Bridge Day 2015 | New River Gorge, West Virginia

Have you ever been to Bridge Day?  Have you even heard of Bridge Day?!?  When we moved to our tiny town 10 years ago, I don’t think that I had ever heard about it, or if I had that it even registered in my brain what it is.

Then my Daddy said very casually one day, “Hey, you should take the kids to the New River Gorge Bridge, it’s pretty cool.”  So we did.  And it was astounding.  Amazing.  Crazy.  Breathtaking.  And it wasn’t Bridge Day!

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I have to say, if you want to have a relaxing experience of the bridge in all of its glory, go on a day that isn’t Bridge Day.  There are just so. many. people.  But, you need to go on the weekend that they are holding Bridge Day too.  It’s A-MAZING.

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The New River Gorge Bridge is located just outside Fayetteville, West Virginia.  The bridge is 876 feet ABOVE the New River.  Did you read that?  876 feet.  On Bridge Day they shut both sides of Highway 19 down and let people JUMP OFF OF IT!!!  Want a visual of just how high that really is?

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Yeah.  We didn’t jump off of the bridge and it was exhilarating.  I cannot even imagine the thrill that the people who were jumping were getting.  Crazytown, people, crazy. town.

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As you approach on the day, you will be very aware that you are not going to be able to drive across the bridge.  They have it clearly stated along the way.

IMG_9657Since you can’t drive to the bridge and they don’t want 50,000 cars lined along the highway, they provide shuttles for $3.00 and will drop you at the entrance to the bridge.  You can park at the local Walmart or five other places you can read about here.

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The day we were there, our shuttle was a school bus.  I don’t think I’ve been on a school bus since I was in the tenth grade.  They’ve changed a lot!  Did you know that school buses now are automatics!?  Every school bus I have ever been on was a stick shift.

When they drop you off, you’ll have to walk down the highway to actually get to the bridge.  Try to keep yourself away from the welding helmeted man with the kettle corn.  You can try. 😀

And the Hillbilly Hot Dogs.

AND the thousands of people.

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It’s truly not a long walk to the actual bridge.

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I thought this was pretty ironic.  You know, since there can be up to 100,000 people walking it on Bridge Day.

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Good reminders along the way, especially if you have small children.

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Here are some things you may see on the way…..

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How.  How do you lose your shoe, adult person, and not realize it?

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And you are there!  Lots of people will be hanging over the rails, watching the people who have just jumped.  It’s a very long bridge.  My advice is to head straight to the platform they have built over the edge for the jumpers.

This is where I thought most of the excitement of the day happened.

Two people taking the plunge.  See the guys hand in the air?  Yeah, he’s already airborne!

This guy.  From what I gathered, he had been there all day.  Watching people, jump, waiting, watching people jump and waiting.  He was gathering his nerve.

He stood there a LONG time.  But he did it!

I mean, come on!  Look at that.  Seriously, I honestly don’t think I could ever do it.  Do you see that tiny red and white bull’s eye down there?

Yeah, there.  That’s what they are supposed to aim for.  Go back and look at the previous picture.  Those are humans next to it.  Uh-huh.

This poor guy didn’t make it to the bull’s eye.  He landed in the water.  That’s what all of the boats are there for.  To get people out of the river.  The frigid river.  We had winter gear on and it was still cold.  I can’t imagine what the river felt like.  But these guys did it over and over.  Jump, land, ride the bus back up, get on the platform and jump again.

If you’ve never been to Bridge Day I HIGHLY recommend it.  There are a lot of other things happening during the weekend too and you can read all about the plans they have for 2018 here.  Have fun!

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The Side Eye.

When I came in yesterday afternoon, I found this top portion on our white board.

I added the bottom part and then I laid in wait for Hayden to get home to see his reaction.

He came in and glanced at the board and stood there for approximately .2 seconds before reaching up and erasing the whole thing.  He gives me the side eye as he’s doing that, and says to me, “That wasn’t for you”.

Liva didn’t have school yesterday and she was asleep when he left for school.

He’s a good brother.  And a smart aleck like his Mama.  😉  I love it, and him beyond measure.

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And then I found the swarm of bees in my car…

How has your week been going?  My parents and my brother came to visit me this past last weekend, Yay!, and it was amazing.  They haven’t all been here together with us for at least six or seven years.  Denton and the kids and I go home, but having them here was special and sweet.  I loved it.

We played in the creek and blew bubbles, drew with chalk on the sidewalk in the rain, played Uno and five card draw poker.  I loved every minute of it.

Everyone went home late last Sunday afternoon and we were back to our normal.  Which is good in it’s own way, but still bittersweet.

