Flashback Friday: North Carolina Adventures!

This update is rather hilarious.  Just looking over it made me laugh!  It is from July 21, 2008, after a vacation in North Carolina.  Many adventures occurred.

Enjoy the roller coaster!


This update will cover the many adventures of a family vacation in North Carolina, complete with hiking, laughter, and other random things that happen when my family gets together. 🙂

Table of Contents:
1) Lip-key Fart.
2) “We’ve got our money in socks?”
3) “It had to be the raccoon”
4) Stump Dump
5) The Biltmore.
6) Just a walk up the hill, right?
7) Travel day.

1) Lip-key Fart.
Monday morning started off great. I was able to sleep in the back bedroom, because Aunt Sharon, Uncle Tom, and Matthew hadn’t arrived at Grandma’s yet. So I got a wonderful sleep that lasted until about 11:45. I woke up and had a lovely conversation with my grandma. While we talked, I had the first of many breakfasts that consisted of eating fresh South Carolina peaches cut up in a plastic bowl. So good. After a while, Grandpa arrived home from picking up Aunt Sharon, Uncle Tom, and Matthew from the airport. We had a jolly ‘ol time chatting, catching up on life, and the like. I also worked on posting pictures to the last update, which seemed to take forever. Thank you iPhoto errors. :/ While I was posting pictures to the update, everyone decided that they wanted to see pictures from Dani’s wedding, so they observed over my shoulder while I narrated what was happening in the pictures. When I got to the picture of my pottery creation, I said that it is, “My little piece of art.” Mom thought I said, “Lipkey fart.” So we got a good chuckle out of that one. This was just the beginning of the lack-of-hearing-induced laughter. 🙂
After a while, we ate dinner, laughed more, then cleaned up, grandpa had his dessert, and me, Matthew, Aunt Sharon, Mom, and Grandma played a few rounds of chickenfoot – from 12 to 6 or something like that. By the end of this, we were tired and slept. I went to my new bedroom, which is actually the living room in the basement. So from my bed, I heard everything that was going on in the house. I heard stuff from the kitchen upstairs, as well as stuff from the bedrooms in the basement. Oh joy. 🙂 Anyway, I slept. That’s what counts.

2) “We’ve got our money in socks?”
Tuesday started off with a bang. I was awoken by the noise of the rest of the family who was already awake. This became a regular pattern. So, I got up, took a shower, then ate a breakfast of peaches. Then the family got ready and off we went in the van and on the trike (grandpa’s three-wheel goldwing motorcycle) towards one of our family’s favorite hiking spots – Skinny Dip Falls. On our way to the falls, we stopped at the Pisgah forest Ranger station to make a bathroom stop. While there, grandpa introduced us to the ranger, who is also one of grandpa’s motorcycle buddies. As we were leaving, the ranger asked grandpa if he’s still got his money in stocks. Grandpa said yes. We looked over at grandma, who had a puzzled look on her face. She said, “Did he just ask us if we have our money in socks??” We had another laugh at that one. 🙂
Then we continued on our trek to


*cue old-time saloon piano music*
Long, long ago there was a cute little girl named Joy who had quite the dominant leadership streak. Once while she and her family visited her grandparents in North Carolina, they went hiking up in the Blue Ridge mountain range. They ventured out to an obscure trail right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trail led to a waterfall named Skinny Dip falls. Joy, being the dominant, leader-type, decided to venture ahead on the trail and set her own pace. She was out of ear range and enjoying getting lost in her own little world while hiking on the trail. At one point, she was shoved rather quickly out of her thought world at the sight of a naked buttocks in the trees on the right hand side of the trail. Her first reaction was pure panic. She ran quickly back to where the rest of her family was and exclaimed in a loud voice, “Grandpa, grandpa! There’s naked people down there!!” So her grandpa, being the dominant, leader-type also, decided to take action. He barged ahead and took care of business. Allegedly he said to the skinny-dippers, “My grandkids are coming down here, so you’d better be dressed when we come down in five minutes!” They got dressed. When the group ventured down the last staircase to the falls, they found two people, clothed in bathing suits, in the cold mountain water. These weren’t very pretty people either, but for times sake we will not linger on that thought. Time went on, and Joy and her family lived on with the memory of their second venture to Skinny Dip falls and the adventures thereof.
*end old-time saloon piano music*

Yep, that’s how I remember Skinny-dip falls. Great, huh? Thankfully, all the times we’ve been down there since that incident have been nude-free. 🙂

Aah! its cold!

