"Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should do, they never get around to do what they want to do."
– Kathleen Winsor
Ok, how many of you can relate to that quote? I know I could up until a few months ago. Trying to live up to everyone else's expectations of me, including my own expectations of me, was exhausting. This journey that Steve and I are taking is teaching both of us more lessons about life than you can imagine.
First, and the one that I want to share with you today, is the difference between "need" and "want". Prior to making the decision to go on this trip, Steve and I had a beautiful historic farm house that sat on a beautiful piece of property. Steve had a Harley Davidson and a boat. We had more "stuff" than we could ever possibly use and some "stuff" we even forgot that we had until we had to pack it up and move it somewhere. And all those things we thought we needed (house, toys, and stuff) just kept us focused on them and not on what is really important - - living!!
We never had time to really enjoy life because we were always either in maintenance mode on the stuff or working at a stressful job so that we could continue to afford the stuff. So, as you all know, we sold the "stuff" and hit the road in an 8 x 34 trailer with only one vehicle, two bikes and hiking shoes as our modes of transportation. Are we happy we did that? Absolutely yes, and friends, it is exceptionally freeing. Do we miss the stuff? NO. People we talk to are surprised when we say that but we are sincere when we do. Having the freedom to do what we want whenever we want to do it is so much more valuable to us. What we now consider to be our treasures are great sunsets and vistas, strenuous hikes in the beautiful country that we live in, and time to just "be". Think about it. You'd be surprised at how much less you can live on and still really "live".
Ok, that's it for the lecture. Now back to the fun.
Where did I last leave you? Oh yeah, in Kentucky. Steve and I left Louisville and traveled to Slade, Kentucky where we stayed for a few days to see the eastern part of the state. Slade is home to the Natural Bridge State Resort Park (where we camped) and the Red Rock Geological Area, otherwise known as "The Red". WOW, talk about some beautiful country! The formations include the Natural Bridge, Whistlers Arch, Angel's Windows, Chimney Rock and Princess Arch. All are must sees.This area is comprised of a ton of sandstone cliffs and arches and other rock formations that were made during the melting of the ice from the last ice age. We did some absolutely fabulous hiking in here and Steve has a nice bunch of pictures in the gallery so check those out. This area is not too far from Toledo/Detroit, where most of you reading this blog are from, so here's a potential vacation spot for you. There is a ton to do here as it is very close to Lexington as well. Hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, golf, etc. are all plentiful, to be sure. But this area is also rich in history and some real southern culture as well. They say you can't come to The Red without enjoying some pizza and Ale8 at Miguel's. It's a hot spot for hikers and climbers to hang out.
If you like horses, like I do, you can take a 50 minute drive into Lexington and get your absolute fill. Which we did, of course. Steve and I spent the day at the Kentucky Horse Park. This park, and the name does not do it justice because it is not a park, is dedicated to all things horse. It has an incredible museum that takes you through the history of the horse in man's world -- from its time as a beast of burden, to mode of transportation, to treasured race and show horse. That was very interesting. The displays in this museum were fascinating and well worth the time. Next, we walked over to the show area where they did the parade of champions. Here we got to see some retired race horses - - Cigar, Funny Cide, and others who competed in such races as the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, Belmont Stakes and the Breeder's Cup. These horses were absolutely beautiful. What surprised Steve and I was that they really weren't that tall. To be sure, they were a minimum of 15 hands at the shoulder (yeah, horse talk), but when we stood next to them, that really wasn't all that high. This just goes to emphasize how small those jockeys really are because when you see them on TV, the horse compared to the jockey is really large. Anyway, after that we went to see the Parade of Breeds. This was fascinating because I didn't realize how many different breeds of horse there were. Did you know that there are over 80 different breeds? Well now you know. The parade is done several times during the day and at each parade they feature different breeds. At this parade, we saw a Palomino, an Arabian, a Gypsy, and an Andalusian. We also learned about thoroughbreds and how their bloodline can be traced to three foundation sires.
Next, we hit the museum that was dedicated the Arabian Horse. WOW was that cool. This museum did a great job showing bedouin society and the efforts that have been made to keep this horse line pure. The exhibits were beautifully done and also very interesting. Steve engaged in one of the games designed for children and became a white Arabian named Kahmila throughout our visit. He got a little certificate at the end for completing all of his required tests. :)
Lastly, Steve and I walked around the rest of the grounds. We peeked into the Farrier's shop (where they shoe horses) and the tack shop. The property has a number of old barns that we could walk through as well. In one there were a number of horses who are dedicated to mounted police. This barn had bagpipe music playing overhead which we thought was interesting and kind of weird to play for horses. Percheron and Clydesdales and Belgian horses were housed in a great old barn that also housed a bunch of old carriages that were cool. Geez those horses are absolutely huge and incredibly powerful but very docile. One team of Clydesdales can pull the equivalent of 5 cars worth of weight!
Our final stop for the day was a museum dedicated to the Saddlebred horses. These are the horses that have what seems like a funny, high stepping, gait to them and they are dedicated strictly for show. What Steve and I were most surprised about was that William Shatner is a national champion in this breed as well as Carson Kressley (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). Who knew??????
On Thursday morning, Steve and I packed up and headed to Damascus, Virginia to see our oldest son Terry and his girlfriend Jill. We haven't seen him in a year so we were very excited to get down there for a visit. What a great time we had visiting them. Terry even taught us how to play disc golf which was a total riot. It's like regular golf with frisbees, and instead of a hole you put a little ball into, there are baskets into which you throw a frisbee. It's not as easy as it sounds but we had a great time. We really didn't do any sight-seeing while we were in Damascus because Steve and I are both familiar with this area already (I lived here for a while when I was with Dana Corporation). Our goal was to just spend time with Terry and Jill, which we did. These two are preparing for a hike on the Appalachian Trail next year and we will be seeing them periodically as they take their 2,100 mile trek from Georgia to Maine.
This morning we are packing and moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee this morning. We will be there for an entire week as we intend to do some house-hunting while we are there as well as sight-seeing. Chattanooga is a really cool town (did you know that it has a world-class aquarium?) and is one of the places we think we may settle longer term.
Ok, that's it for this week. Until next time, be good!