"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day in Cherokee, NC

Cherokee Indian Museum
We spent Thursday, October 10th touring Cherokee.  We started with coffee and wi-fi at the Visitor Center.  While our RV park was in a beautiful spot on the river, it did not offer wi-fi and phone service was very limited. (or non-existent if you had AT&T).  Sarah was put in charge of locating an RV spot in Asheville, NC for the next few nights.

Lots of Bears in town!
We spent the morning touring the Cherokee Indian Musem and walked around the town area.  There are lots of touristy shops, etc. downtown.    Mingo Falls is just out of town.  We drove out there and hiked up to the falls before taking a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I knew there was a Harrah's in town so we drove over to check it out.  It was huge!!!  Way out of my league so we just "gawked" for a bit and then headed back to the campground for dinner.


Mingo Falls
Another Bear

High Stress Day!

We left Townsend, TN headed for Cherokee, NC on Wednesday, October 9th which turned out to be a high stress day for me.  Jeannine considered it just another adventure.

Oklahoma Road Angels - Thanks!!!!!
Jeannine was following me because I have OnStar. As we left the park, I called OnStar and gave them the address of our RV park in Cherokee.  I also told them "do not route me through Smoky Mountain NP because all the roads are closed".   "No mam, I won't do that".  Yeah, right.  A little while later I start seeing "park road closed" signs and got a little nervous.  While I am calling OnStar to check our route, I come to a locked gate across the road.  OnStar was "sorry for the mistake".  Meanwhile, Jeannine and I are on a two lane mountain road with no place to turn around.  She can back a trailer a lot better than I can!  With the help of some "road angels" from Oklahoma, she backed both our trailers about a quarter mile down the road until she could back them in a drive to turn around.  Several of the Oklahoma people stopped anyone from coming up behind us while one man directed Jeannine.  I was quite helpful by making sure she didn't go off the side of the mountain.  Stress headache for me!!!!  Clueless why neither of us took a picture of this predicament.

After we got headed in the right direction, the book on tape I was listening to stopped in the middle because of a "bad download".

We were able to drive on Hwy 441 through the park to Cherokee.  It was a beautiful drive and the first time I had really pulled the Casita on narrow mountain roads (a little more stress).  I was finally able to find a spot where we could both pull over for lunch.  I missed this but a baby bear had barreled down the mountain, hit Jeannine's car with a big squeal, and then headed back up the mountain.  Hopefully unharmed and looking for Mama Bear.
Beautiful Drive!

My Campsite in Cherokee
After we got unhitched, our third WOW member and her daughter-in-law met up with us.  (Jeannine's sister, Suzanne and Sarah).  We headed into Cherokee to the Visitor Center and to have dinner.  While there, we were told we could drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway but all scenic overlooks and everything else was closed.  For some reason, it had not dawned on me that the Parkway was federal property.  Slow Learner!!!  The next morning we learned that the pull-outs were open but not the visitor centers.

After eating Indian Tacos,  we headed back to out trailers.  Dry county so I could not replenish my wine supply.

End of High Stress Day!!!!

Townsend, TN and Great Smoky Mountain National Park

October 6, 7 and 8th we spent in Townsend, TN at the Mountaineer RV Park.  It was super close to the entrance to the park but was one of those "how many RVs can we fit on an acre parks".  The sites were super close together but we weren't there too much.

Park Entrance in Townsend, TN (the quiet side of SMNP)
When they first closed the parks, we both assumed they would be open in a couple of days and not really affect our stay.  Wrong!!  We had reservations to stay two nights in Cade's Cove but it was not to be.  On the plus side, you were allowed to walk in the park and we took full advantage each day we were there.   One day we hiked down the middle of the road for 4 miles and then off on a really neat trail for about a mile.  (total trip 10 miles).  Later we were told to "stick to the road" because if something happened they didn't have the personnel to help us on the trails.

