“Get Out of There”

One of my very best friends is getting married in the fall of 2018. Yesterday she asked me to be a bridesmaid. Obviously I said yes.

Aubrey and I have known each other since we were 10. That’s sixteen years of history, friendship, arguments, changes, and celebrations. Another best friend, Kayla, is also a bridesmaid. Similar to Aubrey and I, she grew up locally and we’ve had some sort of acquaintanceship or friendship since middle school.

Both Kayla and Aubrey have moved away, found good jobs, and settled in. I, on the other hand, stayed in the same small town we all once called “home.” Per Google Maps, I live 3.8 miles from my childhood home, half a mile from my elementary school, half a mile (the other direction) from my high school, and roughly 0.5 to 5 miles from all my local relatives. Needless to say, it’s a smallish town.

It’s also one of those towns that high school seniors and young adults are always trying to “get away” from. If you don’t move away and travel the world or get a studio apartment in a real city then you might as well get married, pop out a few babies, and settle.

(That’s not my opinion. That’s the general vibe around here.)

Recently I saw a conversation on Facebook between two high school acquaintance…
Person 1: We’re moving! We’ll be living in XYZ, Ohio after this weekend.
Person 2 (who now lives in a major city): Good for you! Get out of there!

I know it should’ve have, but her comment made my blood boil. It made me feel like staying here is wrong.

Like it’s a trap. Or a prison. Or some sh!thole.

I like to think that I’m not easily swayed or influenced by others, but I KNOW there is a small town mentality of ‘staying here = failure.’

But honestly- what a load of bullshit.

If marriage and babies in a safe, small town is your prerogative then you’re in the right place. If building an international company is on your to-do list then you’ve found the perfect location. If you’re a world traveler who needs some roots in a busy yet slow community then plant them right here.

And if you feel like you need more miles to stretch your wings or some distance between your past and your present or you just want to try out a new place, then I think that’s great! But don’t you dare look down your nose at someone else for sticking around the place they call “home.”

For a while I really believed K and I would leave. (I suppose there’s still time but 1. the business is located here and 2. I’m happy here.) I’m a huge fan of travel and receiving a worldly education- but I need a stable home to return to. I think it’s 100% ok to dig your roots into a place like this.

For the record, neither of my best friends nor my brother have ever made me feel badly for any of my choices. I think they’re just happy to have a place to hangout when they come “home.”

I know that was a little rant-y, but that Facebook transaction sparked something inside me. I respect your decision to leave so I expect the same when it comes to staying.

You May All Go to Hell & I Will Go To Texas

Last month K and I flew to Texas for a statewide music educators convention. It took a while, but I’ve finally found the time to recap our trip. This is a lengthy one 😉

Backstory: At the end of 2016 K’s business underwent some changes and I was brought on full time to oversee administrative duties and customer/vendor communication. I’d been to trade shows and conventions in the past with the company (Indiana 2014), but I had no idea how to sell our product. We had a show in Cleveland the week before Texas so I observed K in the booth and studied the carts but I was still nervous about my first time on the floor. Obviously that didn’t matter because we were headed to San Antonio regardless.

Freighting our equipment to Texas would’ve cost thousands upon thousands of dollars so K asked his welder (who also happens to be his dad, Jeff) to drive the product down in a box truck. I was uncomfortable sending his dad alone on such a long trip so I suggested K’s mom, Gail, take the week off from her job and they make it a San Antonio vacation. It ended up working out perfectly and they hit the road Monday morning. We flew out Tuesday morning.

We landed mid-afternoon, caught a taxi to our hotel, and checked on the box truck’s progress. Since they were still a few hours away we decided to unpack, check in to the exhibition hall, and wander around the River Walk for a place to eat. Conveniently, both our hotel and the convention center were right along the RW.

We stopped for dinner at a place called The County Line. The servers were a bit snippy but it wasn’t at us fortunately. After dinner we walked back to the hotel and met up with Jeff and Gail as they arrived. We got them all checked in and settled, then retired for the night since Wednesday was going to be a work day.


