Wednesday, July 25, 2018

HorseBack Ride at Ponderosa Big Rock Riding Stables

My husband told me that when he was a kid, one of his brothers had a horse and he  remembered riding on it.  His experience wasn't really a memorable one because nobody taught him what to do and just told him to ride the horse and figured it out.  So on our vacation this year, he wanted all of us to have a  nice experience in horseback riding.
 This is what we did on our second day in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee .  We went to High Rock Riding Stables, a little drive from where we  stayed at.  I really love Pigeon Forge because it's like a high entertaining city with lots of things to do but I love the fact that you are also closer to nature.
 The photos above and below  is where all the  horses are.  They have so many! This place also prohibits you from carrying anything during the ride for security reasons so we couldn't take anything.  It's also their way of  getting you to buy the photos they took of you before you go to the trail, pretty good strategy if you asked me.  It would have been awesome to  take photos of the trail because it was beautiful!
 My son's horse  was well behaved despite the warning that our guide told my son that  his horse is  kind of lazy and needed to be wept but my son didn't really have to weep him.  The horse's name was Moonshine, she was really good actually.

My daughter's horse was energetic, she was running  when she get a chance so my daughter experienced how riding on a running horse feels like.  Her horse's name was Haa, she was the sister of the horse I was riding.

I have never really rode a horse before so I was excited and at the same time  a bit anxious because I didn't know if I will be able to maneuver the horse or not.  The guides are really good in explaining what to to do before you embark on a journey.  My horse's name was Gee and  she was giving me some attitude.  She was going on the side trail and eating some leaves which the guide then told me not to tolerate because she would not listen to me.  Other than that., she was a good horse.

My husband's horse's name is Maryland.  She was old and she actually look sick, I feel bad.  The guide was keep telling my husband to give the horse  a good weep but hubby felt bad to do it.  

I was very surprised that  the  guides that takes people to the trail  doesn't get paid a salary, they rely on tips that customers give.  We made sure to give our guide  some because he was very entertaining which made our experience more enjoyable.   The trail that we went to is not flat at all so I am glad that our horses did not   give us a hard time. 
We needed to cool down after our rides so we spent the rest of our remaining time   exploring all the other parts of the ranch.  They have a store for  souvenirs but you know how it is with business like this, the prices are  way up there lol.
 After our relaxing ride, we got to  spent time at the petting zoo.
 There are different kinds of animals  that  you can feed and pet like goats, rabbits, llama, and there were two peacocks which sounds like  cats.  I never really heard a peacock made a sound and I was surprised to learn how they make their sound.
 My son is  into taking videos so he was  busy filming some of the animals there.
 The package we paid for includes  some food for the animals  and bottles of water.  The kids get to enjoy feeding some of them after our horseback ride.

My son love all the  different farming tools that they have on display.
 Packages  that they offer varies.  You can buy the ones that include  gem mining, fishing, horseback riding, and other things.
 Some people go there to experience fishing.  They gave you all the things that you need to  fish on this pond.  You have to release the fish after catching them though.
 My son found some snails and he was excited about it.  He  filmed them at the kiosk before releasing them back to the pond.
 We watched a video of want to do and what not to do  before going on a ride and someone also explained it really well before we  saddle up.  Overall, it was the most relaxing thing that we did while we were there.  The white water rafting was full of adrenaline and rush but horseback riding is the most enjoyable for me.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Children on Board: Tips For a Safe and Fun Family Road Trip

The temperatures are just right to load up the car, grab the kids, and hit the road. There’s so much of this great world to see, and exploring it with your family creates memories of a lifetime. If this is your first time traveling by car with your children, however, you’ll need to do a little extra prepping. A long car ride with multiple children in the car, if not properly planned for, can result in anything from sibling fights to a disabled car on the side of the road. 
Our Roadtrip to Tennessee and Kentucky

How can you make sure you and your family have a fun and safe road trip? Simple, just follow this advice below. 

