As fate would have it we ended up housesitting in England for many months, before heading back to the United States. Between England and Europe, we were gone for nine months. At one point I shipped home all our winter clothes and souvenirs we had picked up along the way – made it much easier to get from place to place when you are not lugging so much along with you!
To help split up this long journal I have divided it up by calendar year, it just seemed easier to do it that way. So here is year 2 starting in Bath, England, January 2017 to the end of 2017 in Asheville, North Carolina – with many places in between.
For additional photos please also see my husbands photo site – https://tomgrahammedia.com
Note the service we use is called Trusted Housesitters a UK company located in England. After several years of full-time sitting, Trusted Housesitters invited us to become Brand Ambassadors. If you email me I can send you a special code, you can not get from others! Email – [email protected] Thank you for being here!
Bath, England – January 2017 (1 week)
We made a short stop in Bath, with the river Avon within easy walking distance of our location. Walking along the river was beautiful and we found a great pub to hang out at – The Locksbrook Inn. Did the tourist thing, going to the Roman Baths which really drove home the history of the area. Romans really did walk these streets. Amazing.
Knowing we were going to come back in June, we stayed close to home base most of the time taking care of the two cats – Winston and Ellie. We did return again later in the year. (Again if it had not been for the pandemic we would have housesit for the owner’s mom in Canterbury in 2020.)
Bedale, England – January / February 2017 (2 ½ weeks)
We arrived in Bedale a couple of days early, so the people we were housesitting for took us to see several local historical sites. We were also able to explore the cozy town of Durham just a short train ride away. Bedale is a small community with no large stores – but just enough. There were several places to get tea and coffee which we were happy to try out.
Two friends of the owners also took us out for outings. We even went to a cheese factory out in the Dales. The scenery was beautiful and now we understand the term “over hill and dale” from personal experience.
The dog, Molly, we were caring for actually would smile a big grin when she saw us. No kidding. She was fun to take care of and the house was hundreds of years old and amazing.
York, England – February 2017 (2 nights)
History, history and more history. One of the oldest streets in the UK is in York, called Shambles. There was much to see and do during our short stop. We wanted to visit the Cathedral but it was closed for a community funeral. I was able to go back the next day and quickly walk through taking a few pictures. Did you know the cathedral in York is so large that it has its own police force?
We stayed in one of the strangest Airbnb’s we have ever visited. It was all newly remodeled, but it seemed to be crammed between two floors and the bathroom was very, very narrow. The room was comfortable and it was nice to feel we had our own space. They were in the process of converting the street level entrance area into a tiny coffee shop – we wonder how they are doing now.
London, England – February / March / April 2017 (7 weeks)
Seven weeks in London, how amazing was that. We enjoyed walking the dog, Jodie, in the Queens Woods, and took several walking tours of London. Another easy walk close by was to a place known as Ally Pally, to the locals – Alexandra Palace (also known as The People’s Palace). This huge ornate open building is at the top of a hill, and is where the first TV signal in the UK was broadcast from. We even got to watch a movie being filmed there.
There were also two cats, TT and Maurice. This was two households that combined to make one and the cats and dog did not get along. So the cats had the kitchen and the backyard, the dog had the rest of the house – you just had to make sure the kitchen door was closed at all times! The yard was beautifully cared for and the house was on five levels, fortunately, we did have to go to the top – but there were great views from there, including a view of Ally Pally.
One of our so many highlights was going to the new jellyfish exhibit at the London Aquarium. Our first attempt to visit the aquarium was abruptly aborted by a terrorist attack that occurred on the Westminster bridge adjacent to the aquarium. A man drove his car onto the sidewalk and killed several people. You may recall, this made international news at the time. If we had not been running late, we could have been on that bridge when it happened. Sometimes it is good to delay a bit to get your work done. We did get to go two days later and we loved seeing the aquarium.
Being there for seven weeks allowed us to see so many areas of London, too many to list. It was wonderful not to feel hurried, so we could just wander casually when the mood struck, a few hours at a time, instead of trying to cram all the sites in a few precious vaca days.