On Wednesday we spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon loading into the convention hall and setting up the display booth.

Around 2 pm we finished and took a(n accidental) walk all the way around the River Walk loop. We stopped into The Iron Cactus for a late lunch/early dinner, then I dragged everyone to street level to visit The Alamo.

We caught the landmark just before closing so we only spent 20 minutes wandering around. 😦

After some Starbucks we wandered back to the hotel and crashed. Set up was exhausting and we hadn’t even begun the convention.


Thursday and Friday was spent in the exhibition hall. (We encouraged Jeff and Gail to go enjoy San Antonio!) The show started at 9 am and ended at 5 pm each day. On Thursday K and I went to dinner alone at Tony Roma’s and finished up the night with some Marble Slab Creamery ice cream. On Friday the four of us went to dinner at Saltgrass with a friend who was in town for the show, too.

On Saturday K woke up with a nasty head cold. I opened the convention at 9 am alone (*gulp*) and K joined me for a few hours later on that morning. Thank goodness his parents were there. They brought him some meds and soup since we couldn’t leave the booth. K decided to call it a day around 12:30 pm. Fortunately it was a short day and the hall was set to close at 2 pm. I worked the last hour and a half alone. Needless to say, I was much more confident with the gear by the end of this show!

Tear down and pack up started at 2 pm. K stayed in the hotel room so his dad went to fetch the box truck while his mom and I tore down the entire booth. We worked until 7 pm packing up and loading the truck. It was a mere 87 degrees. Perfect weather… *eyeroll*

I needed some grub so Gail and I wandered down to the River Walk mall for food. I got K some mac n’ cheese and bought myself some Chinese takeout. It was a great way to end our trip… ha.

We flew home Sunday morning while K’s parents drove the box truck to Dallas to the instrument/equipment dealer who’d bought everything in the booth. They dropped off the truck and flew home on Monday, and I picked them up at the airport.


You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas. -Davy Crockett

My last trip to Texas was after my freshman year of high school so it was nice to go back and explore San Antonio. I’m sad K got sick but his immune system is predictably crappy. After two weeks of travel and some airplane rides I wasn’t surprised when he started hacking.

Overall, it was fun. If K hadn’t hired me I wouldn’t get to tag along/help on these trips, so I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel and hangout with him. The industry in which we work is a fun one- we always run into old friends or meet new people during these shows. There’s rarely a dull moment.

Do you get to travel for work? (Do you enjoy it?) Have you ever been to San Antonio? It seems to be the only Texas city I visit!

Add It To My (Super Random) List

By skipping Mondays I lose my opportunity to recap my weekend. If you were curious, I had a good one 🙂 Fun fact: I spent every weekend in February out of town. First Cleveland, then San Antonio, then Columbus, and then Cleveland again last weekend. Some trips for business, some for pleasure. This weekend Kayla and I visited Aubrey and her fiance Alyssa because Aubs is recovering from surgery and we went up to celebrate her transformation and keep her company. (You can follow her story/creep on her here. She’s #InstaFamous)

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In an attempt to stay hip and trendy I’m trying to keep track of the fun link-ups that go on in the blog world. I managed to jot down the schedule for the Add It To My List link-up with Lauren and Bre, so here we are.

Firstly, these three products were recommended by other bloggers:

I’m easily influence by others… I went out and bought this stuff immediately because I was in the market for some quality polish and comfy shoes for work. (The polish remover is cruelty-free & I needed that toiletry in c.f. form.) All three have my seal of approval!

Bamboo bedding…
Two years ago my grandparents gifted K and I some bamboo bedding. GUYS- we fell in love with it immediately. They’d bought it from Marshalls, so obviously I’ve never come across it again. Then last week this idiot (me) remembered Amazon exists and I have a Prime account. So I ordered some sheets. (How many pairs of sheets do you have for your bed? We have two. I always have to be on my laundry A-game, especially when I peel the sheets right before vacation and make the bed for the dogsitter, then come home and remember that now both sheets are dirty and I’m too exhausted to do laundry.)
I digress. Bamboo sheets are the softest and most comfy sheets ever. Go get some.

