Mountain Views

Mountain Views
Mountain Views

Sunday, November 01, 2015

We’re Back in the Tampa Bay Area


Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 88, low 72)


We actually got back here over two weeks ago, but we’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to update our blog. More on that later.

Here are some pictures I found from last Halloween and the snow we got in Blairsville.   I’ve been sad that we’re in Florida and missing the beautiful fall colors.

snow at Rivers Edge

snow on the mountains

snow on the mountains

The higher the elevation, the more snow accumulation.

Snow on mountains near Brasstown Bald

Al standing by a snowman someone had made.  Can you see it?

Snow on mountains near Brasstown Bald

Snow on mountains near Brasstown Bald

It was a far cry from the 88 degree temperature we felt this year here in Tampa.


We are back at  Quail Run Rv Park, where we keep a site so that we have a place to stay between the mountains and the Keys and that is available should we need it in an emergency.  With Mom’s poor health, we always need a place to stay on the spur of the moment, and it’s not easy to find rv sites in Florida in the winter.  In fact it’s not  too easy in the summer either as more and more people are becoming fulltimers and staying in Florida.


Our friends Barry and Stephanie have a neighboring site here at Quail Run. They are still working.  They recently bought 5 acres in  Murphy, NC which is about 30 minutes from our site in Blairsville.  They have made a beautiful RV site on their acreage.

Our other friends,  Suzanne and Heidi, also have a site here. They keep their 5th Wheel here for the two days they work in Tampa. They are mostly retired and live on Anna Maria Island.

Heidi and Suzanne wanted to come up to Blairsville so we found a rental Rv site on the river at our park in Blairsville.   Their intention was to look for a cabin to buy while they were there.

All three couples were to be up in the mountains together at the same time.  We looked forward to showing Heidi and Suzanne our wonderful mountain paradise, and the six of us having some fun together.  And Smores!  Heidi and Suzzy know how do do smores right.

That certainly didn’t work out as planned.

We passed Heidi and Suzanne on I 75 going north as we were heading south.  We honked and waved at each other as we passed.    Boy was that depressing!  :)

Once we got back here, we had to watch Barry and Stephanie as they packed up and drove away heading to our beloved mountains.  Boy was that depressing. 

We were happy that they were up in the mountains enjoying the wonderful fall weather and spectacular color, but we were jealous!

So……Heidi and Suzanne arrived back yesterday, and Barry and Stephanie are coming back today.  It will be a lot less depressing without having to see those empty Rv lots!

The good news is that Heidi and Suzanne fell in love with Blairsville, and our Rv park, and bought a beautiful riverfront lot!  They tried to buy the lot we rented for them but that guy wasn’t selling, so they bought the lot next door.  Yeah, I guess we chose a good lot for them.

Before they left, they made plans to build a cabin and put in a concrete Rv slab and driveway.  They hired the builder and as soon as they close on the property, things will move forward.   They certainly accomplished a lot in two weeks.


As for the reason we left Georgia earlier than expected.  It was because my Mom has been having some health issues.  We thought she had a stroke, but the hospital has run all sorts of tests and says she didn’t.  They confirm she has some brain shrinkage (normal with age) and some dementia. She has declined a lot in the past year.

We don’t feel comfortable leaving her alone, so we’ve been dividing the time between Al and me, and my brother. 

I’ve been dealing with John Hancock Insurance.  Mom has a long term care policy with them, which will pay for home health care, but they make you jump through hoops to get that started.   You cannot call and report a claim like most insurance companies.  You call, they send you pages and pages of paperwork to fill out, you send it back, they send you a written confirmation they received it, you jump through more hoops and then they give you the name of a company that handles their “preferred providers” and you have to deal with them to find a home health care worker that is authorized by John Hancock.  BUT…. until a nurse comes to the house and personally verifies the policy holder needs home health care, they cannot authorize the care, nor will they confirm the company you chose (which you choose from their list) will be authorized and that you will be reimbursed for what you have already spent.