One of Matthew and my favorite things to do at the falls is to jump off a big rock in the upper falls. This rock is probably 10 to 12 feet above the upper pool. This doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re standing up there about to jump into 60 something degree water, it gets a little daunting. Matthew and I do it anyway. The first few times of taking the plunge into the icy waters is shocking, but hey…if the polar bear club can do it regularly, so can I. 🙂

So, Matthew and I took the plunge many times and the water only got better every time. After a few dozen jumps, we decided to call it quits. We hiked a little way down to the lower pools, which were significantly lower in water level, then we dried off, put our clothes back on, and hiked back to the cars. On the way, Aunt Sharon and I switched off taking pictures of the beautiful scenery along the path. Nature is so beautiful!

The deer tree

One of our family’s favorite landmarks along the trail is a tree that looks like a deer head. It has a beautiful arch, then at the bottom of the arch, it shoots right back up into two separate branches, which look like antlers. So pretty!
After getting back to the car, we packed up and headed towards the Pisgah Inn and Restaurant at the top of one of the peaks for lunch. When we got there, Matthew and I changed into dry clothes then we got a table, ate, laughed, and had a good ‘ol time.

Matthew and I have a system of knowing who gets to ride the motorcycle when we go out. This time, Matthew rode into Skinny Dip, and I rode back to the house. One of the best things about riding the motorcycle with Grandpa is getting to see all the scenery around the road without a roof blocking the view. God’s creation is so beautiful! It takes my breath away. One of the other fun things is when grandpa and I ride through the cities. When we pass by traffic that is stopped going the opposite direction, the heads turn in almost every car as we pass by. Hehe…:) Grandpa decided to take the scenic route on the way back, so we passed through lots of quaint little towns. One of them had a building that had VFD on it. I couldn’t figure out what the heck VFD meant! Then after talking it through, I realized that it was the Volunteer Fire Department for that city. A little while after passing the VFD, Grandpa says to me, “Do you know the phonetic pronunciation for VFD?” I rattled off, “Victor Foxtrot Delta” with no trouble. It took him off guard! He then said, “Oh my gosh! I forgot you were a pilot!” Then we laughed about it for a while. It was good. 🙂
Anyway, we got back to the house, and the party began. Grandma had decided to provide me and Matthew with some entertainment, so she bought us some marshmallow guns at a local curb market. So, we took them outside and had TONS of fun. First, we were just trying to shoot the marshmallows from grandma’s deck to the lake, which was about a hundred or less feet away. We never made them into the lake. I decided to go down to the grass and pick up the marshmallows we had already shot. While I was down there, Matthew decided to shoot them at me. Then we got the genius idea of shooting them into my mouth. It took a while for us to perfect, but after a little while, we got it down. It was beautiful. 

Then Matthew and I switched places. He picked up the rhythm of catching them pretty fast, and soon we were rockin’ the house with our killer marshmallow shooting and catching skills. Then we convinced Aunt Sharon to catch them. So, she went downstairs on the grass and we shot them at her. Unfortunately for all of us, our aim was just bad enough to match her slight lack of eye-mouth coordination, so she wasn’t able to catch any. Then it was time for dinner, so we put the marshmallow games on hold. We ate dinner, then were back at it. This time we got Uncle Tom to join in the fun and he caught several marshmallows. Then we picked up the whole bag and a half of mini-marshmallows that were littering grandpa’s lawn and launched them into the lake for the fish. I’m sure they liked it….hehe.

