Washington, DC

I travelled outside the norm last week, taking my mom (whom everyone calls “Rah-Rah”) to Washington DC. She turned 70 this year, and it was her first trip to our nation’s capital. It was a whirlwind adventure, with just two full days on the mall, but we had as much fun as if we’d been there a week.

For several years in a row, my husband had training in DC, so our adventurous son and I tagged along. We can navigate the Metro like the badasses we are, and I love the frenetic pace of the government workers. But this time, I visited a couple of things I haven’t been to because (a) no kid with us and (b) Rah-Rah isn’t the avid hiker we are.

For as long as I can remember, mom wanted to see the First Ladies Gowns exhibit, over at the National Museum of American Art. So we went, and it was lots of fun. You could visualize how tall or short, or busty (many of the wives of the formative fathers era of the nation were short and busty) the wives were, and get a little background on them. My favorite first wives, more for their public service while in office, are: Hillary Clinton, LadyBird Johnson, Rosalyn Carter, and Michelle Obama. We also went over to the National Portrait Gallery to see the new Kehinde Wiley portrait of my president, and while we were there, we got to visit the portrait of my personal hero, Jimmy Carter. President Kennedy’s portrait was also pretty tight. The National Air & Space Museum was, as always, my favorite, but the food court was closed. boo, hiss.

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Adventurous Son

Shout out to our Adventurous Son, Peyton, for being a finalist in the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year. Winners will be notified next month, but it’s exciting to see the photos. The Telegraph ran a piece on it, as did The Sun UK and MSN, but you can see the original posting at National Geographic.

Cross your fingers and send good vibes, y’all!

Oahu

We had a great adventure in Oahu last week, we Sickles Three. From Waikiki to Banzai Pipeline, we tried to do it all. Highlights include renting scooters in Waikiki and riding them up to Kailua. The only hiccup of that adventure was when I threw myself over the handlebars and nearly broke my knee … but I was able to walk it off and get past my nerves with the windy roads, impatient drivers, and rental equipment. I also did an open-water swim with our son, but slowed us down a bit because the deep water freaked me out a bit … so breast stokes rather than freestyle strokes that kept my face in the water longer. With no reefs or fish, or bottom (for that matter) to give me a point of reference, all I was left with was the dark water and my imagination. Never a good combination.

Hawaii has always been so cost-prohibitive because flights are expensive and the travel time is SO long, but because of a passport snafu with the mini me and a last-minute change of venue from New Mexico, we were able to do it. Pro Tips: pack a lunch when you can, and stay at a hotel that offers free breakfast. Meals were ridiculously expensive. I was introduced to Hebi, a fish we don’t catch in the Atlantic off the North Carolina coast … it was so good I had it three nights. I’d be happy to arm wrestle you for it, too. Also delish: the chocolate covered macadamia nuts. I’d let you win the arm wrestling contest for the macs.

Asheville, NC

North Carolina is one of the most geographically diverse states in the US, ranging from the mountains to the sea. We’ve got the highest point on the east coast (Mt. Mitchell) to the west, and the mighty Atlantic Ocean to the east. The Wright Brothers made the world’s first flight from Jockey’s Ridge. Whenever we have a chance to spend a long weekend in Asheville, we take it. It’s a fun town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with a vibrant arts scene, great food, along with the lovely French Broad River AND a big chunk of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were last there in 2014. While our son was running his ass off at a cross country camp in Arden, we were hiking through the Pisgah National Forest and enjoying a Gateway Kölsch from the French Broad River Brewery.