On to another random thing…

Go make this recipe:

One-Pan Veggies & Sausage

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I made this last week and it was a hit (with all two of us). It’s crazy simple- the “hardest” part was chopping all the veggies. We had rice with it. (I also made Brussels sprouts separately because they looked so good at the store and K doesn’t like them so I couldn’t mix them in. But then he ate some so…. that was a minor victory in my kitchen.)

(I’m pretty sure I took this recipe and another one (this!) from Nadine’s Pinterest!)

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This fall K and I are planning to visit Disney. I’ve been there a handful of time, but I’ve never planned the trip. (I was a child and/or a band student on prior trips.) Kyle has never been to the happiest place on Earth, so I’m hoping to show him a good time. I’m looking for tips, tricks, and advice right now. I know how to “do” Disney, but any reminders or travel tidbits would be helpful. 🙂

Enjoy these last two days of February!

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Fly Me to the Moon (or don’t… please, don’t)

It’s painful for me to admit this, but some time in the last four years I developed mild flight anxiety. I have an overactive brain that tends to visualize everything that could go wrong (although, scientifically, the things I imagine probably can’t go wrong). I’m not going to go into it because I know that I’m being dramatic and I don’t want to put my false mental images of doom into your head, too.

But, you know, just let it be known that I have flight anxiety.

Here’s where I imagine all this anxiety stems from… In 2010 I totaled my car on some black ice and it took me 2 years to get comfortable behind the wheel again. In 2012 I flew to India and we hit turbulence that dropped the plane and nearly shook me from my seat. Traumatic events tend to shake me to my core and send my imaginative brain into overdrive.

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Two weeks ago K and I flew to San Antonio for a business trip. (Details about our trip are happening next week hopefully.) I have flown a few times since India, but the anxiety gets worse with each trip. I was seriously dreading these flights.

The self-talk that happened in my head during our time in the air was unreal. I channeled Chelsea and repeated to myself, “You can do hard things.” I prayed like a mad person. I turned my ear buds all the way up and tried desperately to lose myself in books. Every once in a while I panic-grasped K’s hand or thigh.

When the smallest hint of turbulence rocked the plane I told myself that the flight attendants were still standing and smiling and passing out drinks- it’d all be ok.

Before our last flight home I looked up the dangers of turbulence on my phone. (I knew this was a risk… sometimes ignorance really is bliss.) Turns out, turbulence is very rarely the cause of air troubles. It’s totally normal and does not bring planes down. That little bit of knowledge helped immensely on the last flight. (All our flights were smooth- my brain had the turbulent issues.)

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Of course, when I really boil it down, what the hell am I going to do if something were to happen on a plane? Like, really. What exactly are my options? I jokingly told K that if something goes wrong and we’re taking a nose dive to the ground, please punch me and knock me out. Neither one of us can figure out if I’m kidding about that still…

But back to the point… I survived our flights and, though I was mentally exhausted, I found ways to cope with the stress I was feeling and walk away confident and happy (to be on the ground ).

So how about some mediocre advice from an inexperienced* flyer…

  • Create a playlist and bring a book that will grab & keep your interest. Dave Matthews Band calms me down when driving in stressful situations so I loaded up my Amazon Prime playlist with some DMB for the flight.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Watch the flight attendants. Chances are they’re laughing and smiling and jovial, even when buckled up and bouncing along in the turbulence. Be friendly with them, too. They’re your biggest allies in the air, especially on longer flights.
  • Repeat to yourself, ‘I am brave. I am OK. I can do hard things.’ (You’d be surprised how effective this is. )
  • If praying is your thing have a laid back, honest conversation with God.
  • Research flight and turbulence. First I read this article, then I found this site: http://www.fearofflying.com/ . It actually has a ‘program’ to cure those with flight anxiety. I’d be lying if I said I’m not looking into it…
  • Some people drink alcohol or take relaxers. If that works for you, cool. I’m pretty sure I’d have just started crying uncontrollably if I’d been drinking. I needed my brain to be clear and strong for the trip.