After picking up the ‘smellows, we played a game of speed. Playing speed at least once during a get-together is a fam-law. Fam-laws are things such as playing speed at least once per vacation, having cheesy carrots at a meal, honking horns when we go through mountain tunnels, and going to skinny dip falls when we’re in North Carolina. They are voted upon by the family, and then are made into fam-law.
So we played speed. This is the first of many games we played during the week. It was great. 🙂
After speed, Aunt Sharon, Matthew, and I watched the All-star baseball game. Matthew fell asleep in the chair, so Aunt Sharon sent him off to bed. So there we were. The time was flying, the innings went on, and finally around the 11th inning, we decided it was time for bed. By this time it was around 12 something and we were exhausted. Sleep was upon us.

3) “It had to be the raccoon”
Wednesday was a good day. I was awoken by my wonderful family, who all yelled at me from the upstairs in unison, “GOOD MORNING, JOY!!” Grr.
After I woke up, I decided it was time to journal and spend time with Jesus. As I was about to start writing a novel in my journal, Aunt Sharon came over and we ended up talking for an hour or so instead. I love talking to her. She always presents another viewpoint or perspective on a situation in a way that i’d never even considered before. She’s genius. If I’m her clone, I must be headed for greatness…:)
After we talked, it was time to take a shower and eat a peach for breakfast. Oh, lovely peaches.

The agenda for the day: Go to Dupont and hike. So, this time I rode the cycle out with grandpa. As we were on our way out, we took another scenic route called “Old CCC Road.” It was a 15 MPH windy road that took us through some very beautiful scenery! It was great. When we got to Dupont, we parked our vehicles and headed towards the falls. While enroute to the falls, Matt and I spotted a sweet rock formation a little ways off the path. So we took a hike up to the top of the rocks. It looked like a cave off of Indiana Jones or something! It was so cool. The worst part was coming down. It was so steep that both Matthew and I slid down on our shoes. It was fun, even though we were covered in dirt. 🙂

Then the hike continued, up steep hills, around curves, and with occasional stops at falls overlooks. The first falls we encountered was triple falls, named so because of its three-tiered nature. Then it was on to high falls. We hiked a little ways, then found another overlook, similar to the one at triple falls. A little ways uphill from the overlook was a very nice pavilion, which we stopped at to have a picnic lunch. At lunch, we did all of the normal things, we laughed, ate, and had a good time. Then we took pictures and hiked down to the base of high falls, where we played in the water and took more pictures.

On the way down from the pavilion, mom found a millipede, which I proceeded to pick up and take with me down to where the rest of the family was. I was holding it about mid-way down its body, in the hopes that it wouldn’t bite me. Right when I was saying to mom, “It won’t bite me.” It turned and scared the crap out of me. I dropped it and ran. It was fun while it lasted. 🙂

While down there, we encountered a group of youth that was on a field trip to the falls. They were playing all around us while we sat, played in the water, and took pictures. At one point, I was over on a rock with Aunt Sharon taking pictures. I was standing up and before I knew it, my feet slipped out from underneath me! I fell, but thankfully, due to my backpack, I wasn’t hurt and neither was Dexter. We just laughed and moved on with life. 🙂
After a while, we trekked back up the path, then hiked back to the beginning of the Dupont trail, where there were two ways to go. One went up a staircase, then you had to go over a roadway bridge to get back to the parking lot, while the other trail led to a river, which on the other side led to the parking lot also.

Me and the Swings took the river route while everyone else took the stairs. So over by the river, I sat on a rock and cleaned out my keens, because some forest crud had worked its way inbetween my feet and shoes. So while I was sitting there, I saw some little fish. They were just tiny babes. I decided to catch one. I succeeded. 🙂 Then we met everyone else by the cars and headed home.
At home, Aunt Sharon got me addicted to cryptoquote, a sweet little mind bender that is downloadable to your personal home computer. It is fun, but don’t take my word for it! Try it out! (http://cryptoquote.com/) Wow, I just sounded like that guy from Reading Rainbow. Well then…

When we got back, we went over to a neighbor’s house that grandma and grandpa were taking care of while the neighbors were away on vacation. They had awesome gardens, and Aunt Sharon had fun taking pictures of them. I am only putting one of my favorites on here, but she took some really awesome ones!

