Catch Up on Thursday May 30

Whoever said blogging isn’t hard work was wrong! I skipped two days due to sheer exhaustion. Our days were very full and  I was too tired to take up the pen… and upload the pictures and tweak them in photoshop and try to be interesting and informative and… Whew! Right now I am sitting in a Quality Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. This is one beautiful state. Reminds me a lot of the wet side of Washington.

 The man at the next table was wearing a shirt that said “I survived the Dragon”. My friend, who rides motorcycles with her husband had told me about this crazy highway in the area that was really dangerous and had some series curves, most of them being hairpins that everyone wants to test their courage on. So I asked him about it. Apparently it’s a train wreck waiting to happen, or car or motorcycle etc. I went to You Tube and there are lots of videos on this stretch of road. Amazing! It’s only 11 miles long and starts in Tennessee and ends in Deal’s Gap, NC. Hwy 129. There are shots of semi’s trying to navigate and rolling over, jack knifing and motorcyclists with helmet cams racing around corners and motorcyclists going over. I saw one where the woman was wearing shorts and tank top. I know what a floor burn feels like, I can’t imagine what road rash all over my body feels like. This guy said the highway patrol was everywhere up there. I imagine the EMT’s do a good business also.  

 So let’s back peddle. We stayed in Blue ridge, a quaint little town with the most beautiful red rose I’ve ever seen. I stopped someone on the street, she said it was called the “knockout” rose. It comes in red, pink and yellow and is resistant to black spot and japanese beetles. She also said it was very low maintenance and needed very little care. The color was incredible and it was covered with blooms. I might try to get one at a local Home Depot and put it in  my checked baggage.

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 We stopped at Mercier’s Orchard for a quick look around and some fried pies. They had every kind you can imagine. We call them empanadas in my neck of the woods. This is apple country in Georgia, similar to our very own Greenbluff. They had some beautiful views and yummy pies.

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Deb and her husband had found a place by just wandering around called “Field of the Woods”  which is a spectacular side of a hill with the Ten Commandments on it. We set out to find it. On our way there I noticed that the medians between the highway were planted with the most spectacular wildflowers. The NC DOT must have planted them because we saw them almost all the way to Asheville.

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 Through trial and error, we finally found this spot in the woods. It was built by the Church of God and the entire Ten Commandmants were set into the hillside, on the opposite one was a wall with Psalms of Praise and prayer walk. There was even a recreation of the tomb Jesus was in with the stone rolled away. Very pretty. 

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 Getting hungry, we ate in a town called Murphy in NC at a place called Chops. According to the server, the chef had cooked for some of the presidents. This was some of the best food I’ve had in a long time. I had a chicken and ham sandwich and a bacon corn chowder soup that was to die for. I could have licked the bowl clean if it hadn’t been a public place. Who knew that you could find such superb food so far away from everything. It was a billion calories that were worth doing. The server, Dustin, I think, was wonderful and made us feel most welcome.

 The next stretch of the journey involved a very scenic, very windy, very narrow road. We passed several waterfalls, one of which was called Bridal Veil Falls. There was one you could drive behind the water if you wanted but the 15 foot drive had a sign that said the road was closed. At this point it started getting dark so we were trying to get through this stretch of raod pretty quickly. At the top we found a little town called Highlands. It was cute, reminded me of our towns like Winthrop and Leavenworth. Obviously a tourist town, there were more country clubs and golf courses that I have ever seen. I suppose if you don’t qualify for one, you can always start your own. Reminds me of the Andy Griffith episode where he and Barney try to get into one. 

This road was beautiful but I started getting car sick and I never do that. It was probably the tunnel effect of the trees and the winding road and the fact that we were trying to down by dark.

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 We got into Asheville about 10 pm. Deb’s gps is a piece and we had a had time finding the hotel. We decided she deserved a name; Dora, Dumb Dora when she doesn’t make sense. We were exhausted by the time we got there. To be continued…

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Oh what a Relief It Is!

Yesterday morning, I about had a stroke! My laptop ws dying, my camera was dying and I couldn’t find my chargers for either of them. I spen ta great part of the morning trying to figure out what to do and going hither and thither looking for a mac store, a Best Buy store and finally ended up at Radio Shack. I wasn’t able to remedy the mac power supply unless I wanted to buy another one for $80 dollars (which I definitely didn’t want to do) but I was able to find a charger for the lithium battery that would work in the car and the house. I had always charged my batteries in the camera before. Who knew? You think you are technologically  with it and then you learn something new. (Stop laughing at me, all of you out there!) So, I’m back on the road. No mac but what can you do? My friend’s son was going to bring it up to Buford for a military graduation ceremony and I”d get it on Friday. Sigh.