It sounds backward- and maybe this just helps me- but looking out the window helped me relax. The beauty and the stillness of the sky/clouds/ground below was helpful.

(* truthfully, I’ve been flying my entire life… I started when I was a toddler and I’ve been around the world… so, you know, I’m kind of experienced… just inexperienced with this newfound anxiety)

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It’s weird… I’m not afraid of heights. I’m not afraid of death. I’m not afraid of travel. I just hated the feeling of the plane dropping out from beneath me like it did on the India trip.

It’s funny, but I suddenly understand Lylee’s irrational fear of thunderstorms.

So let’s open the floor for outside advice 🙂 Do you get shaky on flights? How do you entertain yourself on a plane?

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Why Do I Keep Going to Myrtle Beach in the Fall…?

Remember all those eons ago when I talked about our side trip to Charlotte, NC? Yeah… it’s tough for me to recall, too. Anyway… Charlotte was just a pit stop on the way to our main destination: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. **This is a long post 😉

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Just a refresher… in October K and I packed up the car after work and headed to Circleville, OH. We did some Pumpkin Festival fest-ing with my brother and Christina, stayed the night in stormy Lancaster, OH, then took a lap around the NASCAR museum in Charlotte. After dinner at Carolina Ale House we forced ourselves back into the car for the three hour trek to Myrtle Beach. Now you’re all caught up.

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I am a Grade-A, award-winning, hall of fame plan-a-holic. I take relaxing vacations and plan them down to the millisecond, squashing any and all spontinuity out of the experience. But this time I didn’t. I didn’t plan one. single. thing. I made note of fun things we could do, but I put no pen to paper, made no reservations, and formed no expectations. All per K’s request.

F R I D A Y

We got in pretty late on Thursday so the adventuring began the following morning.

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We stayed at The Horizon at 77th – it was one property off the beach and down a side road from N Kings Highway. Our rooms were in that center section. The hotel was in Myrtle Beach, but on the north side which meant we could venture to North Myrtle without any trouble.

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We picked a chilly weekend to visit the beach so we tried to take advantage of the warmest day on the trip. We started off browsing the Tanger Outlets at Hwy 17 and picked up a few Christmas gifts for folks. We also nommed on lunch in the food court and treated ourselves to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

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It was a breezy 80 degrees by 3pm so we packed up the towels, blanket, and umbrella, and walked to the beach.

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. . .

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After a few chapters, a stroll along the coast, and a near-fatal wind+umbrella incident we decided to call it a day. I think we spent an hour and a half on the sand. (That’s the risk you take in October, I guess. )

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We decided to be a little adventurous and try out some new restaurants on our trip. We made a reservation at Aspen Grille for 6:15pm and got spiffy.

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High risk, high reward. Dinner was delicious. It was a slightly expensive meal, but we were 110% satisfied. We ended the night on the couch watching a NatGeo special on Teddy Roosevelt. #excitingtimes

S A T U R D A Y

In hindsight we’ve both decided I should’ve planned something during the trip. Anything, really. We spent the morning at the local Cracker Barrel and then Bass Pro, Books-A-Million (where K bought me two books as a late b-day gift), and a smaller local mall. We also stopped into the Harley shop for K before deciding to visit Boardwalk on the Beach.

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Lunch was at American Tap House where the first conversation in this post happened. K got a burger and I ordered a Thai Chicken Salad.

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Lunch was late in the day and after we finished we decided to just lounge around the hotel room.

For dinner K discovered a restaurant called Boom Boom Wine Room. Um. It was the coolest place.

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Upon arrival they loaded a debit card with any amount you wanted for use in the wine bottle machines. You could then select different wines in different quantities from the machines. (1, 3, and 5 ounce I think). It awesome!