After we got back, it was time for dinner, then another fam-law tradition of going to Piggy’s ice cream parlor, where the ice cream is phenomenal. When we left for Piggy’s, we took two cars. The guys rode in Grandpa’s volvo, and the girls rode in Grandma’s lexus. On the way up to Piggy’s, we were at one of the longest stoplights in the universe. Grandma started telling us about this error light she had on her dash. Randomly she said, “It must have been the raccoon.” Aunt Sharon, Mom, and I had no clue what the heck she meant by that statement, so we began the expedition of trying to find out what she meant. It took us about five minutes of questions to finally dig down to the story of how grandma hit a raccoon one night and that must’ve set the error off. It was so random!
Just a little background on Piggy’s here – Piggy’s is covered with random sculptures, signs, and other oddities of life that make people say, “hmm….” I got moose tracks (one of my new favorite flavors) in a sugar cone. So good. Aunt Sharon and Dexter had fun taking pictures of Piggy’s while I had fun with mom and dad’s video camera.
When we got back, Aunt Sharon somehow got on the subject of a song called “Rock Lobster” that she and mom used to dance to back in the day. It morphed into her dancing on the kitchen floor and us laughing at her. It was a priceless family vacation moment that was one of those “you’ve-got-to-be-there-to-understand” moments. It was great anyhow. You should try to find the music to Rock Lobster. It is quite the trip. 🙂
After Rock Lobster, we re-assumed our game of chickenfoot. Mom was so tired that by the time we got to the fours, she was lining up her train as if we were still on the fives! That gave us a great laugh too. I love my mommy. 🙂
By the time we were done with dominoes, it was definitely time for bed. Sleep.

4) Stump Dump
Thursday was the day that the girls went to the craft fair in Asheville. On our way out there, we passed some great stuff. There was a place called the “stump-dump” and there was a metal yard that had a ferris wheel outside of it that had advertisements on it instead of seats. Only in North Carolina, my friend. Only in NC. After about an hour of driving, we got to the craft fair, parked, and started on the afternoon-long expedition. Mom and I both expected the fair to be like ones we’ve been to here in KC. Heck no. We envisioned outdoor with tents and stuff. It was indoor in an arena. There were over 200 vendors! It was crafts on steriods! There were lots of pottery booths, blown glass, stained glass, woodworking, wood turning, quilting, metal work, and various other booths. My favorite booth was on the first floor. It was the booth of a man who makes indian-style flutes. He played one for us and it was chillingly beautiful. It was love at first sound. After he played like two songs for us, we finally peeled ourselves away from the booth and moved on. We proceeded through the rest of the craft fair, got a gourmet lunch of flaky pastry-wrapped spinach puffs, hot dogs, and other stuff, then at the end of our tour of the show, we bought some fresh sugar-roasted nuts. OH MY GOSH. If heaven could come to earth, it came in that moment of tasting the first cashew. The angels were singing, and life stood still. Yep, they were that good.
Then we had to snap out of our happy world and return to the reality of the craft fair. We went back to the flute guy on the way out, and I, through the generosity of grandma, am now the proud owner of an indian drone flute in the key of G! (go to to see it! ) On the way home, I figured out the scale, and picked out a few songs. It is so cool! The best place to play it was on the back deck of grandma and grandpa’s house. Their house is situated around a lake that is in a valley, surrounded by mountains. So when I played, the sound reverberated off of the surrounding hills and echoed back in an eerily wonderful tone. It was absolutely beautiful.
Anyway, we got home, then it was time to go off again on a tour of one of grandpa’s friend’s wood-turning shop. It was like a dream shop. The floors were like a wooden kitchen floor, the shop was spotless, and it was beautiful, if a shop can be beautiful. After that, we headed home and had dinner, after which Matthew and I took a moldy loaf of french bread and tried to feed the fish in the lake, but they must not like moldy bread. Or maybe it was us…who knows. 🙂
After that, Matthew and I played a round of billiards, then it was time for my every-other-weekly conference call with my floor staff for next year, which went well. My APA unfortunately wasn’t able to join the conversation due to exhaustion, but hopefully she’ll recover soon! So, chappy and I had a wonderful conversation and it was great. I love my staff. 🙂
After the conference call, we played the last portion of dominoes, from twos to blanks. Then it was time for bed. I played cryptoquote for a while, then finally surrendered to my body’s call for sleep.

