Monday, August 18, 2014

The Journey Will Have Splurges

It seems like forever since I posted.  I have missed you, blog :)  We took a little vacation - road trip to Nashville, TN with an add on stop in Paducah, KY.  We had passed through both places at different times in our lives, but had never stopped either to explore. We enjoyed just meandering and stopping to check out whatever interested us. We were thrilled to have our niece and nephew join us on this adventure.

This is probably not the best thing to report on a weigh loss blog, but here is my confession. I ended up just eating pretty much what I wanted and not logging much of it.  I most definitely went over my calorie limits, but I don't think I went completely crazy. The truth is a weight loss blog is as much a life blog as anything else. I believe weight loss is about balancing it with life. So here goes...

There might have been ice cream. Notice I did choose a picture that doesn't actually implicate me.

There might have been pizza. We tried "authentic" New York Style pizza in Kentucky :)  They forgot our pepperoni, so they ended up making us another pizza and told us to keep the first.  Just what we needed.  Good thing it was our last stop before heading home, so we could take home the leftovers. We brought back almost a whole pizza to share.

There might have been a chocolate factory.  They were actually closed, but when I called the week before we went to get information they told me to call when we were in town and they would let us in. How nice is that??  We couldn't tour the factory, but got some peeks through the windows.  We watched the cocoa bean grinder squeeze the chocolate out of the beans. The owner/chef talked to us for about half an hour. Gave us lots of interesting information and...samples!  We sampled Mexican chocolate, white chocolate with salt and pepper, smores chacuterie (chocolate salami).  Olive and Sinclair - check them out.

We enjoyed our goodies, but we did manage to work off some of those calories. For the very first time in my entire life I worked out in a hotel fitness room.  There was another woman in there working out at 5:30 a.m. After reading all the great blogs lately, I couldn't help but wonder about her story. Was she on vacation and trying to keep up with her weight loss goals or was she just trying to get in some activity while traveling for work?  Either way she was wearing a cute workout outfit.  Made me think I might want to reward myself with some cute workout clothes.

I bought my husband this t-shirt a few weeks ago.  It made me smile to see him working out in it.

I think the highlight of our trip was kayaking on the Harpeth River. The river was pretty low. I only got stuck a couple of times and I was able to get free without getting out of the kayak.  There was a point on our 11 mile (yes, ELEVEN miles) kayak trip that I thought "after this I can eat anything I want!!!"

Truth be told the van/trailer had barely left us at the put in point and I almost had a meltdown. I paddled about a 100 yards and thought there is no way I was going to be able to do 11 miles. Once I got the hang of it I pulled myself together and paddled away.

Taking a break... I was the only one in our group who never got of the kayak during the 4 hour journey.  I was afraid I would tip over :)

Dodging cows.... We were a little nervous when we first paddled up to them, but they could not have cared less about us. I suspect it wasn't their first river rodeo :)

In general, I am not a big fan of snakes, but swimming snakes terrify me a little bit.  Even seeing them swimming in tanks at the zoo makes my skin crawl and my heart palpitate.  I am a decent distance from this log - zooming and cropping is the only way I could have gotten this picture.  Seriously, I can't believe I even slowed down to try to get a picture - maybe because it wasn't in the water at that very moment.

By mile 8 or 9 of the kayaking we were so ready for it to be over. My arms were killing me - even into the evening. I thought for sure I wouldn't be able to use them for days.  By the next day they felt fine. The only pain I felt was in my midsection - like I'd been doing ab work. That lasted a couple days. I didn't mind too much because it made me remember how proud I was to have completed our kayak trip. Four hours of kayaking - seriously, I did that :)

My apologies for any slow loading because of all the pictures, but I can't resist sharing some more pictures from our adventures.

First a few from Nashville.

Cumberland River - downtown Nashville.

