Friday, April 21, 2017

Our route to the Alaska Highway

This is my anticipate route to drive to Alaska. It looks like I am going around my elbow to get to my arm. In reality, it's not so bad. A friend and I are going to drive the Alaska Highway by going from Tennessee, stopping in New Mexico and then through Washington. The route through Washington has been recommended to me by several people.

Part of the reason for the extended route is to see supporters along the way. This isn't a vacation. We are hauling mission team supplies and have a pretty tight budget. The two stops added six hours to the trip. It also gives us two free places to stay, an opportunity to wash clothes for free and a couple of meals. We'll have plenty of other expenses on the drive to Alaska, so cutting costs is a must. Hands down, this is a much less expensive route than the others we considered.

My teammate and I will be leaving in 90 days. The rest of the mission team will be flying out about ten days later. We have to catch up with them when the step off the plane, so there's no time for much sightseeing along the way.

You know the feeling you get when you're running late for work? I'll have that for about 10 days. The pressure starts when we pull out of the driveway.

So, why drive to Alaska?

The two of us can take the journey for what it would cost to fly. Our overland trip may save the mission team between $1,500 - $2,000. This takes into account the cost of shipping supplies, renting another car, shipping luggage and other items. This means a little less fundraising and more that we can do at the work site.

I'll be vlogging and blogging on the way. If you've ever wanted to drive the Alaska Highway, we're your team to follow. Feel free to follow our progress on YouTube, my Facebook page or this blog.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A trip to Murphy, North Carolina

Murphy, North Carolina:  The County Seat of Cherokee County.  Murphy is located in the Appalachian Mountains with views that will entice you to visit and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of the area. Whether you are into hiking, all kinds of water activities, eating at established restaurants, or you just want to lay in a hammock by a quiet stream – Murphy has it all.

Beautiful mountain scenery surrounding Murphy, NC

Several years ago we packed up the dog and the car and headed to Murphy, NC for a few days.  We had a cute little rental that had a huge pond (more like a lake) for fishing and they provided some small boats.   There was maybe a total of 6 other cottages.  I was going to give you the link for their website since they were very clean and very reasonable.  However, when I went to the site I found out that they are now only renting by the year.  Strange…I can’t imagine why?

Anyway, it was different in Murphy back then, less action, quieter and not a lot of hot spots.  We live within a two-hour ride of Murphy, it’s easy to get to and since we like ‘short rides’ it’s perfect.  The scenery on the ride there is lovely and relaxing. I did some checking last summer and found a rental I really liked.  It said pet friendly but when the manager replied to me she said only small dogs…Ruby is not small by any definition! 

So again, a few months ago, I went online looking for that particular rental.  It sits up on a ridge and overlooks the Hiawassee River – the view in the photos online are amazing.  I chatted with the manager and she said that Ruby would be allowed there!  That was the deciding factor for me!  I wanted this to be a birthday trip for my husband, but the house was booked until the end of May.  So, I changed his birthday LOL!

Not only are there many restaurants, they are all conveniently located to where the rental is.  No driving an hour for a steak dinner – the rental is just two miles from town.  There were several cute rentals right in town, but they didn’t meet our needs. There are so many rental cottages and cabins you might have to search for hours before making your choice!

It is easy to search for a pet friendly rental, don't leave Fido at home!

Another draw for many people is the fact there is now a casino in Murphy.  We are not gamblers, but we might stop by to check it out.  There are lots of antique shops and specialty shops.  We also plan to check out a bagel shop that we went to during our first stay in Murphy.  It’s actually in Georgia, just over the NC border.  Their bagels were fantastic and since they are still in business we hope they are just as good now.

As I’ve stated many times, we are foodies and since we don’t have access to many options in our neck of the woods, we vacation where the food is!    Just in case we don’t get enough good beef to satisfy us, we will be visiting Brasstown Beef.    They are only open to the public two days a week and we plan to be there one of those two days.  Their beef is supposed to be the best around….I’ll let you know if that’s really true!

Between restaurants such as:  Brothers Restaurant, Doles Cedar Hill and the Murphy Chop House; bagels and fresh beef, it should be a fulfilling trip to Murphy, North Carolina!

I look forward to sharing our Murphy experience with you in future articles!  For now, I’ll be counting the days until our trip.

Photos belong to AbbyG

Helpful links:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

If you can’t travel to the coast, have the coastal goodies shipped to you!

We are seafood lovers, but living in landlocked Tennessee doesn’t give us the best opportunity for good seafood.  Yes, we found a place in Maryville called The Shrimp Dock where we have been purchasing fresh east coast shrimp for a while now.  But there is more to seafood than just shrimp! On our last visit, my husband really wanted live crawfish.  Unfortunately, we were there on a Wednesday and they only have crawfish on Fridays.  While we left there with a supply of shrimp, I knew he was disappointed.  I didn’t want him to miss out on something he was truly looking forward to.

What did I do?  I went online and searched for a place where I could order live crawfish and have them shipped. Many of us want fresh seafood but can’t travel to the east coast or the gulf coast to buy it fresh.  This is a travel blog but who says I can’t write about how we can sit still and let the fresh seafood travel to us?

The seafood company I used is called Louisiana Crawfish Company.  This is not a store where anyone can just pop in and pick up shrimp, crawfish or alligator.  There is no physical store.  Everything is ordered online (or by phone) and shipped out either Fedex or UPS.  If you order by 5 pm you will get your order the next day.  The shipping costs are built into the prices listed on their website.  So if you see something like $60 for 10 pounds of crawfish – that price includes shipping. That’s what ordered, 10 pounds of purged crawfish.  Purged crawfish are super clean and have a better flavor than other crawfish.

I did not tell my husband I ordered them and when Fedex rang the bell last week he was surprised to see a Styrofoam container with a photo of crawfish on it!  We were getting ready for dinner, so we had to put off the ‘big boil’ until later.  Once the two pots of water boiled the crawfish boil was added to the water (they provided the boil/seasoning) and then the mudbugs went in.  

And so the cooking begins!

They only have to boil for a few minutes. Out of 10 pounds we only discovered 13 dead ones.  I had read on their website to let them know about any product that was not alive and I did send an e-mail.  I received a refund of 10 percent of the price I paid….that is wonderful customer service!

Now the eating begins!

My husband really enjoyed his crawfish and I know he will want to order more in the future.  I have no qualms about ordering again from the Louisiana Crawfish Company.  If you love shrimp or crawfish and can’t get to the Gulf or South Carolina for it – order from this company, you will not be disappointed.

Check their website – they have an extensive list of products for sale …. Not all just seafood!!  You can also read testimonials and recipes as well as what exactly ‘purged’ means.


Go to their website and check it out…then get ready to sit in your comfy chair and let the seafood travel to your house!

Photos belong to AbbyG