Thursday, July 19, 2007

Back on The Road Again

Provided we manage to get all our tasks completed, we leave Sunday for North and West....Many hoped-for pictures......Many stories.

Check for pics here and the stories of the road at MY OTHER SITE...."& Then I BOught an RV!"


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bleeding Hearts Are In Bloom!

One of the few things in which I pride myself regarding my yard is a small metal arch I installed across the sidewalk near the front of the house. I planted two vine-type plants at each side....one each Bleeding Hearts and Confederate Jasmine.

The photos above and below are from yesterday....the delicate bleeding hearts.....a heart-shaped flower with a blood red blossom out the bottom is one of my favorites. The blooms have replaced the Confederate Jasmine and their heady thick lovely smell from just two to three weeks ago.

Perhaps, now that I am retired I'll do more to make my yard look good.....Certainly needed!

By-the-way....and from the "It does not have to cost much department".....My metal arch is interesting. I bought the arch several years ago at a garage sale down the street. It had been a Christmas decoration, and now the bulbs were mostly out and the clips that held them to the arch were mostly gone. I wanted the arch! $3 I paid for it.....then found a metal arch 8 feet tall will not go into a Town Car! I walked it the three blocks home, holding on to both sides and hanging the top of the arch over my head.....should have gotten a picture of that! I then tightened the connections of the arch, and out came a spray can of white Rust-O-Leum....(sp).

When done it has served now for three years as my sidewalk arch and, while showing a rust spot or two near the screws holding it together, it is doing quite nicely. I figure I have about $2 per-year in the thing, including paint!

I love it when a plan comes together!

By-the-way.....As one might guess from my flag flying above.....I am a Proud American who celebrates Memorial Day.....A Salute to every American Soldier.....Coast Guard, Marine, Army, Navy, Air Force....and a special remembrance of my Father, 1lt Paul K. DeLand, Sr., a multi-purple heart veteran of WWII. You are remembered Dad, each and every day!

Duke (Lt. Cmdr., U.S.C.G.A., Ret. - Branch Chief, National Staff)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ride The Dragon!

The Dragon in Winter.....quite a different place.
The snow and ice are a small part of it....the lack of leaves and green are a big part of the difference in the winter (April is Winter????)
Duchess walks to the overview as we begin the circle of the Dragon!
Ice, Ice Baby.....It is everywhere while we tour in the cold times......
During the winter Fontana lake is dropped, intentionally by the TVA folks to levels as much as 60 feet below the Summer level. This creates quite a site for those who view the lake with its "brown belt" of land created by the drop.

We love Fontana, having stayed there twice before for a week each time.....great place, but a bit remote. It was nice to pass thru!

We had one really exciting moment when we were winding our way up the Rt. 129 leg of the Dragon toward NC.....We rounded a curve (there are 1,000 180s on this road!) and found a biker in the ditch. We stopped and he was uninjured.....To his good fortune he was on an inside curve, and thus went into the ditch......Minor damage to the bike....had he been on an outside curve he'd have been 1-3,000 feet down the mountainside. He was lucky!

We helped him out of the ditch and then he was on his way.


Day 3 - Motor Nature Trail from Gatlinburg

This trail is a "must see" for us every time we visit Gatlinburg. However, this was the 1st time ever we saw the trail in the snow. It was both unique and scary. The road is a single-lane, one-way trip from towndown Gatlinburg (Stop Light #8) East into the hills. We have loved it every trip, but snow adds a new dimension.
Atop the trail there is a foot trail off into the woods which looked quite remote as we saw it appear out of the snow falling on us.
Here is one of the cabins left by the folks who lived here more than 100 years ago. The snow added a touch which we had not seen before.
The snow peaked at near-blizzard conditions (at least for we Floridians) as we began the descent from the top of the Motor Nature Trail. This pic shows the snow quite visible as we looked at a creek below. Neat picture for us to always remember this cool trip.
Reagan mill with its sluice hanging frozen water....known to some as icicles!
Inside the mill I got this pic of the sluice from above it....it still carries water to this day, and the mill supposedly would work.

We loved the trip, as always.....Gatlinburg is nice....this time, seeing the snow and ice was a special treat....even if a COLD one!


Day 2 - Cades Cove

Cades Cove - The words themselves excite any who have been there. Those who have yet to experience the thrill of this magical step into the past are not going to fully grasp the significance of the words. You HAVE TO go there at least once!