I really wanted to camp in Cades Cove but
it wasn't meant to be!
We also drove around town and walked across the "swinging bridge".  Talking to several of the locals, the shutdown was really hurting their business.  October and the fall foliage are usually a busy time but not while we were there.
Pedestrian Swining Bridge
Walking down the middle of the road in SMNP

Smokey Mountain NP was on my short list of parks to apply for a seasonal job next summer.  After talking to the rangers and some people at the Visitor Center, it doesn't seem very likely.  Most of the employees are local people and they don't provide any kind of housing/RV spaces for employees.

Beautiful park!!!
Loved this trail - we hiked for about a mile 





The trail


No cars



Me!!

Headed North!

Ruby Falls
We left Florida on Friday, October 4th, and headed north.  We took some back roads through some quaint small towns and spent the night in Gadsden, AL.  This was one of those pull in and sleep stops.  Neither one of us unhooked our trailers.

Saturday morning we left early and drove the short distance to Chattanooga, TN with a stay at the Best Travel RV Park.  This time I unhooked and we played tourist.  We drove out to see Ruby Falls - an underground waterfall.  It was beautiful but super crowded and took several hours.

But???
We were ready for a hike when we left.  The parking attendant told us about a couple of trails close by.  They were both on federal property so were closed.  Since we both pay taxes and consider ourselves part owners, we stepped over the rope and went hiking at Cravens House.  Nice hike - except for the two odd ball men than cornered us as we left:)
This little gate did not stop us!


Jeannine on the trail.



Did some errands on the way back to the campsite - with a stop at Outback for dinner.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Top Sail State Park

Headed to the Beach!
Top Sail was recommended to us by my friends, Peggy and Dave White and we stayed there from October 1-3 (Tuesday through Thursday nights).   We did not have the best sites in the park but we really enjoyed our stay.

The Beach
Tuesday after getting moved we drove into Destin to have lunch at Pompano's Joe's (also recommended by the White')  Great seafood and we sat overlooking the water.  After we ate, we ran some errands and stopped in at Walgreen's for a flu shot.

Henderson Beach State Park where I stayed in January was close by so we drove through so Jeannine could check it out.  She has been scoping out places for her family to camp.  It is my favorite of the parks I have stayed at in Florida even though they do not have full hook-ups.

Crab Cakes!
We spent the rest of our time at Top Sail at the beach!  Beautiful white sand beach with views of Destin in the distance.    It was a little over a mile from our campsites to the beach so we usually rode our bikes.  Quite a feat hauling an umbrella and chairs but we managed with a few bungie cords.  Thursday morning as I headed to the beach to see the sunrise, I saw two black bears.  Talk about doing a quick u-turn. After waiting a couple of minutes, I continued on.

Belgian Waffle with Bananas and Pecans
A great local seafood shop was close by so I bought some fresh crabmeat and made crabcakes one night.  Yummy!  We also had breakfast at a favorite of the locals.  Sinful!!!!

With Hurricane Karen wandering around in the Gulf, we left a day early to avoid any hassles it might have caused.




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Grayton Beach State Park

Doesn't get much better than this!!
September 28-30 found us camped at Grayton Beach State Park.   This was a nice state park with pretty beaches.  The water wasn't as clear as normal because of rains the week before.  We did a lot of walking on the beach.  I went swimming a couple of times but there was lots of "stuff" in the water.  Not so pleasant.

Lucy had some water issues this time around.  Her coffee pot shifted during the move and turned on the water faucet.  The sink was covered by her cutting board so by the time Lucy got in the trailer after hooking up her water, she had quite the mess to clean up!  Like we keep saying, its a learning experience!

Top your salmon with Moy Ploy
Sauce and Asian Panko Bread
Crumbs.  Bake at 400
until salmon is done.
Delish!!!
We drove around the little seaside towns around us and found a seafood market and bought salmon and steamed shrimp.  One night I fixed the salmon using the recipe fellow WOW member, Ann Nolen, gave me.  Always a winner!!  We had several meals of steamed shrimp and salad.

Monday morning I went in search of wi-fi so I could download the final episode of "Breaking Bad" before I saw any spoilers on the internet.   Perfect ending to a great show.




