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The day of our road trip finally arrived.  Weeks of planning were about to transport us to some wonderful place.

However, before we started our road trip, we had to take a flight to our first destination – Charleston, SC.  

We got to the airport in plenty of time, the security line was a breeze and I was able to buy my bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper – I was ready…

Flight to Charleston, South Carolina

Flight to Charleston, South Carolina

My camera, laptop and iPad mini were all packed so I was ready to blog from the road.

Our plane was at the gate and we boarded our plane.

Flight to Charleston, South Carolina

Flight to Charleston, South Carolina

We boarded our plane and taxied to the runway, only to make a U-turn and return to the gate where fire trucks were waiting.

Our plane had a hydraulic leak.  We all had to de-plane and book other flights.

I whipped out my iPad and attempted to get a flight for my mother and I quickly so that we would be able to leave the same day.

We were able to find another flight that left 4 hours later.

We had to change planes in Charlotte, NC – when we ran into another problem – I lost my second boarding pass (for the second flight to Charleston).  No big deal right?  I went to the gate and asked for a new boarding pass.

Problem was – I had been in such a hurry to book my mother and I a new flight, that I accidentally used my maiden name.

I couldn’t believe that I had made such a stupid mistake – I have been married over 26 years!

Somehow, I had gotten through security in Phoenix without the name on my boarding pass matching my ID.

Back in Charlotte, the gate agent called her supervisor, who called her supervisor AND let me on the plane!  I was praying so hard that they would let me on 🙂

So, instead of arriving in Charleston at 7:00 pm, we arrived at  11:30 pm.

Thankfully, no more problems were encountered until the next day when we arrived at our hotel in the Savannah, GA area…

roof fighting a fire

Parts of the parking lot were taped off and the hotel was surrounded by police and fire fighters were on the roof fighting a fire.

The local news crew was there covering this big story.

The good news was that no one was hurt AND that this was NOT our hotel – it was the one next door 😉

We had a fabulous first day in Charleston and I can’t wait to share it with you tomorrow!

It’s time to hit the road again…

Every year, I go on a trip with my mother, exploring different parts of the United States.  We fly into one city, rent a car, travel from town to town for 8 days and then leave from another city.

I love traveling and like to explore and learn about other regions of our country.  As a native of Southern California and current resident of Arizona, my regional experience has quite a western slant.  So, what better way to learn more about the people, food, customs and gardens in other regions then to ‘hit the road’?

Half of the fun of our annual road trip, is planning on where we will go.

First, look at maps of where we had already been.  Then we try to plan our route so that we see new areas.

Three years ago, we visited the following places:

We drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, visited colonial Williamsburg, our nation’s capitol, Pennsylvania Amish country, Philadelphia and NewYork City.

Two years ago, we visited parts of the Midwest:


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We began in Michigan, visiting the town of Holland, then traveled onto Indiana Amish country, seeing Lincoln’s house and tomb in Springfield, viewing the Mississippi River in Hannibal, MO – the inspiration for Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” and finishing up in Joplin.

Last year’s trip focused on the Northeast:


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We began in Columbus, OH, visiting a friend and then traveling on to Ohio Amish country, Niagara Falls, the Finger Lakes of NY, the beautiful mountains of Vermont and left from Manchester, NH.

This year’s trip is focused on exploring areas further down South: 


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We are beginning our journey in Savannah, GA.  Then we are traveling through South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.

I have been to North Carolina and Georgia before, but the other states are new to me.  I do have some southern roots from the state of Kentucky and we might try to visit some old family grave sites.

For those of you who have read my blog for some time; you know that I do like to ‘take you along with me’ on my trips.  

I will be blogging from the road and sharing with you my adventures.

We leave on Wednesday!!!

I came upon a hidden garden while I was visiting a charming little town in Wales.  Actually this town, Llantwrtyd Wells, (population 700), is the smallest town in Great Britain.  I can’t pronounce the name correctly, my Gaelic is rather rusty – or I should say non-existent, but this tiny town is a special place to visit.