Union Station.  We enjoyed watching the trains.  I couldn't help but think about action movies where people escape by jumping off a bridge onto the top of a train and it carries them away. We didn't try it :)
My nephew working on his "skateboard in every state goal" - 5 down 45 to go!
Only full size replica of the Parthenon.  Originally built for Nashville's Centennial celebration in 1897 it was reconstructed years later.  Buildings  for the celebration were only intended to last for about 6 months.
Athena (goddess of wisdom) inside the Parthenon.  She is 41 feet tall and covered in gold leaf.  She is holding Nike (goddess of victory)
Farmer's Market - we were not there on a prime market day but there was still plenty to choose from - we bought peaches and corn to bring home.
Not a big eggplant eater but these were so beautiful I had to get a picture.
We headed home from Nashville by way of Paducah, KY.  We chose a route that took us between Kentucky and Barkley Lakes - the area is called "land between the lakes."  We didn't have much time to explore this area - I definitely want to go back.  Next time we will have to see a little more of the water and try some sailboating. We also saw an advertisement for a sunset kayak romantic would that be??

Kentucky Lake.
Even though we didn't get to enjoy the water we did find some cool things. There are a couple super helpful visitor centers in the area. We drove through a elk and bison prairie.  Unfortunately, most of them were hiding in the trees. Turns out they are more active in the morning and evening - we were there mid-afternoon. The visitor center staff pointed us in the direction of the Nature Station.  We enjoyed visiting several native animals that were being rehabilitated or could not be re-released due to having imprinted on humans. 

We caught an owl/hawk talk.  We got a close up of several owls.
Barn Owl.
Red-tailed hawk.  They can spot a mouse one mile away than swoop in at 100 mph - poor mouse dead on impact :(
Family of red wolves.  Pup was born in May.  Father is with them too, but not pictured here.
A nice surprise on our trip was Paducah, Kentucky. Originally, we planned on spending another night in Nashville. Due to some hotel issues, we decided to spend our last night in Paducah. The riverfront was very accessible and the rivers were beautiful.

Confluence of the Ohio River (left) and Tennessee River (right).
Racing uphill from the river to the river wall - always a competition between these two.  To spare my husband's feelings I am not including a picture of the end of the race :)
The flood wall had 50 murals painted along it depicting Paducah's history.  I  wanted to photograph them all.
Mural close up - Fire Department.
If you ever get a chance to visit, we highly recommend the National Quilt Museum. The quilts are truly works of art.  So many different styles.  My husband fell in love with one based on the Lord of the Rings. This picture doesn't do it justice, but gives you an idea.

The worst part about the quilt museum was not that we were the youngest people there, but that we weren't allowed to take pictures in the gallery.  They were very clear about that.  However, this quilt was in a conference room off the lobby. I didn't realize the conference room was also off limits for pictures until after I had taken this picture...ooops!  Of course, I didn't erase it and now I am sharing.  Please don't turn me in. This quilt is made entirely of WOOD then painted. More examples of the artist's work.  Incredible!

Last stop, Metropolis, IL (home of Superman) - just across the river from Paducah. 

Final picture...try not to drool over my husband's amazing weight loss and fitness transformation. 

We had a fun adventure.  Although we didn't stick to our calories on the trip, we were pretty active. I don't think the vacation adversely affected my weight loss.  To be honest, even if it did, I know that this is the way I am going to live my life. There will be splurges, but part of me is glad though to be back in the routine.  Happy to be finding the balance.


  1. Wow, what a fun trip! Glad you were able to enjoy yourself so much. LOVE that you kicked that kayak's butt!

    1. It was fun :) I am pretty proud of the kayaking especially after my shaky start.

  2. Wow what a fun trip! Way to go with that Kayaking! Geez, 4 hours!? That's impressive! I'd love to checkout Metropolis, IL. That looks like a lot of fun. Glad you enjoyed your trip and don't stress out about too many calories, you guys had a great trip and made some wonderful memories. In the end that's the most important thing. :)

    1. I know, right? 4 hours is ridiculous. It was nice to relax, enjoy some good food and fun activities. I hope it is a trip the kids will always remember.