This morning I am putting some dirty clothes into a secret pcoket on the inside of my suitcase when lo and behold I feel a lump the size of deck of cards. I got to the outside pockets, search, nothing that resembles a deck of cards, go back into the inside pocket and, you guessed it, both of my chargers. I almost wept for joy. I swear I searched that bag inside and out. (there was no indication from the outside of the pocket that it was in there and they are both big chargers. And it was a nylon pocket. No outline of wires or charger bulging out.) I am going to believe the God somehow transported them for me over night. Hey, it could happen! Yeah God!!!!

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We traveled from Crawford, GA to Blue Ridge where we comfortably ensconced in a Comfort Inn. Third floor, beautiful view. The most amazing smell wafted down to us as we got out of the car. At first, I thought it was a field of clover, although I have never seen that much scent from a patch of clover. Upon further investigation, it turned out to be wild honeysuckle. Absolutely gorgeous. I will take a pic before we leave this morning. I should have known because my honeysuckle, while it is gold and pink, smells the same way.

The wildflowers are very pretty. From the car, it looks like knapweed, The huge  swaths of purple in the center of the highway look like it, but It might be something else. It’s not that tall. There is coreopsis, gaillardia, and roses. From the road, they all seem to be the same pink shrub rose, although I  did happen to sport a white one in front of a church. At some of the homes, I’ve seen magnificent blue hydrangeas, some spiderwort (tradescantia) and daylillies. Note: I spotted htis fabulous purple grass like plant that my friend called wandering jew, (which i knew it wasn’t unless that is a geographical name thing, to me it’s a houseplant with fuzzy purple leaves), anyways, I was looking up the spelling of tradescantia and there it was. I think it is called tradescantia pallid, purple heart. Now that I take a closer look at it, it might be something different. If you know, send my a comment.

I was happy to see some mountains. Granted, they aren’t like our mountains but they are great. Very pastoral in some parts of Georgia. a lot mobile homes too. It’s interesting to see how many houses that look like they have just been abandoned. As we traveled I was trying to imagine the soldiers marching across the landscape during the war.

Speaking of soldiers, we went into Elijay and their was a very moving display of crosses, apparently representing all of the fallen men and boys from this area.

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We stopped to see the Amicalola falls. It was amazing! gastateparks.org/lodges/amicalola/ almost 800 feet tall. Because of my gimpy knee we couldn’t walk up the trail to the base of the falls but we did drive up to the overlook.

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This is looking down  the falls

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Im turning into a tree hugger! Don’t know wha tkind of tree this is but it is huge!

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View of the falls from the bottom. Almost 800 feet tall.steps-down

 

These are the stairs at the top of the falls.

Time to go,we are headed for Asheville today.

The Chicken Coop in Crawford, Georgia Monday, May 27 am

It is absolutely serene right now. I am sitting on their deck in an Adirondack chair listening to the cicadas (I thought they only came out a night) and watching the sunlight stream through the trees. I am enjoying my coffee, thank goodness they have real dairy cream, and their are two black cats wandering around the yard, one of which is rubbing itself on my leg. Makes me miss my own 4 cats. My bed last night was very comfy and I am picky about it, the house was built in the 40’s and is very quaint and furnished with all kinds of chicken things, hence the name. It really does feel like being an honored guest in someone home. Much better than a motel or hotel. Time to take some pictures which I will share later. I highly recommend this place. A big plus for me is that they are christians. Nothing overt, jus the kind of thing you know without being told although their website does talk about God on the bottom of the page. It’s actually how we should all be, known by our demeanor and not just our words. Be bold.

 

Off to Georgia Today!

Sunday, May 26

10:30 am

 

We have been driving for about an hour and a half and not a coffee shop in sight unless you count McDonald’s and Hardee’s. We’ve been through about 7 towns now. There is bubba’s shrimp shack, boiled peanuts, and flip flops with bottle openers built into the shoe at the local convenience stores, but not a decent cup of coffee. With the exception of Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts they don’t have coffee here. In Spokane we would have passed 148 places by now. Maybe it’s too hot. I would almost give my right arm for a Dunkin’ Donuts.

 

The flora and fauna has changed in the last couple of hours, less palms, more pine trees. The weeds and grass seem finer too. Further south, the grass is St Augustine’s which is hte only stuff that can take the heat, the sand and the bugs. It is very coarse and to my Inland NW way of thinking, it isn’t all that attractive. 

 

This picture is what the highway looks like, for miles and miles. Occasionally you see an old little house slowly being assimilated back into the landscape. 

 

There are a lot of churches here. Baptist, Catholic, Church of the Woods, Larry’s Church, Joe’s Church, Harriet Woods Ministries, you get my drift. There may be 10 0r 15 of them in a row. Deb reminded me  that this is the Bible Belt.

 

I’ve seen fields of head high corn, golden wheat ready to be cut and roadside stands of Georgia peaches. I think it’s peach season now. When we get to Georgia I will let you know.

