Travel Journal Day 23 & 24: Homeward Bound

I have been dragging my feet on publishing this final Travel Journal- Homeward Bound.

Almost 2 months ago I began sharing travel updates as our family set out on a cross-country trip. If you missed any of them, you can catch them using these links: Getting UnderwayTexasOklahomaAlbuquerque, New MexicoThe Southwest; Two of My Favorite CitiesWyoming; South Dakota5 StatesMissouri, Kansas And Arkansas.

Somehow we’ve come to my final update. And, even though we’ve been home from our trip for several weeks, publishing this last post makes the finality of the trip more real. (Don’t worry though- I have TONS more to share about some specifics of our trip!)

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Day 23: We woke up to an alarm clock for the first time in several days! Knowing the trip was quickly coming to an end gave us a rejuvenation for not missing out on a minute!

After an amazing breakfast at Cracker Barrel, our family was at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site when it opened the doors. This was a very unique National Park stop that we wanted to visit with our children (and gain another stamp in our Passport To Your National Parks.)

Rather than summarize the significance of this stop on our journey home, here is the description from the NPS website:

“Little Rock Central High School is recognized for the role it played in the desegregation of public schools in the United States.  The nine African-American students’ persistence in attending the formerly all-white Central High School was the most prominent national example of the implementation of the May 17, 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.”

The Visitors Center has a lot of great videos so we really felt like we gained a great education on this period of time and what transpired in Little Rock (and across the country!)

We eventually got on the road, heading towards home, and crossed the state line into Tennessee!

We spent the better part of the day touring around Memphis. We hit a couple highlights of the city (but plan to go back soon for everything we missed!): BBQ lunch on Beale Street; Shopping and a ride to the top of the Pyramid;   And visited the ducks at The Peabody.

I think one of the funnier things that happened that day is that we ran into someone we knew. After literally not seeing a single person we knew for over 3 weeks (except the handful of friends/family we were able to visit along the route)- running into a familiar face was SO strange! The realization really kicked in that we were homeward bound.

We eventually tore ourselves away from Memphis and began the long journey across Interstate 40 towards home.

Day 24 was originally scheduled to be an uneventful drive and arrival in Charlotte. But we just couldn’t do it.

We ended up throwing in one final adventure by visiting The Great Smokey Mountains. Although this is a familiar National Park that we’ve visited on numerous occasions, it was no less special that day. We drove through Cades Cove, ate at one of our favorite restaurants- The Local Goat, took the kids to Clingman’s Dome and got tons of stamps in our Passport To Your National Parks book.

We even got totally crazy and drove about 20 miles out of the way to visit our favorite little Ice Cream shop in Black Mountain, NC.

We did pretty much anything and everything we could think of to extend the trip a little longer. No one was ready to be totally homeward bound.

Despite our late arrival home, we didn’t regret taking advantage of every single minute of our incredible trip!

I’ve already begun to write some posts about specific places we visited. There were so many great sponsors for this trip and I’m looking forward to highlighting several more over the next week!

Thanks for following all of our Travel Journals- from Ready, Set, Go! to Homeward Bound…they’ve been fun to write!

I’ve been getting a ton of questions about our trip and I’m planning to do a Q & A post soon with some of the most frequently asked questions. Do you have something you’re curious about? Leave a comment and I’ll try to include the answer in my upcoming post!

You may also enjoy reading:

10 Years of Traveling With Kids

The Tennessee River Side Trip

Best Trips For Young Kids

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