South/Southeast Road Trip: Kentucky to North Carolina

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Four states down, five more to go! We’re still on our quest to visit all 50 states. This post gets us two more states!


By mid-morning, we had left Tennessee and reached Kentucky.


Continuing on to Kentucky, we continued to see a lot of nice farms. And, randomly, the Fruit of the Loom headquarters.


A friend had told us that the National Corvette Museum was worth a stop, so we decided to try it out since the boys seemed fairly interested. The boys were thrilled to be able to sit in a Corvette.

The videos were also quite nice. We particularly enjoyed one on how Corvettes are made.

With the hour time change, we decided it was time for lunch and stopped by the Wendy’s that was across the street from the museum. In retrospect, if we were going to get a fast food chain, we probably should have held out for Kentucky Fried Chicken. It would have been more appropriate.

We had been hoping to visit the Mammoth Cave National Park, but like the Clinton Library, were again thwarted by the government shutdown. At least we checked the status the night before, so it could have been worse. There were a lot of angry posts about people driving the narrow roads there and finding that they couldn’t go into the caves.

Continuing on, we passed by more scenic landscapes. It’s funny how Kentucky gets such a bad rap. It is really beautiful country.

So far, we have seen a ton of churches. It’s amazing how there can be a tiny town with three churches, all within a few blocks.


And the water towers are pretty cool too.


West Virginia

We were happy to make it to West Virginia by dusk. I missed getting a picture of the sign from the road, but fortunately there was a rest stop only a mile or two away that had a replica.


The boys played around a bit, we admired the Amazon Service Center that was across the street, Jeremy booked a hotel at the Country Inn and Suites in Charleston, and we got back on the road, enjoying a nighttime drive through the city. The capitol building and other landmarks were quite beautiful. The landscape likewise had lots of hills and river valleys, with homes tucked all over.


On arrival at the hotel, no one was particularly hungry, so we decided a swim was in order. The kids were delighted to get some time to splash around and make some noise, and I was delighted with the hot tub. The last few hotels had some outdoor pools, but they were drained and covered.

For dinner, we decided to continue our theme of southern fast food and decided to try Bojangles, which had some fabulous fried chicken. The guy at the counter asked where we were from – we were cheerfully informed that anyone who studies the menu for more than 30 seconds is from out of town. I guess we Californians can’t blend in.


On the way back, we saw a Kroger’s grocery store, which is a place I have always wanted to visit. While in college, a friend told us that her parents met at Kroger’s, that some of her other relatives met at Kroger’s, and that she was hoping to avoid the tradition of meeting her future spouse there. (Her version of the story really was much better than mine.) The boys were baffled by my giddy excitement, and upon entry, my hopes and dreams were dashed by the realization that Kroger’s is really just a grocery store.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

This morning the breakfast biscuits were disappointingly in a bread box rather than the piping hot warming machine, so I opted for toast. So sad. I still need to find some grits. A friend from North Carolina once tried to make me some, but she had never done it before and they didn’t turn out quite right. We kept adding bacon grease until they were likely to cause instant heart attack, but they were still no better. I really want to try the real thing.

We knew this was going to be a long day of driving, so we got on the road fairly quickly. The drive was really quite pretty and we spent some time quizzing the boys on state capitals.



Virginia is a state that all four of us have been to before, but only the area near Washington, D.C.


As we entered Virginia, we found it to be much more open and less forested than West Virginia and Kentucky.

The scenery was really beautiful. There were lots of rolling hills, a few rivers, and nice trees.

We still feel very fortunate to have nice weather. We can definitely see the soggy grass as evidence of the recent storms, and the forecast is for more storms as soon as we leave, but we have only had to use the windshield wipers to clear mist off the windows.

We also enjoyed passing by several patches of cows.

North Carolina

Then we hit North Carolina, which Jeremy and I have both been to independently, but which neither of the boys have been to.


I really love the trees in North Carolina. There is something about them that pulls at my heart and makes me long to live somewhere that has trees like these. I think it was about 5 years ago that I visited North Carolina on my own and upon return, tried to convince Jeremy to move there. Obviously, he was unconvinced.


With our theme of exploring Southern chains, we decided to try a Cracker Barrel for lunch. The brussel sprout and kale salad was amazing, and the fried chicken quite good. We thought that there was no way we would be able to eat all the food they brought us, but our two little locusts polished everything off. I can’t imagine how much they are going to eat in a few years.


More beautiful views. Wouldn’t this be an amazing place to live?


Keep reading our travel blog for more travel ideas in the American South/Southeast:

Here are some more blog posts from this particular road trip:

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