Coming across my Namesake on the Road…this is Falkville, Alabama

So imagine driving one day, just enjoying the scenery, red vines in hand, and a sign catches your eye. “Falkville” in 10 miles…. I’m sorry, what? See, it’s my maiden name and I just about slammed on my brakes from disbelief! A town, a city, after my namesake? It’s one thing to see your name on a street sign, or on a business, but a WHOLE city? I was SO excited!!!

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Located in Alabama, Falkville is a small town in Morgan County outside of Huntsville (where Space Camp is located). The town was incorporated three times- in 1876, 1886, and in 1898. With a population of 1,248, the town is small but from the feel of their website, they boast a family feel, and I am ALL for that!

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I had no plans of stopping here, but my curiosity got the best of me.  Were there a bunch of Falks running around? Did they look like me? Yes, this is what I had in my head….keep in mind I had been driving for weeks at that point, so my imagination just went wild and I followed it.

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I drove into town, pulling over and taking pictures of what looked interesting to me. It seemed pretty quiet, so it was pretty easy to look around.

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I have to tell you a funny story that happened to me and what the difference in my excitement in something is someone else’s “whatever.”  On the way out, I pulled over to their combination of a Welcome Center and Florist (no seriously).  I walked in, they all just stared at me like I had three heads and I asked “Hi, my last name is Falk, and I wondered if you had anything with your Town’s name on it for me to buy?”  The gal then says “No….try the Dollar General.”  No smile, no hospitality, basically if I wasn’t buying flowers they didn’t care. Yeah, this was TWO years pre-covid.

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Well, I tried to bring my Falk rear end to Falkville, smile on my face, even after I left town with nothing buy photos on my phone.  I will tell you that I sent my Uncle and Dad a nice 8×10 of the towns welcome sign, and maybe it’s silly, but I still was VERY proud to be a Falk in that town for the day.

Thank you for believing me!!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Rising Above the Fear when Dreaming Big

So as most of you know by now, I am heading on the road again this summer, maybe even sooner.  My big idea, or dream, is to see all 48 States within a year and finish them with a trip to Alaska and Hawaii- life and money permitting. I dream big, this is what I have been doing since moving to Florida in 2011….somehow I have convinced myself I can do anything my mind says I can. And yet….the voice of fear has grown louder these days.

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It’s not something fun to admit or even write about, yet so cathardic to put on paper what I have been feeling lately because I want people to know that these BIG ideas come with sharp edges.  I want to share my adventures, to inspire others to get out into this big, blue World and see everything it has to offer. Yes, I know that this World is a bit upside down these days and more cautions are needed to enjoy the smallest of things, but I refuse to put a period where a comma should be.

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Being on the road for a year is no easy task, and I am going into this like a mission. With all the beauty to see, I want to spread kindness by random and not so random acts, across this great Nation. I am hoping that by raising money to help others will also help those dark days where I start to feel lonely.  Thankfully I don’t suffer from depression, but I do have anxiety attacks from time to time when I feel cornered. I mean, don’t we all? 

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So with that said, fear does set in from time to time when I have moments of quiet in my day.  Will I be good enough? Will I enjoy it, will others enjoy it? Will it be worth it? I know some will think, why are you doing it then if you are scared or hesitant. Well, I can tell you that EVERYTHING in my life that I have done thus far that has scared me to the core, has always, in some way, paid off. Moving here was terrifying, leaving was terrifying, starting to write again was terrifying, and always putting myself out there for ridicule and judgement on a daily basis is terrifying.  I have learned that inspiration always comes with consequences, ones you never saw coming.  You deal, you breathe, you move on.

I think fear is my biggest hurdle for this adventure and I know that as I check off every day leading up to this, that feeling will either shrink or grow. Once I can put that to bed, there’s nothing stopping me. So as I prepare my maps, my plans, who I am staying with or visiting, what route, etc…I will be battling this demon until the moment I shut the car door. Then the hope is to leave it in my driveway in Florida, pull up my big girl pants, and drive away. It goes back to that old saying “What would we be capable of if we weren’t scared?” I guess I am going to find out…stay tuned.

Supporting feels so good!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Seeing “Woodbury,” aka Senoia, GA, from “The Walking Dead”

It would be Halloween of 2010, and a little unknown show called “The Walking Dead” premiered. I love a good ghost tale, and it sounded really intriguing, so I tuned in to AMC that evening. Who would’ve guessed how much I would love the show, how many of millions would love the show, and so our love affair began with Daryl, Rick, Carol, Carl and so on. I watched faithfully and so when I started to plan my first ever road trip in 2017, a friend piped up and said “Did you know I live next door to where they film The Walking Dead?” To which I freaked out, then composed myself and said “I will be there.”

