traveling photographer

Disney World...yes we went again.

You guys I have a confession...I'm a Disney addict. There I said it, and I feel much better for getting it out there. Two years ago I made the comment that I loved my kids and all but I just couldn't see why anyone would spend a full week there. Opps. My bad. We have quickly become one of those crazy Disney families who while still at Disney are planning their next Disney vacay. So yeah, we went back to Disney World in January, after having just gone in September. We should seriously consider buying annual passes at this point...or moving to Anaheim or Orlando. ;)


Getting our kicks on Route 66

I have always been fascinated with the history and nostalgia of Route 66 and dream of making the trek from Chicago to LA one day. I don't really know why I love it so much, maybe it's the romanticised idea of classic cars, the open road, greasy diner food, a longing for a simpler time, or perhaps just my craving for adventure and travel. I haven't been able to make the entire trip yet, but I did make a day trip of some of the old Route 66 stops in Missouri! The girls and I went to Springfield, MO to visit my sister and stopped off at a few locations along the way. I did some google research to look up various locations and/or suggestions. I did find several stops but having two antsy girls we didn't stop off at every location, and sadly some of the locations I wanted to stop at were no longer there.

Our first stop was the Gardenway Motel and the Sunset Motel in Grey Summit, MO. These were pretty much just drive by's to get photos. Next we drove to Rolla and went to Devil's Elbow. This is where you can see and drive on some of the first four lane highways ever built. A little detour will take you to Devil's Elbow bridge, there is a dive bar and bbq place there too. Since I had the girls with me we drove on to Ft. Leonard Wood, MO and the more family friendly Route 66 Diner. They have excellent diner food and milk shakes and the kids will enjoy pumping quarters into the juke box. After lunch we proceeded on the old Route 66 by-ways to Waynesville, MO where we found "frog rock." I was disappointed to find out that this was not an original stop on Route 66, it was added in the mid 1990's. But we drove by anyway. There were a couple of other places I had GPS'd in the Waynesville area but found that they had been torn down. We continued on to Lebanon, MO to find the Munger Moss Motel and the old Wrink's Market (which is now empty and for sale). The last stop brought us to the Rail Haven Motel (aka Best Western) in Springfield, MO. I enjoyed our little adventure and it only makes me want to go further west next time!

Our Smoky Mountain Vacation

Last month we went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for our family vacation. We stayed at the Bluegreen vacations mountain loft resort. This was our first time staying at this resort, but not our first trip to the smokies. The room was a one bedroom chalet unit, the girls called it a "cabin house." ;)

While we were there we visited the Gatlinburg aquarium, the sharks are the best part! They also have a neat exhibit on WWII and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, if you're a history nerd like me you should check it out. We also went on a couple of hikes, one ended up being much longer and more strenuous than we had anticipated...I would suggest reading about each hike thoroughly before heading out on the trails with small children. Lessons learned, memories made. ;)

We also drove through Cades Cove. If you're ever in the smokies I recommend taking the 11 mile loop through this park. It's a motor trail so you can quickly drive through and stop off at locations of your choice. It's an old settlement featuring houses, barns, churches, and mills from the 1800's. It's amazing to see the quality and craftsmanship in these buildings and how they've survived all these years. This is usually a great place to spot black bears, especially in the evening! We did see one small black bear going back into the woods, he scampered off too quickly to get a picture. My oldest loved hiking, climbing on the rocks and of course riding go carts at the arcades. She is my adventurous one. My youngest loved walking through the old homesteads, and sitting quietly along the rolling creeks. She is my little old soul. We all had a wonderful time and enjoyed quality time together. Why do vacations always pass too quickly? *sigh*