London, England – April 2017 (5 days)
We took another short London housesit to fill a gap between two others in another area of London we had not seen before. There was a beautiful park where we could take the dog, Maizie, for a walk. As we were walking across the park we happened to see a couple and the man was wearing a San Diego (our home town) sweatshirt, so we stopped them and started chatting. Amazingly it turned out that they were best friends with the people we were housesitting for! Small world. We had a nice long chat with them that made for some fun times.
Meopham, England (2 ½ weeks) – April 2017
Meopham is about half an hour south east of London by train. A small town but with the train station just a few steps away we were able to explore a wide area including Canterbury and Rochester.
The homeowners took us sightseeing the first full day we were there. We went to Gravesend, where we ate ice cream as we walked along the water. Later we went to a church where Pocahontas is buried. Then finished the night with dinner at a very, very old pub and the food was delicious.
The cat, Vinnie, we were housesitting for was the oldest we have ever cared for or ever seen. She was over 20 years old and looked it. But you looked in her eyes and she was very much still there. They even had a champagne glass that sat on an end table that was used for the cat’s water. She got around slowly but she would wander outside and back in through the cat flap.
One amazing thing Tom did while there was he created a “fernariam” for the owners. They had wanted to do something like that but Tom got it done before they returned. There were a variety of ferns hidden under many of the other plants in the yard, that Tom pulled out and moved to a secluded spot, creating the fern garden. The owners still send us pictures of how well the ferns are doing.
Thetford, England – April / May 2017 (4 days)
Four wonderful days visiting friends. We went to the May 1st festival in King’s Lynn and toured Cambridge College where our friend graduated from. They live in a tiny village surrounded by farms. Had never seen a pig farm before, and there were several as we drove to their home. They live in a lovely home with a thatch roof.
The wife trained as a professional chef, and yes the food was delicious. They love to garden and showed us how they keep busy with it. They both have a wonderful sense of humor and we laughed a lot.
Manchester, England – May 2017 (3 days)
There are two train stations in Manchester, so when visiting, make sure you know which will take you where you want to go.
Several strange things happened during our stay in Manchester. I forgot a bag (a reusable grocery bag at the train station that had my favorite blanket in it). Fortunately it was turned in and we did get it back.
Then I left my purse at a Starbucks – again we were very lucky and got it back. We didn’t actually see much of Manchester – guess we needed some R&R. We were right next to the other train station so it looked like it would be easy to get to our next stop. But then the homeowner we were heading to meet said he was going to be in Manchester and that he would pick us up, so we cancelled our train tickets.
In retrospect we wish we had taken the train! This man was the worst driver ever. If there was enough room between the cars in the two lanes ahead of us, he would zoom through the gap to pass people. He used turn lanes to pass people on the left, and at round-a-bouts he would wait for up to three cars to go by and then that was enough waiting for him. He would barge into traffic regardless!! He was the most reckless driver we have even ridden with. One very scary driver made for a white knuckle ride, and he was a lawyer.
Lytham, England (close to Blackpool) – May 2017 (1 ½ weeks)
(Housesit for the crazy driver mentioned in prior location, Manchester.)
Oh there were three beautiful gigantic long haired German Shepherds, Cairnie, Bonnie, and Aslan, at this housesit. It was mom, dad, and one of their puppies which was all white and going to be bigger than his mom and dad. The dogs were amazing, the house and the owner were not so great. They had just moved to this house which was in the midst of a major renovation.
When we got there, there was no heat (and yes it was cold), no refrigerator, no internet, wet laundry in the broken washing machine, the bathroom doors didn’t close,and he expected us to fix his lawnmower and mow his giant lawn first thing. (Plus more but too much to list) Thankfully the bed was comfortable and we loved the dogs. A new refrigerator was eventually delivered.
We needed to drive the dogs to a huge beach to run every day, but at the last minute the owner told us he was not able to get us car insurance as he had promised. Remember the owner is a lawyer, and what did he tell us to do -” just be careful” – what? To cover ourselves we ended up purchasing single day insurance as needed. Gads.
To find insurance we had to get online but there was no internet at the house so we found a McDonalds close by and were able to get on the internet and buy the car insurance.
The beach where we drove the dogs was incredible and they did love to run and run. It proved to be the largest beach we had ever seen. We would walk towards the water so far away we couldn’t even see our car and we still could not see the water. Huge.
