Monday, September 18, 2017

Life Happens, Mountain Vistas


For weeks, all attempts to write the blog have failed.  Maybe today will be the day?

This photo of our rig makes me smile.  This is taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway while on our way to Balsam Mountain campground in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Three days ago we are packing to go to a local state park when we discover a nasty dent and broken fog light in the front bumper of our big blue beautiful truck.  The guilty party is paying…not going to identify him…but our camping plans for the Land Between the Lakes Rally are on hold until the bodywork can be completed.

(FYI:  My watermark is dated 2016 as I am still using Picasa which is no longer being supported.  Stuck in 2016!)

We really enjoy our three weeks in the western NC, eastern Tennessee mountains! It’s not the same as Colorado but the fun factor is very high!

The eclipse crowd paranoia (mentioned in the last post) is all for nothing!  We walk across the street to the Mt Pisgah Inn and join a small crowd of eclipse seekers.


The clouds obscure some of it but we see enough to make us happy!



The day after the eclipse an outfitter puts us on the French Broad River right above the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.  There’s only a few photos as we were often going through mild whitewater…our first time in years to navigate between rocks! We paddle/float a fast six miles downstream.

A few days later the Secretary of the Interior plans to visit the Mt Pisgah area and we decide to move on.  There’s another high elevation campground down the Parkway…one we have never seen. ….Balsam Mountain, elevation 5,310 feet, in the GSMNP.


Only photo from Balsam Mtn campground. (No hookups, price $8.00 with senior pass)

The campground is small and the sites are close.  It is wonderfully cool!  We don our jeans, long sleeves and vests to sit around a fire.

The next morning David says calmly “I see a bear cub.” Sure enough. I look through the trailer window in time to see a very small black bear run across the road.  Later we hear there’s a momma with three little cubs in the campground.

After one night at Balsam we decide to relocate to Smokemont campground just north of Cherokee, NC.  It is another Smoky Mountain Park camp, more developed and closer to civilization.  The price is $10 a night with senior pass. No hookups but there is a dump.


Creek running through Smokemont campground.


Elk grazing on the side of the road…just below Smokemont.

Escape trailer friends are camping in the Cosby campground on the northern side of the Smoky Mountains.  We drive over to the Gatlinburg side of the park, happy to see very little scars from the intense fires of last year!



We enjoy two days of catching up, going out to eat and cooking.  We visit a farmer’s market and find beautiful fresh green beans.  Our friends have a generator and offer to run it while we cook beans in our mini instant pot.  Fresh corn on the cob and green beans are the perfect evening meal after a caloric lunch.  (And I had a great time teaching them how to “string” beans!)


This is our first time to cook with a generator as we do not have one.

Our 80 watt solar suitcase normally meets all our electric needs.  This trip is different, though, as we are in heavy shade for four days and the battery begins to to slowly drop.

The weather forecast is not good!  The hurricane from Houston is heading toward the mountains bringing lots of rain.  We have been out three weeks and decide to go home.



Some thoughts on our life and life in general…..

As I write this morning we are preparing to join David’s high school class for their 80th birthday celebration….they celebrate their milestone birthdays together.

This coming weekend we will attend my 50 year class reunion…which is one of the reasons we chose to be home in September.

Aging continues to factor in on what we do.  We continue to be so very grateful for the ability to travel.

Note to you youngsters……don’t delay your life!  Get out there and do your dreams NOW!