Friday, August 30, 2013

Brasstown Bald Mountain


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 84, low 66)

We slept in (until 7) yesterday morning and got caught up on some much needed sleep. 

Our plan for yesterday was to head to Brasstown Bald mountain, which at 4784 feet, is the highest peak in the state of Georgia.  It’s about 10 miles from us, over some typically curvy mountain roads.

You have to watch the weather, because it’s frequently pretty foggy on the mountain, which limits your view.

We drove up to about 4000 feet to the parking lot.

You can see the visitor center which is up a .6 mile paved and very steep trail.  That building in the center top of the picture is where the trail leads.

Brasstown Bald

Brasstown Bald is part of the National parks system, so we we didn’t have to pay the $5 per person fee.

For an additional $2 per person, you can ride the shuttle up the mountain.

I’m almost ashamed to say it, but we rode the shuttle!  The plan was to ride the shuttle up,and walk down, but I forgot to change shoes and didn’t want to walk straight down in sandals.   That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

What an incredible view from the top.   You can see 4 states on a clear day.  Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and of course Georgia.   You can also see the Atlanta skyline at night.

Brasstown Bald

Brasstown Bald is a working mountain, and used as a fire watch station for the area.

Fortunately, for us, the fog lifted right before we got to the top and we saw this beautiful view.

These are the Blue Ridge mountains.

Brasstown Bald


Can you imagine how this will look in October?

I sure hope we’ll still be here!

This is the parking lot that we would have walked from.

Brasstown Bald

There is a nice visitor center, complete with bears. 


They have a short movie which tells about the mountain. Brasstown Bald has unusual weather, which compares to Massachusetts, and nothing like the rest of Georgia.  The highest temperature at the Bald is 84 and the lowest –27 degrees!

When we came back out from the movie, the fog had moved back in, and this is what we saw.

Brasstown Bald foggy 

We rode the shuttle back down to the parking lot and planned on hiking one of the nearby trails.

This is the beginning of the trail up to the top of the mountain.  It’s paved, but is pretty much straight up.  We knew the elevation would get to us, so we decided to do it another day.

trail up to Brasstown Bald

We walked around the parking lot a while.  It was lined with Rhododendrons.  I’ll bet it’s gorgeous in the spring.

Brasstown Bald 

We started on another trail, until we saw what we thought might be poison ivy.  You can see Al here, checking it out.

Brasstown Bald

This is what he was looking at.  Opinions please.  Is this poison Ivy?

poison ivy?

The entire trail was lined with this plant.

Al is extremely allergic to poison ivy.  He doesn’t even have to touch it.   If he gets near poison ivy, he gets what he calls the “heebie jeebies” and feels very ill.

We decided not to take a chance and canceled the hike.  He never got the heebie jeebies, so I’m now thinking that wasn’t poison ivy.

We found another trail that links up to the Appalachian trail.

This is what it looked like.




It was a very pretty trail, but the 4.5 miles to get to the Appalachian trail was going to be a challenge, I think.  We’ll never know because we turned around after a short while.  We weren’t in the hiking mood yesterday.


Our next stop was lunch.  Yeah, that was more like it.  Mexican food!

After lunch, we went up to Murphy, North Carolina, which has the nearest Lowe’s store.  We needed a certain type of bird feeder, so we decided to make the drive.  There are a lot of touristy shops on the way, so we stopped at a few of them, because we’re still looking for some things for the cabin.

Here is a cute little outdoor rug we found. We liked the bear theme and the fact that the green matched the trim on the cabin.


If I had taken the photo, I would have given the rug a good shake to remove the grass.    :)

We also found this cute little set of bear coasters.


We tried to find pictures for above the TV and beside the window, but having a refrigerator, washer, dryer, and hot water heater, make decorating a little bit of a challenge.

Our cabin is basically just  a glorified laundry room.  I told Al that we have the cutest little laundry room ever!

There is just no way to ignore the appliances!