Our main activities here were taking the dogs to the beach and working, using the internet at McDonalds. One fun thing was that the house was next to a farm with a lot of cows. When we would walk outside the cows would come over to the fence and want their noses petted. They actually made me a bit nervous as they would lean on the fence and I wasn’t sure if the fence would hold much longer, smile.
The owner also came back a day later than he was supposed to. So at the end of this sit, Tom and I had to split up to cover a new sit in Scotland that overlapped. So I left one day and Tom joined me the next day. The one good thing the owner did was to give Tom a ride to the train station and helped him with his luggage all the way to the train platform. Whew. He needed that.
Dalmellington, Scotland – May 2017 (2 ½ weeks)
In Dalmellington we stayed in an old farmhouse with two fun dogs,Harvee and Krusty, that loved to play catch me if you can, with each other – running and chasing all around the house and large yard! They could spend hours playing and running in and out of the house. This was a remote location that was so beautiful.
We also had a car and were able to do a lot of exploring in the area. On one day trip, we visited Culzean Castle, near Ayr, Scotland. It was fully furnished in period. There is a marvelous self-tour you can take and in most of the major rooms, there were docents that would help answer questions. One unique part of this tour was that they had hidden a Lego figure in each room for you to try and find. Some were really hard, and sometimes we had to ask the docent who would give us hints. I think this was to keep antsy kids entertained as much as anything.
We heard about a castle ruins that were a unique 11 sided structure on the shore of Loch Doon – Loch Doon Castle. To get there, according to Google, you take the “unnamed” road. It was a long single lane road that wound across open fields of grazing sheep. As there was only one road, it was pretty easy to find, you just have to drive around the loch and you can’t miss it.
This small castle was originally built on an island in the middle of the loch, but when they needed to raise the water level they carefully disassembled the castle and put it ALL back together again on the shore of the loch. It is so wonderful that they did this, all of its history would have been lost if they had not.
Taking walks from the house was magical, walking through a very lush damp forest. There were horses on the hill adjacent to the house that would sometimes wander down to the fence of the yard. Again just like the cows, when they leaned over the fence to eat the grass in the yard I wondered if the fence was going to hold!
Even though this was a remote location, Tesco (grocery store) still delivered right to the door – amazing. This made things very easy for us, as we never needed to go into town.
Loved the location, forest, dogs, horses, nature, castles, and the old rustic farmhouse itself.
Edinburgh, Scotland – May 2017 (2 days)
We were going to stay several days in a BnB in Edinburgh, but we were lucky to find another housesit, so we ended up only staying one night. We did make the most of it, walking up Royal Street and seeing the castle. It was a Sunday night, so we had a traditional Sunday Roast dinner at a restaurant close to where we were staying. And I got my Starbucks mug to add to my collection – smile.
The buildings were all side by side, and could stretch on for a significant distance. To allow for passage between streets, they created walkways that tunneled through from street to street, called closes. We definitely wanted to come back to Edinburgh and we were lucky to be able to return for almost a month in 2019. When we told the taxi driver on our way to the train station, that we had underestimated how much time we would need in Edinburgh, he said “everyone says that.”
Durham, England – May / June 2017 (1 week)
It was wonderful to be met at the Durham train station with a sign handmade by the two little girls of the homeowners, so cute. Since we were able to explore Durham the prior year and did not have a car we mainly stayed home to take care of the two dogs (including a Rottweiler, Max – wonderful dog and Tasha) and work.
The homeowners knew we had an open couple of days between sits, so they generously offered us their mobile home (Caravan in England) overlooking a beach in Blackhall Colliery! Wow, we appreciated their offer and had a very relaxing time at the ocean!
Blackhall Colliery, England – June 2017 (3 days)
We feel fortunate to be able to see so many wonderful different parts of England. The caravan we stayed at was very comfortable with great views from the cliff overlooking the North Sea. There was a long set of stairs down to the beach, which we did have a chance to take. We discovered dark caves along the cliffs to wander and it was so peaceful. We enjoyed our time there. The owner even picked us up and took us back to the train station in Durham, we can’t thank you enough!
