Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Car Trip (07/18/05)
TITLE: Go South, Young Ladies!
By Shari Armstrong
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I got the registration information, sent in my fee and put in for vacation. I was excited, since this was my first real vacation! Then I got the disappointing phone call, surprisingly from one of my old college roommates. Turns out, it was her father’s church sponsoring the trip. It was cancelled due to lack of interest. Cara and I decided to go on our own road trip. They were sending our money back and we already had the time off, so why not? After getting some recommendations from her pastor, we decided on Natural Bridge, Virginia, then down to North Carolina to see the Biltmore Estate and Chimney Rock.
We decided to meet at her place and take her car, as I had a stick shift, and she wasn’t comfortable driving it. We were headed south on a grand adventure. The time spent in the car was great for a lot of sisterly heart-to-hearts, even though we’d been e-mailing almost daily. We’d both been reading a book, and sharing our insights and life applications learned from it via e-mail for a few weeks. This gave us a great time to really dig deep into what we were doing with our lives, who we were and where we stood with God.
We reached our first stop, Natural Bridge, Virginia, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Getting there, you actually drive on it, without realizing it is under you the whole time. We walked along the path, taking in the beauty of the stream and flowers. We passed where George Washington carved his initials while he was still a young surveyor. We arrived at the end of the path, and saw that marvelous view of sky and trees framed by the rock. We saw information about the Sunrise Service they hold there every year. I tucked the idea of returning for that some day in the back of my mind. I’m sure it was spectacular to be in such a beautiful display created by God to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Thinking back, the bridge almost looked like what the opening to the tomb may have looked like, but a whole lot bigger!
We made our way south, to the beautiful state of North Carolina, driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The views were breathtaking. It was my first time in the mountains, and I was enjoying every second of it, well almost. The breaks on the car weren’t nearly as thrilled with the mountains as we were. We had to pull off to the side of the road, to let them cool off before we could keep going. While we waited, we took some pictures and stood amazed at how vast it all was.
The Bilmore Estate was such a sharp contrast to all the natural beauty we’d seen. The mansion was an amazing example of architecture. It looked like a castle. Inside, they had art and furniture displayed that were created by famous people from all over the world. It was fascinating to see how a family actually lived in such a huge home. But, outside there was more of God’s beauty in the gardens. Even though man had arranged the gardens artistically, they couldn’t match the simple beauty of the flowers themselves.
Our last stop was Chimney Rock. It had wonderful hiking trails and an amazing waterfall. What amazed me more than the spectacular seventy-five mile view, was that until you were almost at the waterfall, you wouldn’t even know it was there. You’re walking along, wondering if you’ll ever make it, and then just about when you felt like you couldn’t go another step, you would hear the falls. After getting a second wind, we hiked on, again amazed at God’s creation. It was just like God giving us that boost we needed, just when we think we can’t go another day, He refreshes us and helps us to keep going.
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