We’re just going to put up a few cute pictures do the best we can.

We started on the deck yesterday and got the floor portion about half painted.   We started late in the day to avoid the sun baking down on the fresh paint, but may have started too late because we ended up with dew on the fresh paint.  We’re hoping we don’t have to pressure wash the new paint and start over again.     OH well.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mission Accomplished


Blairsville, Georgia (high 87, low 67)

We started our day off yesterday with a hike around the neighborhood. The country roads make a great place to walk, and you don’t have to worry about tripping over tree roots, or getting poison ivy.  Al is extremely allergic/sensitive to poison ivy, and all he has to do is be near it to feel it.  There are plenty of nature trails nearby, including the Appalachian Trail, and Vogel State park within a few miles.   We intend to get back to some of those trails again soon, but for now we’re pretty happy just around the neighborhood.

Our walk started out by the stream in the RV park.  A lot of the sites are backed up to the stream.  I think it would be so nice to be able to hear the rushing water from your site.  Of course, the closer to the stream you get, the more you pay.


There are numerous back roads to choose from and we have been taking a different path each day.


Our mission had been to spot a bear, until we talked to a lady at a shop we went to yesterday.  I’ll tell you more about that later.

There are crops planted along the way.  This looks like some sort of bean or pea plant, but there are no beans yet.


We understand bear like the corn fields, so our next trip will go by the corn field.

Along this path, we found a nice house built right over the river.  There was a historical marker showing this was the site of an old grist mill.   It’s hard to get a good picture, but the water was really rushing over the large rocks.  The river is quite a ways down from where we are standing.


We walked several miles and still didn’t see a bear.  I guess we’ll have to keep trying.

After the walk, Al decided to do some chores, and I decided to soak in the hot tub.  At first, I thought it was a bad idea, because the water was pretty hot, and I was pretty warm from the hike.  After about two minutes, I realized what a good choice I made.  I don’t think I have ever have had a hot tub soak after a good hike, and boy what a treat that was!!   I just laid back and floated.  It felt soooooo good.

Our mission yesterday was to get a flag for the front of the cabin.  The previous owners had one, took it with them, and we needed a replacement.

Mission accomplished.


Lynda, the previous owner, told us where to go for the large size flag we needed.  They had a great selection.  This one is double sided and made really nice, but was pretty pricey at  $29!   We ended up spending $56 by the time we got the flag, pole and pole bracket.  A bit expensive, but in our opinion, necessary!

It turns out the lady at the shop lives nearby.  She said there are a lot of bear around this year for some reason, and she frequently has bears in her yard.  Most of them run off if they see a human, but she had a big male bear that wasn’t intimidated at all by her, or the noise she made.  She showed us a picture of him.  I wish I could have gotten the picture so I could post it.  It was an amazing picture or a really big beautiful bear.  She said we should carry some mace and some sort of horn or noisemaker before we walk in this area.  Although black bear (like we have here) don’t normally attack people, she reminded me of one that did recently attack a young girl up in Minnesota or Michigan.   Anyway, we decided, maybe we need to be a little more cautious.

After we bought the flag, we looked around at a few shops in search of a bear lamp, and a picture to put over the TV.  We didn’t find anything we could afford, so we’ll keep looking.

We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant here in town for lunch (again).  We’ve been ordering their enchilada lunch special, substituting refried beans for ground beef in the enchilada.  It makes for a mostly vegan lunch, and is delicious.

After lunch, it was time to go back home and work!   We pressure washed the deck in preparation to repaint it.    Now, we’re waiting for the deck to dry before we can start to paint.

We finished the day pretty tired, and after having happy hour in the hot tub, we were really relaxed, so we had a quick dinner and hit the bed early! 

Here is the cute kitty picture of the day.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Settling in


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 85, low 67)

The temperature has creeped back up a few degrees, but it’s still fairly pleasant.  I think it has to do with the fact that there are more trees and less asphalt here.