Bath, England – June 2017 (5 days)
We are back! The same location as the first time, but it is summer now and everything is shiny and the sky is blue. This time we had a chance to wander Bath and enjoyed an afternoon tea (well coffee for Tom). I was able to take a tour that takes you to the top of Bath Abbey, a medieval gothic church, right next to the Roman Baths. Standing at the top the wind was so strong that my hair went straight up (funny picture not included, lol). The tour took you up close and personal with the bells in the tower. We also saw how the people knew when to ring the bells at the end of the wedding. There is a little peep hole in the floor, so someone would watch to see when the bride and groom turned to go out the door and then signaled the bell ringers.
We revisited the Locksbrook Inn for dinner and coffee a couple of times, and enjoyed walks along the River Avon.
Fast forward 3 years (2020) – the women we housesat for in Bath, her mom lived in Canterbury and we got a housesit with her. We did a video chat and both the mom and daughter were there – great fun to chat with them. But then covid hit, so this and 12 other housesits we had lined up for 2020 were all cancelled!
Ludlow, England – June / July 2017 (4 1/2 weeks)
To get to Ludlow we had to change from a train to a bus in Cardiff, Wales because the train tracks were being worked on. We did have time to wander Cardiff a bit and would love to go back. While waiting for the bus, I accidentally hit my wedding ring on a bench and the diamond popped out! “Nobody move!” I did find it – smile.
What a fabulous fairytale stay we had in Ludlow, a medieval market town, with the remains of a great castle (built 1094), a daily market in the center of town (except Tuesday), and a river walk where we took the dogs, Tilley and Maedel, every day. If we could snap our fingers and make it happen we would live there. The architecture of the town appears unchanged for hundreds of years. Not a single glass tower, no gaudy gas stations. The shops are all stone or wood and dauble construction dating back centuries. Yet the shops are fresh and vibrant, the shopkeepers warm, and the ice cream frozen. The town was immaculately maintained, with everything freshly painted, weeds pulled, and hedges ornately trimmed.
We also took a day trip to Aberystwyth, Wales. This seafront location is full of things to explore and experience. We even took the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway funicular train to the top of the hill with panoramic views.
The house in Ludlow we stayed in was one of the oldest in the town. Looking at maps from the 1300s the house is shown and no others on the street had yet been built. There is also a blue plaque that says Mary Edwards lived there from 1750-1815 and was the first female “computer.” She was employed by the Board of Longitude to compute astronomical tables for the British Nautical Almanac for 42 years.
Flower baskets were overflowing throughout the town. The house we were at had several and the owner’s flower baskets were almost more important than her two dogs. In addition to sending them regular pictures of the two dogs, we sent them pictures for the flower baskets too!!
Great house, great location, and a fabulous time! In all of our journeys, as we reflect, Ludlow is without a doubt our favorite small town.
Oslo, Norway – July 2017 (10 days)
In July we were privileged to return to Oslo to spend time with our new friends who we housesat for at Christmas and New Years. They invited us to just come for a visit. They took us out on their boat on the Oslo Fjord. But we did offer to housesit so they could escape to Copenhagen for a needed getaway. Then they had a BIG surprise for us.
Long story short, someone knocked at the door (this is a remote location so someone knocking on the door is unusual). I went to answer it and who was at the door? My sister!!! She had flown from San Diego all the way to Oslo just for a visit!. The owners were in on the whole surprise. The best surprise I have ever had.
We all spent a few days together too. Went out on the boat again with my sister along this time and explored Oslo as much as we could. Great friends, loving sister, and fun, fun adventure.
Rome, Italy – July / August 2017 (2 weeks)
It was sad to leave our friends and my sister in Oslo, but onward we went. It was hot, hot, hot in Rome. Many of the buses were not running because of the heat which was a problem when you are counting on busses for getting around town. Rome was suffering an extreme drought so many fountains were not running and parks that had grass were mainly all dried out, dusty and brown. But I love, love Rome and we made the most of it.
When taking the dog, Pascal, for his walk, you had to go early in the morning or it was too hot. Even going early when we got back to the house he would flatten out on the cool marble tile hallway to recoup. There were three indoor, outdoor cats Mott, Kafka, and Kahve. Kahve came and went and sometimes would be gone for a couple of days! I was always very happy when she came home, the other two stayed by the house most of the time, thankfully.
We visited many of the usual haunts like the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, and the Vatican. it was a treat to also connect with a friend, Dora, who runs an AirBnB in Rome. I even found time to write an article for a luxury website about the Basilica di San Giovanni.
