After New York we headed to Philly for the night. It was cold and VERY windy. And because of that I didn't take any pictures... not even phone pictures really. But we did have a fun time walking the town (from building to building because of how windy it was) and reading all about the history. Philly was another place we had both been to but not together. But these were the places we ate at:
- One Shot Coffee- MINI CRONUTS!
- Square One Coffee
- Revolution House
- Jasmine Rice
- Sweet Charlie's
- Open House- awesome local store
Next was Gettysburg! It was still SUPER windy, but the sky was blue and we still had a blast driving around to all the historical sites. The town itself was adorable. Didn't really know what to expect with the town, but it surpassed our expectations. We made a lot of coffee and peanut butter sandwiches and just walked from battle ground to battle ground. Mike read all of the plaques while I took photos and we discussed what he read later. We seriously had such a great time in Gettysburg and we can't wait to take our future kids back there some day:) Oh, and we ate at:
- Blue and Grey Bar
- Ugly Mug
- Dubbin Tavern/Spring House Tavern: this restaurant is in the oldest building in Gettysburg. It had an old dark tavern feel to it. We ate by candle light and felt like we were in a different era. Cheap cocktails, french onion soup and pecan pie. Can't get much better than that!
We then finally made it to Virginia for Thanksgiving! We stayed with one of my good friends from college and her extended family at her grandparents house in Bedford, Virginia. We had so much fun with them and they were so generous to have us over for Thanksgiving! I was also able to do family photos for them while we were there which was a real treat. Her grandparents live on a farm and raise cows, so to photograph their family on the farm was really special for me. And while we were there, Mike and I went exploring and when to Natural Bridge and hiked Sharp Top Mountain. Fun to explore just a little section of Virginia. And the weather was perfect!!! Sunny and 70's. In November!!! That will be a Thanksgiving we will cherish forever:)
After Virginia the plan was to start driving back to Denver so we can stay ahead of the snow and avoid getting stuck somewhere. But the weather was SO nice and we still had 2 weeks before I was to fly back to California for a few days to visit family, so we decided to go to NASHVILLE! Nashville is in all caps because that was the number one place I was looking forward to the most and I didn't think it was going to happen until after the new year! Such a nice surprise! But first, we were told to go to Asheville. Because they have good beer and a lot of it. Asheville was a great town and yes we drank a lot of beer. Especially sours, which is my favorite kind of beer right now! These were the places we ate and drank at:
- 12 Bones- BBQ
- Green Sage Cafe
- Wicked Weed Brewery
- Funkatorium: LOVED this place! We took a tour and drank good sours
- Asheville Brewing Company
- Twin Leaf Brewery
- Horse and Hero- Great local shop. Sold a lot of local art.
I feel like I'm missing some places, but that's all I wrote down so oh well!
Asheville was also the city our car started having problems... It had a hard time starting. But we were able to get it started after a little while of waiting and headed for Knoxville. The plan was to go camp in the Smoky Mountains, but that was the same time as all the fires were happening, so we had to skip it. Super sad about that, but hopefully we will go back soon. Didn't stay in Knoxville long, but it was a cute little town and we found good coffee.
- Balter Brewery
- Remedy Coffee
- Petes Diner
And then NASHVILLE!!!!! Our van was still having problems... we were parked in a Planet Fitness parking lot and when we came back out, the van wouldn't start... for a long time. It finally started so we took it to a shop to have them look at it. We had to rent a car, which was unfortunate, but fortunately we were able to stay with people we know who live in Nashville. We had such a fun time exploring the city and eating A LOT of food. The city was way different than we had expected. There was a street downtown that had all the bars and neon signs and everything you think of when you think of Nashville. But that's all it was, a street of like 3 blocks. And if you are a local you don't even go there that often. All the good restaurants and bars and coffee shop were outside that downtown area. And we went to all of it! These were our favorite places:
- Steadfast Coffee
- Mas Tacos- our FAVORITE!!!!!! Ate there multiple times.
- Jenis Ice Cream
- Barista Parlor
- Otaku Ramen
- Batch Nashville
- Pinewood Social
- Hattie B's Hot Chicken
- Yazoo Brewery
- Butcher and Bee
- Five Daughter Donuts
- Ugly Mug
Ya, we spent a lot of money on food and gained some weight... all worth it though.
But the best part of Nashville for me was Hatch Show Print!!!!! I was a graphic design major in college, and Hatch Show Print was a huge inspiration of mine. After college I applied for an internship there, but didn't get it. They only choose 5 people out of the hundreds that apply. So to say I was excited to see their print shop and take a tour was an understatement. It was something I had been wanting to do for a long time...
While we were in Nashville, they had their Christmas parade. I had heard that Kelly Clarkson was the Grand Marshal, so we decided to go and check it out. It was FREEZING and Kelly didn't even appear until the very end. I thought she was going to be on a float singing, but nope... she was just waving with her husband and daughter. We actually almost missed her because we didn't even think it was her. So that was kinda a disappointment, but it was fun nonetheless.
After the parade we went back to the place that had our van and found out they hadn't worked on it at all because it started every time for them. And they can't find the problem if the van starts every time. So we took the van back and prayed that we would make it back to Denver. We then drove to Memphis and pulled into town right in time for a Grizzles game. So we parked the van, walked in the rain to the game, and bought last minute tickets. We had such a great time until we got back to the van and it didn't start. Mike tried FOREVER to get it to start and it just wouldn't give. So we spent the night in a sketchy parking lot... My least favorite night thus far on the trip. We got a tow truck first thing the next morning, but since it was Sunday, we just had it taken to a shop we found and left it there over night. We got an air b&b 2 miles from the shop, so we packed up some clothes and started walking. We did not want to buy a rental car again. So we spent 2 days in Memphis hanging out in our air b&b. And the SAME thing happened with the van again! I would keep starting for them, so they couldn't work on it. So we took the van back and started heading towards Tulsa to visit Mike's brother. We would just never turn the van off until we got to Tulsa. And it worked. We stayed in Tulsa for the night and headed out the next morning with the van working fine. We started the drive to Denver and never turned the van off... but since everything seemed to be working fine, when we pulled into a Chick fil a in a small town between Tulsa and Denver, we decided to turn the van off and go get some food. Aaaaand then it wouldn't start. Mike tried everything he could, but it was just stumping us. So we sent the night in the Chick Fil A parking lot and got it towed to another shop. They started working on it and then they told us it was just because our tank was low. Which was for sure not the case. So they filled the tank and it worked just fine. Long story short, we have two fuel tanks. And there is a third one in the middle pumping the gas between the two. So the van would run just fine when we used the front tank, but when we switched to the back tank the middle pump had a hard time working. Which is why the van would never start when we had it on the back tank. So we took the van back and only used the front tank all the way to Denver. BUT then our alternator died on us 70 miles from Denver. So we waited for a tow truck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and got our van taken to a town 30 miles away. The shop there had the van for a few hours and told us it was for sure the alternator but that they didn't have the right one to replace it, and it wouldn't come until 5 (it was around 11 am at that point) (and there was nothing in the town but a gas station and Ihop). Or they could charge the battery enough to hopefully get us to Denver. So we took our chances and started heading to Denver. We hit traffic and ended up 2 miles away from Mike's brothers house before the van died again. So we left the van there, took some clothes and walked to the house. And the next day we got the van towed to a shop where they were actually able to work on it and replace that fuel pump in between the tanks.
So it was a LONG journey back to Denver, but Mike was a freaking champ trying to fix the van and calling all the tow trucks and keeping a level head through it all. There were multiple sucky situations we were forced into, but we kept calm and never got mad at each other and took each day at a time.