After a long delay searching for my wallet, we were off to pick up Gina and head to the farmhouse in Tennessee. We got her stuff loaded and hit the road, driving through one rain shower after another during the 2 hours it took to reach Tracy City. We arrived at the house and after the kids had run off some energy, we decided to go get some late lunch while we waited on Carl to get in from work. With no real destination in mind, we ended up driving around a little while and went past Sewanee College, it is lovely! I want Matt to see it when he gets here, I don't know why we have not driven past it before now.

After we grabbed a bite, we went back to the house and walked around a while, then Carl arrived and we talked with him for a little bit. The original plan was to spread out a little, between both houses, but that's changed and now all 4 families will be here in the same house. That's 20 people! Eep! I am a little concerned about how the whole 'bathroom' situation will work out, as there are 2 toilets and 2 showers, but I am not too worried, this is our trial run trip anyway. We are working out the kinks.

The idea to head this way with a group occurred to me when I was talking to one of the rangers about group events and he made a few suggestions about what we could do here. We quickly worked up a 3-day plan and set to work figuring the dates. Lodging was a HUGE issue, as everything else fell into place. There are no campgrounds up here on the mountain. The state park has some primitive camping, but no hook-ups for miles-25 to be exact. I called motels, I called cabin rental places, I called a woman who has set up a couple RV slots in her yard and so on. I even talked to some people with a guest ranch. Nothing for a group, even a small one, on a budget. We tried to find locals who could host a tent or camper in their yard, I bet I put 40 hours in on just finding a place to stay.

I lucked up and then some with finding Carl, we hit it off immediately and were able to come to an arrangement that so far has satisfied both sides of the equation. And, as if being super nice and helpful were not enough-they homeschool, too! We came up and spent the weekend last weekend to see the property and talk things out in person about what we need and what he can provide, so coming in today was pretty painless. I am excited to be settled back in and looking forward to our week ahead.

Tonight we just snacked for dinner, Katy posted a recipe for flourless cookies and I made 4 batches of those. The kids mowed through quite a few of them!

I added dried cranberry and unsweetened coconut.

We walked to Anderson Falls and back, I went off to call Matt (no signal here) while everyone else organized themselves for showers. By the time I got back, I got right in, so that worked out well!. I went ahead and washed everything we all wore today and our towels, might as well stay ahead of that.

It was nearly dark when we went off in the woods, so the photos are grainy at the higher ISO.

The kids played Taboo for a while, then we settled in to watch The Village, which is still one of my favorite movies.

Everyone is in bed now, and I can't find my upload cord's making me nuts. So I guess I am done typing up today and will hit the bed myself soon.

Katy and Amanda, my other guinea pigs, will be arriving tomorrow and we will kick off the following 3 days with an evening campfire...though at the moment the chance of rain is 70%!

Our plan for this week is to work out ideas and issues so that I can start arranging homeschool events up here a couple times a year. The lodging is STILL a problem, unless I limit it or if most people camp, we could have more. That's one of the things we want to work on. How to open this up for more folks.

There's so much to do here anyway and add in a few things with one of the rangers and it becomes a perfect nature study adventure trip. Perfect for our Not Back To School Party Week, that's for sure! Loads of learning, no new shoes to break in.