July 2018 Recap Part 1

Hey friends!

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I'm so excited/embarrassed that we're doing our month on the road recap for the first time in a WHOLE YEAR! If you're new to us since our assorted builds over the last year, Owen and I like to do a monthly recap of what we've been up to for every month that we're on the road. It's fun way for us to reflect on our journey and share with you some of the things that we've been up to! Lets get into it.

Orlando

We started out the month of July in Orlando after returning from our short journey in Amelia. We put Amelia up for sale the day we returned. Our plan was to stay in Florida just long enough to build out our new little Tacoma that we've since named Lando. (See build blog post here) Our hope was to sell Amelia before we hit the road, but was not a requirement. Even though we were sad to say goodbye to Amelia we were determined to get back to our life on the road we missed so much. 

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Owen has caught a lot of fish on the lake that my parents live on, but this time he caught the biggest fish that this lake has probably ever seen. It's just a lil grass carp but MAN did pandemonium break out when he hooked this fish! My mom and I were sitting on the other side of the dock talking when we heard a splash! We thought Owen had fallen in so we ran around to the other side of the boat to figure out what happened to Owen. As we came around the corner he yelled "someone get a net, a really big net"! Naturally I grabbed a small trout fishing net that wouldn't have even held this things tail fin. My dad came running from in the house with the deep sea fishing net and we got this slimy guy onto the deck! After a few pictures and cheering we sent him on his merry way! 

In between giant fish wrangling we managed to get the whole build done in Lando in record time. I think at this rate we have the whole "build out" thing down to a science. Once we had a plan we quickly moved through the build in a little over a weekend's worth of work. We also celebrated America's and Owen's birthday with family on the lake! A huge shout out goes to one of our IG followers (@zapp_vanagon) who sent us a really amazing care package of our favorite tortilla chips which are only found out west, JAUANITA'S! <3

We when we posted Amelia for sale we were blown away by the number of people that were interested in purchasing her. After pouring our hearts and souls into this camper we wanted to be sure that she was going to an amazing home where she would be appreciated for what she is. Low and behold we found those people. Enter Mike and Amanda, they are the owner's of Stanley's (our VW Vanagon) brother, a 1985 Brown Vanagon! After a few phone calls we knew they were the right people to be Amelia's new parents! A week later they flew down from Canada to pick her up with Mike's sister. I'm sure you can tell from these pictures we didn't get along at all! ;) As they pulled out of the driveway Owen and I sat on Lando's tailgate just 30 minutes from our own departure. It was sad to see her go, but it was hard not to be excited about our own adventure. July 8th, 2018 will go down in history as a big day for Owen and I!

Smokey Mountains, Tennessee

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We quickly clocked some miles putting Florida and Georgia into our review mirrors. After spending time in those areas with Amelia we were ready to start finding cooler weather further north. Our first major stop was in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. 

 We call this pose the "show our parents we love each other"&nbsp;

We call this pose the "show our parents we love each other" 

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We were happy to be back to hiking as we started to climb into the Smokey Mountains. No offense Florida, you're not exactly known for your world class trails. This hike has the lovely name of Charlie's Bunion. It is a pretty little 8-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail with some killer views of the Smoky Mountains. We strongly recommend it.

linville gorge, North Carolina

 Us at Linville Gorge look out, shot in 35mm film

Us at Linville Gorge look out, shot in 35mm film

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The drive up to Linville Gorge was absolutely beautiful. The road turned to dirt and got rough long before we made it to this overlook. It was the first real time we were getting a chance to see what our little Lando was capable of. With ear to ear grins we climbed over every obstacle that crossed our path and made it to the over look. 

After we spent more than our fair share of time enjoying the overlook we made our way less than a mile back on the dirt road to a spot we saw on the way in for camp. That night a thick fog rolled in and made for a lovely slow morning in the forest.

Max Patch, North Carolina

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As we headed north we continued to stay in the mountains in an effort to stay as cool as possible. It felt like we were constantly intersecting with the Appalachian Tail (AT). We found another hike up to Max Patch which follows the AT up to a meadow. We heard that it was magical at sunrise and sunset, we chose to wake up early to catch the sun rising. It was well worth the early wake up call!

Grayson Highlands, Virginia

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Grayson Highlands State park is a spot that Owen has long wanted to take me. He went before our wedding for "brocation", his version of a bachelor party where he got a group of friends together to go climbing in Grayson. He has always spoken so highly of it so I was really excited to finally get a chance to see it for myself!

Grayson Highlands was so beautiful! I really need to come up with some new expletives because everything we see seems to be beautiful, incredible, or awesome. Expletives aside, where else can you magically teleport to an Irish(looking) country side with wild ponies roaming around?! This little pack of ponies was grazing right on the trail and didn't seem to be bothered by the hundreds of beauty shots we took of them. The impending story clouds were just the icing on the cake for Grayson Highlands. After all these years, Owen didn't even give this place enough credit.

blue ridge Parkway

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 Sunset over the Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunset over the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Continuing our trend of traveling north at the highest elevation possible, we decided to take the Blue Ridge Parkway as far as it would take us. We took as many pit stops as possible. One at Whale Rock for sunset, a few trails in Blue Ridge Parkway NP, and a swimming hole. When we went in search of the swimming hole Owen got stung by a yellow jacket and his foot was solidly swollen for nearly a week. I lovingly named it the "juicy foot" and just for your viewing pleasure I included two wonderful images of it (below)! Sad to see it go, but glad that Owen's foot has returned to normal human size!

Intercoarse, Pennsylvania

Yes, you read that right. Owen and I had a good chuckle like any 7th grade boy would. But seriously, Owen and I had a really hard day of work in Harrisburg, PA and were feeling really down as we passed into Intercoarse. In need of a pick me-up we drove past a bright flashing windmill and knew that we needed to stop.

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Dutch Haven is known for their shoo-fly pie and their Amish crafts! It was THE BEST! The pie was delicious, the windmill was so fun, and it was exactly what we needed after the struggle-fest we had that day. Shoo-fly pie for the win!

This past month we have covered some serious ground and took a ton of pictures. So I'm going to break this post into two parts. We'll pick up back up in Pennsylvania shortly to finish out July!

See yah soon!

MAK