Yesterday, was another very busy day.  We decided we can’t lounge around in bed all morning and then get everything done we want to do in a days time.  We have hot tub and hikes to do, along with chores and setting up our new “home.”  

So, just like when we were working, we decided to set an alarm clock.  I set it for 5am, and we hit the snooze button a few times, but finally got up and managed to have a soak in the hot tub before we were off running errands.

Blairsville, is a fairly small mountain town, but we do have a Home Depot, a Wal-Mart and a really nice grocery store called Ingles.  What more could you ask for? 

We needed a few pieces of furniture for the cabin.  The previous owners left the sofa/recliner, washer/dryer and refrigerator, but we needed end tables and a TV stand.

We found the tables and TV stand at a local furniture store and they delivered them two hours later.  Pretty good service, huh?

This is the Tv stand.   Looks real pretty next to the refrigerator and dryer, doesn’t it?


The cabin is small, so there is no way to decorate to make it pretty, without getting rid of the appliances.  We decided, we won’t worry about it, we’ll just enjoy having a full size washer/dryer and extra refrigerator, and decorate around the appliances, as best as we can.

We are going to look for a picture for above the TV.  We decided to do a “bear” theme in the cabin, so we’ll find something, I’m sure.

We did find some bear decorations for over the door.



Another purchase yesterday was to get new window planter boxes.  The ones here were getting a bit worn, so we replaced them with new ones, and planted some new flowers.  We’ll enjoy the flowers for as long as we’re here. 

Hopefully it will be until November.


When we sold our Georgia house, one of the best parts was getting rid of the big wooden deck that was around the pool.  It needed refinishing, we put it off, and the house sold despite the fact that the deck needed work. 

I was really happy that we didn’t have to work on the deck, and swore I’d never have another one!

Well….guess what?   Yep, we have a deck here, and it also needs painting.   Karma, I guess.


We talked to a guy that was refinishing a neighbors deck.  He gave us a quote of $900, which didn’t include the paint!  No thanks, I think we’ll do it ourselves.  We would have never put a deck on this lot, but it was already here, and it really is pretty nice, so I guess we’ll have to break down and paint it.   The joys of “home” ownership.


Our plan today, (after hike and hot tub) is to go find a bear flag and a bear statue.  The previous owners had a cute little bear flag on the front of the cabin.  It was one of the few decorations that they didn’t leave for us, and we want one.

Isn’t is cute?   So, that’s our mission for today.   See their cute little bear statue under the flag?   They didn’t leave that either.  :(

Rivers Edge Rv Park

We’ve been meeting the neighbors slowly, but surely.  There is a big homeowners association meeting and dinner on Saturday, so we expect a lot more people will be here then. One of our new neighbors brought us some wonderful peanut butter and chocolate bars.  Yummy.


Another busy day ahead of us, so I guess I’d better get started.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bear Hunting


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 83, low 60)

Our little cool front ends today and we will be having more normal temperatures….darn.    We will still have much nicer weather than we left in Tampa, so we’re not complaining.

Yesterday was a very busy day.  We had the closing on the Rv lot scheduled for 3pm.

It turns out there is no Bank of America nearby, so we had planned on having money sent via wire transfer.

Unfortunately, I discovered yesterday morning that wire transfers take longer than they do when you see it done on Tv.  I went through the entire procedure, only to discover they couldn’t guarantee it to be there until after 5pm.  Since the closing was scheduled for 3pm, we had to go to plan b, so off we went to the nearest branch office.

It turns out the nearest Bank of America was “over the mountain” in Gainesville, Georgia.  It was over an hours drive each way, and down one of the most twisty and curvy roads in the area.   Even in a vehicle, it’s not a road that you can relax and cruise along.

We made it there and back and to the closing on time.  The Rv lot is now officially ours.

After the closing, we did a little shopping, looking for a  piece of furntiture for the cabin.  It’s a very small cabin, and we don’t need much, other than that and some wall hangings.

