We are coming back to you after a couple of weeks of no blog posts!
Update: WE ARE STILL TIRED…. then we got sick… and life happened.
BUT, WE ARE BACK!
We want to know, do yall ever just get in a rut? Do you ever just feel yucky? We know that we certainly do. It seems like things never end with work and life, but we found a way to come back! Sometimes you just have to push yourself through to the next event, to the next moment, to the next chapter in your life! This weekend was our breakthrough.
As you all know, we love to be outside, but we have been a little under the weather for a while. We could tell we had been missing the great outdoors. We had heard of a place right in our own backyard in Woodville, Alabama, called Stephen’s Gap. We saw this place on a fellow Instagrammer’s page and knew we had to go! AND WE HAD TO GO SOON! Yet, it rained every weekend for three weekends straight. This was the weekend it finally happened!
Some important information to know about Stephen’s Gap is that it is a protected preserve, so you have to go to the Southeastern Cave Conservancy’s website to get your free permit. It is really simple and easy to do. There are so many caves in our area that we had no idea even existed, and we obviously have plans to visit many of them this summer!
The directions to Stephens Gap are practically two turns. We have passed this place hundreds of times and had no idea it existed! The trail is about a mile and a half long. The notable thing is that you actually hike up on a slight incline on the way to the cave, which is nice because on your way out after spelunking around in the cave, your trek back to the car is easy and downhill! This is not very typical of hiking here in North Alabama. Usually, you hike down into a gorge or valley. Following, you have to hike up on the way out, which can make the hikes more physically demanding.
We learned a lot on this hike. Just about halfway into it, we learned that you should always bring toilet paper with you when you’re in the woods where there is no indoor plumbing for miles. 🙂 We also learned that hiking post sickness, our stamina was very low. We had hiked at a pretty steady pace for about thirty minutes when we began to feel quite the fatigue. Out of breath and quite frankly frustrated with ourselves, we seriously just contemplated turning around. We knew the next little bit of our hike was going to take some leg work as the incline increased significantly.
But, just like in life, we knew if we turned around and quit we would regret it. AND WOULDN’T YOU KNOW…. It wasn’t but about 5 more minutes of hiking, WE MADE IT TO THE CAVE! Life lesson here for ya folks: DO NOT GIVE UP! You never know what is just around the corner, or just over the hill!
We were no longer out of breath from hiking, but we were gasping at the beauty that was before us! A HUGE hole in the ground that was all-encompassing of the rainfall from the weeks before! We stopped here to gaze at the sights and have a little snack we had packed with us in our handy dandy backpack we got from The Glacier Company. You can use the link to find one for yourself. If you use the code “carryon” you’ll get yourself a nice little discount as well … After tempting the edges of fate, we peered into the vast cave as much as we dared before we decided to just climb on down inside of the belly of the beast!
It was a slippery slope! As we began our descent, we could feel the temperature cool quickly. The rocks were wet, and the mud was super slippery. We stayed low to keep our balance. Any of you have read our previous post know that we are a little prone to sliding down. We eased and slowly lowered ourselves into the earth.
There was a picturesque rock that we were determined to get ourselves on, but it took some thought and some trial and error to get to it! Hilary tried first, then Rachel tried another way. It was the third time that was the charm, but it was definitely not easy… or safe at all, really. BUT, WE DID IT! After making it onto the rock, our laughs echoed into the cave walls. Rachel was soaking wet and muddy and barefoot and bleeding…. Hilary looked like she descended from Hiking Heaven with no mud, no sweat, and perfectly dry hiking boots. We keep telling you… we are perfectly matched opposites. We both wanted on the rock so bad we could taste it. We just took two entirely different approaches to get there. Rachel wallowed, climbed, and rolled around; Hilary took very calculated and perfectly placed footsteps to achieve the goal. Another life lesson: It does not matter how you get there, as long as you work to reach your goals, you will be successful!
We had taken in all the sights, splashed in the water, climbed all the rocks, and decided our time here in the cave was coming to an end. It was wonderful to take in the cool air and feel the cold rushing water. We felt accomplished. We felt our bodies needed the physical activity after being kept in the house for so long. It was a good day.
