Turkey Day Trip
Over the Thanksgiving break, I had an opportunity to see a lot of the family for the holidays, something that has not been a possibility since joining the military.
Typical me, I can’t just go visit family, I had to turn it into an overlanding trip!
I threw a plan together and the kiddo and I hit the road.
As most trips go, I am on a mission to visit as many National Forests that I can so I plotted those out and started there. I was headed to the South-East US where I have visited most of the forests already so I decided to go into Texas and visit the Sam Houston, Angelina, and Davy Crockett National Forests. It took us a while to find cam since there was a bridge out but we decided to do some light painting while we were there.
The next day we moved on to Brewton, AL where a lot of my family lives. I have to say that the city of Brewton has done a LOT with the downtown area and I got out to take some pictures of the Christmas lights that filled the downtown area.
After visiting for a few days, we made our way out towards the Apalachicola National Forest and I have a new respect for the hurricane damage down that way. I was planning on camping near Apalachicola but just after leaving I-10 I decided to turn around. It was like being in a third-world country and I was not going to setup camp in that environment. We found a spot just outside Tallahassee and we decide to enjoy some father-son time around the fire before going to bed.
From there we passed through the South-West corner of Georgia and made out way to the home of football, Tuscaloosa, AL where I went to school and my parents live right now. We enjoyed a great Thanksgiving and I got out on campus to take some pictures before the big Game day crowds showed up.
After witnessing a great Iron Bowl, we hit the road again and headed home. I sent the kiddo off with my wife, who drove separately, and ventured North into Bankhead National Forest and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. This rec area on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky was beautiful. I just made my way through the main road and enjoyed the scenic drive.
After leaving the rec area, I toured through the Shawnee National Forest and found my way into the Mark Twain National Forest for the night.
Because it gets dark so dang early, I ended up going to bed fairly early which meant I was wide awake at 3 AM. I packed up and hit the road and I’m glad I did. Kinda. More on that in a second. There was one more National Forest between me and home at this point and I have already checked it off my list to visit. This is the Ozark National Forest but I had another reason to venture into the area of North-West Arkansas.
While on the road, I listen to a lot of Podcasts and right now I am following “Hell and Gone” which is an investigation into a murder that took place in that part of the state. A lot of the talk revolves around this “small” town and that “small” town so I wanted to see them for myself. “Small” was an understatement. I passed through one of these towns without even realizing it.
With that task done, I ended up weaving in and out of the Ozarks and stopped to take some pictures.
One of these stops I made offered a hike out to some cliffs and since I was up early and had a head start on the day, I decided to take the hike. I found some okay pictures but it was nice to get out and see nature. I could not walk the next day because the two miles destroyed my back but you win some and you lose some.
Overall, this trip was about visiting family and spending quality time with my son. Getting out in the woods, visiting a beautiful downtown, ticking off a few more National Forests, and driving beautiful mountain roads, was just icing on the cake.