This was another housesit where I stayed two days longer, while Tom flew ahead to start the next housesit in France. I was going to fly but for some reason it was expensive so I took an overnight bus. I actually did get quite a bit of sleep and Tom picked me up since we had a car to use while at this next housesit.
Folgensbourg, France (near Basel, Switzerland) – August 2017 (3 ½ weeks)
Folgensbourg is a lovely spot among the farms and rollings hills of the French countryside. To get groceries or anything actually, you must drive to another town. Fortunately, we did have a car. This location is very close to where France, Germany, and Switzerland intersect. One day looking for a castle ruin we started out in France but ended up lost in Switzerland, oops.
Since we did have a car we were able to visit Basel, Switzerland several times. We enjoyed the unique museums like the Dollhouse Museum (Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel), the quirky Museum Tinguely, and the Basel Paper Mill. We also attend the annual Rhine River float event – great fun.
Tom was sick and ended up in the emergency room with a cold the last time we were in Lucerne Switzerland, so I made sure we went back and really got to experience it. We even took a cruise on Lake Lucerne.
We did explore France too. If you want history, a wonderful cute town, with wine tasting galore go to Riquewihr, France. We loved this town, they even have a large Christmas store! A little further north is Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg. It is located at the top of the mountain with massive views. This was one of my favorite castles because of the condition it was in, the location, and the rooms were well decorated (with swords and armor and so much more…). This was an amazing day of exploration.
Sidenote, we almost didn’t get back to the house because it was a Sunday and most gas stations were closed. Ones we found wouldn’t take our debit cards and most of them had no way to pay with cash! We finally found a station on the main highway that had two pumps out of a dozen, all automated, that you could pay cash. That is the reason you should always have some local currency on hand wherever you are.
Poustache was a great cat – cute and fun. He was an indoor/outdoor cat which I worry about sometimes, but he mainly stayed in the yard – good kitty. He did have a large yard to explore and it had a ton of grass that we needed to mow, what a job, but hey it was a great place to be.
We visited so many amazing places from this one housesit. From the backyard of the house we could see the lights of Basel, Switzerland. The location didn’t seem so great at first but turned out perfectly.
Wiesbaden, Germany – August / September 2017 (1 week+)
We are sitting at the train station and all the information on the monitors is in German. But even in German I was able to tell there was a problem – our train had been cancelled! I immediately went to the “information booth.” The woman was a lifesaver – but boy it was going to be complicated to get to our next location. One more tip, we were able to get the train conductor to print out the instructions, which were a lifesaver too. We ended up only being one hour late and the homeowner was impressed that we made it as fast as we did. It did allow her to leave that night, which was perfect.
From here we did take a day trip into Frankfurt, Germany. We went to the top of the tallest building to their observation deck. Was a great way to see the city. Then we spent a lot of time wandering the old town. Tom even had a traditional beer and sausage lunch.
In Wiesbaden we did a lot of geocaching, some of which were tricky to find. We try to do a geocache in each city we visit.
The cat, Jake, we were taking care of was a one eyed, very friendly cat. Lots of cuddling happened.
Overnight Train from Wiesbaden to Copenhagen – September 2017
We headed for the train station at 11 at night. We get there and didn’t see our train, again went looking for help. The train personnel said we should just take any train heading to Frankfurt, okie dokie. We get to Frankfurt around midnight and get on the overnight train.
I fell asleep, but when I woke up the train was inside a ship! What the heck and we had to get out of the train and go to the top deck. Not easy when you are still asleep. We went up as the boat was setting off. You get out far enough that you don’t see any land. As the sun was rising the views were stunning.
When we went back to the train we couldn’t find our seats, fortunately we were not the only ones, but at one point the train actually started to move off the ship! Yikes, the conductor started yelling at all of us, we did finally find our seats, but if I had been awake when I had to leave, it would have been much better.
Copenhagen, Denmark – September 2017 (2 days)
I had really wanted to go to Copenhagen, and this was our last stop after NINE months of traveling in Europe. What a cool place to be. Again we would have liked to have had a lot more time here, but glad we had the time we did.
This city is picturesque and easy to wander. We did a lot of walking but also saw a lot of the city.
