After 40 days and 40 nights on the road, Kt and I arrived back in WPB late last night. Our reunion in DC was definitely bitter sweet as it meant I was leaving my family behind, I would get to see one of my best friends, but only for a few short hours, and our journey was coming to an end.
My time in Winchester was exactly what I needed: relaxing and comforting. I was able to spend some wonderful QT with my parents, Nana and extended family. There were outdoor concerts to jam, family reunions to attend, trails to hike and errands and car maintenance to get done.
Skyline Drive with my dad
After enjoying the small town of Winchester for a few days, I was starting to feel slightly out of place outside a National Park so my parents and I made a short trek to Shenandoah National Park for Skyline Drive and a short hike. Shenandoah is a beautiful park and so different than many of the others I'd seen. The mountains are thickly wooded and often foggy and provide a panoramic view of the valley my parents live in. We decided to hike up to Mary's Rock after being directed by a ranger to this "easy" hike. Though it was relatively short, easy would not be my description of it. The trail was rocky, steep and narrow through bear country (you can imagine my joy at the prospect of being attacked yet again) and met up with the Appalachian Trail about half way to the summit. My 57 year old parents completely amazed me as they charged the mountain leaving me to follow them in awe up the path. What can I say? My parents never cease to surprise me.
Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley
From the top
The 'rents after our hike
Meanwhile, Kt was in Philly with old friends for a mini-reunion and then traveled to New York where she conquered Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Coney Island and trapezing. Yes, trapezing.
After our week apart, we met in DC's Union Station to spend a few hours on the mall before meeting the fabulous Tara. We walked around the Washington Monument past the WWII monument and reflection pool to the Lincoln Memorial just in time to beat the approaching storm. Even after everything we'd seen, these landmarks still managed to impress us, not only with their magnitude, but also their historical significance. We returned to our car via the Vietnam Wall and after glimpsing the White House continued to Tara's (which was brick).
On the Mall
I'm afraid this may be the closest I'll over get to Obama...
It was wonderful to see Tara, and not just because we watched the premiere of the second season of Jersey Shore with her. Unfortunately, our time there was short and early the next morning we were back on the road, this time headed south towards Florida.
The long straight shot down 95 was a drive I was definitely dreading, but it actually was one of my favorites as we reflected on our time apart, and the impressions our trip has left on us. After a brief stop at South of the Border, we spiced the remainder of our drive up with some pretty pimp glasses and mind blowing caraoke.
We've seen the real ones, now onto the rest
New sunglasses for the ride home
(we're laughing because we couldn't get closer to each other with these monstrosities on)
Kt wailing NKOTB in a little caraoke
After 15 hours driving, we rolled into home sweet home where we were greeted by some of our favorite people (and cats).
There is still so much to be felt, thought and said in regards to this endless summer of sorts. At least that's what I hope it will become. Not just a crazy drive we did one time, but an inspiration to suck the marrow out of life, a reminder to value how beautiful our country is and a lens to shade our perspectives of the future. I could wax on for awhile, so for now I'll stop to instead digest quietly.
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"