Lots of changes and a road trip!

So, it’s been a while since my last post. For those who were following me before my hiatus, my apologies. Much has happened in the past year and a half. In this post, I’ll cover a few of the high points and briefly touch on our Summer road trip!

One of the biggest events was taking on a new role at work (an opportunity which came only a week after my last post.) While many of the systemic issues still exist since I’m still at the same location, my role now aligns much more closely with my interests and preferred way of doing things. We’re now done for the year and I’m greatly looking forward to being off for the next two weeks to enjoy the holidays and most importantly, time with my family.

My driving hasn’t changed much, though my patience for construction on the interstate is waning. I’m glad they’re fixing it, but I’m tired of it after more than two years of nearly constant construction issues. But the time on the road I still feel has value. I get to clear my head of the day’s frustrations and keep work at work. My two year running total is over 65,000 miles in my car alone. Sadly, much of this is only the day to day.

Now on to more exciting things!

We were fortunate enough to take two trips this year. Our first real family vacation  and a short venture out west to fulfil a promise we’d made to ourselves several years ago, which I’ll be reviewing in a separate post. Unsurprisingly, there was a fair bit of driving on both.

In mid-June, after the first birthday party for our little one, we set off to North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains.   Almost five years earlier, I almost managed to surprise my then girlfriend with our first road trip to Asheville and the Biltmore Estate. On that trip, I proposed at the statue of Diane, overlooking the Biltmore mansion. So even the almost surprise trip, still resulted in quite the surprise!

In many ways, taking our daughter to a place we’d already been, made it easier to enjoy watching her enjoy the experience. Helping her experience the world has been such an amazing experience for me and I look forward to doing it for years to come!

The Biltmore is always a great time, especially if you go to the winery! With several great restaurants on the estate and now a second hotel, it’s more and more like an Appalachian resort! Even if you only have a day like we did, lunch at Cedric’s Tavern is a worth while experience. The house pickles are delicious!

Neighboring Asheville, has plenty of outdoor activities and great restaurants as well. From Tupelo Honey Cafe, to the North Carolina Arboretum and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a truly wonderful experience made even better by the smiling face of a sweet baby with great curiosity and a strong sense of adventure! And now that she’s walking, I can only imagine what our next trip will be like!

We left Asheville and headed south on the Blue Ridge Parkway toward the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While we didn’t get to cover the entire parkway, we did get to stop and see some beautiful landscapes! One of my favorite things about our national parks is that it’s okay to drive slow and enjoy the view! Anyone driving too fast through the parks is clearly missing out on their purpose.

IMG_0156A trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park wouldn’t be complete without summiting Clingman’s Dome. Though the assent is hardly challenging compared to any of those in the Rockies or even many in the Appalachian range, especially when you consider that it’s paved, it usually yields a great view. It was a bit cloudy this time. And with that our little one topped her first peak!

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After we left the park, we met my Dad and step-mom in Pigeon Forge for a few days and the highlight for our little one was the pool! Prior to this trip she was seldom excited about bath time. With patience and some time in the pool, playing in the water is now one of her favorite things! It felt like a real parenting win!

We took the scenic route from Pigeon Forge to Nashville before heading home on the interstate. After a week and about a thousand miles, we had another successful road trip in the books! And while she may have slept a great deal, we officially have another road tripper in the family!

In closing, I’d like to touch on why I’ve returned to writing after so long away. I’ve been doing a fair bit of thinking over the last few months about life, among many other things that I won’t list today and some of the goals I’ve come up with are to write more and interact more people outside of my present social sphere. So if I’ve managed to hold your attention to this point, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts or suggestions as I look to improve myself and my writing. So, until next time, merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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