We did notice some trees that are getting ready for fall. Pretty, huh?


By the time we got home, it was almost time to go “bear hunting.”     We have heard that some neighbors take a cruise in the evening to look for bears.  Apparently, there are quite a few around, probably due to all the crops the farmers have planted.   Normally, we would walk, but we were tired by that time, so we took the the easy way out and drove the truck.

Everything looked pretty with the lowering sun.  No bear here.


Down some heavily wooded roads.  No bear there.

We did see a few dear.  Notice, where they are standing?  In some farmers crops!  Yum.


We never did see any bear, but we’ll keep looking.   Al has been very good about putting the bird feeders up at night, because we understand they will raid the feeders.  I remember seeing Judys feeders after a bear got it.

By the time we got home, it was getting dark and time for happy hour in the hot tub.



Monday, August 26, 2013

Cool Weather…finally


Blairsville, Georgia (high 83, low 59)

We awoke to temperatures in the 50’s!    Just the kind of weather we were hoping for.   We have been able to sleep under the blankets with the windows open at night.  It’s been so nice to be able to turn off the air conditioners.  I never saw the temperature out of the 70’s yesterday where we were. 

We have been enjoying our new hot tub.  It’s wonderful have our morning coffee in the hot tub in the early morning.     Of course, happy hour at night is just as great.

We walked the country roads around here again yesterday morning.  It’s kind of nice to have paved roads to walk, instead of trails where you have to constantly watch your step.  There are also plenty of regular trails nearby, including the Appalachian Trail which is not far at all. 

There are some interesting old barns that are on the verge of coming down.  We’ve seem some shops here that beautiful furniture made of “barn wood.”  I guess these old barns don’t go to waste.


There are a lot of beautiful wild flowers.


We met the local “wildlife.”  These two dogs barked like they were going to eat us.  Then the puppy started wagging its tail, peeing all over, and acting like it was excited to see us, so we knew he was friendly.  The other one never warmed up to us and actually acted like it might bite.  We had trouble getting away from the puppy as he decided he loved us and wanted to come home with us.  Not once did the owners come outside to see what all the barking was about, and not once did they call their dogs home.


Al finally walked the puppy back home, and told him to “stay.”  He actually listened to Al and stayed there. 

Good dog!


While Al was returning the cute little puppy, I had to actually stop a car to make sure the driver didn’t hit the dogs.   I hate people that don’t take care of their animals and let them run loose.

We decided not to walk that road again.  We are afraid we might come back and see the puppy laying dead in the road.  Or we might steal him…..he was awfully cute!

There are a lot of hay fields being mowed.  They smell very nice.


After out walk, we walked around the Rv park a little.  The laundry room is nice, and the machines are only $1.00.  I doubt we’ll use it since we have a washer/dryer in the cabin, but you never know.



One thing we thought was interesting was this item.



It’s a defibrillator.  I guess it’s a nice thing to have in an Rv park filled with “seniors.”


We took a drive into North Carolina yesterday.  We’re just south of the North Carolina border.  We drove on the scenic highway 64 and ended up in the town of Hayesville.  It was a pretty drive and will be spectacular in the fall, I’m sure.


There are a lot of pretty lakes.


Even the beginnings of some fall color here and there.


We need a few pieces of furniture for the cabin, and a few wall hangings, so we stopped at a few of the many shops along the roadways.  We found a cute bear themed wall hanging for the cabin. 

Today is a big day.  We close on the lot today.  It will be officially ours.  Sure hope nothing goes wrong, since we’ve already gotten the hot tub delivered!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Busy Day Settling In, and a New Addition


(I had a problem uploading this blog this morning.  I hope I have better luck tonight)

Blairsville, Georgia (high 81, low 60)

Yup, the weather is way better than in Tampa.  We’re 10-12 degrees cooler here, and it’s very noticeable.  Still warm in the daytime, but not miserable like it was in Tampa.  We are able to turn the a/c off at night and we actually get kind of chilly in the middle of the night. I’m putting on a thicker blanket tonight.

