I was sixteen when I told my parents, “I’m never coming back here. It’s the most boring place on earth!” I had miserably clomped around for a week in a sour mood. Every night I walked to a payphone and called my boyfriend to tell him how much I wanted to come home. I whined and complained to my parents about every activity we did. I even cried once. That week I had enough and decided it was time to break up with the Smokey Mountains.

For most of my childhood my (extended) family went to the mountains for vacation at least once a year; sometimes twice. My last trip took place during spring beak of my junior year of high school. I didn’t understand why anyone enjoyed the mountains. It was just sooooo boring. I even tried getting into the spring break spirit by lying out in my bathing suit next to a stream! It didn’t help, so I ended up having a completely miserable week. I wanted to love the “Great Smokies” like everyone else, but I just didn’t see the big thrill.

One time I heard a couple say they were going to the mountains to watch the leaves change, and I became even more confused. People drove 7-8 hours in a car all the way to North Carolina JUST to see colorful leaves. Well that made sense, because the mountains were for boring people with nothing better to do.

As with any relationship time has a way of fading the bad memories, and I’m now left with fond recollections of those family trips. I think about how I always wanted to ride in Grandma and Grandpa’s car…in the front seat…between them. Grandma had the good snacks!

I’m excited to say that Anderson and I are joining the caravan and heading back to the mountains today. I honestly can’t wait to get in the car! We’re riding with Don to meet my parents. They’re staying for two weeks, but I’m not ready to jump back into the relationship so soon. A few days will be perfect for us to get re-acquainted. I even looked through some brochures to see what new, exciting attractions might be waiting for us. Um…none. I got a strangely comforting feeling when I saw that everything looks just the way it did when I left it, and I started thinking maybe that’s why people go year after year. They enjoy visiting a place where time seems to stand still.

The trip will be different this year though. Don’s driving. I guess that means he can’t touch “my side” of the car!! 😉