The food was snack-like and we ordered plates of the short-rib nachos, bruschetta, and “buttered scotch” pudding. Delicious.

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S U N D A Y

I am married to an early-rising homebody so by 7:10am we were on the road. We got home without incident before dusk 🙂

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To be totally honest, it was a “meh” trip for us. I’m glad we had the opportunity for downtime together, but we got a little bored. I failed to plan anything fun, we’ve been to Myrtle Beach a handful of times, and there wasn’t much beach-ing. The food was incredible, though!

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Do you enjoy traveling in the fall? Have you been to Myrtle Beach? Have you ever taken a trip that didn’t live up to the hype?

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The Revised 30 by 30

When I turned 25 I made a 30 (things to do) by (the time I turn) 30 list. I threw it together haphazardly and felt a little meh about it, so after a while I removed the page from my blog.

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After some revision and soul searching, I’ve republished the list (^ up there ^) and figured I’d share it here. There are 10 or so things are from the original list- including the few that have been crossed off- but these 30 things are activities or experiences that I’d really like to accomplish before the big 3-0. (Deadline: Oct. 17, 2020)

  1. Read 100 books (26/100)
  2. Visit 5 new cities (2/5; Boston, Charlotte)
  3. Work for K and Pageantry Innovations
  4. Finish writing my novel
  5. Finish Yearly Scrapbooks (2/7)
  6. Take K to Disney World
  7. Take K to Europe
  8. Re-read the Harry Potter series (0/7)
  9. Pay off any and all credit card debt
  10. See the West Coast
  11. Learn the art of making (my grandma’s) pies
  12. Take another cruise
  13. Go horseback riding
  14. Attend a professional sporting event [November 23, 2015]
  15. See Panic! at the Disco live
  16. Attend at least 5 different NASCAR tracks (3/5)
  17. Make something on my sewing machine
  18. Complete Erin’s book challenge
  19. Complete a TBD film challenge
  20. Finish OUAT series & The West Wing & Mad Men & Miss Fisher’s…
  21. Clean junk out: spare room / utility room / basement
  22. Go on a girls’ trip
  23. See Trumpet in the Land (a local outdoor production)
  24. Tryout for a part at the local theater- even if I don’t get it
  25. Start a real, physical, local book club
  26. Find the perfect pair of booties
  27. Ride on a train (again)
  28. Visit the Rock & Roll HOF
  29. Take the dog(s) hiking each fall (Starting 2015… 2/6)
  30. Visit a unique Ohio location not already listed (suggestions )

I feel like I’ve got a pretty terrible start, ha. I’m nearly a year and a half in and I’ve got two-ish crossed off… Oof. That said, I’m working on the books, television shows, cities, races, and hiking. Also, we’re planning a Disney trip for this year (and hopefully Europe in 2018)! So, you know, that’s a start…

I looked at some other 30×30 lists while I was creating mine, but I’d love to know what’s on your bucket list! Do you want to skydive (not me ) or scuba dive or travel the world?

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Bopping Around Charlotte, NC

Every Fall the travel bug bites me and I get the crazy notion that K and I need to spice things up with a trip (much to his chagrin). One year we went to Jamaica, one year I took a girls’ trip to the beach. This October my parents gave us their hotel points and we headed to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We left home Wednesday night after work & got back on Sunday.

Typically we follow the same path south through the mountains multiple times a year, whether we’re going to the east coast or Florida (that’s a hellish drive) or the NASCAR races in Bristol. We’re usually in a car full of people and/or adhering to a strict schedule. Since this trip was just K and I, we decided we wanted to veer off our usually path, add about 45 minutes (which turned into two hours thank to traffic), and spend some time in Charlotte, NC.

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We started talking about a side trip a few days before we left, but we didn’t decided to go for it until we were on the road. (I am a Type-A anal-retentive planner/traveler, but I summoned all my strength to plan nothing [save the hotels and such] and just go with the flow.) We’d both never spent any time in Charlotte- home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame/admin. offices- so it was a unanimous decision to stop and explore.