The previous week, we had my niece and nephew the whole week.  One of our traditions is to go to the movies or have a movie marathon.  This time it was Planet of the Apes.  We watched the second movie in this trilogy (everyone had already seen the first) and then the next night ($5.00 night!) we went to the theater and saw the new one – War for the Planet of the Apes.

On the way home, we had a flat.  Ten thirty at night on the interstate, not fun.  Then we discovered that new cars DO NOT come with spare tires anymore.  Seriously.  My Daddy taught me to change a tire when I was 15 years old.  You didn’t drive a car until you could do this.  New cars apparently come with this handy dandy compression kit to make it easier.  Well, not if you have a gash that you can push your thumb into, it doesn’t.

So, we had a friend tow the car home and Denton ordered a new tire FROM AMAZON!  It arrived in two days.  Don’t you love Amazon!  Taking off the tire, finding a place to mount and balance a low profile tile – after four tries, the trials and tribulations of living in a tiny town – putting the tire back on has taken a culmination of 6 days.

After all of that, I started driving my trusty Jeep again.  First, we replaced the battery, since it had sat since March and not been driven. Bad mistake.  Second, I took it to get an inspection sticker since this one had been out for over six months.  Gah!  Then, later that day I opened the passenger door to put my purse in the Jeep and heard a tearing sound.  My brain heard this sound and I thought, Wow that sounded bad, what could that possibly have been.  At the same instant, wasps started boiling out of the car door.  Isn’t it funny how your mind can hear, and think and realize things in fractions of a second?

Technically, it wasn’t bee’s swarming out of my car, but wasps.  Red wasps.  And they were not happy that I had just ripped their home in two.  I slammed the door shut and that effectively sealed them in.  Next, I stood their contemplating what I should do.  I very carefully opened my driver door and stood back.  Nothing.  I got in the Jeep and started it up.  Nothing.  They seemed content to stay in their door home as long as I wasn’t opening and closing it.  So, I very cautiously drove a half mile to one of my thrift store haunts.  Still nothing.  I went inside and did some thrift store shopping to soothe my nerves and came back out 1/2 hour later.  Still nothing.

After all of this, I decided that I could make it home where I would make Denton deal with the stupid things.  You know, since I had nothing to kill them with, like the sun, or a giant ray gun.  I drove very tentatively across town and started up the mountain.  I was terrified to turn on the A/C because it hadn’t been on since before spring and I had no idea what could possibly come flying out of that at me and I didn’t want to roll down the front windows because I didn’t know if that would affect the peace inside the door frame.  I compromised and cracked the back windows a little bit.  I was almost home when something flew across the car and bumped into my arm and I literally almost had a coronary.  It was a fly.  Good grief.

Finally safely home, Denton eradicated the horrible swarming things who were not happy to be evicted.  I wanted to take a photo of the nest, which was about the size of a cantaloupe, but I wasn’t taking any chances with my life after all of this.  So you will just have to imagine.  Or google wasp nest photos.  Yuck.

What’s been happening in your world?

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Just One Thing.

My family is coming!! Yay!  My Mama and my Daddy will be here tonight and my brother and the rest of his kids will be here tomorrow!  I can’t wait.  We all live almost five hours apart, and time together is precious to me.

This also means that I have a list of things that I want to get accomplished, before they arrive, that’s as long as my arm.  Probably longer.  And this is my brain’s downfall.  Because my default when I feel like there is too much to get done is to say, Oh well.  I might as well just sit here with my (new) favorite book in my hand.  I’m never going to be able to get everything done.

So.  I have to trick my brain and tell it to get my arse up off the couch and do just one thing.  And when it only takes me 49 seconds – I have timed myself you see – to load the washing machine, then I can tell myself to go unload the dishwasher.  Which will take approximately 2 minutes and 29 seconds.  Seriously?!?  Yes, seriously.

Things never take as long as I have built them up in my mind.  In case you missed it, you can read how I sort of keep house by doing what Emmitt does.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a great housekeeper (stop laughing Denton), but I do know how to get some things done.  Just one thing.  One thing at a time.

It won’t all get done, but I’ll do something.  And I’m okay with that.  My Mama will have to be too.  Besides, she doesn’t live here!

Now I’m off to change the sheets.  I’ve never timed myself doing that.  I think I will today just so I’ll know.  What do you think?  In my mind this dreaded task will take me about 7 hours and 12 minutes.  I don’t think it will take quite that long.

War for the Planet of the Apes.

