Friday, January 9, 2015

The Final Summer Road Trip Post- Whew!!

We ended up spending 5 nights at Nanny and Papa's house in West Virginia! It was so fun! We spent a lot of time just hanging out with family.
 Carson had a blast with Uncle Jeff, riding on his motorcycle and golf cart. He got to ride on Cole's 4-wheeler and played a whole lot of pretend hunting. He was in heaven!!

They loved throwing rocks in the creek that runs through Nanny and Papa's front yard.
My mom and I made them pose for a photo shoot on this old truck. They weren't too cooperative with this.

Teddy and Cade
Julie and Cade
And of course, it wouldn't be a trip to West Virginia without some horseback riding. They loved it!!

Cade, not so much

We packed up and said goodbye to Nanny and Papa on Tuesday and started our trip south into Tennessee.

Next stop, Dollywood!! My mom has always wanted to go, so we made a stop on our way home. We  arrived in Pigeon Forge, TN on Tuesday afternoon and headed straight to the park. If you buy tickets after 3:00, you get in the next day for free. We took full advantage of that and stayed till the park closed on Tuesday, then came back for free on Wednesday and stayed till late afternoon.
I cannot say enough great things about Dollywood. It is such a beautiful park, and so clean. We picked a great time to go too, because Tennessee kids had already gone back to school, so it wasn't too crowded and surprisingly not too hot. I love all the scenery at Dollywood, it's just a really neat park right in the middle of the Smokey Mountains. Sadly, we didn't run into Dolly, maybe next time :)

It was a little rainy on Tuesday afternoon, but that didn't stop these daredevils from riding roller coasters. The Fire Chaser Express was Carson's favorite. We probably road it 10 times (there wasn't a line). Avery rode it too, but was a little scared.
Our tour guide.
Carson and Avery also loved driving these old cars.

Carson talked MiMi into buying him this sling shot!
I loved this old church! Like I said, just a beautiful, scenic park!

We reluctantly left Dollywood on Wednesday afternoon and headed on to our next stop in what we thought was Franklin, Tennessee (just south of Nashville). But as we got closer we realized that the hotel was actually in Franklin, Kentucky (about 30 miles north of Nashville). Talk about confusing. Shane accidentally booked the hotel for the wrong Franklin, which come to find out is a common mistake according to the guy at the front desk. So we had to take about a 45 minute detour north at 10:00 at night with 3 very sleepy and grumpy kids...leading to Cade's first (and only, really) carseat meltdown of the trip. Not too bad really, considering how many hours we spent in the car.
We staying the night in Kentucky then continued our trip south on Thursday into Arkansas and stopped for our last night of vacation in Little Rock. We ended up just eating dinner at the Purple Cow across the street from the hotel, then letting the kids swim. We had big plans of doing something fun in Little Rock, but we were all just exhausted. It actually ended up being a really relaxing and laid back way to spend our last night on the road!
Friday morning we packed up and finally headed home! And a new home, at that. We couldn't wait to see the new house and start getting settled in. The kids were definitely ready to be out of their carseats, especially Cade. We got pretty desperate for entertainment towards the end of the trip. This toothbrush and toothpaste kept him occupied for a long time actually.
This was such an amazing trip. We got to see a lot of family, some sweet friends, and lots of beautiful countryside. It really couldn't have gone more smoothly! We had a safe and sickness-free trip! Praise God!! And after 20 days, 3500 miles, and 12 states, we were finally home! Can't wait to start planning the next family road trip!

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