Sound confusing?  Welcome to my world.  

I think is it pathetic that an insurance policy that is geared for a elderly person should be so difficult to navigate.  In fact, I think it’s criminal.   My Mother never in a million years could have navigated their system. Maybe that is the point.

I am a retired Insurance Claims adjuster and I had difficulty dealing with them.  You can bet I let my opinion be known.  I worked for USAA Insurance which is mainly for the military.  We understood our Insured’s specials needs and bent over backwards to help them as many of them were back and forth in war zones and had very immediate and special needs.   We never would have made them go through what John Hancock has made me go through.  

So, in case you’ve been wondering where we’ve been or what we’ve been doing, now you know.

We don’t expect that we’ll be able to get down to the Keys this year, and plan to rent out our Keys lot.  If you know anyone interested in staying in the Keys for the winter, let me know.   We’re renting January and February out for the entire month starting the first of the month, but we will break up December in weekly increments.    Yes, I know it’s expensive.  It’s the Keys and the Keys are expensive. 

Florida Keys Rv Lot for Rent


….dreaming of being in the Keys…


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Met Someone Interesting and a Historical Twist.


October 14, 2015


We were trying to decide on whether or not to leave Georgia and head back to Tampa.  My Mom was having good days and then not so good days and we were hoping she would do better so we could stay in Georgia at least through the fall foliage season.

We spent a day driving on some of the scenic routes looking for fall color.  It hadn’t reached peak color but we enjoyed it anyway.

We drove up to Brasstown Bald, which is the highest mountain in Georgia.  They have a lovely viewing center. The fall foliage was just beginning to change.


The road up was gorgeous with cobalt blue skies.



Most of the trees were still green, but there was enough color to make for an enjoyable day.


When you get to the parking lot below the visitor center, you can walk the .6 mile on a paved trail up to the viewing area, or you can catch a shuttle.  The trail is kind of boring, and we didn’t want to waste precious time walking, so we took the bus.

While on the bus we struck up a conversation with another couple.  As we were exiting the bus she mentioned she had been there before and brought a picture.  I expected a picture of beautiful fall foliage, but I was certainly surprised at the picture she showed us.

There used to be a fire tower on the top of Brasstown Bald since it’s the highest peak in Georgia.

They have a non working fire tower up there now, but it’s no longer used because of new technology which made it obsolete.

This is what it looks like now.  That is the fire tower in the background and the visitor center in the foreground.


Peggy and Walt (I think was his name) were the couple on the bus.  This is the picture she wanted to show me.

It turns out she was last at Brasstown in 1957 as a little girl.


Peggy and Walt?  the little girl on the left in the picture of Brasstown in 1957


Brasstown Bald 1957.  Lenord E Foote in background. 

She is the little girl on the left.  Her sister is on the right and the man in the background was a family friend who is kind of a celebrity in Georgia.  His name was Leonard E. Foote.

If you’ve ever been to Amicalola Falls  State Park, you might have heard of the “ Len Foote Hike-Inn.”

From the top of Amicalola Falls, you hike 5 miles down to the Inn.   You can spend the night at the Inn, but you need to bring any personal items you may need.


Notice the name on the Inn? 


On a historical note . . .
The Len Foote Inn is named for Leonard E. Foote, a leading conservationist, biologist and nature photographer, who inspired the comic strip “Mark Trail.” Foote, a Georgia resident, worked for 30 years as the southeastern representative for the Wildlife Management Institute and 18 years on the Georgia Game and Fish Commission and the Board of Natural Resources.


One of the park rangers saw the picture, gave me his email address and asked that I send him the picture of the picture that I took.  He is going to copy it and post it at the visitor center at Brasstown Bald. 

We enjoyed a few minutes at the viewing area.


One of our favorite spots to read on a day when we have more time.



The color was just starting.




Some more pictures from our scenic drive that day.






Sadly, this was to be our last full day in Georgia. We left the next day and are now back in Tampa caring for my Mother.  More on that later.