5) The Biltmore. (Wake-up, shower, breakfast, Biltmore tour, feeling like a herded sheep, eating in the stables, playing uno, walking through the gardens while talking to James and Janine, picture taking, waiting for the cars at the gate, going to the barn, riding the cycle home, going through pictures, dinner, more pictures, speed, their anger against me winning every round, rummy, me winning again, solitare, sleep.)
Friday was full of exciting things. The family all went out to Biltmore Estate, the largest privately-owned house in America, which was built back in the 1800’s. It is gorgeous! Just driving up to it is like being in Pride and Prejudice when they pull up to Pemberly and just see it in all of its majesty. So nice.

We took a tour of the place, which was similar to being herded like sheep through the house, but oh well. We got the audio tour, so when we entered a certain room, we pushed numbers on the audio controller and it gave us information on the room we were looking at. It was pretty cool. When we got out of the tour, we ate lunch at the restaurant, which used to be the Biltmore stables. The restaurant still has the horse stalls in it, which are now dividers for tables and such. While we were waiting for our food, me, Matthew, and Aunt Sharon played Uno, which I just happened to have in my bag. 🙂 One of the head waiters came over and commented on it. Grandpa, who was sitting with grandma and my parents at an adjacent table, asked him, “Are you going to let those people gamble in your restaurant??” The waiter responded that he saw no foul play, and the game play continued until our food came out. Then we ate.

After lunch, we went to a few shops on site, then walked down to the gardens. Oh my gosh. Those things are amazing! There are so many gorgeous flowers! Both Aunt Sharon and I went crazy with our cameras! After the gardens, we drove down to the barn, where we saw some live old-time music, petted some horses, saved a goat who jumped a fence trying to escape, and saw some sheep. Then it was time to go back home. I rode with grandpa on the trike, and we had a nice ride home. Upon our arrival at home, we relaxed and waited for the others to come home, for they went to dish barn and some other places. We’ve always teased about going to dish barn, but we’ve never actually done it…UNTIL NOW. 🙂

Then it was time for dinner.

After dinner, it was time for cards. We played speed until everyone was mad at me because I kept winning. Then Aunt Sharon and Matthew taught me Rummy, which I won too, even though i’d never played it before. Then we were all tired and went to bed.

6) Just a walk up the hill, right?

The family (minus Janine and Caleb) on the top of Sandberg’s mountain.

Saturday morning was going to be good for me. I was planning on sleeping while everyone else went on a hike up the hill/mountain/whatever you want to call it at Carl Sandberg’s homestead, which is right around the road from grandma and grandpa’s house. Well, my ideal sleeping time wasn’t meant to be. Aunt Sharon decided that she wanted me on the hike and didn’t give up until I finally arose from my slumber and got ready. We drove to the hill and began the hike. It is a relatively hard, yet easy trail. The hardest part is the endurance. All of us were a little sore afterwards, though. 🙂 When we got to the top, Dad was already up there talking to Janine on the phone, so we talked to her for a while, then took group pictures.

Then Matthew and I decided to lay on the rock. It wasn’t very comfy though, so Matthew moved. Soon afterwards, I followed suit. I peeked around this bush that grew randomly in the middle of the top of the mountain, and for some reason, I started dancing. Uncle Tom was doing commentary, and it went something like this, “See there, the Joybird in her natural habitat. She has interesting red claws for feet, and oh look! She’s doing the mating dance!” It went downhill from there. Literally.

We started hiking down the mountain and took a detour to go to the barn, where there are goats. We petted some goats, fed them some leaves, then started walking back towards the cars. This is where the story gets very interesting.