We took a nice long walk on the country roads this morning.  We found some apple trees along the road.  We understand the deer like them, but that the apples are a little tart.


You can certainly get your exercise on these hilly roads.


On the way back, we saw this guy fly fishing in the Nottley River that runs through our campground.  He’s on the right side of the river. Can you see him?  He caught a small fish while we watched.


Baxter got to go outside for a little walk around the deck and then into his little cage, last night.  With all of his thick fur, he can’t be outside unless it’s cool.

He was a good boy to let me put on his “dress.”    I worry that he will escape, so he has to wear a harness, leash and then get in his cage.   He has made no effort to escape, but we sure don’t want to lose our boy.  Just look at those cute bloomers!


We walked him around the patio a little while, but we really have to be careful because the fleas really love him.  We’ve gotten flea infestations inside the motor home, just from us coming in and out.  I guess they love that thick soft fur.

We are sitting outside this morning, having our breakfast and coffee.  Baxter is in his cage and seems to be enjoying it, as long as he can see us. 


We thought we had an “oops” moment yesterday, when we decided to put the awning out.  Oops….will it extend fully and not run into the cabin?  We have a Girard automatic awning, and it says its the most stable fully extended.  I thought for a second that it was going to hit the cabin, but fortunately it was okay, with 5-6 inches to spare.  That was not something we thought about when buying this rv lot. 

Yesterday, we spent the morning organizing and just puttering around the lot.  We took a walk and met a few neighbors.

We’ve noticed how different this park is than others we have stayed at.  There aren’t a lot of people walking their dogs like you normally see in an Rv park.  In fact, it seems that not a lot of people are even here right now.  There are quite a few sites where the Rv is permanently set up.  A lot of people live nearby in the Atlanta area and use this as a week-end getaway.  The people we’ve met seem very nice.

Yesterday, was a productive day.  We had already decided we wanted a hot tub.  The last time we were here, we found a store and tentatively picked out a tub.

We went by the hot tub store late yesterday afternoon, made the deal, and last night at 7pm our new hot tub was delivered!  Pretty good service huh?  It’s small and plugs in directly to a 110 volt outlet, so it was easy to set up.



It fits nicely between the cabin and the deck, and the cabin gives us nice privacy, in case we ever want to swim nekked!  We don’t, but just in case!

We haven’t been in the hot tub it yet.  It had to warm up overnight.  This morning, it was nice and warm but Al wanted to wait and get into it until they came and did a quick repair this morning.  The ground on the power cord got broken and they are going to replace the cord this morning.  It would probably be okay, but Al wanted to wait….just in case.  The repairman is on the way here, and then we’re going to try out our new hot tub.   Tonight, we will have happy hour in the hot tub.

After hot tub, we’re going to an arts and crafts fair in the nearby town of Young Harris.  There are a lot of these coming up in the next few months.  Fall is a very popular time in the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina.

We seem to have a problem with one of our neighbors.  They are hogging all the birds!   We have our feeders out and so far only have gotten a couple hummers and a dove or two.  The neighbors have a lot of feeders and bird houses on their lot and the birds seem very happy there.  We’re planning our strategy on how to steal their birds.   If we can’t lure some birds here, then I guess we’ll have to bring our chairs down to their site.  I hope they will prove refreshments!

Friday, August 23, 2013

We’re Back in the North Georgia Mountains


Rivers Edge Campground, Blairsville, Georgia  (high 82, low 65)


We left Georgia Rv Park (AKA Country Boys Rv Park) about 10ish.  We got a later start than we planned, because we had to go buy a new carafe for the coffee pot. It had an accident yesterday. :)

While we were out we scoped out an alternative way to leaving the campground that didn’t involve crossing a busy highway. 