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So before the big studios were built here, before it was known as Woodbury, it was a beautiful little city located in the heart of Georgia. Senoia is as sweet as it is small- it’s own Main Street of magic for the dead whom walked it so many times.

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You can’t even help it…the excitement just builds as you turn the corner to traverse the Main Street hill. As if I have walked into the TV set itself, I find myself In Woodbury, and I am watching my back for the Governor. Everything feels like the show, except a key ingredient is missing. Yes, the actors and zombies alike, but actually the Mansion was torn down after production, being replaced with new shops and an alley way.

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It’s crazy to look up the hill and see Woodbury, and then turn to your left and see Alexandria! It just blows your mind! The famous wall around it, the logs holding everything up, the burned out cars, they were all there and I just squealed with glee. Seriously it was like getting two seasons for the price of one.

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Not only is this city famous for the Walking Dead, but it boasts the famous “Walking Dead” Store, Café, Tours, and “Nic and Normans” Restaurant. First off, the store is AMAZING!! It has EVERYTHING you ever wanted from Walking Dead INCLUDING a Museum in the bottom half! Memorabilia right off the set can be seen, taken selfies with, including one of the jail cells from the Prison! A LOT of the Cast has signed the walls there, so I took as many pics as I could of the signatures.

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The Café next door is also incredibly cool, filled with autographed posters, artwork, and personal photos of the Cast from Season to Season. Grab a latte with a side of Daryl…or just Daryl.  Or grab Daryl’s side…yeah, no, don’t do that. He doesn’t appreciate that, some woman BIT HIS EAR at a Con event like it was no big deal. Yowser!!

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“Nic and Normans” is the brain child of Norman Reedus and Greg Nicotero. I am sure seeing a way to capitalize on the popularity of this well-known town, it fits in well with everything “dead.” I didn’t get a chance to eat there, it wasn’t open for lunch and I was only there for the afternoon for Senoia.

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I had a lovely lunch with Christa Ryan and Martha Rogers and then Christa gave me a tour of the other filming spots of the show. IT. WAS. AWESOME!!! So here are all of my pictures around the city, I highly recommend you come and check it out for yourself!

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Giving makes you a kinder person, why not test that theory?

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my brand for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Shot Tower in Dubuque, Iowa

OK, I want to preface this cozy and quaint little post with what I “thought” the Shot Tower would be. They advertise it all over town, so I figured this must be something amazing to walk up in, drive too, etc… They have tours LITERALLY downtown for just the Shot Tower, so I’m thinking this thing is going to be AH mazing- I was incorrect. 

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Let’s do the history of it, not that It helps my venture to it, but it’s always interesting to know why something exists in the first place. Standing 120 feet tall, the tower was built in 1856 to provide full shot for the shot gun. To make the shot, hot molten lead was poured into the top through a grate with holes. As they fell to the bottom, it gave enough time for each pellet to cool and form into sphere before hitting the water below. Because of the economy tanking later, it would be sold off and eventually used as a fire watchtower after the War.

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In 1911, the tower suffered from several fires, burning out it’s wooden interior. Then in 1976, the tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places with repairs and renovations going on since 2004.

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Now that you know all of that, and I read it as well after getting to the Tower, I realized I COULDN’T tour inside it, as that was not its purpose. So what is there to see? The Shot Tower stands right behind the Riverfront area of the great Mississippi, so it’s a fun little stop to take the pic in what looks like an abandoned train yard – yes, seriously. It will take you all of 10 minutes to take the pic and read the info and then take a nice walk on the riverfront. I guess if you are really into guns or the history of ammunition this may trip your trigger, but for me it was uneventful, and the only way I would recommend it is if you are in the Galena or Dubuque area already. Still cool, enjoy!

Thanks for the support!!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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“There is a Superhero in all of us, we just need the courage to put on the Cape” Visiting Metropolis, IL

Having driven all over Illinois this past year, and getting the lay of the land, I found a quieter way to drive back and forth out of the State. Most normally take the highways in and around Chicago when cutting through the State, albeit it faster, it also is a stressor for people like myself. Give me the quiet whir of the pavement under my wheels, some caffeine in my cup holder, and nothing but open spaces and I am good to go. So when I found this quieter junction, right at the bottom of the State, I was super excited. I saw the sign and thought, where have I heard Metropolis before? Ah yes, Superman! And so it begins….

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Now, Metropolis in my mind was something of a Chicago right? Tall buildings, hustle and bustle of city life, traffic honking all day and night.  What I came upon was nothing more than quiet Main Street of USA, very similar to Walt Disney’s hometown, Marceline, in Missouri. This small town sits on the Ohio River, just across from Kentucky, and only has around 6500 people. And even though there is no “Daily Planet” for real here, the town was proclaimed the official “Hometown of Superman” on June 9th, 1972 by the Illinois House of Representatives.