Originally we planned to leave Thursday, but K and I said ‘goodbye’ to the dogs and packed up the car on Wednesday night. We drove about two hours south to meet my brother & his wife in Circleville, OH. If you’ve never been, there’s really not much except the Annual Circleville Pumpkin Show. K isn’t one for festivals or fairs, but I was annoyingly persistent- plus my baby brother was begging to hang out with us. Around 7 or 8 pm we arrived in town, spent 20 minutes trying to park, and finally left my car in the sketchy backyard of a town resident (for like $10 bucks). Despite a Cleveland Indian’s win that he’d listened to the whole way down, K’s mood was not stellar. Still, he plastered a smile on his face and walked around the crowded streets with us while I stuffed my face with french fries and pumpkin spice pulled pork (oh my gosh- SO good) and apple cider.

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. . .

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We said goodbye to Fred & Xtina around 10pm and drove an hour to our hotel in Lancaster. We arrived just in time because an insane storm blew in just as we got settled in our room. I have never heard rain and thunder so clearly while staying in a hotel. The flashes of lightning through our drawn curtains were so intense. Of course K slept through the whole thing.

The next morning we packed up our car again and started south. It was a mostly uneventful drive. Traffic getting into Charlotte was a pain, but once we were in the city it was actually pleasant. Brace yourself… here come all the pictures…

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The building was architecturally incredible. The museum was intricate and modern, too. We purchased standard tickets (as in didn’t include a simulation ride or food) and they handed us two access cards. When we registered the cards outside the small informational theater we were able to enter our name, pick out a helmet design, and choose our race car driver tour guide. Obviously I picked Kasey Kahne. K chose Jimmie Johnson.

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This was the waiting area where you registered your card & wait for the 12-minute film.

Upon exiting the theater there was an entire exhibit dedicated to Tony Stewart or “Smoke.” He’s retiring after the 2016 year ends so some of his cars, fire suits, trophies, etc. are on display in the hall. From there you walk up a long, winding ramp that follows the progression of racing and the stock cars involved. It has winning cars from various years as well as details on each NASCAR track- both in-use and retired.

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Cars/Pixar fans might recognize the ‘Hudson Hornet’- which was a real race car!

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Our race track :)
Our race track 🙂

We practically had the entire museum to ourselves, which was glorious. I regret that I took so many pictures & didn’t read more of the information. That said, we were finishing up just as the museum was closing so if I’d have read all the things I wanted to we’d have never made it through in time. We’ll go back someday soon.

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There’s a circular room with all the HOF inductees. Each person has a pole like this that includes their image, information, and a video about their involvement in the sport.

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The museum has a Hall of Fame Room, a pit crew challenge (K beat me… stupid tire was so heavy!), a race simulator, and a top floor dedicated to the history of the sport. Kyle Busch was the champion last year and they had his car and the trophy on display at the museum.

The race simulator was awesome. Our package didn’t include it so we were prepared to pay $5 but the staff member just let us slide through since it was the end of the day. (Honestly, the customer service at NASCAR was ridiculous. Everyone was friendly and helpful and attentive. It was a really great experience for us!) K ran second for most of the race, but he was wrecked right at the end and finished 6th. I got 4th place after blowing my engine at the beginning. Oops…

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. . .

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We didn’t want to eat at the museum’s BW3 because we have one in our town, so we wandered down the street and found Carolina Ale House. Blogger-fail on my part because I didn’t take any food pictures, but trust me when I say it was delicious! Our pulled pork nachos were incredible. We also has a window seat so I could watch downtown Charlotte and over-analyze everyone. #MyFavorite

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We both wished we’d had more time Charlotte (a.k.a. we later decided we should’ve just vacationed to Charlotte), but it was only meant to be a short stop on our way to our destination. After dinner we hopped in the car and started on the 3 hour drive to the beach.

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