We stayed at a strange Airbnb, but it was in a great location. They even gave us a free ride to the airport, so everything worked out. We flew from Copenhagen non-stop to Oakland, California.
Next stop back to the USA after 9 months and 11 countries.
Grass Valley, California – September 2017 (2 weeks)
Our home base is here in Grass Valley. Always enjoy returning and seeing, family, all the deer and wild turkeys. Lots of nature hikes and the towns Grass Valley and Nevada City are wonderful places to explore.
San Francisco, California – September / October 2017 (2 weeks)
We housesat in a condo that was between Market Street and the Giants Baseball Stadium. A fun location. We also could walk to several streetcar lines (streetcars are different from the famous cable cars). The streetcars are like a living, working museum, they are historical cars from around the world. It is interesting to see how each one is different.
Meeting up with family was on the agenda. We went to a Giants baseball game and over to Alameda to a PinBall Museum. Also had time to visit with my friend from High School. She lives in SF and showed me many things I would have missed on my own.
We also met up with Tom’s long time friend from college days and our nephew and his wife. A few months later our nephew and wife learned they were pregnant – with TWINS. During our house sit in 2019 in Oakland Hills we met up again and got to meet the twins – smile.
Loved wandering our favorite haunts like Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. We indulged in some ice cream from Ghirardelli and rode the cable cars.
Grass Valley, California – October 2017 (1 week)
We have a housesit in Asheville, North Carolina that we are driving to. So this week was full of “get ready” chores. Getting the car checked out, our son and his friend did a major fix which we didn’t know needed to be done. So glad they took a look, and were able to make our trip so much safer.
We were staying with our son and his wife. They have a Bengal Cat that they were breeding at the time, so there were four adorable Bengal kittens running around the house – so cute.
Made Christmas cookies with our son and his wife since we would not be back until late next year. Also we all went for a quick drive to Lake Tahoe. Tom and I were married on Lake Tahoe, so it was fun to be able to take a day trip there.
The start of our cross-country drive starts now!
Elko, Nevada – October 2017 (1 night)
Grass Valley to Elko was 385 miles, 5 hours 45 min
Didn’t make any special stops. Spent the night here but it was dark when we got here, didn’t see much of the town.
Salt Lake City, Utah – October 2017 (1 night)
Elko to Salt Lake City 258 miles, 3 hours 35 min
We stopped at the lookout of the Great Salt Lake, just before you get to Salt Lake City. We didn’t have time to see the city, but we did enjoy seeing the lake. You also drive by the Bonneville Salt Flats along the way. That is where a lot of the speed tests are done.
Grand Junction, Colorado – October 2017 (1 night)
Salt Lake City to Grand Junction 255 miles, 3 hours 55 min
We almost missed it but discovered we were going right by Arches National Park (in Utah) today. Loved driving through the park and hiking up to some of the arches. Beautiful and amazing landscape.
Grand Junction was very different from the state of Utah we just drove through. There were lots of trees and the fall colors were amazing.
Silverthorne, Colorado – October 2017 (2 weeks)
Grand Junction to Silverthorne 176 miles, 2 hours 46 min
Our 25th housesit. We love the Rocky Mountains and jumped at this housesit. We went to Vail, Breckenridge, and Keystone, all ski resorts all an easy drive from Silverthorne, which are great to explore any time of the year. We went to Loveland Pass, elevation 11,990 ft. it is also on the Continental Divide. Tom had fun playing an outdoor musical instrument – kinda like a xylophone in Keystone. Wandering the shops in Vail and Breckenridge make for fun afternoons.
There were a couple of ski areas open including the Loveland ski area. We went for a drive around the mountains, bringing the dog, Finn, we were housesitting for, with us and had lunch at the Loveland ski area. There was also one very old cat named Sabrina we were taking care of.
Having several housesits lined up along the way on our cross country road trip made the adventure less stressful since we could stop at so many wonderful places.
Denver, Colorado – October 2017 (1 night)
Silverthorn to Denver 86 miles 1 hours 30 min
The owner was getting back late, so left in the evening for Denver. This was just a quick stop, a place to sleep.