We climbed our way out of middle earth and started back down the trail. We laughed and reminisced about our amazing weekend. Rachel was leading the way out, head down, listening to Hilary tell a wonderfully risque story when Rachel not so calmly interrupted her with the word, “SNAKE!!!!!”
About three footsteps ahead, a snake slithered across the trail. No questions were asked. We both started HIGH STEPPING It back the other direction. This was all the while Hilary was screaming, “IS IT A BLACK RACER?! IS IT CHASING US?! THEY ARE SO FAST! RACHEL, IS IT CHASING US?!!”
Rachel could not help but just ignore everything Hilary said until she knew they were a good thirty yards away and out of harm’s way! Then we both just started laughing uncontrollably. It never fails, no matter where we go together, there is always going to be memories we made forever!
After picking up a stick and braving our way back down the trail to see if Mr. Snakey had slithered out of the way, we found ourselves safely back at our car. A day of hiking was in the books. And now… our next stop…. ARUBA!
This weeks blog post is brought to you by two tired cousins! This is our honesty post. Our ugly post. Our reality check post.
The luster from our Jamaica trip has officially worn away. With last week’s blog post it really hits home that our trip is over. All good things must come to an end right? Speaking of things coming to an end, Hilary learned just last week that it is “much easier to break up with a new boyfriend if he lives in another country!” 😉
When travels are over there seems to be a lull in all the fun and excitement. And that is OKAY! However, we are coming to you from a very transparent point of view…. We are hella tired. We are tired because we WORK ALL THE DAMN TIME in order to make our finances work for our next adventure! It may seem very lavish that we are traveling several times throughout the year to exotic destinations, but we promise it does not come without a price.
Admittedly though, if we can do it so can you! Hilary works over 180 hours bi-weekly! Rachel is a teacher AND a waitress. There are days where Hilary works from 7 in the morning well on over into the morning hours. The same goes for Rachel, from the time the school bell rings until well after the dinner bell she is working non stop. We do this because we want – NEED – to travel. At the end of the day if it is important to you, you will make a way, if it’s not important to you, then you will make an excuse.
We’ve found this notion doesn’t just apply to traveling. It also applies to saving money, or losing weight, or dating someone. If you want to, you will. End of discussion.
If you want to lose weight, you will work out.
If you want to save money, you won’t buy the new dress.
If they want to talk to you, they will.
All of the statements… all of the truths. Traveling has helped us develop our philosophies in all areas of our lives.
This idea that “You will do what is important to you” is what keeps us both running on fumes a lot of the time. After working a long four hour case with no bathroom break or so much as a drink of water, Hilary knows that it is just a few short weeks until she can bask in the Aruban sunshine.
When Rachel has answered the same question for the 34th time that day, she knows that her toes will soon be in the desert sand of the tiny island. We use traveling as our motivation. As our inspiration. As our fuel to push forward into life.
Here is one thing we know about life so far. Life sucks. Work sucks. Bills suck. Getting called in at 2:00 a.m. and finding out it is your shift that has to close down the restaurant REALLY FREAKING SUCKS. Laundry sucks. Taking out the trash sucks. Having cracked heels sucks. Having a wild chin hair sucks. Getting your tag renewed sucks. There are lots of things in our life that SUCKS! We bear them, we endure them, we mundanely walk to the end of the road and throw the trash into the can. All because laying on the beach does not suck.
Feeling the sun tingle on your skin doesn’t suck. Waking up whenever you want on vacation with no alarm clock doesn’t suck. Feeling your taste buds wonder around the new food in your mouth doesn’t suck. Fitting into last year’s bathing suit doesn’t suck. Seeing the sunset behind the palm trees doesn’t suck. Making new friends doesn’t suck. Falling asleep in a hammock doesn’t suck.(Speaking of which, if you are looking for a nice new hammock you can get yourself one here by using our link!) Laughing with your best friend at 2:00 a.m. doesn’t suck, and knowing you will always have someone to help pick you up when you are down….doesn’t suck.
