Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Enjoy the weekend, but play it safe

Happy Halloween!

Be careful out there

Next post: Nov. 3, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Some people know how to rub it in

Mysterious, not really. It was about one of our favorite mountain locations
(Photo taken a few winters ago)
A few days ago my wife received a rare text message on her phone.

She doesn’t usually text anyone and was wondering exactly what it was and from whom it was.

The message: “Guess where we are?”

We should have known, but our brains were off kilter. After giving the message a brief thought for a minute or two, we filed it into the back of our minds and went about our business.

And the days marched on.

We should have known. There is someone who calls periodically and always seems to bragging about the fact that they are in one of our favorite places.

The person was my aunt, who’s just about nine months older than me.

She called to remind us of the message and immediately I knew where she was — Gatlinburg, TN

Her family lives in Kentucky and they make it to the mountains more than we since they’re only about a four-hour drive.

Sometimes I think I envy them, living so close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

But, if we lived closer to the mountains than we do, would be visit as often, or less. I don't know.

Last year we visited the area five times. This year, only two, with maybe another visit before the end of the year, but that’s going to be a stretch.

They were in Gatlinburg last weekend and said the weather was OK, but there were too many PEOPLE. She said it was the most they had seen during any of the October trips that they had taken.

I like the area, but I don’t like mob crowds.

She said it took them about four hours to drive from Gatlinburg to Cherokee, which included a side trip to Clingman’s Dome.

Still, that’s a long time, since the trip can normally be made in about an hour.

So the next time we get a “Guess where we are? text message,  it won’t be a mystery.

Next post: October 27, 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

At least somebody was enjoying Paris

Grandaughter's Halloween treat for guardian of candy bowl

We have been living outside of Paris for a long time. (Well, isn't living in south Mississippi outside of Paris?)

It’s been about 15 years, but the memories linger of the food, Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysse, the Seine River, Arc de Triumph, the Louvre museum and Notre Dame among others.

And this week it was more disheartening because while we were outside of Paris and taking care of four of our grandchildren in Georgia, their parents were off on their 20th anniversary observance.

And where did they go? — Paris, of course.

Our Georgia daughter-in-law had been taking French lessons and they visited a family for a meal and conversation in the native language.

She said, although it was quite interesting, it would take a bit more time to really pick up on the language.  The words just seemed to fly by her, although she said as their 10-day oddesy came to a close, she was picking up more of the language as they traversed the city.

And back home, the grandchildren were involved in school, football, dance and getting ready for Halloween. And it was our responsibility to see that they got to the appropriate place at the appropriate time each day.

One of our offspring is driven to create, and she can’t seem to slow down, whether its making artistic items for her room, performing ballet or preparing for one of the more scary times of the year.

She managed to make a small play dough critter and fed it to the guardian of the candy bowl (picture above).

Another character came about because she was encouraged to make a play dough face.

All in all, their parents' trip was great, and our stay with the four “grands” was interesting and quite enjoyable.

Next post: October 20, 2015

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cherohala offers touch of early fall color

On a recent quick trip to the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains, wife and I found ourselves needing to take up a day with some kind of activity.

From our base camp at the Microtel Inn in Robbinsville, NC, we decided that we’d make a day of it traversing the Cherohala Skyway beginning just northwest of town and covering a small portion of eastern Tennessee.

We didn’t know what to expect but hoped that there would be a little fall color along the roadway since  it was late September.

We weren’t totally disappointed.

The Skyway, completed in 1996 after 34 years of work, is considered North Carolina’s most expensive highway carrying a price tag of $100 million.

The 23-mile drive offers expansive views, when its not cloudy (as it was for part of our trip).

The name is derived from the words Cherokee and Nantahala since the drive crosses through national forests with those two names.

Recommendations are that those traveling the skyway should take two to three hours, or more, to enjoy it properly, which includes the views and a number of stops along the way.

We also had a side trip visiting a campground.

After a good half-day of touristing, we found that to get back to our home base, there were three options. The shortest way was to return by the skyway. We nixed that. The other two options were taking highway routes, to the north, or to the south, that got us back.

Both of those options were another few hours over roads we were not familiar with.

Nonetheless, we took the northern round-a-bout way and after a few more hours, we were back in Robbinsville.

Next post: Oct. 13, 2015