‘Chatty’ Chattanooga

Adam kept trying to convince me that the phrase “Chatty Chattanooga” was an actual thing people say because people in the city talk a lot- and though I still don’t believe him, it’s undeniable that we definitely had more conversations with locals here than we did in Asheville… or really most places we’ve been.  People seemed ready and willing to have a conversation about basically anything, even if you were only standing next to one another waiting to cross the same street.  It was really nice to be able to get insiders’ perspectives on this city.  It was clear that there is a lot of pride around the rebuilding of Chattanooga, and for a good reason.  Chattanooga was a great place to spend a week- there were bridges to walk over, ice cream to eat, trails to run, and plenty of people to talk to.

We actually stopped off in Cloudland Canyon State Park in the northern tip of Georgia before we began our Chattanooga adventures.  This park was gorgeous and our campsite was beautiful and secluded.    IMG_2960The next morning we woke up early to go for a seriously breathtaking sunrise run along the rim of the canyon.

IMG_2977After our run, we quickly reloaded the car and made our way to Chattanooga.

IMG_5681The summer heat was getting pretty intense, so the first thing we did when we got to Chattanooga was head to the blue hole in Soddy Daisy.  Unfortunately, it started thunder storming about a half an hour after we got there, so we weren’t able to swim- though we had two of the best conversations with people from the area who gave us tons of recommendations and welcomed us to Chattanooga- so all was not lost- besides we went back later on in the week.  The water along Chickamauga Creek is crystal clear and a serious relief from the heat- especially since we had been camping for so many days in a row.  IMG_3006We ran and hiked a ton of trails around the city, mostly in Raccoon and Lookout Mountains.  One morning during our run, the clouds hadn’t lifted yet and looked like a river amongst the mountains.  IMG_5732Lookout Mountain was a beautiful hike, though it started off horribly with Vera getting a fish hook stuck in her ear- something we didn’t exactly think we had to worry about happening up in the mountains, but Vera handled it well and happily hiked up to the lookout after we performed minor surgery on her.  IMG_2994 IMG_5735The rest of our Chattanooga adventures involved walking around the city (mostly over the same walking bridge)and eating ice cream.  IMG_5767We’ll miss Chattanooga, but we were definitely ready to leave at the end of the week- it’s hard not to be excited for New Orleans!

Food + Beer = Asheville

About five years ago, Adam and I decided that we wanted to visit Asheville, North Carolina.  I’m not sure where this desire came from; I don’t even think we’d met anyone who lived there until years later.  Based on the influx of northerners, it’s possible we were also influenced by some mysterious marketing campaign.  Regardless of the reason, we excitedly decided to book a cabin in the woods somewhere near Asheville for that Christmas time.  Unfortunately for us, however, our plans were thwarted by ‘Snowmageddon 2010’.  This, I think only served to make us more enticed by this little city.

When we began preparations for this summer, we decided that starting off in Asheville might be the easiest transition from NYC to life on the road.  I met a native ‘Ashevillian’ last summer who confirmed all our Internet Research about how the city is not only surrounded by beautiful mountains, but is also inhabited by open-minded, happy people who drink a lot of beer and eat only good food.

Asheville, to put it simply, met and exceeded all of our (super high) expectations.  We stayed in the Asheville area for two full weeks before moving on.  In that time we climbed to some of the prettiest views we’d ever seen, went on amazing trail runs, ate incredible food, and of course, drank great beer at many of the local breweries.

We stayed in a cabin for the first week out in Leicester, North Carolina. (We had the top floor above the garage).

IMG_2920The second week we spent camping at Lake Powhatan, which was right along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway.  IMG_5245

On July 4th, we hiked out to Skinny Dip Falls to go swimming, but unfortunately it was grey and rainy so we decided not to jump in.  We’re pretty sure Vera was ok with that idea since she associates water only with taking a bath (one of her least favorite things to do).  FullSizeRender(1)Probably my favorite hike was the morning we climbed to the top of Max Patch, an area on top of a mountain once cleared for a pasture, that offers 360 degree views of the Great Smokey and Black Mountain Ranges. Views for days…

IMG_5223 IMG_5227Also, on this hike, we got to see our first ever baby llama.

IMG_5233It was definitely hard to say goodbye to the comforts of Asheville, but we were excited about pushing onward to Adam’s most anticipated stop: Chattanooga, Tennessee (of course, his anticipation was based solely on this article from Outside Magazine).

The Open Road!

After almost a year of long conversations, making plans, and paring down our possessions to only what will fit in our Honda Fit, we’ve finally made it onto the open road!  For now, we have plans that will keep us living the nomadic life at least up until the middle of September- though really, there is no end in sight.  We intend to continue living on the road for as long as possible- hopefully driving all the way down to Patagonia!  IMG_5516

But for now, at the beginning of our journey, we’re enjoying exploring the diverse landscapes of the U.S.  Our first stop on the trip was to Shenandoah National Park.  It was supposed to rain and thunderstorm all day and night, but since we only had one night of camping reserved, we decided it didn’t matter and pitched a tent anyway.  IMG_5206This honestly couldn’t have a been a better decision or a better way to begin our new life on the road.  Shenandoah was covered in a beautiful thick fog that made the forest feel magical- in fact the fog was all we had to ‘deal with’ as the rain never came.

The ride along Skyline Drive was even prettier in the fog.

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I was able to compare too since it was beautiful and sunny on Sunday for our short hike and drive out of the park.

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