Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sometimes we get the 'blues' when camping

Our first effort at rain protection
Camping is oh soooooooo much fun.

But not all the time. One must take the good -- out-of-doors experience, beautiful scenery, cool nighttime temperatures in the Smokies, communing with nature -- with the bad, which, when camping, usually means rain.

We arrived in the Smokies the Friday after July 4 to find that the park had been ravaged by a storm with thousands of trees downed by high winds and landslides caused by heavy rains. Two people had also been killed in the park due to the weather phenomenon.

Can you see the drips?
I had planned to be prepared for rain this year with numerous blue tarps available to hang from our camper to the far side of the picnic table.

It should have taken care of what was to come. We stretched our first tarp (with the assistance of my brother in law) and left the area for a while with our camper closed up and our two main chairs placed close to the camper and under the tarp.

Protecting cooking gear from the rain
We arrived back to find the two chairs, which had fabric seats and backs, totally soaked.

I asked a passing camper if there had been a heavy wind with the rain. He indicated there wasn't. There had to be. Why would my chairs be so wet.

When the next precipitation showed itself, I came to realize the huge tarp was very weather worn and allowed a lot (thousands) of drips.

Raindrops settle on a leaf
My neighbor campers must have enjoyed the show that followed. I put up another tarp under the original one and then took the original down. Another bit of precipitation revealed the second tarp was just as bad. A third tarp didn't help and I finally remembered there was a 10 by 30 foot piece of clear plastic that I had bought a number of years earlier.

I put it up and it worked just fine. A little bit of rain followed and we were well-protected.

The big question is -- is the plastic tarp OK enough to keep on using, or should I invest in another blue tarp?

Well, I've got at least another year to make that decision.

Next post: August 7, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Old mill offers a taste of yesteryear

Old things seem to intrigue.

My wife likes to visit the ancient grist mills in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

 There is one near Cherokee. That one is Mingus Mill which uses water to turn turbines to grind corn and wheat. It was not operating the day we visited because of mechanical problems.

The other is Cable Mill in Cades Cove, on the west end of the park. 

We don't always visit the mills on each trip to the mountains, but after missing them for a few years, we feel we are best served by returning to each. And apparently there are many others who  visit and are enamoured by them,  enough so to videotape and post on You tube.

It was raining that July day recently and it took a little bit of time to get to the parking lot up to the mill. Although we didn't buy any cornmeal it was available for sale.

We spent about an hour touring the facility and taking a myriad of pictures of our journey. Others who spent time also offer their opinions on the old relic.

Next post: July 31, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

The 4th of July fireworks came a day early to our hometown, Ocean Springs, MS.

The city has been shooting off the pyrotechnics the day before, starting at 8:45 p.m. down on the beach.

Our departure from home was about 7 p.m. in attempts to get a decent location. We thought the display would be launched from a barge offshore, but that was not the case. It was landbased. This is the first time we have been to the event, so we weren't that well informed.

We were about a half mile away but still managed to get a good look at the offering. There were hundreds, nay, thousands who showed up to be a part of the event.

This area, like others throughout the US, has been rather dry, but thunderstorms were moving through and we witnessed Mother Nature's dispay as lightning struck all around us and offshore, but it quieted down.

Having fun, getting buried on the beach

Our next post, due to the fact we will be in the mountains and not have internet connectivity at an opportune time, will be July 24.