Friday, November 30, 2012

Refections of Our Adventure - Road Trip Day 2

Well, I'm not exactly sure what happened, I changed photo now I'm able to put photos back into my blog. We'll see how long this lasts. Back to our fall adventure! Day two of our travels woke us up bright and early. We wanted to see the sunrise, we wanted to have our free breakfast, we also wanted to explore a little we had no problem getting up and out. However, we did hit a few when we thought Brendan had been abducted.

I was so proud of myself, I was so organized. Got all the kids up and dressed and out to our free amazing breakfast. Typically, I like to make the beds again in the hotel room, but I didn't this time. (I'm still kicking myself for not doing this. My favorite Mickey Mouse pajama top is somewhere in North Carolina - so sad). We had a wonderful filling hot breakfast. Shane was was buffet style...that boy can EAT! Brendan wanted to go back to our room (which was a little bit of a hike up a hill to our building) so he could wash up and use the bathroom before we left. I was a bit hesitant, but he is so responsible and the other boys were still eating. I didn't want to make him wait or leave the other I said..fine. Gave him my ONLY key card and sent him on his way. After about 15 minutes or more, the boys and I decided to walk back to our room to see what Brendan was doing. We half expected to see him on his way back or totally watching cartoons on TV. When we got to the door and looked into the one was there. So we did what any rational people would do...banged on the door and yelled for him. (It was a small room...2 beds and a bathroom). No one answered. No nothing. Crazy how fast your brain goes to all of those criminal shows that you watch, you know, the FBI shows...where children are always kidnapped in old country the ones in Asheville, NC. The other two boys and I ran back down the hill to the main building..thinking maybe we missed him. Then we ran up. Every man walking now look like a child abductor. We stopped running, caught our breath and we prayed. I'm serious, we were scared! We went back to that room 2 more times and ran down the hill 2 more times and then we saw Brendan running down as we were running back up. We all screamed...BRENDAN!!!! Where were you. I hugged I just rescued him from the snare of some wild beast. "Mom, I really had to go to the bathroom...sorry it took so long!" Traveling 101...remember that it can reek havoc on your digestive system. We're ready to hit the road now!!
This was so fun. I kept finding Kodak moments. I remember posting this picture on facebook and a friend of mine said..."Where were their coats?" If she only knew...they had no shoes on either. It was one of those shots where I just really wanted it on the side of some big crazy road...made everyone hurry to get out and get a shot! They were such great sports!!
Then I had this other wild idea. I was going to find the entrance to The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. So I took a little side trail. (oops) I didn't understand that for most of this journey, we were traveling through the Smokies...we were in the green area on the Garmin. So, I added about a half hour to my trip...because I kept driving and driving and seeing signs, but no "entrances".
However, it did give us some amazing things for our eyes to behold. Such incredible beauty, and some scary places too. So many hills and mountains, my poor little car.
 Finally we made it to Tennessee! Such a fun little welcome center. Lots of great photo opportunities! is where I totally went up on the "BEST MOM EVER" rank. My boys had so much fun rolling down the hills. "Mom come on - its so much fun!!" OK..I did it! I was a little nervous that I would roll right into a pile of doggie doo, but NOPE. I think I kicked Kyle in the head, I felt a little nausea, but it was SO much fun! We laughed and laughed and high-fived each other! Such a great time! We could have done this for hours!
However, we knew we wanted to make it to Cumberland Gap. We had done our research and we were excited to step foot on the same ground as Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln's father, and countless others that had found their way west.

For early settlers and pioneers the Cumberland Gap was a gateway that led through the southern Appalachian Mountains into the great wilderness of Kentucky. They mostly traveled on foot, coming from as far away as Pennsylvania. Although many of these early travelers had different dreams and expectations heading west into Kentucky, they were all in search of land and a new start. They often traveled in groups for safety and had an insatiable drive to penetrate the great wilderness. Everyday was a struggle to survive as they lived off of the bounty of the land. Such incredible history here. We could have spent days just exploring..and we will go back!
It was a very VERY VERY steep drive up to the top of the pinnacle. I mean I at one point thought my car might go in reverse even though I was in drive. I was having to turn my steering wheel all the way left and all the way right. Very intense! However, we did see some absolutely amazing things on our way up.
When we did finally reach the top, we passed the part where we could see the boundaries of the three states. Brendan really wanted to be able to step in Virgina, Tennessee and Kentucky..all at the same time. I told him we would stop back at this point on our way back down.
It was FREEZING up here...and very VERY foggy. Well, we thought it was foggy. Loved knowing that we might see bears. No really, we had already planned how we would get out of that...we watched Man Vs. Wild before we left. I think we were confident that we could even eat the bear! lol!

So pretty. However, we did get out to the look out point of the very top of the mountain and we were so sad. All of this traveling, and we couldn't see a thing. The fog was so dense. So we just looked over at the fog and tried to imagine what it might look like.
As we stood there, Brendan seemed so disappointed. I mean I was too, but this boy just needed to see it.
Then right before our eyes we watched this fog just gently move with a gentle breeze. Suddenly we could see everything crystal clear! We were in shock. Brendan looked out at the gap and looked over at me and said..."Mom, it was like the Lord moved that cloud, just for us! I believe it did it just for us!!" My precious boy who had just told his Dad a few weeks earlier that he was wondering why God shows up for Mom all the time, speaks to Mom all the time, but never him. He has seen God's hand move in mighty ways for our family. No doubt about it. However, he has prayed, he has read the Word and he has struggled to see God move in his own personal life, answer his own personal prayers.
When his eyes could see the massive gap, the incredible colors and all of that wonder...he knew that only God could have done that, could have created that. Only God gets that Glory! I kid you not, this moment, changed my boy. Brendan was convinced that "every good and perfect gift comes from the Father!" and it was indeed personal to him. God has showed up for him.
Kyle just loved every bit of it too! We all did!
This will be a photograph that will be forever etched in my heart! Brendan taking it all in. Yes, we were in the clouds, we were up that high, so if you wait long enough, the wind will blow the clouds away, but WE give HIM all the Glory! I know my words are not doing that moment justice, because as I recall it, and type it, there are tears streaming down my face. We were at The Pinnacle and this was a pinnacle moment of my trip.
We stayed up here for quite awhile. Another one of my happy moments was when Kyle and Shane discovered that they can pick of leaves, throw them over the rail and they would be blown right behind them again. OH they laughed and did it over and over again! So much fun!
The laughter would soon be done. Climbed back down to the parking area only to find the scene in the picture below.
That would be all of my oil that had leaked out of my oil pump. My little engine that could. We carefully and prayerfully made it all the way back down to the park and continued to wait and see. I called Karen, Lorrie and Mike to see what I should do. So I got a park ranger to take a look to make sure it really was oil, then I filled up my tank with oil and bought some more for the trip to Karen's house.
This leg of the trip got me a little worried that I might be lost. Don't get me wrong, it was absolutely breathtaking, but it was also painstakingly slow. I thought for sure Madame Garmin was wrong. NOPE...she was totally right and taking me the scenic route! So worth every single second.
Just look at that beauty! Then finally, I had been to this house before...home sweet home!
This would be my view for the next 7 days! So incredible!
We still have several more days to document. I think I will document experiences instead of days now. Stay tuned for Karen and Anna's home, Asbury Theological Seminary, Shaker Village, Raven Run, High Bridge, The Kentucky River, Civil War Corn Maze, Lincoln's Birthplace and Boy hood home, Mammoth Cave, Alabama, Horseback riding, and Providence Canyon. Whew...I do hope my blog holds up!