Embracing Community with Horizons Unlimited

Horizons Unlimited - Val in Real Life

When I attended my first Horizons Unlimited Travellers meeting in April of last year, I didn’t know what to expect. It ended up being a delightful feast of adventurous souls, practical knowledge, and the beginning of beautiful friendships. It was a no-brainer then, to dart off to to the Horizons Unlimited North Carolina event last October. Held at the Iron …

Overland Expo East 2015

Overland Expo East 2015 - Val in Real Life

Even for adventure travelers, the conditions were somewhat daunting for this year’s Overland Expo East event in North Carolina. The rain and winds were the courtesy of Hurricane Joaquin. At our location near Asheville, we were on the outskirts of the storm but the impacts were still significant. It had many of us longing for the less-challenging conditions of Overland …

Overland Expo to TBEX: Post-mortem

Back at the end of the Overland Expo to TBEX expedition, I gave a break-down of the journey in numbers and a couple of the larger take-away points. After chronicling the entire journey though, I’ve had time to consider the triumphs and pitfalls more fully. I always like to do a trip post-mortem to make sure I take the time …

Overland Expo to TBEX: Last stop… North Carolina

After nearly six weeks on the road in the Overland Expo to TBEX expedition, we decided to cut the trip short by a week to accommodate our weary teen traveler. George and I could have gone on indefinitely but poor Fred was beyond his travel limit. Even with that decision, though, we still had two stops to make before we …

Great Smoky Mountains: The Spruce-Fir Nature Trail

The Great Smoky Mountains are the most visited National Park in the U.S. and if you follow this blog with any regularity, you know this is one of my favorite places in the world. I’ve spent the last couple of years delving deeper into her secrets and earning my Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification. So I’m sharing a little of that …

Autumn in Elkmont

A few weeks ago I took the boys to the Smokies for a long weekend and it was simple and blissful. It wasn’t a trip highlighted by outrageous adventures with stories we’ll be telling for years to come. It was a trip of relaxation, rejuvenation, exploring, and one subtlely wonderful moment followed by another. We were treated to the crisp …

Going Solo

I know you parents out there feel my pain. As rich as our kids make our lives, sometimes you need a little adult time. And when you spend as much time together as we do in our roadschooling pursuits, that becomes the understatement of the decade. I’ve alluded to my July solo trip to the Smokies in recent posts about …

Great Smoky Mountains: Deep Creek Campground

In an effort to stick a fork in our Cumberland Gap/Deep Creek adventure, let’s wrap up the whole series with my thoughts on the Deep Creek campground…just in case you feel like visiting. Big picture… The Deep Creek unit as a whole is certainly worth a visit. As I detailed last time, the trails provided wonderful scenery and variety. And …

Going “Deep” in the Smokies

Our rather damp arrival in Bryson City was coupled with an equally damp first night at Deep Creek. But we awoke to clear skies and were ready to explore, even if everything surrounding us was completely sodden. After some examination of the handy-dandy trail map we decided to hike the Juny Whank falls trail as well as sections of the …

Moving Right Along: Bryson City

When I last left you in the tales of our fall adventure, we were heading to Bryson City, NC after a brief stopover in the ever-fabulous Asheville. Our goal was to make it to Deep Creek, a unit of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Moving west… Now, as I detailed in the posts on Asheville, our plans going forward …