This trip snuck up on us. We had planned it a couple months out, and next thing you know it was here. I almost wanted to break this story into two parts, but then I stopped being a little girl and finished it. I become impatient when I write sometimes, especially when my message or story in my head gets ahead of my notes. I know how I want it to end, and sometimes rush to get there. I am listening to Childish Gambino (Camp), drinking a Cattywompus (it’s a fancy IPA by Devils Backbone), and Hot Rod is in his high chair eating some cheerios next to me. Kash was a party pooper (she felt a little under the weather this evening) and fell asleep watching Zootopia on the couch.
I began finalizing this on Memorial Day. I have found the best way for me to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, is to no let their death be in vain. Celebrate them, raise a glass, and continue to live your life. Enjoy the freedoms you have, but never forget those men and women who have died defending those freedoms.
It was 430 AM on Saturday morning. The sandwich maker and I rolled out of bed and drug our ass’s downstairs to get ready for our mini road trip. I immediately went for a quick shot of strike force and took a shower. We quickly loaded up the jeep (we forgot the watermelon) and started on our short journey to Krissi’s great-grandmothers house. The kids had spent the night with Maw-Maw, and rode with her for the duration of our trip. For the record, Krissi’s mother is a lunatic and in denial. And no, we are not talking about the river in Egypt. But, we love her anyway. She is a great Maw-Maw and is always down to take the kids off our hands. The kiddos love here and Gran-daddy (probably because of the brownies the eat over there, ha). We wouldn’t trade them for the world. It gave Krissi and I some adventure time without the kiddos. The drive up was relatively quiet, minus some a-hole driving dangerously around some 18-wheelers. We stopped for gas in Crozet, VA and had a quick bite at Legacy Markets. This ended up being the best gas station ever. Made to order breakfast, walk in beer cooler, and an upstairs patio to enjoy the view. The breakfast burrito I had was delicious and so was the coffee (if you are ever traveling on 64 near there, check it out). We hopped back onto the highway and continued on towards Natural Bridge State Park (we were stopping the before going to grandma’s). We met up with Maw-Maw at the Pink Cadillac Diner for some more breakfast. Another neat joint. It was very 50’s-esque and the building was, wait for it…… pink. There was a small wait, enough to make Hot Rod antsy and fussy. He had been satisfied through the trip thus far, but he was itching to move around. He attempted to eat most everything he could get his hands on, but soon discovered how some things aren’t that tasty. Once we sat down, it took both Krissi and I to keep Hot Rod from tearing down the building. Kash was focused on eating her food and “brought her manners,” as she says. Lincoln figured out he could stand in the restaurant high chair (it didn’t have straps) and would attempt to grab anything but his food. He somehow was able to snatch a piece of toast off Krissi’s plate (he really just caught a moment when Krissi and I weren’t watching him). Once he had that toast, he was content. He propped his foot up and chowed down. We wrapped up breakfast and finished our trek to the natural bridge.
The Natural Bridge was amazing. Words and pictures will not be able to capture it’s size and glory. As you walked underneath, it would rain on you and there were plenty of smalls streams along the trails. We were able to borrow a toddler carrier for Lincoln and we used the Boba for Kash. The toddler carrier was perfect. It was easy to get him comfortable and simple to adjust for comfort. It was rad listening to Lincoln baby talk his way throughout the hike. I would occasionally use my phone to see how he was doing (I later discovered a small mirror attached to it, after the fact) and record his monologues. He would play with my hat and want to touch the surrounding nature. The layout of the trail followed Cedar Creek, a tributary of the James River. Along the trail was a living history camp set up. It was of the Monacan Indians, and it had a few hut’s, frontiersman trading post and live cooking demonstrations. One lady was building a new hut, tying together the timber used to build the bones of it. We continued on along the trail to a creek crossing. I took advantage of a sweet bench by the bank to put Hot Rod down for a few minutes. Kash saw a bunch of snakes and of course wanted to pick them up. They weren’t deadly and seemed used to the traffic, they didn’t flinch at all when you got close to them. The trail doubled back from that point, continuing along a limestone wall on one side and the creek on the other. It was a fairly straight shot from there until the end. I gave Lincoln the opportunity to touch the rocks, and of course he tried to eat them. Once we made it to the end (or turn around point), we sat down and took some obligatory family pictures where the kids weren’t looking and I have the same smile in all of them. Both kids were tired at this point. Kash didn’t know if she wanted to ride in the Boba or walk and Lincoln was upset when he couldn’t touch anything. As we headed back, Lincoln fell asleep. Kash pressed on, enjoying the ride on Krissi’s back. We passed by all the attractions we had seen before, but once again slowed down and took in the sight of the bridge. It still hadn’t lost any amazement. The real kicker in the trail is climb up the stairs you walked down in the beginning. And it’s a steep climb. My legs were burning at the end. We loaded back up in the vehicles and made our way to grandmas’.
We didn’t initially realize it, but we had driven past her (grandma’s) house and hour before we arrived at the Natural Bridge. So, on our way there, Krissi and I broke off to go check out Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company.
Devil’s Backbone makes one of my favorite beers, the Vienna Lager. It’s a go-to beer for me. Their other brews are delicious, but not as common as the lager. We pulled into the parking lot, and immediately became excited to see where the magic happens. The crowd was small, as they had just opened. The tasting room was smaller than expected, but the assortment of beers was great (as it should have been). We went super-touristy and grabbed a flight (for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a sample of X number of beers to see which ones you like). There were fancy beers and down to earth beers, all were delicious. At the brewery is where I began to jot down my notes for this post. Once we were finished, we grabbed a case of beer (for $20, I might add) and set out for our destination. We finally arrived at g-ma’s house.
We took a load off and Krissi’s brother gave me a tour of the place. There is a lot of history in that house. From the foundation (it was literally built on a rock) to the pictures of relatives from the late 1800’s.
We checked out the shed’s and garages and found some neat (in my opinion) stuff. There were some old woodworking hand tools, an early model chainsaw, and a dead snake. Grandma showed me her porcelain doll collection and some of the tools needed to make them from scratch. Later on, in the evening, Krissi and I went out to dinner in Harrisonburg.
One of her friend’s son goes to JMU and works at a local joint in town. We had some food and drinks and made our way back to the house. By the time we got back, everyone was asleep. It was like being an adolescent again, sneaking through the creaking house hoping not to wake anyone.
The next morning, we held a small surprise breakfast birthday party for Krissi’s great-grandmother. All of the aunts and uncles on Krissi’s mom’s side of the family showed up with some food and conversation. I cooked the bacon and Krissi coordinated the rest. The whole family crammed into the tiny kitchen to sing her a happy birthday. Once the cake had been dispersed and reminiscing had quieted, the crowd began to filter out. Kash was outside with her cousin, attempting to bust open a geode we bought at the natural bridge. Krissi used a pick axe to break it open finally. Hot Rod had some fun with all of the relatives and crashed out in his pack-and-play. Around noon, Krissi and I loaded up the Jeep and headed home. We hit fog early on and stopped in at one of the scenic views to check it out. It was smooth sailing until we hit Ft. Eustis. Typical fender bender causing a ridiculous amount of traffic. Once we got home, we unpacked, showered and relaxed until the kiddos arrived. It was good to have them home. Kids went into the tub and then it was movie time. We all crashed early that night. All the fun and adventure of the weekend had finally taken its toll.
Do work, be rad