Hays, Kansas – November 2017 (1 night)
Denver to Hays 339 miles 4 hours 44 min
Another quick stop, but we did have a bit of a car issue getting there – it was self-inflicted. We limped our way into Kansas. It looked terrible, with black smoke coming through the air vents in the car but was an easy fix. Fortunately, there was a town close by (Goodland, Kansas) that had what we needed and we were on our way down the highway again.
Ozark, Missouri – November 2017 (6 days)
Hays to Ozark 446 miles 6 hours 36 min
Another stop where we were able to combine housesitting with visiting family, my older brother. Because we were visiting family we did not see much of the area. We did go to a donut shop called Hurts Donut, which had so many interesting donuts to choose from.
We had four dogs (Atticus, Scout, Stella, and Cash) and two cats (Belle and Sassy) to take care of, but they were a joy and easy, with lots of love in return.
Memphis, Tennessee – November 2017 (4 days)
Ozark to Memphis 288 miles 4 hours 50 min
We stayed very busy here! Spent most of one day at Graceland, home of Elvis Presely. They had recently opened a new area that now housed all his cars, planes, awards, outfits, restaurants, and so much more. I learned many amazing things about Elvis that day and enjoyed the tour of his home.
Other places we went were Sun Studios (where Elvis recorded his first song), the Lorraine Hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Blues Hall of Fame, Outdoor World Pyramid, and the Mississippi River.
I wrote an article about The River Inn of Harbor Town, a luxury hotel and we stayed here one night in the Admiral Penthouse – pretty awesome. From our room, we could watch the beautiful sunset across the Mississippi River.
Atlanta, Georgia – November 2017 (1 week)
Memphis to Atlanta 412 miles 6 hours 20 min
We stayed with a long time friend for the week. We went to the Coca-Cola world headquarters called The World of Coca-Cola. There is one room where you can taste the many varieties of coke, some you can’t get in the US – great fun. This is a must see if you like that kind of thing.
We also went to the top of Stone Mountain, the views are amazing. We met up with another friend for dessert – fun and yummy. Slow travel is a great way to travel, it gave us so much time to reconnect with family and friends.
Durham, North Carolina – November 2017 (11 days)
Atlanta to Durham 377 miles 5 3/4 hours
The fall colors were beautiful here. Tom wasn’t feeling very good, so we didn’t go exploring much. We did wander a local shopping center and saw a movie there. We had two dogs, Riesling and Pacha, to walk daily through some beautiful countryside. Walks included walking along the American Tobacco Trail.
Flatrock, North Carolina – November / December 2017 (5 days)
Durham to Flatrock 247 miles 3 hours 50 minutes
Stayed at a long-time friend’s home, they actually weren’t there when we got there, they just let us know how to get in. Smile. It was their wedding anniversary so we housesat their koi pond and we only saw them for two days. They treated us to dinner at their country club, a fun event.
Henderson is near Flatrock and we explored their historic downtown. There were other friends in Flatrock, and we visited them and went out to dinner the second night we were there.
Asheville, North Carolina – December 2017 (4 weeks)
Flatrock to Asheville 39.6 miles 48 minutes
While we were there, there was a snowstorm that gave us 10 inches of snow! One of my snow pictures, I shared on Twitter was reshared by one of the local news stations. Since we didn’t need to go anywhere, it was a lot of fun!
The woman next door had a family emergency and asked if we would take care of her dog for one day – sure no problem, the woman was so thankful. For our house sit, we were taking care of one cat, Cootie, so it was nice to take the dog for a walk.
I was interviewed for the Chicken Soup of the Soul Podcast – with Amy Newheart (Amy is the editor for the Chicken Soup books). A story I wrote was included in the Chicken Soup – Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. It was amazing to have a chance to talk with Amy and about our travels. My story’s title is – Broke in New York City to Traveling the World.
The woman we were housesitting for went to New Zealand – lucky! She sent us some amazing pictures. Interestingly the people we housesit for rarely send us pictures, so these were fun to get.
Being here for a month also allowed us to get the car fixed again – again not huge just a belt broke but the car wasn’t going anywhere without it. We did go explore the historic Asheville downtown. We really liked this area, which was good because next up a six-month housesit in Asheville.
Next up – Year 3– 2018 – A lot more Asheville ending in Port Angeles, Washington
If you missed Year 1 go back and take a look! Year 1