You can’t have one suck without the other, okay….. We embrace the sucky parts in our life. In a sense we enjoying the sucky parts (like working) because we understand that the equation to happiness is more traveling. So the more we work, the more we can travel. The more sucky parts = the more not sucky parts! We aren’t in Jamaica right now floating down the river on an intertube. We are at work saving lives and teaching humans on little sleep, and you know what… it is hard and a little bit sucky. However, the healthy patient and the bright student make it a little more bearable. We are both lucky enough to have jobs that make a difference in people’s lives. We are lifechangers, and that doesn’t suck. Also… it pays… WILL WORK FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES!!!!!!!!
We are working for financial freedom and also to find ourselves in this big vast world. We are testing our limits and plowing through boundaries we always thought we would have. We surprise ourselves every day with what we accomplish. But we warn you… it is not pretty.
There are tears because when we are tired we are both overly emotional, and frustration from constantly feeling worn out between our trips, and delirious laughing because we often wonder why we are even doing this to ourselves. Yet, we know deep down that it will all be worth it. The sunsets, the sunrises, the feel of the new air, the taste of the food… It will all be worth it. Getting to share all these moments with all of you makes it worth it. Getting to experience all of the new things life has to offer us is challenging, but so very rewarding!
The Carry On Cousins go INTERNATIONAL! Just when we thought the world was not ready for us… the world quickly showed us we were not ready for it! This was a life changing experience for us in so many ways. We learned so much in just a short week. We learned about another culture, different food, different landscape, different people, and even about ourselves. As we embarked on this journey through Jamaica we were thinking about you guys, our readers, and how we could capture our beautiful moments in order to allow you to see what you could expect if you ever visited there.
So, we are prefacing our next few post with this statement: Our writing and pictures will never even almost live up to what we experienced. We will not be able to deliver to you the taste, the sounds, the sights, or the emotions we experienced. We ask you to read our post with one purpose, and that purpose is to help you book your next trip. It does not have to be to Jamaica, but you have to travel. You have to go and experience something new in your life.
Now, let us begin with the fact that an international flight is an experience all of its own. TSA can be scary, but we promise if our Momma’s can do it, you can too! 🙂 Hilary and Becky flew to Jamaica and got the party started on Saturday. Rachel and Susie followed closely behind arriving on Sunday. Our meeting in the lobby looked as if we had not seen each other in years. When it had only been the weekend before that we were sitting on the front porch laughing that the next time we saw each other would be in another country. Needless to say, it was the longest week of our lives!
After everyone was accounted for in Jamaica, we got a slow relaxing start. We got situated in our rooms and then quickly made sure we got our money’s worth from the all inclusive package! However, we must admit, day one we were not in the best head space. It is almost shameful to admit that we were in a new country on a trip we had been looking so forward to, yet we were still feeling a bit down and out. Honestly, there were Itty bitty bikinis and abs walking around everywhere it seemed, and by the end of the night we found ourselves throwing a pity party on the beach by ourselves. The beach was empty and we were just sitting there talking over our own insecurities. We were talking about fears and how our life may not turn out the way we thought it would. We think it is important to note that while in the pictures we are all smiles, there were definitely tears on this trip. We want you all to know that we often experience this on night one of our travels. It is almost like we experience a little bit of culture shock in a way. This is the residual effect of pushing oneself out of the comfort zone. It was not that we were sad and depressed but rather, a little uncomfortable in our new place. However, whether it is tears or the ocean, the salt water is the key to healing.
And with that notion, we did some self validation and began to say how thankful we were to have this opportunity. We began to talk about how we were going to try and make this the best trip EVER and….. just about that time, there was a loud POP of a champagne bottle behind us in the distance. This beautiful couple was having a private catered dinner behind us. We two single ladies rolled our eyes so far back into our heads and just laughed until we cried. The irony of the situation was undeniable. Our life is a comedy movie and yall are just getting to watch it unfold! We decided to let the couple have their privacy and headed to our room for the night.
We felt better the next morning by visiting the place where all the drinks (coke, sprite, and water, of course) were served all day free of charge! It got our spirits lifted and our inhibitions lowered! We had not been together for more than twenty four hours before we already needed a nap to calm us down from all those Cokes and Sprites we drank! The guys behind the counter really know how to work those fountain drinks, let us tell you!