Safety First

Above all else, as parents, you want to keep your kids safe. Safety should be a priority when planning a road trip as there are a lot of things that could go wrong as you’re driving along. From a flat tire to an accident, you want to make sure you’re prepared. Here are a few road trip safety tips:

  • Have the car serviced- before getting on the road have your mechanic inspect and repair any damage to your vehicle. Let them know you’ll be going on a road trip so they can ensure your car can handle the distance. 
  • Check your insurance - make sure that you are fully insured before your next road trip. If you are in an accident you don’t want the stress of having to pay for the damages and health bills. If you don’t presently have coverage, you can find liability, collision, and sr22 quotes online and sign up for instant protection. 
  • Pack a first aid kit - you never know who could end up with a boo-boo while you’re traveling. Rather than having to find a nearby hospital or pharmacy, you should make sure to pack a first aid kit in the car. 

Don’t Forget Entertainment

The other part of making sure your family has a fun road trip is to pack lots of entertainment. You’re going to be confined to a car for hours at a time. Your kids are used to having the freedom to run wild throughout the day and, therefore, may become antsy if they’re not entertained. This leads to senseless sibling fights. Some ideas for entertainment include:
  • Electronics - mobile devices can be a lifesaver when trying to entertain children of all ages. If you pack a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, your children can play games, watch movies, do research, listen to music, and more. Be sure that you also pack a car charger with several ports so you don’t run out of charge. 
  • Books - reading is fundamental and is a great way for your children to unplug for awhile. Packing books of interest can keep them occupied for hours. 
  • Snacks - you don’t want to witness the outcome of a bunch of hungry kids crammed in a car together. Bring healthy but appetizing snacks along for the ride. This saves money and helps to ward off those hunger pains. 
  • Music - chances are your children aren’t interested in singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall over and over, so it’s probably a good idea to download some jams. Radio can be very finicky on the road so you want to have options. Creating a playlist can give you guys something to jam out to for several hours. 

Plan Stops - you may be able to go hours in a car without needing to stretch, use the bathroom, or grab something to eat, but it’s going to be a lot harder for your kids. To break up the monotony of being on the open road so long, plan stops in between your home and your destination. Try to make it places of interest so the kids get to have a little fun before getting back into the car.
Rest Stop in Cincinnati Ohio
You’ve seen enough family movies with sibling fights and “are we there yet” to know that if you fail to plan, you’re planning on spending hours in a car in the midst of chaos. The above-mentioned tips will make sure that your family remains safe and that your children are so entertained that they forget how long they’ve been traveling.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Old Mill District, Pigeon Forge #Tennesse

We didn't get to  see the beautiful and quaint village of Old Mill Square until on the third day.  Had I  made  my research before going there, I would have loved to explore more and experience their hospitality with their southern  food and treats.  We discovered this when we were looking for a place to eat.  Unfortunately, we didn't know  that there is an  Old Mill Restaurant  there where you can eat Southern food.  That's what we missed out on. 

Anyway, I told my husband that we should go back there the next day so we can take a picture of Pigeon Forge's beautiful landmark.  The Little Pigeon River  is a favorite spot for tourists to take pictures with.  The first time we saw it,  it was crowded.  So I am glad that on the day that we had to go to Hartford Tenessess for our white water rafting adventure, there was no one there yet so we had the place all for ourselves.   

This historic location of Old Mill District in Pigeon Forge is gorgeous. There are unique shops inside the squares and different restaurants as well. We looked around at some of the shopping stores where you can find beautiful souvenirs. 
It's amazing that the  Old Mill General Store and Mill are still a big part of Pigeon Forge.  Imagine seeing this place which dates back to the 1800’s, it is so cool.  I am also amazed that they still grind the grains for the all of the properties inside.

My daughter would have love to see the Pigeon River Pottery.  It said that it  is the cornerstone shop and has been in continual operation for over 50 years. I would have love to see the  potters demonstrate how to make this traditional mountain craft. 
It might have been a blessing in disguise that I did not get to explore the pottery  because I would have not control myself from buying  handmade serving pieces and decorative art. The Pigeon River Pottery must have made  some of the the plates and  bowls from the restaurants that we  dined at.  

