Oct 30, 2013

Spooky week with Drake and Megan

We got to spend 10 days being neighbors with some dear friends that we hadn't seen in two years! It was definitely time for us to catch up, and meet their new little one. Who is adorable by the way. She named Ed Ba-ba, and I'm Gee. We had a fun week watching scary movies, visiting the Bell Witch cave, taking some night time walks, bike rides, and we had an amazing bonfire one night. The guys played a lot of video games while the ladies had crochet parties, and the baby force-fed us random snacks. The visit even culminated with a real-life horror story. And my camera died. That's not the horror story, but I lost some great pictures, and you will never know the wonder of our fire inside of a freaky sculpture. So, three crappy phone pictures are all I have to offer. EDIT: I'm talking photo quality. The last picture is freaking adorable.

Here's a neat formation inside of the Bell Witch Cave.

Even the town was creepy.

One night, we pulled a wagon full of party supplies across a bridge and out to this fire ring on a trail next to (what I think was) the Cumberland river. Drake and Megan had been there before, but when we arrived, a giant cage-like sculpture made out of old farm tools (rakes, hammers, pitchforks, shovels, pickaxes) had been erected around it...there was evidence of recent campfires, so I guess it was still ok? Seemed like it was built to allow for this sort of thing. It made for some super spooky shadows and silhouettes against the night sky. We watched the big river boats go by, and ate a bunch of s'mores and meat. Kind of hilarious how dangerous it was to combine fire and pointy metal tools in the dark (shovel back! Aarg!).

Drake and Scarlett, obviously pre-bee attack.
Notice she's holding a little bumble bee toy, this was one of the many foreshadowing hints we completely ignored. 

The last day of our visit, we were hiking some state park trails when we were attacked by Africanized killer bees. Really. These were chase you down, aim for the eyes, crawl into your clothes, evil hell-spawn killer bees. Megan was stung on her eyelid, and right below her eye and it was swelling up crazy fast while she was understandably freaking out, not sure if she was seriously allergic or not. We ran the whole way through the forest and back to the car while they chased us, we stripped off half our clothes because there were bees crawling on and in them, jumped in the car and headed to urgent care. Which was closed. It was a Sunday. Then we raced towards the hospital while another two bees crawled out of somewhere and started flying around in the car while Drake tried not to crash. Little Scarlett learned a new word, BEES! Poor thing is totally traumatized. We all are. After I don't know how many hours in the ER, thankfully everyone is ok. It could have been so much worse. Apparently we came upon the "alarm zone" and not the actual hive. We alerted the state apiarist, and they are investigating.

But beware, Africanized bees are spreading north, taking over "normal" European honey bee hives. Click this link to learn moreScary stuff. Suddenly spiders and mosquitoes aren't so bad after all.

So what we have learned, is that if you travel outside of Indiana, the wildlife will try to kill you a lot more.

Oct 15, 2013


A short hike from our campsite, this has been our hangout while we stay at Edgar Evins State Park. This is a dammed river which fills a mountain valley to form Center Hill Lake.

Burgess Falls

This weekend we made a stop at Burgess Falls State Park, here is one of them! Just gorgeous. I love the little hanging plant/moss city growing on the cliff behind the falls.
 We took a "Very Strenuous Hike" to get a view from the bottom of the falls, here's the best (and driest) timer selfie we could manage.

Oct 14, 2013

Tennessee, Tennessee,

there ain't no place I'd rather be...
LotR has been working out pretty well for us! After leaving Berea, we made our way further south toward the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We stopped to check out Cumberland falls again on the way (we first visited the falls on our honeymoon).
 We rented a car to zoom up and down the mountains and out along the Blue Ridge parkway after work everyday. Even though the park is closed, you can still see so much from 441, all of the scenic pull overs are open. Plus all those orange cones and barrels blocking off the main trail-heads didn't stop us (or too many other people, damn the man!).
Also, bears. Lots of angry growling mama bears. We went up one trail, bears. Nope'd outta there to go the other way, more bears. Less than 30 feet away, were 3 baby bears and a mama bear, we were about to run into each other! The cubs are pretty adorable even while you fear for your life.
 We did some hiking on the AT
 Just outside of the park is Gatlinburg. Weird, weird, weird. There is a line where the bright lights and commerce ends and the forest begins. The day after our bear run-ins, we were ready for a break from the wilderness so we took the trolly to Gatlinburg, with no idea what to expect. It was a trip! Definitely worth a night out on the town if you're visiting the park. Free samples of moonshine, wine, whiskey (shoot it and kill it, like Old Yeller). Gatlinburg is like a weird, mountain-country Vegas strip, but most of the companies are locally owned and they all cross promote each other. Our Davy Crockett Tennessee Whisky server said "We all do good when we all do good." Pretty neat.

We've decided that the Smokies are our favorite mountain range. It is a woodland wonderland, basically paradise! The views are absolutely breathtaking, so many waterfalls and streams to discover, moss covered rocks, we saw bears, elk, turkey, coyote (or wolves? Both?). We got to catch the beginnings of the fall colors too. It was hard to leave, and we can't wait to visit again.
Smoky mountain soundtrack: 

Oct 4, 2013

Folk Arts and Craft Capital of Kentucky

"What do you get when you mix Haight-Ashbury with Little House on the Prairie? The answer is Berea, Kentucky, a town that was counterculture before counterculture was cool. The city is home to Berea College, which was the only integrated and co-ed college in the South for nearly forty years. The politically progressive community is home to organic farmers & hundreds of working artists." via estately.com

Yep this town is pretty amazing. Berea College has a very rich history in traditional crafts and social equality, and remains very progressive in promoting renewable energy and local economies.

This inclusive Christian message of impartial love remains the Berea College motto via Berea.com

Ed and I have stopped here a few times before, but never got to stay longer than an hour or two, so it's been really great to stick around and explore for awhile. We're staying in a cute little RV park just outside the city limits, it's a quick bike ride into town. And everyone here is just so dang nice.

Our first night, we caught a contra dancing workshop - So. Much. Fun. We danced while a folk band, the Berea Castoffs got surprisingly psychedelic  What a way to be welcomed into town by dancing with the locals and students! They spin ya real fast.

Tuesday we stopped by the farmer's market where I bought the most awesome leather hair clip made by this charming, woodsy gal. We talked trees, bikes, and she shared a paw paw with us (a new favorite fruit btw). We picked up some food, got pointers on the perfect mushroom soup recipe (Hanyicska family Christmas special!) and then rode back home to make supper.

One of the barn quilts we saw on our Wednesday ride to the Pinnacles

Fulltime RV life has gone pretty smooth thus far. I really love living in such a small space because it's forcing me to be so deliberate and purposeful in all of my daily activities. My mind is less cluttered when superfluities are eliminated. I've been able to get all of my thoughts in one place, and finally open my shop Trail & Compass! Check it out! 

It's been a great, laid-back week, and I'm so full of stories to share, but it's hard to decide on what to cover here on the ol' blog-o-blog. I've been having fun posting on Instagram though, it's so much faster than blogging! Have a look at that if you want more pictures.

Tomorrow we're going to visit the studio artists again, spend some money, then roll on down the road toward the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, government shut down or not!

Oct 3, 2013

East Pinnacle

Yesterday we biked thru Berea out to Big Hill Rd, hiked up a mountain, surveyed God's creation from the east pinnacle, biked home and took a shower. Felt real good! 13.5 miles round trip!