It was on day two that we booked all of our excursions and the good times of exploring and learning really began to roll now that our “spirits” were taken care of! We spent the rest of the day sleeping and soaking in the sun.
Tuesday morning came early with an all day excursion! We were off to hike the infamous Dunns River Falls, spend some time on a private beach with food and drinks for lunch, then tubing down the White River. You can check out more details on booking your own tour here.
Keep in mind, cruise ships dock on Wednesdays causing a rush of crowds.
We hopped on a 25 passenger bus with our driver, Randy, and our tour guide, Yanice. They provided safe travels and stories and tales of the country and the excursions we would be doing that day. They gave us interesting facts and information about local way of life, food, and government there on the island. For example Ochos Rios stands for eight rivers. The river we floated down there is called White River because of all the limestone rocks. When the water washes over the limestone the water turns a milky white! Limestone is also a big export for Jamaica, as well! We played a little Jamaican trivia long our ride to Ochos Rios, and admittedly, Rachel loved every minute of it! (And yes, of course, Rachel knew the answers to every question, just like the studious teacher she is.) Randy and Yanice made our ride very enjoyable with their charismatic and warm nature. We do want to inform you that when you book these tours you will be making a few stops at other hotels to pick up passengers along the way. So, understand that while it may only take thirty minutes to drive straight to your destination, your ride may be a little (or a lot) longer depending on where your hotel is located and how many people will be traveling on the bus with you. However, with the “more the merrier” attitude you will enjoy getting to converse with the passengers and the guides, as well.
When we arrived to Dunns River Falls, we were not exactly sure what was in store for us. We had seen pictures and watched videos but nothing quite prepared us for the journey ahead! We were under the impression we’d be hiking more alongside the falls, but no. You go right up the middle of a 950 foot tiered aqua blue waterfall! This was a beautiful and challenging experience! There were kids and grannies alike attempting to climb up the wet rocks and flowing water but we warn… this is not for the faint of heart or for the weak ankles! Speaking of ankles, your footwear is very important. Online and at the Dunn’s River Falls they will recommend water shoes, however, we saw many people losing their footwear because of the rushing water. We both had on waterproof sandals that had straps we could tighten to our comfort. The ability to tighten our shoes made us feel as if our footing was more secure and we didn’t lose our footing or our shoes like some of the other hikers. Rachel had on Teva’s and Hilary had on Chacos.
Now our mommas set this one out, and let’s be honest, we were all glad they did! We had an amazing time, however, you hike the falls with a group of twenty or so while holding hands to work your way up the falls. Since you have to hold hands to help push and pull the group along the rocks, it is advised to get between some folks of the same ability as you or else you’ll find yourself feeling more like Stretch Armstrong!
After the exhilarating hike, we traveled a short ways to the private beach. Here we splurged for an upgrade, and it was well worth it! We had long layout chairs on the beach instead of the regular chairs like the others. We also had unlimited drinks and much more succulent food! We had an appetizer, a festival ( a corn fritter like roll that is AMAZING), a main course that consisted of jerk chicken AND lobster tail. We were also treated to a little strawberry puff dessert. There was a small place to purchase Jamaican goodies, as well. However, we knew we would be going on a shopping tour the next day, so we opted to save our money here. The beach was very scenic and had great photo ops!
After filling up on the food and drinks, we headed to another gift shop for a prompt tasting of the famous Blue Mountain Coffee. Here we got to see all the school kids walking home from their day at school. Since Jamaica was a British colony until 1962, the schools adopted some of their traditions. For example, they are required to wear uniforms, and it was quite a site to see all the youngins!
We then headed to the river for tubing! It was absolutely so much fun just rolling on the river! Our water guide was very energetic and personable! It was adrenaline filled on the little rapids with lots of laughs and absolutely relaxing at the same time! Even though this was considered a “touristy” activity, there were locals swimming in the river that interacted with us and made us feel like we belonged. We floated about two miles down the river before taking a boat pulled raft out into the ocean where the sun was setting. Our bus was waiting on us on the beach.