Adjacent to the  Old Mill Plaza is a the Patriot Park.  I can tell that Tennessee are big on  religion and love for military.  
Aside from the kitchen items that we missed to check out,  we also missed out on checking the food and spices at the Farmhouse Kitchen.  I bet my son would have been in heaven for  an irresistible array of candies and sweets.  Oh the sound of homemade caramel and fresh pecans at the Old Mill Candy Kitchen would have been terrific.
 I am saying all of these things that we didn't get to do and see so that when you  go there in Pigeon Forge, you will remember to check it out.  That's one  downside too when you visit a place during the hot summer  days.  You tend to stay away from  walking around, driving around doesn't  bring much fun because finding a parking space in a busy street is hard.  
 I am happy however that we were able to at least take some photos of these  beautiful river.
 This would be a great group of   images to make as postcards.  I didn't  even get a refrigerator magnet  with this mill on it, ugh... but I have a chance to order it online using my photos so it's not a big deal.  
 If I live in Pigeon Forge, I would be in this spot often.  The sound of the water is so relaxing.
The Pigeon Forge Mill or  commonly called the Old Mill, is a historic gristmill .  It is located along the West Fork of the Little Pigeon River.  The, the mill complex currently consists of a millhouse, breastshot wheel, and milldam, all of which are operative.  The history of this mill is very interesting.
 If we ever go back to Pigeon Forge, I would definitely do the things that we didn't get to do do when we were there.  I would prefer a  cooler  temperature when visiting though that way I could walk around without sweating like crazy.  
 Overall, our three-day adventure in Tennessee was awesome.  We get to see not just Pigeon Forge but part of Gatlinburg and Hartford.  We even drove through one  city of North Carolina!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Rafting in the Smokies

When my husband was still in the Navy, he went  white water rafting with his sailor buddies when they were in Australia.  He said their raft went down twice and all of them  got thrown out but he said it was a lot of fun.  So when he told me that he want us to go white water rafting in Tennessee, I was hesitant because we have the kids.  If it's just me, I would go in a heartbeat  since I  grew up in a coastal  place and being in a rough sea is not new to me.  However, when you have children with you, you will always be on a protective Momma mode.  The kids were excited about it so I went along  and  just prayed that God will protect us in the water lol.
The guides were  very friendly and  the one that's leading all of  us was very convincing.  We chose the mild one which has a rough part but not all the way the entire journey.  While she was telling us  how mild  this  one is, we were stopped by emergency people and we saw a truck  in the river.  We were glad the passengers were okay but that  really made me worried.  I was thinking, what if this is a sign for us not to go and all these worse scenario was running through my mind while we were going to our destination.  
The head of the tour guide  told us that she never saw anything like this happen before in the area.  I think that the passenger of the vehicle were new to the place and they were not  particular about the bend and sharp turn of the roads.  Their vehicle was in the middle of the river, it was scary!
Anyway, our tour guide's name was Bill, he was really good.  He even brought bubbles for the kids, he was probably  thinking that my children  will get scared. What Bill did not know is that, my kids are more courageous than me lol.   Only the five  of us adults had paddles.  He taught us what to do  during the rough part, he was a really good instructor.  He told us that in the past, he had one instance where his people got thrown out the boat and  he said that he doesn't want  that to happen again especially with the kids.  So he made sure that we listen to his instructions and not to panic.
We were teamed up with two  Norwegian guys and  they were very friendly.  They too were adventure seekers just like us.
We were not allowed to bring anything but ourselves.  They were strict about what type of shoes to wear and made sure that our floating devices were tightened just right.   They also taught us how to properly  hold the paddle which I already knew because my Dad taught me when I was  a kid.   It is important to remember the rule of the thumb and that is not letting go of the top of your paddle so nobody will get hurt on ut.  
All of these pictures were taken by  their designated photographer.  You can buy or pay for it  at the end of the tour.  See, they really get you with this one, there's nothing really  you can do but  buy it if you want  pictures of your  adventure.  I thought, it was gonna be a printed photo on a frame but all you're getting is a  thumb drive with the  15 shots of picture in it for $40.
After the  rough part was over, there was a very calm and steady part where the rafters can jump out the rough and swim for a while before  returning.   My husband and son  went  and swim but  my daughter and I stayed in the raft, I don't trust  river that I don't know about ha ha.
My children got all the splashes of water  because they were in the front.  They absolutely had a blast with this adventure.  They want to do it again in the future so I think we might do it here in  West Virginia since we have the  New River Gorge.  We did not want to start  our  experience here because the course here is a lot rougher.  Hartford Tennessee was the perfect place to start as it was milder.   

It's been..

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