This 1st pic is of one of the cabins at Cades Cove....actually lived in by the folks who lived, farmed, etc. here in the 1700s and 1800s....The fence is typical of what they built.
This is a creek....not significant, given the hundreds in the Smokies....except it is one of those in Cades Cove. You drive across the creek as you drive the one-way trail in the cove. Beautiful!
Deer are plentiful in the cove. They know they are safe....to the point we were less than 20 feet from this doe while she grazed peacefully.
Enroute to the cove we stopped at the river alongside the road from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove. Lovely is too weak a word!
While at the river I looked about and found the view of the river was limiting the scope of what we were seeing....Then I snapped this perspective which showed the Suzuki parked alongside the creek, and the mountains towering above.
We left the park via a back road across the mountains.....one-way to Townsend....It was gravel, narrow, and at times a bit scary, but FUN....We loved every minute of it.
Next morning....SNOW! This is a pic of the RV site with "Sideroad Suzie" covered in the first snow she has ever seen! The table and benches also had snow as did the grass around our site.

Tomorrow....REAL snow in the mountains above Gatlinburg! You'll find these pics wonderful....I am sure!


Day 1 -

We are in Gatlinburg, and, of course, the 1st day there we have to see the Smokey Mountains....but first.....our lovely campground, Twin Creek Resort....located about 3 miles from downtown out Route 321....Lovely flowers abound as we arrive and set up! The flowers were to suffer damage beyond belief within 24 hours as the temps plummeted to the low 20s!

On the Road from Gatlinburg to Cherokee....across the Smokey Mountains, it got C-O-L-D!!!! Man it was cold....biting cold...Here is Duchess wrapped in leather and a sweatjacket underneath! She stands beside our "Iron Horse" the little Suzuki jeep. We bought her new in 1999, and now they no longer make them (or at least sell them in the USA!)...so we keep her as she is just fun as a vehicle....I recently had the tranny rebuilt as the synchros were failing....while at it we also did the clutch and rear main seal which had begun to leak. She drives like a dream again, and I plan to keep her til she falls off her wheels! She only has 40,000 miles after 7 years.
Ice covered much of the rock face in the mountains as the cold invaded everything!
Even the mountaintops showed the cold....the pic is of the mountains from just outside Gatlinburg....with frost covering the trees atop the mountains. It was COLD!

We enjoyed the mountains, and it was a new experience for us....mountains in winter. We had only visited from May to October in prior trips. Tjis was different. Few leaves, and the flowers that were so beautiful all went away after a single day when the temps plummeted to the low 20s.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Gatlinburg...Five Days!

Finally online as I sit in "Sideroad Suzie" beside the office at Twin Creeks Resort, a really nice RV park with lots of reasons to enjoy. Total tab for five nights...$187. Not bad for Easter Weekend.

HOWEVER, it is C-O-L-D. I write this Friday morning and it was 30 degrees. We expect 20 tomorrow morning....

Yesterday was Smokey Mountain Park and I have lots of pics to follow...but had to post this one for my buddy JerrySpeak, of Tampa, who is looking forward to doing this area in May.

The two couples here were at an overview near the top of the Parkway...about half a mile from the Newfound Gap area. They are from Dayton, Ohio and say "Hi" to Jerry... They were stopped to put on their heavy gear as they were freezing!

More later folks.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

WiFi Problems....

Here we are in Gatlinburg; and, lots of pics.....and signal too weak to make any pictures....

What a doofus operation. I can send words, but pics do not go...they time out or equivalent.

I'm working on it.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Greenways A Joy!

We in Hillsborough County....at least in some areas....are blessed with a network of "Greenways".
This one is located in Town and Country and the pictures here are between Hanley Road and Webb Road. The trail actually continues on West to Sheldon, and then further.

The rest stops with benches and a quiet spot for reflection are a nice touch. I walk this one frequently. The trail is alongside this canal full of vegetation and birds. I used to see a small gator here, but have not for a couple of years.

The trail winds about a bit, and sometimes trees/bushes/plants are so thick you'd not know there are houses only about 100 to 200 feet from the trail.

Check on the Hillsborough County web site and you'll find maps of the 21 such greenways in the county. Enjoy them...


Saturday, March 10, 2007

JerrySpeak Trips My N.C. Trigger!

While doing my usual morning scan of the TampaBLAB site I came across JerrySpeak and his bit on an anticipated May trip back to the Smokies.

Got me digging into my trove of Blue Ridge/Smokies pics that Duchess and I have collected.

This 1st shot was taken by The Duchess at a pullover on the Parkway. 4,000 feet below is a farm and farmland. Up closer mountain flowers in a shady opening by a cliff face.

Then there is this pic from the car window on the Parkway. We had seen this place several times, and I always like to think of it as someone's really nice retirement home overlooking a trout-laden lake!