By the time we arrived back to our resort we were definitely in need of some R&R! We had a morning shopping tour the next day. We had dinner at the buffet at our resort and turned in for the night.
It was only three days into our trip and we had all experienced once in a lifetime thrills! We learned so much about the country! Randy and Yanice made us feel as if we had become a local by the end of the day by teaching us a little Patwah (the Jamaican dialect) and sayings like “Ya Mon”. We found out that in Jamaica there is no such thing as a problem but only “situations”. We decided to adopt that notion for the rest of our lives! Everyone has situations in life that that are hard. We think of them as problems that cannot be overcome, but the truth is that when you really pick them apart they are just situations that have solutions and answers. When we saw how far we would have to climb up the falls, we thought we had a problem! While scanning the waterfalls for quick and easy exits, we pushed through, and standing at the top looking down at the lush greenery and falling water we knew that we had just accomplished a great feat! It was a rewarding day filled with lots of water which means a whole lot of fun because in Jamaica they say, “No wet, no fun!”
We still have four more days to conquer in Jamaica, so stay tuned! We are only getting started! Next week’s post you will get to see what shopping in Jamaica is like! Also, we will show you all what it’s like on the inside of a local Jerk restaurant!
This is the first trip that we took just for the purpose of helping you, our loyal readers, to become travelers as well. With that, this post presented itself as a real challenge to us. We decided that Memphis was the place to visit because it was a new city for both of us. It was also doable in a weekend’s time, and better yet, we spent LESS than $200 for the whole entire trip! We are gonna show you how you can do it, too!
Memphis was new territory for both of us. Unsure of what to expect, we set out to find as much information we could in just a few days time. We asked around to our friends, family, and coworkers for advice on what to do while we were there. We are going to be explicitly honest with y’all. We were given crime rate statistics, warnings, and advice on how unsafe the city could be. We don’t want to be the type of people who judge a book by its cover, but this did persuade us to book a quiet airbnb about thirty minutes outside of the city to ensure that our sleeping quarters would be safe for the night. (The airbnb went above and beyond our expectations. More on the details of the cottage later) However, despite all of the the information paraded around us about being safe, we never once felt like we ever in harm’s way.
The night before we discussed our plans and concerns. In order to cool both of our anxieties about the city we laughingly joked… you have never seen a big ol’ gal who has gone missing, much less two of them. So, we reminded ourselves to put on our big girl panties and go live our big girl life. We made smart decisions by never separating from each other, watching our drinks when we were on Beale Street, and staying in the well lit areas of the street and parking garages.
We started our trip early on Saturday morning around 6:30, and was out the door around 7:30. It would have been sooner, but first…. Lemme get an egg sammich. Hilary is an egg sammich making machine!!! This is just one way we saved ourselves $6-$8 on eating breakfast on the go. We had our carry-ons loaded down in the car along with a small little cooler bag with drinks and snacks. Again, cutting down cost on gas station snacks and fast food is a great way to save money on weekend trips. The money adds up quick resulting in a savings of around fifty bucks or more by the end of the weekend.
We had about a three and a half hour drive between where we are in North Alabama and Memphis. We were headed straight into the city to explore before heading to our Airbnb. Our check in was not until 3:00 that afternoon. Also, if you are headed from North Alabama to Memphis, the directions are really easy. Go to Decatur, turn right, and keep going until you see the Old Muddy Water Mississippi RIVER! We felt as if we became delirious because we stayed on the same road for so F$@%^#$^ long!
After lots of music, laughs, discussions, phone calls to jealous friends and family, and all the packed snacks we arrived at our first stop: The Lorraine Motel and The National Civil Rights Museum. This is where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Located at 450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103. It was absolutely the highlight of the trip. Tickets where only $16 and gave us access to two buildings. Honestly, it probably deserves its own post because it is so much more than a museum.
