Get there fast or take it slow?

Here’s a dilemma when it comes to road tripping. On certain legs of the drive, I’m torn between the desire to get the drive over with as fast as possible… and a sense of FOMO as we blaze past potentially interesting “pull over here” sites at 70 miles per hour. Should we just get Subway for lunch — it’s food, and we’ll get to our destination faster — or should we search for that cool hidden restaurant, spend time waiting in line and sitting down to eat, but potentially having an incredibly memorable meal?

I kind of want to say that we haven’t actually done much driving on this trip, which is ridiculous. We’ve driven almost 5,000 miles since we left Houston. It’s just that the drives are separated, sometimes by months at a time. During those drives, there have been times that I don’t feel like we’re missing anything. with farmland, you can pretty much see miles in any direction, so it doesn’t really feel like you’re missing that much. But other times, like in the forests of Maine, I felt like there must be hidden gems around every corner, and we were passing them by. We covered a lot of ground in Ohio, but as we skirted Cincinnati’s city limits, it felt like I might be missing something by not spending a few hours there.

Marilyn, cat docent at the Museum of Appalacia

Yesterday was our longest day of driving yet: Dayton, Ohio to Asheville, North Carolina. It was almost 7 hours of driving, so I didn’t want to lollygag too much. I had a bit of a grumpy moment yesterday when Braden suggested stopping at Cumberland Falls, Kentucky, and I initially just wanted to keep driving. But, I knew we’d need a bathroom break sooner or later, so why not combine it with a scenic view. Lo and behold, it was a total hidden gem. As was the Museum of Appalachia , an expansively detailed living history museum, and the BBQ joint (Delauder’s BBQ) outside of Gatlinburg that saved us some brisket and stayed open just because we called to let them know we were on our way. So what if we spend the last couple of hours driving in the darkness, creeping around hairpin turns in Great Smoky Mountain National Park! Even with multiple stops, I still felt a bit of FOMO about knocking out over 400 miles in one day. But, we didn’t set out to experience everything. There’s just not enough time.

That said, it feels like a good time to take stock of everywhere we’ve been so far. This map shows everywhere we’ve either spent the night or had a meal. When I look at it this way, it reminds me that we really have seen and done a lot. As we head into 2019, I’m so excited to be here in Asheville for six weeks. Happy New Year!

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