Day 14 – North Little Rock, Arkansas to Whittier, North Carolina

Today was yet another mixed bag of emotions.  I started the day fairly optimistic, ran it down hill with a mixture of homesickness and general sadness, then finished strong with lots of laughter and great conversation.

My gosh, today I even got sick of my whining.  I felt like Goldilocks: it’s too hot, I’m hungry, why can’t I sleep….oh my gosh, what is wrong with me?  I have always been a little whiny at times but this trip has really brought out my inner whiner.  What is the deal with being homesick? I started this trip with the intent of not really going back “there.”  Now all I want is to go back “there.”  I am one messed up chick.

I guess on the road you miss the normalcy of life, even if those normal activities were what was driving you crazy.  On the road everything is new and not necessarily improved.  You miss the little comforts of home, like knowing where things are, not like having to constantly ask yourself what Walmart bag did you put something in and is it in the backseat, glove box or in the back of the car.  Home drives me crazy, but for now I need that place so I can regroup and rethink the next portion of the trip.

It is hard to rationalize all that has gone one in the last two weeks.  I have to remember that I came out of my shell to learn about myself.  Now originally I thought I was going to find out some really cool stuff, but as it turns out, the stuff is not all that cool.  It is authentic and it is real so that has to count for something.

So today we drove and we drove and we drove.  It was a long day of driving and I had no idea what the end point of the day was as it was a surprise.  We did finally start driving north which thrilled me, then we started driving south which did not thrill me.  Home is north, why were we not driving north?

We drove through Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  Have you ever been?  Wow, I was blown away by all the activity there including Dollywood (which I did not even realize was still open).  Tourists were everywhere and we rolled through town near dusk and the activity was still going strong.  Who knew?  Then we started to drive through the Great Smoky Mountains.  NO I CRIED…you promised no more mountains!!  More 6% grades, more hair pin curves, more scary sheer drops and somebody blowing their horn at me in a tunnel,no less.  I could not stop crying, first we were not heading north and there were more mountains to contend with.

Mike had a really great surprise for me.  He had contacted a friend from Kinetico, Jan Kuszynski, and they had arranged to meet since we were fairly close on our way home.  I was thrilled to see Jan and I know Mike needed some real adults to talk with.

Jan has been posting the most gorgeous photographs of the Great Smoky Mountains and her words are always inspirational and encouraging. The thought of seeing her again filled my heart.  She lives with a lovely family, Ernie and Amy Francis and their three wonderful sons, who never met us but welcomed us into their home like we were family.  I was overwhelmed.

We got here late, but we were able to talk for a while.  We talked and laughed and talked some more and laughed even more.  When someone tells you that laughter is the best medicine, you can believe it.  All my sadness washed away and tears of joy replaced the tears of frustration and fear.

I have said this many times in my blog posts, the only really important things in life is not stuff but people and the connections you make with them.  I have had so many people extend their hands to me, to help me back on my feet, to give me strength in my weakness and to show me love when I am terribly unlovable. Every person I have met and will continue to meet with leave their handprint on my soul and I will become that better person I dream of, not because of anything I have done but because of them.

So for tonight I will quit my whining and look at the blessings in my life, for which there are many.  Tomorrow is another day and if we do not head north at some time the whining my commence again, but I hope not!!

I have pictures and information about another great burger I found for the next time.  Thank you for listening!



  1. Hello! Hello! Sounds like another great day! Glad to see that others are appreciating how wonderful you are! What a fabulous surprise — that Mike, you know, he’s a keeper! Sending you hugs and continue to pray for both of you. Lots of love to you cuz!


    1. Sue, you are such a wonderful and vibrant person! yeah Mike is a keeper. we will see if he has what it takes to stay with me after all this. our 25th is in a few days and he deserves some sort of award i think… love you


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