The wife and I officially started our vacation this evening . . . the only problem is we are too tired to do anything! We have been so busy trying to make sure everything was taken care of before we began we wore ourselves out. We want to make sure that everything is covered because this is a special vacation--special because it is the first time that we have not had any of our children with us as we actually vacation. This is a whole new experience for us to not have family members sitting in the backseat of our vehicle yelling, "He's looking at me! She's touching me! Are we there yet? I have to go to the bathroom!" You would have thought that our children had grown out of that stage when they got into their twenties! This will be a couple deal all the way for the wife and I--a real adventure!
The adventure begins at 6:00AM as we fly out of the big city on Delta Airlines to head for our lay-over destination of Minneapolis. Unfortunately this will be a solo trip as we were unable to get seats together as all the early flights out of the big city are always packed. Knowing my luck I will end us sitting next to some huge, six-and a half-foot tall guy who snores or wants to share how Jesus "saved" him. Thankfully I have my MP3 player and IPad equipped with ear phones--I'll just crank those babies up, close my eyes, and hit the snooze button in my mind. Hopefully the wife will be luckier, but we are Keeners and if anything could go wrong it will! From Minneapolis we fly into Dulles Airport where my sister will pick us up so that we can head over to Hagerstown, Maryland where she and my brother live--that's when the real fun begins.
The wife and sister are dropping me off at the ballpark in Hagerstown where I am to meet my two brothers to catch a Hagerstown Suns baseball game. I love baseball and the Suns are a Double A team for the Washington Nationals (just down the road about 75 miles). It is also "Thirsty Thursday"--which I am assuming means "cheap beer"--which should ease the shock of the three of us actually doing anything together. We have not ever done anything like this in our lives before and it should be an interesting mix, after all we are siblings. We will see if we make it nine innings! So, the adventure begins and it should be a lot of fun. Meanwhile, back to the female side of the trip--the wife, sister, and sister-in-law are going to go out for supper at a snazzy Italian place near my sister's house. They get gourmet food--I get beer and hot dogs . . . I think I got the better deal!
Early the next morning we head off for Asheville, North Carolina--an eight hour drive. Thankfully there will be three drivers so that we can all take shifts as my sister would like to hit the road by 5:00AM!! It is just like being at work! Our destination is nestle in the North Carolina mountains and is a wonderful place to spend a few days soaking in the southern mountain hospitality. Asheville is quite an eclectic mixture of cultures--you name it and it is probably there. It is a beautiful location where the Vanderbilt family built their small home--the Biltmore Estate--and people flock there for the summer fun. While there we each have our own itinerary--I want to hear blue grass music, check out a few local breweries, and catch a Asheville Tourist baseball game; the wife wants to hit the local scene, head to the mountains, eat some excellent food, and do the usual sight-seeing things; and, the sister is kind of in the same boat as the wife. I think I am out-numbered on this one, but I know that they have conceded me at least one trip to a brewery and a game. Look out Asheville Tourists . . .
The Tourists are a Single A team for the Colorado Rockies--yeah, I know, damn National League teams is all I'm going to get to see while on vacation! One of the local establishments I really hope to visit in Asheville is Jack of the Wood. Jack of the Wood is a "cozy Celtic pub in downtown Asheville. It serves area micro-brewed beers including locally fresh-brewed English-style Green Man Ales. The menu includes traditional pub fare all freshly made. It is where the Smoky Mountains meets the British Isles."
We will make a trip up to the mountains as that is the area where my mother grew up--near Old Fort in a little town called Marion. Both my mother and father are buried there in the local cemetery and all of us want to spend a little time there decorating the site. We will also head up to Blowing Rock--or Black Mountain--to enjoy the scenery and get into the Appalachian side of North Carolina. I voted for this as there was a brewery up there too! While in the Old Fort area we will also be visiting the grave site of our fourth cousin--Daniel Kanipe. Daniel Kanipe is one of the confirmed survivors of the Battle of Little Big Horn--you know the battle, we whites like to call it "Custer's Last Stand." But I will tell you his story another time.
Once we are done vacationing in Asheville we will head back to Hagerstown for a few days. Hagerstown is in a Civil War zone with Gettysburg about an hour and half away--the Sharpsburg battlefield just down the road--and Harper's Ferry close by. The wife and I will probably do a little sightseeing and maybe even make the trek down to Frederick. Frederick was the hometown of Francis Scott Key the writer of out national anthem. Also, in Frederick, is another brewery I want to visit--Flying Dog Brewery.
Originally it started as a brew pub in Aspen, Colorado--became a brewery in Denver--and is now located (in all places) Frederick, Maryland. It is quite the story and you can read about it at http://flyingdogales.com/. It is based on that infamous, but crazed writer, Hunter S. Thompson. This would be one of the highlights of the vacation.
After a few days the wife and I will again pack our bags, head over to Dulles Airport, and begin backtracking our journey back to Montana. It is the same route as we took to get there, only this time deja vu. We will be back in Montana by early afternoon where we will begin resting up from our adventure. We will need it as we will probably have to spend the time putting everything back to normal from having our young adult children watch over everything. Of course we know what their greeting will be when we get home--"What did you get me?" It never fails . . . we will probably be exhausted with wicked grins on our faces. Hey, it is an adult vacation with no kids!! I can't wait . . .