Hidden Garden in the Smallest Place

Our visit took place during the summer of 2003.  We were walking down the road into this little town and enjoying the beautiful scenery, above.

As we drew near the center of town, we turned a corner and there it was….

Hidden Garden in the Smallest Place

….a hidden garden, sandwiched between a nondescript shed and garage.

Hidden Garden in the Smallest Place

Now, as most of you know by now, I almost always have my camera with me, ready to take photos of truly awful landscaping that I can use as examples of what not to do.  But, I also love to take pictures of beautiful gardens and I was just entranced by this one.   The delphiniums, the roses, and the clematis were so lovely.

I have a neighbor who grows beautiful delphiniums and yes, you can grow them in the desert.I tried growing Clematis years ago and it really never flowered for me, so it probably is not too successful in our climate.

Hidden Garden in the Smallest Place

Well, back to my story….I lingered around the garden taking my pictures and reluctantly left to explore more of the town.

Llanwrtyd Wells is a wonderful place to visit and I have many good memories, but three stand out the most:

1. Meeting the butcher who was the mayor of this tiny town who wanted to know if we were enjoying our stay and if we would tell our friends to come visit.  (So if you go and visit, please tell the mayor, if you meet him, that I fulfilled my promise).

2. Going to the ‘Honesty Bookshop’ where you walk in, choose a used book and put the money for the book in the old-fashioned cash register – on the honor system.  There was no sales clerk.

3. But, by far, my favorite memory was coming upon this beautiful, hidden garden.  

I absolutely love to travel and one of my favorite destinations is Europe.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to visit in recent years, but my daughter and her husband were able to travel there this summer and visited three different countries – France, Germany and Italy.

Love to travel

Love to travel

When they returned, I couldn’t wait to hear about their adventures and view their photos.  I was particularly touched by the fact that my daughter took the time to take some pictures of some of the beautiful flowering plants they saw in Germany.

love window boxes

 I just love window boxes….don’t you?

The reason it meant a lot to me is that my oldest daughter is not particularly into gardening – but that could be because she lives in an apartment and has no space for gardening 😉  So, the fact that she took the time to take photos for me to share with me meant a lot.

I do not know what all of these flowering plants are and would love some help with identifying some of them 🙂

Geraniums

Geraniums, Verbena and Chamomile? Don’t you love the stone planter?

Germany has a special place in my heart because years ago, my grandparents were transferred there for work when I was young.  As a result, I spent two summers in Germany as a child along with my parents and siblings.  

Love to travel

We spent our time in Frankfurt where my grandparents lived.  I remember the large field of strawberries that were grown in the back garden and the struggle keeping the rabbits away.  But mostly, I remember how delicious the strawberries tasted.

Lobelia

 Lobelia I grow this beautiful annual in the winter months.

A couple of times a week, a local farmer would drive up our street and open up his van which contained a plentiful harvest of all sorts of fruit and vegetables.  Wouldn’t it be great if the farmer delivered produce straight from the farm nowadays?

little garden gnomes

Okay, I just love this photo of little garden gnomes.

I find it interesting how certain smells can bring a crystal clear memory to my mind.  To this day, the smell of bus exhaust reminds me of a cobblestone street in downtown Frankfurt.

my daughter's favorite flower

These were my daughter’s favorite flower that she saw. Any ideas what type of flower this is?

On my kitchen wall is the beautiful cuckoo clock that my grandparents brought back from Germany.  Growing up, we loved hearing it cuckoo on the hour and dancing to the music that played afterward as the tiny figurines twirled in a circle.

beautiful flower

Isn’t this a beautiful flower? Any ideas what it is? 

Our cuckoo clock has not worked for many years and I keep meaning to get it fixed so that my kids can enjoy it as I did as a child.

Beautiful red roses

Beautiful red roses.

Both my husband and I have some German ancestry and I hope to be able to visit there again and experience the beauty that Germany has to offer.

Love to travel

Are there any places that have a special place in your heart for, or that you yearn to visit someday?