It is an experience that every American should partake in. WARNING: We UGLY cried more than once. If you do one thing in Memphis, DO THIS. We had arrived at the museum around 11:00. We finished everything the Museum had to offer around 12:45. We allotted ourselves two hours here and it was perfect. If you had a larger group or smaller children we would recommend a little bit longer. Also, by the time we were leaving the crowd had grown significantly.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. paved a way as a martyr for the Civil Rights movement here in America. To even begin to write about him in this post is quite the honor, and a great task.
We had the opportunity to travel to Memphis, Tennessee just before MLK’s birthday. What we saw here while we were on our little weekend trip was life changing. We don’t mean it was interesting, or inspiring, or great, but in so many ways it absolutely changed our lives, our mindset, and our beliefs.
We want to note that before we continue to write about our experience and thoughts here, we want you all to know that we understand there is still unjust and unfair treatment in the world today. Right in our very own cities and towns, we see things that are unfair. People mistreating other people due to their race, sex, or beliefs. In the true spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we want to approach this topic with love, empathy, and respect for everyone.
The quick planning of the trip lead us to the National Civil Rights Museum for many reasons. The Civil Rights movement is associated with the 60’s but we feel like the movement has continued on into a part of our generation, as well. In our society today, we still see police brutality and unjust treatment of people of a different race or ethnicity.
When we arrived to the museum we were excited with anticipation of getting to get out and stretch our legs after being in the car for over three hours. We knew the museum would be great because of the reviews we had scanned over on the way there. However, neither of us had an inkling of what we would experience on the other side of those doors.
The time is always right to do what it is right. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Upon walking into the exhibit, we both felt a swarm of shame, embarrassment, and even guilt. The first exhibit we encountered was the depiction of the “Middle Passage”. The slave trade was where it all began. To know that human beings had to endure such cruelty and filth was unimaginable. To read about it in school or to even study it in college, as Rachel did, it still was not as real as seeing it before in your own eyes.
We made our way throughout the rest of the museum almost in silence while reading and watching different clips and seeing the harsh reality that was our nation’s history. The stories of lynchings, bombings, protest and murders left us without words and in moments, without breath. There were replicas of the busses, of the sit ins, and of the peaceful protest. All bringing and pulling tears to the surface of our eyes. It was toward the end that there was a short documentary playing on a loop that pulled the tears past the surface and streaming down our faces.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the speech to the congregation at the Mason Temple in Memphis. The night of April 3rd, MLK did not believe there would be many people to turn out for the rally due to the weather; however, he was mistaken. After receiving a phone call that the house was packed, he went to deliver a speech he had not written.
Unbeknownst to the world, this would be his last speech. Yet, if you listen to him speak, he may have known this would be the last time he would ever speak to the public again. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed just a day later around 6 pm on April 4th.
In his speech, he is quoted saying how he wished that he could live a long and prosperous life, but if he didn’t get to he was at peace with it all. He quoted death more in this speech than any other he had delivered. It was if he knew his own fate was quickly approaching.
After watching the documentary and sitting in utter silence with tears streaming down our face, the reality of his fate was lying just on the other side of the door we had entered. We got to see the hotel room, just as it was the day MLK was assassinated; the blankets on the bed lie unmade, the ashtray still filled with crushed cigarettes, the newspaper lying on the table. Looking out the window where a wreath marked the spot that he became a martyr.
The impact of his death was felt far and wide. The stress of the incident even caused the owner of the Lorraine Motel, Loree Bailey, to lapse into a coma. She died five days later.
As we looked out across the street at where James Earl Ray shot and killed MLK, it was weary and sorrowful. An experience we will never forget. It felt like just standing in the walkways we could hear MLK calling us into action. Calling us to speak out, and give a damn about the injustice that so many people still face today. We are not sure that we can stand up and cause a movement as large as he did, but we know without a shadow of a doubt we can make a difference, even if it is just by being nice and showing love to everyone we meet.
Located just across the street from the National Civil Rights Museum was Central BBQ. Important Note: There was a line here… out the door kinda line. Long lines typically mean good food. We both were not feeling too hungry after what we had just witnessed at the museum. Jointly, we decided to cross off a few more things before shooting for a late lunch. We were hoping the pig lovers would have eaten and gotten out our way way by two or three o’clock. Hilary and I are a lot of things, but patient isn’t really one of them. This is one way we are very much alike.
