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Relocation Bookshelf: DFAS resources May 12, 2010

Posted by Neal Snyder in Moving, Relocation, Tools.
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The Defense Finance and Accounting Service Permanent Duty Travel page offers remarkably clean and straightforward access to the information you need to file for travel reimbursement. Start with (and keep referring to) the Relocation Entitlements Brief, but don’t miss any of the other resources on the page.  “How to complete the DD Form 1351-2 for civilian PCS” is especially handy.  

DFAS PDT Travel Page

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Destination: San Antonio April 26, 2010

Posted by Sarah in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Road Trip, Tools, Uncategorized.
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Sunset at Morton's Overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tenn.

A guide to planning your road trip from Washington, DC, to San Antonio

Part 2 of 3: Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama

With Virginia and North Carolina in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start the second leg of Destination: San Antonio.  If you enjoyed the history of Monticello or the adrenaline rush of Sliding Rock, just wait until you explore Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.  About a two-hour drive northwest of Sliding Rock and downtown Asheville is Gatlinburg, Tenn., the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains.

At this point of the journey, the roads diverge and you must decide which route you’d like to travel: south or north; Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi or central to western Texas and Arkansas.  Nevertheless, whichever way is right for you and your Family, the journey will be exciting and memorable.

North and South Routes

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Gatlinburg)

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a myriad of opportunities for exploring the natural and cultural history of its ancient surroundings. The national park encompasses more than 800 square miles in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. No other area of equal size in a temperate climate can match the park’s diversity of plants, animals and invertebrates. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides countless activities such as scenic and historical drives, Elkmont’s synchronized fireflies and white water rafting.

Asheville, N.C., to Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Asheville, N.C., to Gatlinburg, Tenn.

The Parthenon (Nashville – North Route)

Built in 1897 for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition, Nashville’s Parthenon might have you thinking you’re in Greece. Both the building and a 42-foot statue of Athena are full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.  The Parthenon, amongst hosting events such as proms and weddings, serves as the city’s art museum.

I’ve been to the Parthenon in Athens, and the experience of visiting the reproduction in Nashville is at least equal to and perhaps surpasses the original.”

―TripAdvisor.com member Snakebite_Survivor of Chapel Hill, N.C.

Graceland (Memphis – North Route)

Driving through Memphis won’t add extra hours to your driving time, so don’t fret! If Tennessee and Arkansas are ideal for your travels, you should visit the King’s Graceland Mansion.

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Many forget that Elvis served in the armed forces and historic items on display serve well to document this period in the King’s life. A visit to Graceland will leave you with a new found appreciation to the man we all know as the King.”

― Yelp.com member Hideki K. of New York, New York

Stone Mountain (Atlanta – South Route)

Frommer’s lists Stone Mountain as one of the 500 Places to Visit with Your Kids Before They Grow Up.  The park is home to the largest bas-relief in the world, which portrays three major figures of the Confederate States of America: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.

DeSoto State Park (Fort Payne, Ala. — South Route)

Nestled atop scenic Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama, DeSoto State Park’s 3,502-acre wilderness is accented by rushing waterfalls and fragrant wildflowers. The park offers hiking, fishing, camping, swimming and horseback riding.  If you’re bringing your horses to Texas and want to stretch their legs – this is the place. DeSoto Falls, located in the state park, is more than 100-feet high and is one of the tallest and most visited waterfalls in Alabama.

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DISCLAIMER: The Installation Management Command does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on external linked websites. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by the Installation Management Command, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense of the services or products offered on external sites. Links are provided solely for convenience.

Destination: San Antonio April 22, 2010

Posted by Sarah in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Road Trip, Tools, Uncategorized.
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Monticello in Charlottesville, Va.

A guide to planning your road trip from Washington, DC, to San Antonio

The car is packed, gas tank full, kids buckled up, now it’s time to go West, Army Soldiers and Civilians, and join the Installation Management Command in San Antonio.

Don’t expect to get from Washington, DC, to San Antonio overnight. The most direct route runs the course of about 1,600 miles and goes through seven states, but don’t let this semi-cross-country drive get you down. There are many places to see along the way especially if you’re willing to use your four-and-a-half travel days to the fullest.

Below are a few natural and historic marvels to visit on your journey to San Antonio.

Part 1 of 3: Virginia and North Carolina

Virginia to North Carolina

Virginia Caves

Virginia is home to more than 60 caves, about 10 are open to tourists.  Most of these caves are located in the Blue Ridge Mountains along Interstate 81, which is a straight shot on your route to Texas.

Virginia Safari Park (Natural Bridge)

Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia Safari Park offers something most zoos don’t – an upfront animal encounter that you won’t have to leave your car for! The park offers hands-on animal encounters with gazelles, kangaroos, bison, zebras, camels and giraffes.

At [Virginia Safari Park], you’ll be able to see animals run and frolic with abandon … or block your path.”

―Virginia Safari Park website

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (Charlottesville, Va.)

Monticello is listed as one of the “8 Places Every American Should See,” according to Budget Travel.  Designed by Thomas Jefferson using neoclassical architecture, Monticello is an autobiographical masterpiece designed and redesigned, built and rebuilt for more than 40 years.

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.)

“Biltmore Estate provides the ideal location for romance with a century-old French Renaissance chateau. George W. Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre estate with its 250-room Biltmore House, 75 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, and the nation’s most visited winery offers plenty of opportunities.”

―RomanticAsheville.com

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North Carolina: (D) Biltmore Estate, (E) Looking Glass Falls and (F) Sliding Rock

Looking Glass Falls (Asheville, N.C.)

About four miles from Sliding Rock and nearly 60 feet tall is Looking Glass Falls, one of the most popular falls in North Carolina.  You can venture onto the rocks, wade and swim underneath the falling water, or just take in the surroundings while perched on a bolder.

Sliding Rock (Asheville, N.C.)

Fueled by 11, 000 gallons of chilly water flowing down the 60-foot flat, sloping bolder each minute, Sliding Rock is a natural hit for thousands of children and adults each summer.  This exhilarating favorite natural mountain waterfall is located in the Pisgah National Forest, near Asheville, N.C.

My family has been coming back to North Carolina for the last 20 years and we always make our pilgrimage to Sliding Rock.”“We do it in April and it is freezing cold, but darn well worth it. It helps to remind you of how alive you can feel!”

― TripAdvisor.com member Marine86297

DISCLAIMER: The Installation Management Command does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on external linked websites. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by the Installation Management Command, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense of the services or products offered on external sites. Links are provided solely for convenience.

Virginia Caves

Virginia is home to more than 60 caves, about 10 are open to tourists.  Most of these caves are located in the Blue Ridge Mountains along Interstate-81, which is a straight shot on your route to Texas.

Virginia Safari Park (Natural Bridge)

Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia Safari Park offers something most zoos don’t – an upfront animal encounter that you won’t have to leave your car for! The park offers hands-on animal encounters with gazelles, kangaroos, bison, zebras, camels and giraffes.

“At [Virginia Safari Park], you’ll be able to see animals run and frolic with abandon … or block your path.”

―Virginia Safari Park website

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (Charlottesville, Va.)

Monticello is listed as one of the “8 Places Every American Should See,” according to Budget Travel.  Designed by Thomas Jefferson using neoclassical architecture, Monticello is an autobiographical masterpiece designed and redesigned, built and rebuilt for more than 40 years.

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.)