2017 | PG-13 | In Theaters Now | Director: Matt Reeves

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My niece and nephew were with us last week and that’s always a little like vacation. Vacation seems to be the only time we go to the movie theater.

This was the consensus movie this time. War for the Planet of the Apes. This trilogy has been the best in my humble opinion. We caught ourselves up and watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last night in preparation of seeing the new movie. Everyone had already seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The CGI in this set of movies is amazing.  I love them.  I will say this:  I thought that the story line of the third movie was not as good as the first two.  It is still an excellent movie, just for the visuals alone, but I thought that it should have been tightened up a bit.

If you haven’t seen any of these movies, I HIGHLY recommend them.  Go watch a movie tonight!  Preferably in your own home theater, where people don’t run across the room and block the screen, crinkle POTATO chip bags, laugh at inappropriate moments and just altogether ruin the movie going experience.  All of these things have happened to me.  Sigh.

 

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Signs of home.

There are always sure fire ways to know that we are close to home.  Here are some of them.

This is the half-way point for us.  Sheetz.  Do you have these where you live?  I hate the interstate.  Yes, it’s convenient, but it’s convenient for everyone, and everyone is in my way.  We almost always stop here for gas and snacks and caffeine.  🙂 

The Chicken Mansion.  According to my mother, my father is in the midst of building the soon to arrive chickens a mansion.  My Daddy can build anything.  Even a chicken mansion.

You can’t see it in the photo, but we had just watched a Mama black bear and two cubs mosey across the road.  I need a Go Pro.  If you have one you aren’t using send it my way.  😉 

Oh Pal’s.  How I love thee.  We weren’t even hungry, but Liv said I NEED frenchie fries. 

You can’t drive away from home and Pal’s without stopping.

I love their signs!

There was so much more that happened this weekend that I forgot to take photos of.  My family.  The Eatin’ Meetin’.  All the food.  The pool.  The dogs and the sheep.  The view.  Oh, the view.  Here’s one from earlier in the year to give you a taste of the paradise that is home.

It’s so bittersweet to go home.

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When things don’t go exactly as you planned. New York.

We’re home!!

We spent the last 9 days in New York City (one of the days was spent in Philadelphia, PA) and we had a blast.  We are already planning a return trip, because seriously, you could never see, do, taste, smell and just absorb everything there is in NYC in that short amount of time.

I took the photo above after we had walked the Brooklyn Bridge.  In 83* weather, with thousands of other people.  At one point, while we were trying to get a photo of us all, Hayden says, Mom, stop trying to make this into something fun.  No one on this bridge is having fun.  Hahaha, he was wrong, I saw plenty of people having fun on the bridge, but he was right too.  It was hot, we were miserable and it had been a long, long, week at that point.

I am slowly posting about everything that we saw, ate, and did – I’m also putting New York in the title of those post’s in case you have no interest in what we saw and did and  you can skip it.

What I wanted to ramble on about today is expectations.  And what we get out of those expectations.

I freely admit that I had a lot of expectations going into this trip.  I always do!  I feel like if you don’t have a plan, any kind of a plan, you are already halfway into the weeds (Gordon Ramsey reference) and probably aren’t going to get anything accomplished.  Denton knows this about me.  He is not a planner, he loves to fly by the seat of his pants.  That makes me cringe.  We know this about one another.

To head off a lot of arguments, we had a conversation before we even started packing the car for the trip.  He didn’t want me to plan out every single moment  – of every single day of our trip.  I didn’t want to get home from our Big New York Vacation and realize that we had just wandered around like chicken’s with our heads cut off and didn’t even remember what we had done.

So we compromised.  I made a list of all the things that we definitely wanted to do and see on this first foray into the city with the understanding that it was just a guideline for us to follow when we felt like it.

I feel like this is the first time that we got it right.  He wasn’t stressed out (too much) by my big list of things to check off, and I felt comfortable that we were actually going to see and do and eat at least some of the things on our my giant list.

One of the things that made this possible was the map I created on google maps that was personalized to us.  I shared it with everyone, that way we could see in an instant what was around us that we definitely wanted to see and do.  I used this tutorial to make ours and it worked perfectly!

The first thing that knocked us for a flip on this trip was Hayden getting sick.  He wasn’t feeling well on Thursday.  By Friday when we got to Philadelphia he was feeling very nauseous.  By Saturday when we had to check out of our hotel (which was AMAZING!) he was feeling really, really bad.

We made the decision to go ahead to New York and assess things there.  By Sunday morning we had already scoped out the nearest Urgent Care facility and were waiting on a doctor.  They ran a lot of tests, did blood work, did more tests, then more blood work and finally advised us to take him back to our brownstone, keep him hydrated and if his symptoms worsened to take him immediately to the ER, where they could admit him and do a better workup.

