Jeep Wrangler Road Trip with My Wife Along Lookout Mountain Brow: From Fort Payne, AL to Rising Fawn, GA to Chattanooga, TN

Owning a Jeep Wrangler means that suddenly, any drive immediately becomes an adventurous road trip. That definitely was the case Labor Day Weekend.

My wife and I drove from my parents’ house in Fort Payne, Alabama to downtown, Chattanooga; the while time with the top off the Jeep and the whole time along the brow of Lookout Mountain.

We traveled through 3 states in doing so: Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

About halfway through, we stopped for a hike along side of the mountain top, at Cloudland Canyon State Park.

From there, we stumbled upon some hang gliders who were flying all around us. This was quite a sight to see!

It was a fun date! I really enjoyed being able to spent time alone with my wife all afternoon, while my parents and sister watched our kids.

At age 38, having fun is still important. Having a cool wife and a cool Jeep helps make that possible!

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Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn, Georgia: Hiking the Trails Down to Hemlock Falls and Cherokee Falls

I was born and raised in Fort Payne, Alabama in the 1980s and 90s. My dad’s side of the family lived just an hour on the other side of Lookout Mountain; near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

At least half a dozen times each year, we would drive to see that side of the family for get-togethers. A little past halfway of the trip, I would always notice a brown government sign advertising Cloudland Canyon State Park; just 3 miles to the left.

But being that we already lived next to the Little River Canyon Preserve and DeSoto State Park, we were already quite exposed to the Alabama side of Lookout Mountain’s natural wonders.

So as a kid, I never visited Cloudland Canyon State Park. It wasn’t until 3 years ago when I took my 5 year-old son (at the time), that I finally realized how awesome that place is.

Last weekend during Memorial Day Weekend, I decided to take a fun backroads Jeep ride with my now 8 year-old son and my dad.

We had heard you could hike down in the the canyon and check out some waterfalls.

And is exactly what we did.

It had the appeal of a theme park… except, it is an actual real park.

One of the highlights for my son is when we he was able to catch a crayfish at the bottom of one of the waterfalls.

Granted, this isn’t a hike for the faint of heart. It’s a 2 mile hike, but it’s straight down… and then you still have to hike back up.

But I am already looking forward to going back!

Dear Jack: The Crayfish You Caught at the Waterfall

8 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Saturday morning, you and I went hiking with Papa at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia; which is only 30 miles from Nana and Papa’s house.

We took a long hike down into the canyon, where we were able to check out some waterfalls.

It was in a puddle formed in conjunction to one of the waterfalls that you had a hunch that there might be a creature to catch.

Unbeknownst to me, you had proactively brought a bug container with you on our hike.

You were so proud of the crayfish you caught.

As we hiked back up to the top of the park, several of the hikers making their way down said to one another, “Look at one that boy caught… some kind of fish?”

That was pretty cool.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: The Cousins’ Homemade Playhouse in the Living Room

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

This past Labor Day Weekend, I feel that the major theme for you, your brother, and cousins was to make houses in the living room and then hang out in them; like an ongoing slumber party.

Apparently, there was even a farmer’s market where produce and animals were sold.

Granted, within a few hours, the house of pillows and play tents would inevitably get destroyed, only to be rebuilt each time.

The four of you had your own community and culture in which the adults were largely unaware of.

I have a feeling you all will rebuild your house the next time we are in town.

Love,

Daddy

Getting Free Products To Review On Your Blog: The Basics 

Unless you’re a celebrity or a huge influencer, whether it be on Instagram, YouTube or other social media channels, to get free products to be sent to you by companies, you have to send them a cold email. For a lot of bloggers, doing this can be a little bit intimidating as most of them do not know how to get started, and not everyone has a background in sales, marketing, and corporate industry. Don’t worry though! Here are some tips to help you get started:

Do Some Research Before Sending Out That Email

For new bloggers, check and do some research first suggest VelSEOity. See if the company does send out free products even to new bloggers. You may also want to check for other blogs found within your niche – bloggers that cover the same topics as you do and try to look for patterns. Have you noticed a company or two that is found in most of those blogs? If so, they’re more likely to be receptive to sending out free products to bloggers. Check that company and look for products that are not getting a lot of reviews or are not represented well online. This is a great way to get started and even increase your chances of getting positive answers on your first try.

Contact Them Via Email

There’s no better way than to send your proposal but through the company’s email address. Based on your research, contact the company e-mail and the authorized person. When writing a proposal, make sure that you go straight to the point and cut out the fluff. When you’re contacting companies looking for products to review, make sure that you’re completely honest about your social media followings, traffic, engagement percentage as well as explain how you can help them. Never lie about these statistics as a simple search will be able to reveal if you’re telling the truth or if you’re making the numbers up. If you’re a small blog or a startup, there are still chances to get numerous partnerships as long as you’re true to your reviews and you’ve shown credibility to your audience.

Don’t Stop With E-Mails

If the company you’re eyeing for doesn’t have any e-mail address posted on their website, go for the extra mile and send them snail mail or fax. Not too many bloggers do this, and it will show your dedication as a blogger and would most likely be noticed by your target companies.

Keep The Companies Updated

As soon as you have closed with an agreement, do not stop there. Stay in contact with them and let them know about updates such as when you’ve received the product. Let them know once you’re reviewing the product, once it has been posted, and finally, with some results. It is your responsibility as a blogger to make sure that you keep the company informed – do not skip this part and make sure to take this seriously.

Dear Jack: Reuniting with Your Friends from Preschool, 8 Years Later

8 years, 9 months.

You were 6 months old when you started going to preschool, at KinderCare. It was the summer of 2011 when you first met your friends Avery and Madison.

Though you were the oldest, it wasn’t by much, as the girls were both just a couple of months younger than you.

When we moved into our new house in January 2015, you stopped going to their preschool; not only because we moved you to a different preschool, but because Kindergarten would be starting later that year anyway.

Our families have continued to get together a couple of times each year since then.

This past weekend, our families all met together at Burger Up.

I took a picture of the 3 of you; all having recently started 3rd grade. It was 8 years ago that you all met. And you’re still hanging out after all these years!

Dear Jack,

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your New Alarm Clock, to Ensure You Don’t Wake Up Too Early

3 years, 4 months.

You and I had a deal. It had been working for many months now:

Each night as I put you to bed, I would remind you, “Okay Holly, remember- don’t come downstairs until you see the sunlight start coming through the window.”

It helped ensure you didn’t start the day too early.

But for some reason, you stopped going along with our deal.

This past week, your new default wake-up time was 5 AM.

So I decided to set up a new system. I pulled out an old cell phone and let you decide what song you want to play for the alarm.

It’s less of an alarm to wake you up each morning and more of an alarm to let you know what time you are allowed to come downstairs and start the day.

I sure hope this works…

Dear Holly,

Love,

Daddy