Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Things I saw and heard on my vacation

I spent a week in paradise. My step dad's annual family reunion was last week in Pipestem, West Virginia at the Pipestem State Park and Lodge. The park is located in the most majestic setting possible. We stayed in a cottage on the top of a mountain surrounded by the forest. The resort has everything you could possibly need and I didn't leave the park all week except to go stock up on food. My mom, step dad, husband, and the 9-year old nephew were with me. I made notes all week so that I could tell you about the trip. Seriously, it was paradise and I hated to leave.

I know that most people love to go to the beach in the summer, but if you know me at all, you are aware that I don't "do" the sun and I hate the heat. I go to the beach in the wintertime when it's cool and not crowded. One of the days while we were in WV, the temperature was 71 degrees at 4:28 p.m. = Heaven. No humidity = Angels singing. The 9-year old nephew hanging out and riding bikes with me all week = blessing beyond belief.

So here are the interesting/odd things that I noticed or participated in while on the trip:

1. Before we left Georgia we went into a McDonald's that had an electronic trashcan that said "thank you" every time someone put trash in the can.

2. The flags flying at half-staff for WV Senator Robert Byrd who was the longest serving Congressman in the history of the United States. He was 92 when he died and had served for 51 years in Congress.

3. The nephew and I discovering that not being able to carry cash with us on the bikes was not a problem since we could charge our ice cream to the room. We ate alot of ice cream after that discovery.

4. Cars from 21 states staying at the Pipestem Lodge. That 21 actually includes the District of Columbia and Canada. You hear lots of dialects when 21 states gather at the same lodge!

5. Running into a man from Tifton, Georgia at the Wal-Mart in Princeton, West Virginia. I noticed him because he was wearing a Tift Regional Medical Center shirt! Small World.

6. The nephew and I riding bikes down the huge hills until our eyes watered from the wind! Thanks John Griffin for the loan of the bicycle rack. You helped make our vacation awesome!

7. Celebrating my husband's birthday in the mountains.

8. Hearing an unusual conversation between four elderly men as they discussed the fact that their email was going straight to spam rather than to their inbox.

9. Watching the deer, including twin fawns, as they came up to us to eat peaches from our hands.

10. A billboard on the Interstate with a female toddler featured on it that read: "Please find the cure to breast cancer before I grow boobs!"

11. Paddle boating with the nephew when he finds a dead bream in the lake with a hook and line still attached to the fish.

12. Taking a picture of the nephew holding up the dead bream like a trophy catch.

13. Going to sleep to the sound of an owl hooting in the forest outside my cabin's window.

14. Going through two tunnels that had been blasted through mountains. A little scary.

15. Watching in horror as two motorcyclists are almost hit by a tractor trailer when their motorcycle stalled in the dark tunnel. They were pressed against the wall with no "pull-over" lane. Not sure how they kept from being killed.

16. My husband's surprise when a ground hog popped up out of the hole on the golf course and flashed its two huge incisors in warning.

17. The realization that 9-year old boys don't bathe or brush their teeth of their own accord. You have to threaten to hurt them in order to convince them to wash their feet. They don't sit quietly very much either. Actually, I didn't care if he bathed or brushed his teeth because he gives such good hugs that everything else is irrelevant.

18. Learning to play the card game "golf." It's super fun and I will be glad to show you how to play. Come on over one weekend and the hubby and I will host a "golf" tournament. You will love it.

19. Playing guitar with my step dad's extremely talented relatives. They are the kind of musically-talented folks that just walk up to an instrument, introduce themselves to it and start playing awesome music. Mountain folks learn early to play an instrument and to sing. I played my guitar version of Country Roads Take me Home and in a very supportive voice they told me to keep practicing and I would get better. Ok, I practiced for a year to play it at all. Don't think I will improve much, but who knows!

20. Riding in an aerial tram with the hubby and nephew as we dropped 3000 feet from the top of the mountain to the Blue Stone Creek gorge below. You can actually see a huge cave in the side of the mountain with a moonshine still set-up in it. I'm sure it's just for the tourists, but the effect is perfect.

21. Sitting in the lodge watching the most beautiful sunsets every afternoon.

22. My mom "adopting" a young woman who is leaving West Virginia to become a U.S. Solider. She and her Red Hat group have adopted several soldiers that they send hand-made cards to so that they know that we are thinking about them as they sacrifice for us.

23. Not wearing sunscreen but not getting burned even through the nephew and I rode bikes for several hours every day. Did I mention that I loved the cool, humidity-free weather?

24. Watching a fat raccoon that has become accustomed to being hand fed, steal the bags from the humans playing bean bag toss!

25. Discovering a jar of Moonshine Jelly at the local trading post.

26. Mom discovering that the bat we kept hearing screech was actually stuck in the boards of the old shelter where he nested. Mom insisting that the park rangers save the bat.

27. Eating awesome food while enjoying wonderful company at the family reunion. The peanut butter cheesecake won the dessert contest.

28. The hubby driving 12 hours straight from West Virginia to Georgia and not asking me to drive. I love that man.

29. The puppies being super excited to see us when we came home. Our fabulous baby sitter, Kelli Lynn Moser took care of the babies and the house. We love her and the babies told me that she is the greatest!

Best vacation ever. Lord willing, we will be back again next year in a three-bedroom cabin hanging out with the deer and the owls! Thanking God for the safe trip and the opportunity to tell you about my adventure. Until next time......


  1. Wow Mrs. Tina, sounds like an amazing trip! I now want to make that a destination for my camera and I to stop at and spend a few days just walking around!!

  2. Sounds like a great trip! I love to play that card game "golf" as well as the one with a ball and clubs that makes me say ugly words!

  3. What a great way to spend a week of your life and perfectly in tune with my life motto - "One day your life may flash before your eyes - make it worth watching."

    Thanks for sharing your keen observations and allowing us to "live" the experience through your words.

  4. Thanks for sharing, sounds like a wonderful place to visit!