Well today was another slow morning running behind -we had to skip the donut plan and have cereal again. But when we called Mike, we were relieved to hear that the van was finished - the brakes that burned out on Sassafras Mountain were fixed and ready to go again. So we finally headed out to Pisgah late - after 11 - and Bella fell asleep in short order. But guess what I forgot in spite of thinking about it, checking, and rechecking things? Mmmhmm. My camera. Those of you that know me well, know what a tragedy this was. We were headed to the mountains and waterfalls with no camera.
So when we reached Brevard, we tried to figure out where to get a camera and what kind. Without digital capability, pictures are no longer very useful to me - I can't share them with you, for example, or use them as my facebook profile pic :^). So I decide that Kmart will probably have something.
How wrong I was. I looked, and tried to figure things out. They called a pharmacy and said that they were told that regular photos (form a disposable) could be put on digital disc. But I thought an inexpensive digital camera to the tune of $20 might be a bargain. I'd save all of those developing fees, and even if I didn't have high resolution for large images, I'd still have digital pics, and Ethan would have yet another camera to replace the ones he send through the washing machine. Win, win, right?
No, this is my life we're talking about. I had the presence of mind to ask the clerk to open the package after I'd paid for it, just to make sure it was going to work. It came with battery and internal memory. But guess what? After I open the package I read that once the battery blink that it is low, you must immediately download the image to your computer, because if the battery dies the photos will all be lost. And if you change the batteries, they'll be lost. Seriously?? Who designs this stuff? So I head straight to the return desk, and, admitting defeat, head back out to the van to request a trip to Walgreen's after all.
Only to find a smoking and whirring van and a very unhappy husband. It appears that the radiator has blown. Nice. Our mechanic assure us by phone that we should be just fine as long as we don't run the AC while going under 55mph. Okay. This is nuts, but we head to Walgreens where I buy what I should have bought to begin with. Disposable cameras, buy one get one free, that will, one day, be turned into digital pictures that I will add to this very long post.
A few minutes later, we've made it to the ranger station (and restrooms!). They have a wonderful gift shop where we allow the children to choose an animal. After much deliberation, Ethan chooses an owl, Anna a black bear, and I choose Bella a raccoon since she always had two constantly changing stuffed animals under her arms but raccoons seemed to be a recurring theme. Rosie had spent most of her time reading books, but really wanted me to get her a lip gloss necklace. I wasn't feeling that, so she was directed to a wildlife sticker book instead. Mommy got some postcards and her traditional vacation magnet - yay!
We finally made it to Looking Glass Falls, and the requested picnic there on the rocks. The children
waded, and Ethan of course fell in and was ready to go. Sadie had the good sense to stay out, Bella splashed her hands in the water, and Anna found rocks, one of her new interests.
She found beautiful rocks, but of course, it was a national forest, and she couldn't keep them. She was heartbroken, but we did get pictures. I need to find somewhere to accommodate this new hobby. She seems to find the best rocks in the forest, which is inevitably part of a state or national park.
Well the children changed and it was getting late, so we headed down the road to the wildlife center where we watched a film, saw the animals of the park, and fed the fish in the fish hatchery. They actually had an even more amazing gift shop there, but the only thing we bought were a few wildlife silly bands for Ethan.
Next we headed to Sliding Rock just to take a peak, and the children beggggeed to go down it, citing their age (7 and over) being right to do it alone, but they were turned down this time. We'll have to go back in a couple of years.
So we headed to the Moore Cove Falls trail. We definitely should have done this first as planned. The children loved it! It is a sheer falls with a deep cavern behind it with large rocks - the perfect place to play. The divided it into houses - until Rose had to pee. Of course, peeing in the forest is an awfully big adventure too...
We made it back to the van after a little bit of crankiness over children going ahead and not hearing and that kind of thing. And then the GPS... Have I ever told you how much I don't love the GPS? I've threatened to not ride in the van with it anymore. I have. I am the navigator. I print maps. I am good at my job. I know where I'm going, and if I don't I stop and ask for directions.
In GPS fiasco #1000, it took us on a seriously scenic route to Sonic. Everyone was starving. Except Bella, who'd given up and gone to sleep. Sonic, by the way, ended up being the second most expensive meal on vacation. Not exactly a bargain. But we finally finished eating and drove down the mountain back home, hoping the van would make it, which it did, so we tucked the older kids in bed after their baths, and the wide awake Bella danced to Glee.
The end. I'm tired.