parkwayOn the Parkway…

Obviously, if you know me well enough, you’ll realize that the title is tongue-in-cheek.

Do I always start out that way? Probably.
So. Today while taking Cole to school the weather report on the radio called for “overcast skies with periods of sunshine.” Not bad, I think. We drop off Cole, run errands, hit the dry cleaners where they know us by name (love that!), stop at home, start a new book, check email. get mail. blah. blah. While looking online I discover that we have once again missed the peak monarch migration in our area, which happened a mere 2 evenings ago up on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

But why not just go up there to check, I think? There might be a few stragglers, after all, and overcast skies are usually good for taking photos. So I pack up Harper and ponder a picnic, which would be the good mom thing to do. Instead we swing by McDonalds, where they probably already could know us by name but thankfully don’t rub it in our faces, and the lady hands over our bags and says, with force, “you have a good day.” Not in a whimsical, la la la maybe you’ll have a good day, but more like in a drill sergeant way. “Yes, ma’am.”

We pick up Cole, who is immediately alerted to the fact that we’re not going home when I turn left at the stoplight rather than right. He’s excited about the possibility of seeing butterflies when I tell him that we’re taking a drive along the parkway, but really more excited about the toy in his happy meal.

I’m just going to blame this next little part on growing up a flatlander, but as you may or may not know, the thing about driving up a mountain is that you sometimes encounter different weather conditions than you would if you were in the valley. In our case, we quite literally drove into those overcast skies, in the form of heavy cloud cover. Which looks really pretty when you’re gazing up at the mountains but is rather dense and a little hard to drive in when one is actually up on the mountain without guardrails on either side.

But never fear, this is an adventure! We continue on, the kids, oblivious to any of my agitation as they snack on their food and watch Charlotte’s Web, and me, looking for mile markers to determine where we are, and which are VERY hard to see due to the fact that well, we pretty much can’t see. Honestly, though, I’m making is sound worse than it is.

See for yourself — go ahead, take a moment to enjoy the view.

What? You can’t see it? Well here, maybe if you look over the sign (that would be me holding the camera over the sign.)

Seriously, though, we did have fun! We discovered we’d been looking in the wrong spot for the monarchs all along, so we might actually see them next year when they come (I fear that if I ever do get to observe the migration it’ll be rather anticlimactic.) The location where 300+ were reported the other night is right along this trail…

And look! Acorns — you can’t find those at home.

I think Harper took me a little too seriously on the whole “look over” the overlook thing…

Awww, it’s love.

But only briefly before the screeching begins.

So yes, we did have fun. The kids got to run around and get dirty and I entertained myself by taking funny photos. But just guess what happened when we finally decided to turn around and head back down the mountain? Oh yes, the cloud cover was finally lifting. Ha ha ha, God. That’s funny. See? there’s a peek at our pretty view.

Oh, and for the record, we didn’t see any monarchs.