Friday, May 30, 2014

Horses and Bourbon - Welcome to Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky
Whispering Hills RV Park

Well, here we are in Kentucky!  We love Kentucky and look forward to enjoying some of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail like we did about three years ago.  I don’t personally like bourbon but the tours and the smells and the countryside makes it all worth it!

We left Norris Dam State Park in Tennessee pretty early this morning.  Kirby didn’t sleep much last night thinking about the road out and the hairpin turns he would have to negotiate.   First stop was the dump station.  Even that was in great disrepair and frustrating.  It was on a hill!  How can you empty your tanks on a hill?  Not very well, that is how.  We emptied what we could and headed on down the hill.  The curves and the steep made it very challenging for Kirby.  As we would go around a hairpin turn, Kirby would watch the road and I would try to look ahead and make certain no one was coming because for part of those turns we were on the wrong side of the road.  Finally we made it to the freeway and headed north.  And what a beautiful drive it was!

It was another short day.  Just 170 miles to Georgetown, KY.  We are going to spend the next week at an RV Park!  We haven’t been in an RV Park in weeks.  We arrived and met the friendly staff who had been holding some of our mail for almost a month.  We were guided to our space and saddened to see no trees, no grass and no space.  We are squeezed between to large RV’s with gravel all around us and a view of the multitudes of children in the pool.  Even if it was nice out there, I wouldn’t go out with all the screaming kids!  But it will be OK.  We have had an incredible month of trees and privacy.  We can do a bit of this!  And tomorrow we are going to a local Strawberry Fest and maybe even a bourbon distillery!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hooten Hollow Trail

Norris Dam State Park, TN

The trail was very steep and constantly going down as we began our hike this morning at Norris Dam State Park and I was a bit concerned about the return trip!  UP, UP, UP!!  But we were lucky and found another trail that turned the whole thing into a nice loop.  Now come along with us....
That's me!

Twice on this trip I have seen trees just fall.  Last week we were sitting in our chairs enjoying the forest when I saw a large branch just fall off the tree.  We were glad it didn't land on our camper and our solar panels.  I know this is the way the forest lives and dies and nurtures itself and it amazes me when I think of the millions of years it has been doing this.

My view on our hikes - always.  This was toward the end of our trek and Jake is slowing down.  He loves it when he doesn't have to be on a leash and he just runs and runs.

You have to look closely at this photo.  I was walking on the trail when I looked down and notice this red brick.  Why is there brick on the trail in the forest?  Oh, I want to know answers to questions like that so badly! So, I make stories up to go with the brick.  Again, we decided it must have been a moonshine still!

This is in the campground.  Kind of speaks for itself I think.

Ugly and beautiful at the same time.  They were all over the trail.  What are they????  They are about two inches long and very eye catching!

Welcome to Tennessee!

Norris Dam State Park Campground
Lake City, Tennessee

After almost two weeks at Lake Powhatan in North Carolina it was time to hitch-up and go.  We took our time because we weren’t going far.  Kirby got up on the roof with the brush and the hose and cleaned off a thousand leaves that were trying to sneak out of the campground with us.  We headed out on Interstate 40 and were in Tennessee in no time at all.  I love changing states which really is kind of silly as it really looks the same on both sides of the state line.
 The drive was hilly and curvy and very beautiful.  Sometimes I get frustrated with all of the trucks on the road but then I remember that they are the ones who keep this country going.  How would we be able to buy anything we want at any time we want if it weren’t for the truckers and the people who drive them.  And we can ship anywhere we want and not worry about how it gets there in a day or two.  It is like magic isn’t?

We did not like our access to the beautiful campground we are in and I don’t look forward to leaving but Kirby is the driver and he is fantastic at getting this big rig around.  Norris Dam State Park just north of Knoxville is a lovely forest of tall trees.  But just like Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, it is very poorly maintained.   There is something about the look of our site that makes me think that we are the first to sit here this season and it almost looks like the snow has just recently melted.  (But how could that be?)

We are just here for two nights so tomorrow we will again travel that steep and curvy narrow road and find our way back out to the highway.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Morning Walk in the Forest

 Pisgah National Forest, Lake Powhatan Campground

I just beat Kirby at Mexican Train so we are taking a break for a few minutes.  I am loving these quiet stay at home days we are having.  And it looks like quite a few of the weekend campers are leaving today.  Let’s just hope they go soon and take the 25 or so children that are on our loop!  I know the kids are having fun and it is really cool that they get to experience the outdoors but they are just so noisy!  Tomorrow should be even better!

