakfast at Break’n Eggs Creperie; a place we will sorely miss for their smoked salmon benedict. 

Afterwards, the task of purging the apartment began. A short 90 minutes later, we dropped off the keys, and after a brief stop to Target for some essentials we were on the road. 

  
Right now the weather looks questionable for pitching a tent, much less looking for fossils (which we had originally hoped to do).  

We’re missing people from home, but happy to get this incredible adventure started. Saying goodbye was like leaving a great relationship that had simply run its course; no one’s fault really, but life has a way of pulling you in the direction you’re supposed to go. 

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” – John Muir

1 Day Left…

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A day perhaps longer in the making than we can fully appreciate is nearly upon us. On July 18th, after a good breakfast of course, Nicky and I begin our 2-week road trip across this incredible country.

We’ve got an amazing itinerary planned. In fact if you haven’t checked it out, feel free to follow the link at the top of the page and see where we’re making miles today!

There’s just one more day that stands between us and our last day on the East Coast. We’re ready, but unsure of quite how to handle the emotions we’re both dealing with. For instance, our cat…

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We had to say goodbye to this little face today and boy was it tough. Nicky and I had tears in our eyes as we whispered the final “I love you’ to Moosh Moosh (I know, such a silly name, that’s just how we roll). But she’ll be in good hands with Grandma and Grandpa cook until Grandma Fenton shuttle her back to San Diego courtesy of a 747. More on that to come later…

Tomorrow is Geoff’s last day at work. It’s been almost 4 years since starting with Apple and he’s leaving behind some of the closest friends he’s made thus far. It’s sure to be an emotional final walk out the store…with video hopefully!

Tomorrow night is our last night on the East Coast. Let’s make it count!

The Itinerary

July 18th – Leave Buffalo (~9am)

  • Drive 6.5 hours to Hueston Woods State Park, West of Dayton, OH
  • Pilfer for fossils and walk the trails before going to bed.
July 19th – Leave Hueston Woods
  • Drive to Smokey Mountains Nat’l Park
  • Hike Clingman’s dome (1.5hrs) highest point in park and on AT
  • Camp in Smokeys
July 20th – Leave Smokey Mtn Nat’l Park
  • Drive to Mammoth Caves, Mammoth, KY (~4hrs)
  • Take 2-3 hour tour there, then get lunch
  • *stay overnight at Uncle Whitey and Aunt Michelle’s house in Nashville, TN
July 21st – Leave Nashville
  • Drive to Crater of Diamonds State Park (~7hrs)
  • Camp at Class D Woods view site
July 22nd – Leave Crater of Diamonds
  • Drive to Kansas City (~8hrs)
  • *Camp nearby
July 23rd – Leave Kansas City
  • Drive to Badlands Nat’l Park (~9hrs)
  • Camp in Badlands Nat’l Park
July 24th – Leave Badlands
  • Stop at Mt Rushmore Nat’l Monument (~1.25hrs)
  • Continue on to Yellowstone (7.5 hrs)
  • Camp in Yellowstone
July 25th – Spend day in Yellowstone
July 26th – Leave Yellowstone
  • Drive to Canyonlands Nat’l Park (9.25hrs)
  • Camp in Canyonlands
July 27th – Leave Canyonlands
  • Drive to Zion Nat’l Park ~(6hrs)
  • Camp in Zion
July 28th – Leave Zion
  • Drive to Grand Canyon Nat’l Park (~4.5hrs)
  • Eat lunch there
  • Continue through to Vegas, stay at Luxor
July 29th – Leave Vegas
  • Drive to Yosemite Nat’l Park
  • Spend afternoon in Yosemite
  • Camp in campgrounds
July 30th – Spend Day in Yosemite
  • Camp in campgrounds
July 31st – Leave Yosemite
  • Drive to Encinitas, CA

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