Perfect place to walk!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Big Lagoon State Park -


The next day we drove to Big Lagoon State Park near Pensacola, FL for two nights.  Not what we were expecting!!!  It had lagoon in the title for a reason.

We had a couple of Lucy and Ethyl moments.  Jeannine gets to be Lucy because she is a natural redhead.  Poor Ethyl couldn't figure out why the water wasn't working in her trailer.  Lucy takes a look and says it might be that kink in the hose:)  Always a learning experience.



Lots of booths at the Seafood Fest
We drove into Pensacola the next day and stumbled on the Seafood Fest.  Fun day!  I even bought a sundress and flip flops so I would be an official tourist.  We had crab cakes but they weren't as good as my mother used to make.

We also drove out to the Gulf Breeze National Seashore and saw the exhibits.  We did some hiking around the park and visited with the other campers.  The young couple across from me were living in a converted bus - it even had a deck on top.  There was also a retired truck driver living in his Casita.


Converted bus - nice young couple.  It even has a
deck on top!

Monday, October 14, 2013

On the road again . . . September-October, 2013


. . . on the road again!!!

After much planning, Jeannine Mayo and I left September 25th for our first caravan adventure.  She bought an R-Pod over the summer.  Her sister, Suzanne Thompson, will be joining us in Cherokee, NC.   The plan is to go to Florida, Great Smokey Mountain National Park, and up the Blue Ridge Parkway.  After that, we will split up.  I am going to visit a friend in Winston-Salem, NC, and then to Huntsville, AL for the winter.  Jeannine and Suzanne will head back to Texas.

Convoy!


We met at a rest area off I-10 and  headed for our first overnight stop at the KOA outside of Baton Rouge, LA.
KOA -Baton Rouge
Jeannine presented with a cool
"31" bag for my birthday


Goodbye Kiss!

Let me help.


The hardest part of leaving was saying good-bye to Doug, Leigh Anne and Caden.  It was great getting to see them so often and watching how Caden has grown over the summer.  What can I say - I love that little boy!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Baby Shower Time!!

After Janet and Nick, did their baby boy reveal in Colorado the doctor told them she had made a mistake . . . it is a girl!!!  Hannah Grace Cassiano is due in early December.


It's a girl!!!

Leigh Anne volunteered to host a family shower in September if Janet and Nick could arrange a trip to Texas.  Things all fell into place and we gathered to celebrate the new addition on September 21st.  A wonderful gathering of family and very close friends.  Nick's mom, Pat, drove in from Devine, TX in torrential rains.  Cousins drove in from Austin and Fort Worth - also through horrific rains!


My crew with Suzanne Armour - our neighbor in Foster Creek.


Melissa, Janet, and Sara
Three best buds in high school.
Family and Friends

Janet and Nick

Janet and Nick with the grandmothers!

Rubber gloves for Nick:)


Some of our favorite people!



The next day was my birthday.   Breakfast with my children and Pat before Janet and Nick headed back to Alabama.  Dinner and a "Breaking Bad" date with Drue.  Perfect day!!!

Weekend in Phoenix

Susie and I - margaritas at happy hour
The last weekend in August I flew to Phoenix, Arizona to spend the weekend with Susan.  We met last summer working in Yellowstone National Park and became good friends.

Such a fun weekend!  We talked and laughed and caught up on each others lives.  The first afternoon we watched her sweet little grandson, Jackson Dupps.  Jack was diagnosed with cancer in January, turned two in February, and is undergoing chemo and all that entails.  Such a tough fighter - affectionately known as Action Jackson.

Ate and had a beer at this brewery.
Research for Sarah - honest.
Susie and I packed a lot into a short weekend.  We managed two hikes - both first thing in the morning to beat the heat.  
Really fun.  Susie didn't even complain about how slow I am.  She leaves most people in the dust!!  Afterwards, we went and swam laps to cool off.  We also did some eating and drinking and a little shopping.  And laughed.   And talked.

We had quite an adventure getting back to the airport - but we made it on time.  Major traffic jam.
Arizona!!  I made it to the top.

Sunday morning's hike.

The cactus - and me.