The campground was certainly not a place we’d want to stay more than a night, but it was adequate for the night. The main reason we HOPE not to go back there again is the fact that there were a few cats running around.  We don’t mind that as long as they are not strays with kittens looking for a new home.  We certainly don’t need any additions to the family, so we avoid places like that.

We headed north on US 129/441.  It was a good road leaving Commerce with 2 lanes each way.  It narrowed down to one lane,after a while, but wasn’t bad.  This route was our alternate route trying to avoid Atlanta traffic and the 7 or 8 lanes of traffic.

We did fine until we got into Clayton Georgia.  We were in the mountains by this time and we had to head west on highway 76.  It did not show up on our Truckers Atlas as a truckers road.  That worried me, but we had heard from a few people that it was okay for a large motor home.   It was fine.  It was one lane each way with an occasional additional lane for passing.  There were some curvy parts, but no real hairpin turns.  However, there were quite a few steep downhill grades with warnings.  It was a bit nerve-wracking trying to keep from using the brakes too much and overheating them and keeping our speed and rpm’s down.  We crossed a few bridges over some gorgeous lakes, but I was too busy “helping” Al to take any pictures.

We thought we were in big trouble when we got to Blairsville at the traffic circle in the middle of town.  They were doing construction and had half of it blocked off.  There was a semi coming the other way who got stuck and had to back up a few times before he was able to make the curve.   UH OH….no backing a motor home with a toad hooked up behind. 

Fortunately, we got through the traffic circle just fine and were not detoured as we had feared.  My heart was pounding by this time though.  Poor Al.  His nag-i-vator wife was in rare form yesterday.  I couldn’t help myself.  :)

We are not used to mountains, hills or curvy roads, because Florida is flat and straight.  These mountain roads are nerve wracking for us. The route that takes us through Atlanta is a much better route (except for Atlanta).

Anyway…..after the traffic circle we were only about 8 miles from “home” and we arrived safely.

Our rv park is easy to maneuver in and the site was easy to get into. 

We have an 85 foot long concrete pad that’s 35 feet wide, but the place the motor home goes is in a fairly narrow area beside the deck.   Not too difficult getting into, but you have to be aware of the deck, and be spaced properly so you can get the storage bays open on both sides.   We didn’t think of that issue when we bought the lot, so it’s a good thing it worked out okay.   The previous owners have bays that open up.  Ours open out, so it was a concern.

Our site was just as nice as we remembered it.  The previous owners left us a lot of good stuff,  and we soon got settled in.

Al worked outside getting the bird feeders and baths set up. He figures out how to hook up the washing machine in the cabin, and the lights around the deck area.  We took out the patio set and shade awning from the cabin and everything looks nice.


This beautiful plant was waiting for me.  I used to know what this was, but I’m not sure now.  Oakleaf hydrangea??  The picture really didn’t do it justice.


I am sure liking having a full size washer and dryer, which is in the cabin.  I like my little Splendide washer/dryer combo just fine, but it’s real nice to be able to do a larger load without having to bother going to a Laundromat.

I guess I am excited about being here, because I was wide awake at 3:30 this morning.  I tried to go back to sleep, but soon gave up.  I tried to be quiet to let Al sleep but he heard me going outside and got up a little after 5.  Sorry! 

We were sure glad we weren’t in Florida yesterday, because they got torrential rains and Wesley Chapel (where we stay) had a lot of flooding.  There was even a picture on Facebook showing a shed floating down a main highway.  How that happened, I do not know.

It rained here for a short time, but nothing severe.  Just like I like it.

When we went to bed last night, I turned off the air conditioners (for the first time since June), turned on the Fantastic fan to draw the air out, and left the bedroom window open to bring the cool air in.  It was heaven, but we ended up needing another blanket before the night was over.   Just how we like it! 

We have been warned there is some bear activity around, so we are trying to remember to bring in the bird feeders at night.  Of course, I slept with the curtain open so that I could look for bears during the night.  Didn’t see any, but am still hoping!