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So what I am assuming this town did was, of course, capitalize on the name. Like Casey, IL, who decided to make their town something of an attraction, so did this one, too bad it was just a but underwhelming. Of course a small town isn’t going to be the big city, but they didn’t have much in the ways of “Superman” that they could have. Now I visited during Covid, so things may have been closed or not provided, so let me add that before the “Super” fans jump down my throat.

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I followed my GPS to the Main Street area where are large Superman statue stands, as to look over the town from his super spot. Adjacent to this is a Superman gift shop, museum, a phone booth for great pics (because you HAVE to, that’s where he does his super change LOL) and that was about it.  I was told there is normally a tour you can take in town, and the Museum portion wasn’t open when I visited, but it cost only $5 to check out. It’s a great place for photos, and the Store was really cool! If you are looking for something for the Superman fan in your life, this is the Store for you. Pretty sure the Store itself is the first part of the Museum, because I saw merch in there from forever ago.

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After getting my “super” on, I was famished! Before hitting the road once again, I found a cute, little Mexican Restaurant just a block down from the Superman action. Enjoyed a dish of enchiladas while I perused my IPhone- the food was delicious.

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Is it worth a trip to see the town? Well, if you are driving past, or find yourself wanting something to do on a Sunday afternoon, yes. But it is roughly 6-7 hours from the Chicago area, and to drive that amount JUST to see this area, no, it isn’t. I am glad I stopped and it was cool to see once, but it isn’t something I would want to do again.  Check it out for yourself, enjoy!

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Thank you for your support!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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My First Metra Ride, Trip to Union Station, and Fall Visit to Chicago in 2020

Every year, I try to road trip somewhere that I haven’t really explored much of, and 2020 with all of it’s charm (insert sarcasm here), I decided upon the Midwest.  Since I grew in Wisconsin, I focused more on Illinois this time.  Chicago was always the “big city” in my head, and it was something that I was always nervous on visiting on my own. So during the summer I went and parked on my own, a big deal, but then this Fall I took the Metra Train for the first time! I figured having taken the Monorail so many times, how different could a train be?

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So let’s start with the Train. I parked at the Route 59 Station, paid for parking at the machine and then bought my tickets online for the next train.  There was no Station to sit inside in, for some reason I had that in my head as well. Just a platform to wait at, and then it was as easy as getting on, finding a place to sit away from people to avoid Covid, and the gal or guy came around and checked you had paid for a ticket.  I enjoyed the ease of finding a seat and that everyone had to wear a mask.  Food and drink were permitted, as I enjoyed some fresh caramel corn and a Coke Zero on the way back at the end of the day. It was really nice and you couldn’t beat the fare of $10 for the whole weekend- so I could have come back and rode again on Sunday!

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It was a beautiful Saturday and I wanted to head into Chicago to explore what I hadn’t seen yet, check out the Disney Store again, and just enjoy a warm day in November. I remember these days in the Midwest- take full advantage of them because the cold comes on fast, the dead trees and the howling winds, and I wanted to avoid that while I was here.  I was so excited to see Union Station in Chicago for the first time as well- such a beautiful building! Exiting and entering the train again in this Station made me feel like I was in a Harry Potter film, so very cool.

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And then I just starting walking…no plan, no strategy, just walk.  Thank you Jesus for GPS on my phone so I didn’t get lost, but the idea was to let my feet take me on an adventure and to remember where Union Station was at the end of my day. I shopped, I ate at a walk-up McDonalds (yes it’s the little things in life), I partied, I exercised my freedom of speech, and I found the spots where they filmed “The Dark Knight.” Yes, a day for all peoples!  So here are the pics of my amazing day, it was one for the books that I will surely never forget. Check out Chicago if you haven’t, it won’t disappoint!

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Thank you for your support!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Billy Goat Tavern & Grill in Chicago, IL

If you have followed my travels this past summer, you know I have been to Chicago a couple of times. On my first trip back, I came across the “Billy Goat Tavern” not really even knowing the diamond in the rough I had crossed paths with.  I didn’t even BEGIN to know the amazing history behind this famous place until I sat with my Chicago hot dog and began to read the walls of lined history.

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So let’s talk about how it got it’s name first. Apparently a German immigrant named William Sianis purchased the then “Lincoln Tavern” which was located across from the Chicago Stadium for $205 = sounds cheap but this was 1934. As the story goes, a billy goat roamed into the bar one day and decided to stay. William loved the idea so much that he was nicknamed for it, named his Tavern after it, and even began to grow a goatee to match his furry friend!

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And then there’s the curse…and it’s way too long to explain, but much more to do with the goat. Check out their website to read more.