We headed out this morning for another walk in the forest.  There are many, many trails but most of them are too long and too steep for me.  I always accuse Kirby of trying to kill me on our hikes because he is such a stronger hiker than I am and we go up and down the hills and I get so tired and he just keeps on trucking.  But he has been doing this to me since our beginning.  The joke is that I will ask how much further and he will tell me it is just around the corner or just over the next hill.  It is always further!

Here are some pictures from this morning’s walk where we were almost run over by a couple of young men on mountain bikes.  Oh, my but they were going fast as they came around that corner and of course I screamed as they startled me so much!  It took a while to calm my heart down.  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Lake Powhatan

In a busy campground how do you make certain that you will be the only ones on the trail?  We don’t like crowds and we don’t like other people on our trails when we hike.  So we have found the answer.  First, go early.  Second, go in the rain!  It works.

We knew that there were heavy clouds overhead and we could hear some thunder in the distance but decided to go anyway.  It was early – we wanted to beat the busy weekend crowds.  And of course it rained on us.  But it was OK.  Some of the time the rain went away, some of it we were under trees or a shelter, and some of the time it poured!  And by the time we were about to head home – it was gone.  Only bad part was that it was hard to get photos!  I had my camera wrapped in a big trash bag to keep it dry.  So here are some pictures from our rain hike.
The rain had not started yet when we reached the trail from our campsite.
You can't see the little raindrops on the water in this picture but this is where I first noticed it.
We made it to a very small shelter (really just an outdoor bulletin board with a roof) just when it began to dump!
By the time we made it around the lake the sun was beginning to shine.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

North Carolina Arboretum

Since it was so close we decided to visit the North Carolina Arboretum.  The flowers were in full color and the trails were in great shape so we had a wonderful morning for our visit.

We didn't see any place that looked good for our picnic so we drove about a quarter of a mile down the road to Bent Creek Park.  This small park is located right where Bent Creek flows into the French Broad River and is used mostly by fishermen who fish from the banks or can launch their small boats from the shore.
This was probably way to easy a picture to get as I think his short life was about to end.  He just sat there and let me take his picture.

Asheville, NC

We took a short trip into Asheville in search of another good brew.  I actually forgot my camera in the truck and didn't want to go back for it so I missed the first part of our outing and our lunch at the Bier Garden.  Food and brews were just OK.  I think Kirby is done with his search because he has not been able to find anything to compare with Coast Brewing Hop Art or Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, which are his two favorites. 

After our walk around we stopped by the truck and picked up my camera so I did get some pictures for you.  Wandering around in Asheville is just so much fun!  You never know what you are going to find around the next corner.
This Coffee Shop was the first thing we saw as we rounded the corner from the parking lot.

Tie Dye is well and alive in a hippy-ish town like Asheville.

Mast General Store has to be on any visitor's "must see" list.

I wanted this chair but it wouldn't fit in our camper!

The store is just like you remember from your childhood with a grand staircase in the middle of the store leading to the lower level and more shopping.

Another fun street view.  Should we be thinking about our Halloween costumes so soon?

And then we happened upon Bruisin' Ales on Broadway.  This place made Kirby so happy as they had his favorite, Optimum!  Yes, we took some home with us.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway

Since the Blue Ridge Parkway is just around the corner from us we took our dog, our lunch and our hiking boots and headed out for a day of ooh’s and aah’s from up to 5,000 feet.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words so I am not going to say much here except to tell you that the whole drive and each view was magnificent.  The hiking trails were a bit challenging to old people but we loved it so much!  We hiked two different trails and they were both gorgeous!  By the end of the day all three of us were exhausted and happy!
This was the first trail we took.  It was switch back after switch back and very steep!

There were many, many places to pull over and enjoy the awesome views.
Because they aren't blooming yet, you may have a hard time believing me when I tell you that this tunnel is made up of Rhododendron!  Is that amazing or what!  I would like to be back here next month when they are blooming!
We finally found a waterfall!  I know that there are many in this area, I just don't know where they are!

Looking Glass Falls on Hwy 276
We finally reached an altitude of over 5,000 feet and the trees were just beginning to leaf out.