 

Haven’t seen any rednecks yet, unless you count those with sunburns at the beach. I’m not trying to stereotype but lets face it we all have our prejudices. I think, that we think, that everyone in the south is a redneck and everyone here thinks, we all live in Seattle in the rain. Actually, you don’t hear any southern accents, most people in southern Florida are transplanted from the east coast, like New York.

 

There are a lot of highway patrol here. At night, it looks like a holiday light parade with all the lights flashing on the side of the road! It’s probably because these straight, well maintained roads beg to be driven on like a racetrack. And they do. Thank goodness for cruise!

 

10 pm

We are finally here! It is a little B&B in Crawford, Georgia called the Chicken Coop. The proprietors are a sweet couple who waited up for us. Pictures to follow tomorrow, too tired tonight.

 

Saturday, May 25 Long Day

I went to Crystal River today, It’s up a few miles from Homossassa Springs, the home of the manatees. Actually, manatees live all over the gulf coast but there seems to be a greater proliferation of them there. There is a nice wildlife zoo there.

Everything in Florida, at least on the gulf coast seems to centered around water. A lot of the communities are on the canals which spread out like fingers from the gulf. Seafood is a big deal here, so are boats and fishing. The boats here look different than what we had when we owned one. The cab/console is in the middle of the boat, they use them for fishing. Not sure why that is. It’s called a walk around. My friend says that it is because if you have a fish on the hook, you can walk around the boat to keep it from getting tangled up. Of course they have  bigger fish in the ocean.

Another thing they have is a lot real estate that is probably never going to be developed. Keep in mind that I am referring to the gulf coast. Some of it seems impenetrable, not somewhere I’d like to go for stroll. The spanish moss is pretty when it drapes the trees but is filled with chiggers red mites. A lot of the area seem marshy and wet. Plus, it seems to be over run with kudzu and other vines.ImageYou see miles and miles of this as you go down the freeway. Occasionally there are abandoned houses that are slowing disintegrating. It’s pretty, but very flat and the roads, at least the highways are amazingly straight. And well maintained. Gas is $3.48 for regular.

At Crystal springs there are Indian mounds. Apparently they piled huge mounds of shellfish shells. Some of them are pretty tall. I climbed the stairs to the top of the biggest one, it was supposed to have had a temple on top, which is no longer there. ImageIt was a very nice park. I wish I could have taken the boat tour but they don’t have anything on Saturday for tourists. Sigh.

Tomorrow we set out for Georgia.

Friday the 24th (in central Florida)

Another hot day, at least for me. It;s like having a constant hot flash! Today we went to Pine Island beach, at least that’s what I think it’s called. I love all the house on “stilts” actually they are supports that keep them from being flooded when it is stormy. I wonder what happens to their cars. 

The beach was windy which was nice. My friend and I hauled all of our stuff to the beach and spent about 20 minutes trying to put up the umbrella. It hadn’t been used for at least a year but we were gamely trying to figure it out without being blown off the beach with it. It was like a “keystone cops” moment. Finally, a couple guys came over and asked us if we needed help, it took them all of about 5 minutes to have it up and  acting more like a beach umbrella than a parasail! 

My dear husband was pleased to hear that i actually got into the water. I am a statistic waiting to happen, it is known that there are human-eating fish in the ocean and I just know the headline will read, “Woman Eaten by Shark in Florida’s Gulf Coast”. My husband will be sad but I will be able to say “I told you so.” Anyways, i sucked up my courage and walked out into the gulf, avoiding the nasty seaweed, keeping an eye out for the triangular fin cutting through the water, half expecting the Jaws theme music to cue up somewhere. I was surprised at how warm it was, not exactly refreshing but nice. Our lakes in Eastern Washington don’t evenget that warm by the time August rolls around. Ever. It was very shallow and came to my waist by the the time I got out to fifty feet or so from the shore. (It might be more or less, I’m bad with measurements). I will post a picture of me in the water when i get it. It proves I actually did it. And survived.

No sunburn, I was good about that. I think being close to the equator makes it easier to look like a crispy critter in no time. Just some light coloring. will work on that some more tomorrow.

Some interesting names of bars here. Tonight we passed by The Pickled Parrot and the Tailgator’s Sports Bar.

For lunch we ate at Ruby Tuesdays. We don’t have them in Spokane, apparently the closest one to us is in Oregon. Too bad, I loved it. The food was marvelous, fresh veggies as close to naked as possible. None of the fancy sauces and foo foo things like white truffle oil or squid ink or foams that chefs want to dress them up with. All of the salads on the salad bar were made in-house, not taken out of a box (and you know what box I’m talking about). Our server was named Summer and she was fabulous, Kudos to Ruby Tuesday and please, please put one in the Spokane Valley!

Tomorrow is another day. (Hello Coralie, hope you are enjoying this! Miss you.)