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But it would reach its most infamous days when Saturday Night Live, in 1978, would do a sketch on the very Tavern that many of the Alumni would eat at during their Second City days in Chicago.  Known for shouting out “Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger” for over 40 years, the sketch did right by the famous spot. Starring Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, John Belushi, and Loraine Newman, you can find the sketch now on YouTube- and the rest is history! They say that Bill Murray still stops in when in Chicago…can you imagine if he had been there? I would’ve honestly lost it.

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I was impressed by the authenticity of the place, the diner feel, and the old fashioned diner prices. It wasn’t this huge spot, but this small, comfy and cozy place tucked under the bustling street of patrons. The staff was incredibly kind, and even though I didn’t have any alcohol, they had quite the selection of spirits to choose from behind the bar. While I ate, I looked around and imagined the SNL cast gathering here, before they were big stars, just having a bite to eat and enjoying each other’s company. So cool. If you can’t make it to Chicago, they have several other locations, including one in D.C.!  The food was great, the place was even better, check them out!

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Thank you for your support!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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Chicago in the Summer of 2020

This past August, I headed downtown Chicago with one thought in mind- adventure! Having parked before behind “The Bean” in Millennium Park before with the family, I was happy to remember where it was again. Chicago is a bit much for me to drive, even with all of my experience across the U.S., big cities still make me nervous. So when I can remember something from before and get to it and be done, I am one happy gal!

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Now, I just wanted to wander and enjoy- no plans, no schedule, just go. So once again with mask in hand, sanitizer a plenty in my bag, I began around the Park. The “Bean” had strict entrances and exits, no dogs allowed, and the infamous pics you get in front of the “Bean” are a good 20 feet out now, due to fencing and Covid.  Maybe with a REALLY good selfie stick you can get a good pic, but otherwise it was a game of “Where’s Waldo?”

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My stomach was talking and I figured I would just eat wherever the day took me, and it took me across the street to a Panera. LOL Yeah, real exciting, but it was familiar, open, and had seating available. Maybe it’s the Disney kid in me, but I am so used to scouting out a table every time I want to eat, that now I do it everywhere, especially now with Covid cutting the availability in half or more.  With my half salad and half soup, I enjoyed my Chicago view as I nestled into my booth with a smile of excitement for what was to come.

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With a full belly I headed to a Souvenir shop where I bought my “Save Ferris” shirt because I had done the Ferris tour around Illinois and it just seemed fitting to celebrate it with the Tee. Happy I could shove it in my Loungefly, I skipped hands free to my next destination. I had read that the starting point for “Route 66” was around the block- amazing!! So a selfie done, check and check, and it was time to walk through the Loop area, the Riverwalk, and them some light shopping on Michigan Avenue.

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The day was a beautiful 70 degrees, zero humidity with the sun shining above. My skin was warm to the touch, my smile huge with magic. I felt the City was made for me that day, and if I had a hat, I would have tossed it in the air in celebration. Even with some areas boarded up, police out in large numbers, I felt safe and made the best out of it.  Yes, the World wasn’t what I would like it at the time, but you have to get up every day and plaster that smile on your face, whether you like it or not.

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I was looking for the Disney Store, as I had had THE most amazing moment there the last time I had visited.  We had one a spot to meet Jessie, or Joan Cusack, as she was having a meet and greet selling a new cowgirl doll. My youngest daughter, Emily, had taken her Jessie doll to every surgery during her Cancer treatments, so she was a big deal in our household. So when we got to meet her and she said “Emily” to our daughter (JUST LIKE IN TOY STORY!) it made us all cry. We even made the news that day- it was great!  (Check out the amazing moment on YouTube) Anyways, walking through those doors again of such a special Disney Store to me and my family, it was almost overwhelming since I was there alone. I enjoyed the Store, I enjoyed the shopping, but I missed my family dearly and could almost see our ghosts meeting Joan as I walked around. It was sad and magical all at the same time. But not sad enough that I didn’t buy something- got the Jungle Cruise Pop and the Chicago Disney shirt. I will be making a seperate post of Disney Store pics – keep an eye out for that!

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After lots of walking up and down Michigan, checking out the Ducks, the architecture, the old Churches, exploring Macys, and historical buildings, I was once again famished!  Saw a sign for “Billy Goat Tavern” and thought “Heck, why not?”  I needed to have an official Chicago dog anyways and this sounded interesting. Walking below Michigan was really cool, a whole other city down below. Thankfully the Tavern was open and I ordered up my Chicago dog and enjoyed a quiet sit while I looked around at all of their history and memorabilia- even got a free hat on the way out. See all my pictures and the story behind this amazing place coming up this week.

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It was an amazing day, the crowds were small, everyone wore their masks and it was a wonderful adventure- enjoy all the pictures!

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Thanks for your support!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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