On the walk to the cars, Aunt Sharon suddenly spotted a small salamander. I decided to catch it. I succeeded. Soon, I had a squirming salamander within my clutches. I placed it on my hand so that Aunt Sharon could take a picture of it. While it was there, a guy, a little younger than me and who looked like a typical geek, walked up and took interest in the little salamander that I had in my possession. The salamander decided to make a mad dash, so it jumped off my hand onto the ground. So now this kid and me are both trying to catch this creature. I eventually got it. So now it is on my hand again and Aunt Sharon is photographing it. The kid is like, “Oh wait! Just a minute! Camera phone!” Matthew and I are like…ooookay then.
So the salamander decides to climb up my arm. I’m okay with that. Then it climbs to my neck. Then it decided to descend down my shirt. This is where it gets awkward. I gave a little scream then started shaking my shirt. 

Aunt Sharon told me to stop so that I wouldn’t hurt the little guy. So I stood there awkwardly. The kid said, “I guess he likes you!” That only added to the awkwardness of the situation. Eventually, I was able to get the salamander out of my shirt and proceeded to walk away. While I was walking away, the kid said, “Hey! What is your name?” I told him that my name was Joy, then I kept walking. Aunt Sharon asked him what his name was. It was Andrew. Then we kept walking. On the way down the mountain, Matthew and I discussed how Andrew looked like someone who would work for geek squad. Then we just laughed. It was great.

So then we decided as a group to go to the curb market, where grandma originally got matthew and me our marshmallow guns. Matthew wanted to get some for his friends, and the family decided that Janine and Caleb needed some too. So we went there. Then we ended up going to El Paso, a mexican restaurant, for lunch, then we went to the Mast General Store downtown Hendersonville, and lots of adventures happened there. I got a new musical toy! I bought for $1.80, a nose flute. I’ll have to upload a video of it later. 🙂
After the general store and the randomness there, Matthew, Dad, and I went to Mike’s on Main Street, which is an old drug-store style soda fountain. We got milkshakes, then re-joined the group. After that, we went to another family favorite store, called “The Wrinkled Egg”. I got a life is good shirt, and then we finally went home. The escapade that was only supposed to be an hour or so going on a hike up the hill turned into a whole-day thing. We didn’t get home until about 4!

After we got home, we took showers in shifts, and Aunt Sharon started candling people’s ears. This consists of a tall tube that is made out of linen and paraffin wax that sticks into someone’s ear and the top is lit on fire. The fire creates a smoke that circles in the tube, melts earwax, and draws it up into the base of the tube. It is quite ingenius, and throughout the evening, four of my family members got their ears done. Mom’s was the worst. 🙂 Aunt Sharon even taught me how to do it!
Somewhere in the middle of the candling, we had dinner, packed our bags, finished candling, played cards, went through some stuff in teh storage room, then went to bed. Hallelujah for bed!

7) Travel day. (waking up freakishly early,
Today started out really early. Grandpa took Aunt Sharon, Uncle Tom, and Matthew to the airport at 5AM, and we left the house around 6AM. Mom and I slept in the car. Then we met Aunna in Nashville, where she now lives, around 9:45 for breakfast at IHOP. We had a great time there, chatting, eating, laughing, and the like. Our server’s name was Betty, and she was the typical southern belle. I liked her. 🙂
After an extended conversation/brunch with Aunna, I showed her my new toys, we prayed for her, then it was back on the road again. Mom and I slept.
Once in a while, we stopped for gas. Then whoever wasn’t driving and I slept. Once we got past St. Louis, we stopped for gas and a bite to eat at Hardee’s (horrible service. Don’t go there), then I drove the remaining three hours home. When we got home, we unloaded the car, washed all three cars, took showers, and I started writing this update. I am tired. I want to go to bed.
So I shall.

Toodles, kids!
Have a great week!

(12 days, 11 hours, 22 minutes until I am required to be back at school!! YAYYY!)


  1. Great times!!!


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