I am once again behind in posting something more current, but I have a good reason. Before we left for the LSU vs Tennessee football game, we were told that Darla's mother had been diagnosed with cancer and was going to have surgery on November 1st. So we made a decision to come back to Nashville for a month to help around the house while "B" recovered:)
Darla celebrated her 43rd birthday and the girls got to visit once again with their friends and family. It has been good, one of our girls got into a really great study at Vanderbilt University and even earned $100. The study was a blessing and was something she needed. We got on a waiting list just in case someone cancelled, well someone cancelled and our detour to Nashville allowed us to participate.
I also scheduled an appointment to have one last warranty issue taken care of before we head out west.
We signed up for Thousand Trails so we could take advantage of their special. Buy one zone and get a second one at no additional cost. We picked the southwest and northwest. We are excited and can't wait to get on the road again.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with family and visited the farm on Friday. The girls got to fill bags of corn meal from this years harvest. It was really cool to see them so happy running around the farm on a beautiful day; Bailey had fun too:)
Our last stop before returning to Nashville was Cades Cove, TN in the Great Smoky Mountains. Both Darla and I attended college nearby and really appreciate the beauty of the area, particularly in the fall. After arriving in Wears Valley, TN, we started looking around for our next stop, I know not a good idea especially during the height of the fall colors in the most visited national park in the USA. Nevertheless, that's how we operate, and we hit the jackpot. I checked out the Cades Cove campground and NOT to my surprise, all the sites were taken except for the handicapped spot.
However, Darla did not realize I had already checked out the availability and went online to see for herself if there were any sites available. Well, she went ahead and booked the handicapped spot due to the fact that we were inside the "window". The rule is, if there are no other sites available and the handicapped site is not booked within so many days before your arrival, it can be reserved. It was a very nice spot with one of the few level concrete pads in the entire park.
Fellow campers asked how we got the site, we told them the deal, now they know :( We had a great time, the color was amazingly beautiful this year. The weekend we arrived was the height of the fall color and the place was packed, hence no camping sites available.
Our first night was lots of fun, we took an evening tour with two park rangers, Bailey got to go on the walk too. Dogs are prohibited from most all areas in the park, so we took advantage of the opportunity to take him along. The walk took us into the Cades Cove loop and across several fields and one small stream. Very cold, the girls nor I were prepared for that and wore our tennis shoes instead of our hiking boots. I know, another lets wing-it moment.
The sun disappeared quickly and we all pulled out our flashlights; the rangers provided red coverings for all the flashlights so as not to destroy our limited night vision. During our walk, we saw a black bear and her two cubs, a wild turkey, the usual raccoon, deer and other animals that scurry around in the dark.
The next morning, we got up early and ate the cinnamon rolls that Darla got from the local bakery in Wears Valley. They were delicious! Next up was a ride around the cove. I was looking really forward to getting back on the bike and seeing some nature. The traffic was horrible though and it became dangerous for the girls, so we cut the ride short and cut across the loop. The traffic was just relentless and not at all accommodating to those of us on bicycles. During the summer and spring months, the cove is closed to automobiles for a few hours each week to allow bicycles to have access to the roads. If you ever get to Cades Cove, a real treat is to take a moonlit ride around the cove. The gates are closed, but they still allow foot traffic and the place really lights up under a full moon.
After Cades Cove, we headed to Nashville,TN. The first week of November, I drove the RV up to Middlebury, IN to have a locker door and the front door replaced. Obviously a big project. The front door operated as it should, but was not to factory standards, nor was the locker we had replaced. As you can imagine, it was time consuming and required a trip to the paint booth.
So the down time has been productive. We should have the motorhome back in a week, after Darla gets back from her annual "girls" trip to Canton, TX with my sisters and cousin. The tradition started when my mom and her identical twin sister (my aunt) took the girls away for a weekend of shopping and girl talk. Unfortunately, after my mom and aunt passed away, the tradition stopped for a few years, but it appears to be going strong again. With our two girls waiting in the wings, I'm sure this will be a tradition that will carry on for many more years.
If you have never heard of the Canton, TX flea market, check it out here First Monday Canton. The guys will like it too, I was allowed to go once:)
Ever spend the Christmas holidays in Williamsburg, VA? Let us know what your experience was like. That's where we are headed.
|Yummy cinnamon rolls before a morning bicycle ride|
|Cades Cove, TN 2011|
|Deer crossing our path. Cades Cove 2011|
|Climbing a tree outside while house hunting :)|
|Stream near our campground. Cades Cove 2011|
|Playing in the stream. Cades Cove 2011|
|Our spot in Cades Cove 2011|
|Up a tree Cades Cove campground|
|Happy Birthday Bailey 2011|
|Grinding corn meal at the farm 2011|
|playing in the hay at the farm 2011|
|Uncle Darrell taking the girls for a ride on the farm 2011|