We traveled just about two miles down the road to Sun Studios. You can find the studio nestled on 706 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103.
It is rumored by Marc Cohn that you can see the ghost of Elvis somewhere on this road. Rachel was so excited to get there, and was looking at all the scenery that she blew a red light (Sorry Mom and Dad that I left out this detail when we talked later). Thankfully no one was harmed in the making of this road trip or blog. The Sun Studio has FREE PARKING located at the back of the building. We didn’t know until after we parked two blocks away. However, it was free street parking, so we are not complaining about anything but walking in the cold.
The Sun Studio is the recording studio famous for hosting people like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and many more. The tickets were only $14 dollars a piece for a tour that was set to start in just 15 minutes. We opted out of the tour and just explored the lounge, snapped some pics, and fingered through all the merch they had for sale before moving on. We recommend this spot 10/10 stars for instagrammable pics!
Less than a mile down the road is the Peabody Hotel, located on 149 Union Ave. Here we paid $8 for parking just a block from the famous hotel. There were several options to eat down the little side street, from Subway to a fancy Italian Steakhouse, and even a Mexican restaurant. The Hotel was so elegant and would be a wonderful place to sit for a bit if you needed some time to fill. There was ample spots for people…. And DUCK… watching. The hotel is notorious for the famous duckies. At 11 am in the morning, they are ushered down the red carpet to the fountain where you can view them all day until later than night. It gets really crowded when they are ushered on the red carpet, so we opted to view them a little later in the day to avoid the large crowd. If you got some kiddos with you, this might be something you’d want to do. However, heed the warning and get there early for a good spot!
After the duck viewing, THE TIME HAD COME… WE. WERE. HUNGRY! So, we took the two mile drive back to the Central BBQ joint…or as Hilary called it, “The Big Beautiful Blue Building” The alliteration almost brought a proud tear to Rachel’s English teacher’s heart.
Here, Rachel had the rib plate. When in Memphis right? The meal cost $19.93, which is a fair price for good ribs, also the year Rachel was born. A coincidence? We think not. Rachel ordered them half dry rub, and half wet. We sampled both sides and as the amateur food critics we are, we deemed the wet side as the best side (In Rachel and Hilary’s best “Remember the Titans” voice, “WET SIDE!!!…… STRONNNG SIDE!!!!) Hilary had the pulled pork sammich with some bomb baked beans! Afterwards, she ordered the meat and cheese appetizer to go. It was a great to snack on in the evening.
Also, speaking of food critics, guess who popped into Central while we were eating there???? Joe and Kendall from Bachelor in Paradise!!!!! Rachel was caught off guard by Hilary’s jaw dropped expression, and pretended she knew who they were. Hilary watches every episode of the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, and every other spinoff. To say she had a small meltdown was an understatement.
After eating all the bbq, all the sides, and drinking all the soda, we were feeling a little guilty about our gluttony. We made our way to the Mississippi River Walking Bridge.
It was a good idea in theory. A terrible idea in implementation. It was freezing balls cold outside, but we wanted to give you, the reader, the real experience. It was so cold that we were hurting. We were going to rent and ride bicycles across the bridge, but the snazzy phone app was complicated. It hurt too much to have our hands out of our pockets, BUT, being the badasses that we are, we still had to walk on it just to prove we did it. We made it, maybe… and that is a hard maybe. A tenth of a mile onto the bridge we snapped a couple of “for proof” pics and walked a brisk and winey walk back to the car. Unless you’re looking for an actual workout, save yourself the walk and just drive over the damn bridge. Nothing to see here, folks; keep moving!
The walking bridge extravaganza pushed us to our breaking point for the morning and we were ready to scadoodle on to our airbnb for a scheduled nap. Around 4:00, we put our gps on the airbnb address and pointed our car in that direction. We could not wait to get in a solid nap before going out to experiencing more of Memphis’s nightlife later.
I mean, honestly, even after two blog post, do you think driving to our airbnb and taking a nap is what happend? Make your predictions of what happens next in our comments section! Then stay tuned for next week’s post on how you can finish out the Memphis trip in under $200!