He slowly improved each day and now he is feeling absolutely normal.   In addition to this stressful situation Denton’s back decided it didn’t like being normal and tried to rearrange itself.  His solution was to eat Ibuprofen like Smarties.  That worked.

All of that to say that nothing went as planned.  Like having to pay to use the restroom.

Unusual food that you really didn’t like.  I hate wasting food and money.

We saw the beautiful memorial where the twin towers were, but had to skip the enormous lines for the museum.   

We had great pizza, but missed so many more that we had planned for.

We went up into the One World Observatory, but were really disappointed and wished we had spent the time and money at the Rockefeller building or the Empire State building.

We didn’t have the time or energy to go and see St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but stumbled upon St. Paul’s Chapel completely by accident.

We also never made it to Dumbo or the Flea Market in that area.  😥 

Sitting in traffic for over an hour to get out of the city.

The whole point of this post though is to show you this.

We passed by this rosebush every single time we trekked our way to the Subway every day.  There are so many gorgeous gardens in Brooklyn, that I was amazed. 

Life is a journey.

While you are ticking things off of your list, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses, and take pictures of them too!  Those moments are the ones that are standing out in my mind already.

This was a truly amazing trip for all of us – we all actually agreed!  I am so glad that I convinced Denton to step out of his comfort zone (he is very, very protective of all of us – hence being very uncomfortable in a city with millions of people to watch out for!) and now we can’t wait to go back.

Enjoy every moment!  Even the hot, irritating ones while you are trudging along the Brooklyn Bridge with thousands of other people!

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The Price of a Restroom. $2.17. New York.

Sorry for the blurriness of the photo.  It was done very quickly, because of a time constraint.

$2.17.  That is the going rate to use a restroom in New York City.

We were in Chinatown and realized that we had no idea where a bathroom was and asked a New York City Patrolman who was standing nearby, who directed us to the local McDonald’s.

As we entered the three story building a guard – uhmm – employee was shouting “Paying customers only!” and directing everyone into the line to order.  So I quickly ordered the first cheap item that popped into my head.  A small ice cream cone.

Only then, after showing our receipt were we allowed to go upstairs to the restrooms.

After Hayden and I came out of the bathrooms, we found Denton and Olivia sitting at a table, where Denton informed me that we had a time limit of 7 minutes to consume said ice cream cone.  Seven minutes!!!  He said the same dragon guard lady told them as they ascended the stairs that the time limit started from the time of the receipt.  Wow!

I suppose that it is a small price to pay for the privilege of using indoor plumbing, but REALLY?!?

A friend of mine laughed and told me about an app that you can get – it’s free – that will tell you where free bathrooms are in your vicinity.  I immediately downloaded it, but didn’t need it for the rest of our trip.

You live and you learn something new every day!

Also, this!  How crazy, strange, weird and freaky!  Our customer number was the same as our total.  Yep, I am a strange person for finding this amazing.

Has this ever happened to any of you?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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enoteca OTTO pizzeria.  New York.

Todays lunch/supper – lupper? – was a huge success.  We ate at enoteca OTTO pizzeria, one of Mario Batali’s restaurants on 5th Avenue.  It. Was. Awesome.  

Denton ordered one of the days specials. Orecchiette​ with pancetta and spigarello.  Heaven.  Absolute heaven on a plate.

Hayden chose Quattro Formaggio.  It’s a pizza with four separate cheeses.  Mozerella, tallagio, cacio, and ricotta.

Liv ordered the Cacio e Pepe.  It’s a pizza with Mozerella, pecorino, cacio, Parmesano and black pepper.

I chose the Quattro Stagioni.  It has peppers, mushrooms, Swiss chard, Mozerella and Cotto.  It was delicious.  My favorite of all the choices on my pizza was the mushrooms.  Divine.

After we ate everyone wanted to get a gelato.  I was completely stuffed, and I knew that Liv and Hayden would never finish theirs so I didn’t choose one.

Denton got Lime/Basil.  Let me tell you, I couldn’t have eaten that one.  It was so tart I thought my jaws would lock up.  But it was good, just too much for my taste buds.

Hayden got Mango/Coffee.  If you like mangoes this is your choice.  It was mango heaven for Hayden.  The coffee was my favorite, it was lovely.

Liv chose Dark Chocolate/Cherry.  They were both excellent.  She loved her choice and our waiter laughed and said that she was the only one who made a logical pairing.

I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone.  It was one of my favorites!