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Our Anniversary Trip - Great Friends, Sweet Tea and Invisible Mosquitoes

As promised, I wanted to share my summer vacation with y’all! It was a week filled with sweet tea, wonderful people and relaxation! Oh and some invisible and silent mosquitoes. I’ll get to that later on.

Here’s a little background on why we traveled to Tennessee for our 35th anniversary trip.

Years ago, I met some wonderful people through the band REO Speedwagon and long story short, we have become great friends. We have a group of women from four different states who get together whenever possible to laugh, eat good food and enjoy each other’s company. We usually meet in Tennessee and I have grown to love the state and the people there. As hubby and I were deciding where to go for our trip, I had to bring him to see what I call my happy place.

We rented a VRBO on a nearby lake that I had been to several times; I had heard that it has good fishing so thought it made sense to stay there. Even though my husband brought a fishing pole, he never fished, we were too far from a boat landing to carry the canoe provided by the owner of the house. It was ok though, we were able to go to a nearby state park on the lake and see the lake wildlife and cypress trees. Our house was across the road from the lake and the best part was our nightly sunset view. Each night we sat on the deck that faced west and watched the most amazing sunsets, I took many photos but of course, none of them can do justice to the real thing.

We spent time with my friends which of course, was wonderful. They had never met my husband before but he and my friend’s husband bonded over their mutual love of turkey and deer hunting. I am so thankful for great friends and this trip made me realize how blessed we truly are.

Just a little note about nice people-we stopped at a grocery store to get food before we drove to our VRBO. My husband noticed that everyone says hello and he had a nice conversation with someone in the parking lot. Even driving around, everyone waves at you which is very refreshing. He was floored as it is not something we are used to where we live. I told him the sign for Troy, Tennessee says “Nice people live here” and it is so true!

My husband had never been to Memphis so we took a day to go see Elvis at Graceland-ok we didn’t actually see Elvis but everything Elvis-related. I had been there many years ago but it was nice to go again and see things that I hadn’t noticed before. I am not the biggest Elvis fan but I can appreciate his influence on music back then and even now. It was a bit sad of course, especially when our audio tour had Lisa Marie speaking on the recording, but I noticed they talked more about the music and the good times which made it more up-lifting.

We also visited a placed called Discovery Park of America which I highly recommend if you are in Western Tennessee. You can find pretty much anything you can think of there. They have displays and information about space, local history, dinosaurs, geography, animals, military, cars and so much more! We explored an old passenger train that was built in the 1960’s and hubby loved looking at the engines and trying to figure out how they worked. (Once a mechanic, always a mechanic.)

We ended our last night at a restaurant that featured down south home cooking-catfish, country ham and hush puppies! I had eaten there before and knew hubby would love it and I was right. The sheer amount of food they bring to your table made his eyes get really big and I can confidently say we both left feeling very full. I literally laid on the couch for an hour after we returned to our house. So we did almost everything I wanted to do, I was not able to meet up with a friend from a nearby town but I definitely will be back.

If we had a theme for our trip this year, it was probably “no need to rush, we have time.” Although we could have made the 11 plus hour drive in one day, we chose to break it up into two days. Neither of us likes to drive more than 4 hours or so at a time so it made sense to stop along the way for the night and take a break. This worked out great although our first attempts at finding a hotel led us farther down the road as unbeknownst to us, there was a country music festival going on. Any available hotel rooms were way too expensive for one night so we just kept driving until we found a place. Going home was a bit easier but if you are ever in El Paso, Illinois, do NOT go to the McDonald’s there. Just sayin’.

The time factor also came into play during the rest of the trip too. We are realizing as we adjust to retirement life, it is difficult to go from having to follow someone else’s schedule to making our own. Yes we had activities that we needed to attend but we could also take a nap if we wanted to, I may have taken two naps one of the days but who’s counting?

We had a great time in Tennessee and it was also good to get home and get back to our pups. I’m sure they missed us based on their reaction when we returned. The person who stayed with them came back the day we came home to return our garage door opener. She and I were talking for a bit and Jake laid on the floor behind me as if to let me know where his allegiance lies. No worries Jake, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon…I think.

So what about the invisible mosquitoes? I do not know what is going on down there on Reelfoot Lake but I would get mosquito bites every night but never saw a “skeeter.” I never heard the familiar buzz or anything, just the resulting itchy welts on my legs and arms. So either they are so tiny you can’t see them or something…very strange.

So as a recap here are my thoughts:

• Take your time whenever possible.

• Illinois is a boring state to drive through but it does have windmills.

• Sweet tea is my favorite and tastes the best down south.

• Really nice people live in Tennessee, especially Troy.

• Napping is good…really good.

• Sit and enjoy the sunset wherever you are.

• Appreciate what you have when you come home.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer and will have time to watch a sunset or two (or three) over the next few months.

Take care of your beautiful self and I’ll talk to you soon!


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