The Great Road Trip of 2013–Part 1–North Carolina

Its been a week now since hubs and I returned from our adventure on the road and I thought it was time to share a few pictures from our travels. Since we were stopping off to see family along the way (in North Carolina), I was a bit concerned about gaining weight while on our trip. You know how it is when you’re staying with family or friends. We adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality about food, eating whatever is put before us, and being grateful for whatever we have. My first picture is of the house where we stayed.  It sits on 2 acres of very sandy land, full of ant hills.  No cellar, which kinda scares me, but it was a good buy when purchased and a warm and inviting home to visit. We enjoyed our stay at J & L’s.

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That second picture shows hubs next to the Ford Escape we rented for the trip.  I used my credit card reward miles to purchase it (woohoo, I’d never done that before), so all we had to pay for was the gas we put in the tank and the added insurance we purchased.  Hubs liked it. Me, not so much. I thought the visibility factor was poor, and the side windows too small.

When I was over 300 lbs and we went to visit family, I always kept a stash of candy, pop tarts, gum, and cash with me. It was nothing for me to make an excuse and go to the grocery store to stock up on what had already disappeared the first night we were there. I was easily overwhelmed by life in those days, and sugar was my drug of choice to calm those frayed nerves.  I ate a lot!

One time, when traveling with family, I remember forcing my husband to go with me the morning we were scheduled to head back home and get a load of sweets for the trip: candy, snack crackers, soda, and grapes. I’m not sure how anything so good for you as grapes entered the mix, but I was NOT going to travel hundreds of miles back home with family members growling the whole time because they wanted to eat. My poor mom had diabetes when we made that trip, but I didn’t care. I knew food (sugar) was a mood-altering drug and I was going to use it to alter a few moods. I knew nothing then of the devastating hunger that can be caused by low blood sugar.  I was ignorant and acted in ignorance. Oh, how things have changed since those dysfunctional days of hypereating. And a good thing too! This trip, there were no sweets along for the ride. Only whole, raw almonds that were used to supplement pancakes in the morning on the two days we ate breakfast while visiting with family.

I actually lost five pounds while traveling, but part of that was due to being sick.  Better than gaining, for sure, but not the best way to make it happen.  You can read about that here, as well as other aspects of the trip.  Now, for more pictures.

Here is a shot of me from the top of Grandfather Mountain, near Boone, NC. Gorgeous spot, especially this time of year.

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That one is a little out of focus. Better, is this shot of me with some perspective on the altitude around the peak of GM.DSC_1025

Does that rock make me look fat?

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  😉

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Hubs has his own picture atop the rocks of Grandfather Mountain.

I would highly recommend this state park, nestled in the northwest corner of NC.  They have a wild life habitat, many scenic look outs, the Mile High swinging bridge, and picnic areas and hiking trails, among other things to enjoy.  We were struck by the many, many Rhododendron that lined the roadway heading to the mouth of the park.  These normally gorgeous flowers were all gone by the time we got to the mountain, but in my mind’s eye I could imagine what the path would have looked like in the spring and it was spectacular.

Coming down the mountain, I took this picture by covering my camera lens with my amber sunglasses.  I have got to get some lens filters soon. Maybe for Christmas this year.

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This is a shot of the Mile High swinging bridge that sets atop Grandfather Mountain and bridges a deep cavern between the rock formations.  We would have loved to load up some of those rocks and take them home to Pennsylvania, but I fear they would have smooshed the Ford Escape we were driving, if we could have loaded them.  We took lots of pictures of the outcroppings on the hilltop.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, with clear skies and a cool breeze while we were there. Perfect weather for exploring, and the perfect environment to explore.

I hadn’t gotten sick yet when we visited Grandfather Mountain State Park.  :/

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One of the most amazing things for me about this part of the trip is that I was able to walk around, even climb across rocky terrain, during our time on the mountain.  Back in the day, when I weighed over 300 lbs, that would not have been enjoyable for me.  Some days, it would not even have been possible.  I remember getting winded very easily back then, with the least bit of exercise.  And my knees, well, they groaned all the time.  Not this time, though.  We walked, we hiked, we climbed, we sat on the front porch of the ice cream and fudge shop in rocking chairs and rocked, and most of all we enjoyed each other’s company and the many memories we were making together.  It’s amazing what losing a hundred pounds can do for your energy levels and your ability to truly see the world.  In the old days, I saw everything through a sugary haze.  Now, I see it through a filter of possibility and I wonder:  If I could do this, what more might I do?

Later this week or early next week I will blog part 2 or the Great Road Trip of 2013.  For now, I think I’ll sit back and remember Boone, NC, Grandfather Moutain, how it felt to be a mile high in the air on a swinging bridge, and how grateful I am that on this day, in this place, I was able to take the stairs, instead of the elevator.

Ah, the taste of success.  The flavor is pretty good!

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