Today we set off in our backyard… well not really. We travelled just a ways up the road to Desoto State Park located atop Lookout Mountain. The past week had freezing temperatures of 18 degrees! However, today, the second of February, it was a whopping 65 degrees in north Alabama. With cabin fever settling in just a day before, we both needed the vitamin D brought by the big ball of fire in the sky. We headed to the dusty trail. Just kidding.There were parts that were soaking wet (Rachel will have more details on that in the video we post).
The trail started at a pretty steep decline of dry brown leaves and quickly became a scenery of lush green as we neared the falls. The water that begins in Desoto State Park leads its way into Little River Canyon. There are so many little trickles of waterfalls both big and small. As we treaded down the small narrow paths we spent time catching up on the week past. Hilary was just back from a work trip to San Diego, and Rachel had spent the first part of the week enjoying time off because of the snow days! The previous weekend we had spent together in Nashville, Tennessee! There were lots of reminiscing about our wild night on Broadway and tales of new experiences in San Diego.
After a short walk across an adorable little bridge, we came to an overlook. Now, something you should know about us is that we both love to live our lives on the edge, so this is exactly what we did. We climbed onto the overhang to let our legs drift in the air over a fifty foot drop! We were sure to keep our booties firmly planted so we couldn’t fall off. Shout out to our mommas for what they gave us! They would not be happy with our ideas to hang our legs off the cliff, but they do love how our relationship has grown so much over the past couple of years. Also, pro tip: always bring snacks! We were feeling earthy, so we shared gummy worms. It just felt right.
At this point we were only about halfway to our destination. We packed up all of our snacks like good hikers do, and saddled up for the rest of the hike. We followed the trail that lead to some marshy like conditions. It would not be until we returned on our way back that Rachel would find herself on a slippery slope. When we finally took the last hop onto the smooth rocks, the rushing water from the falls were revealed. The sun was shining brightly without a cloud in sight, an extreme contrast to just 48 hours ago. We slipped off our shoes like the little Indian girls we are. Feeling the earth below our feet helped center our minds and our bodies. We spent the next hour laying on the rocks, snapping gorgeous pictures of the scenery, and enjoying the serenity of the water rushing along the river bed.
The sun was drawing closer to the tree lines and unfortunately the temperature was dropping. We packed up once again and began on our hike back to our car. Rachel, the calculated confident thing she is, decided to comment on how well she was avoiding the marshy and wet parts of the trail. Shortly after, Karma felt it was necessary to bring her back to the reality in the worse way. One wet rock and down she went. Hilary, the sarcastic empathetic thing she is, laughed and tried to ask if Rachel needed a hand. We had to take a moment to document about how wet Rachel’s momma given booty was after the fall. The wet shorts and shirt did NOT stop us from stopping by the local ice cream shop on our way home, though. We highly recommend that if you ever find yourself close to Desoto State Park you stop in and see Mildred, the sweetest woman you will ever know, at the Parkway Ice Cream Shop!
As we were sitting outside at the picnic table, lapping up our ice cream cones (Rachel had classic chocolate and Hilary made the solid choice of cookies-n-cream) we began talking about all of our fun times and sparked together this great idea: A BLOG! It is a running joke that Hilary does not have the best memory, and Rachel’s brainspace can only hold so much. We needed a place to store our adventures, so here we are!. This blog will act as our memory! Providing us with flashbacks to our favorite moments in our life. While we do love to travel, we want to encompass all of our favorite parts of our life as well.
We are not alike in many ways. We bring to the table different perspectives, different clothing styles, different talents, and many different preferences across the board. We believe that is what makes us so unique. We are so different, but we get along and work so well together in all kinds of situations… and we do mean ALL KINDS. Our ability to do so comes from our fundamental similarities. For example, we both are either flaming hot or ice cold. We are passionate about the matter with all of our being or express no interest at all. We give ourselves to our hobbies, relationships, and goals 100%, This allows us to chase after our adventures wholeheartedly. So watch out world, we have our carry on packed and we are ready to see the world through all new lenses!