Monday, September 30, 2013

Day Trip to Atlanta


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 75, low 56)

On Saturday, we decided to take a day trip down to Atlanta.  We wanted to go to Camping World, so we decided to bite the bullet and make the long drive.  We don’t mind driving around here because the scenery is so beautiful and the traffic is so light (until we got to Atlanta).

mountain scenery 

Our purpose on going to Camping World was to pick up two gravity recliners.  We had looked at them before, but found most of them uncomfortable and too bulky to store in our already full bins on the motor home.  Since we have a cabin here, for some extra storage, we decided to go ahead and see if we could find one that was comfortable.

We got to the Camping World in Woodstock, which is on the northern side of Atlanta.

I had planned on buying the fabric covered chairs but after looking around and seeing one with the mesh fabric, we decided it would be cooler, wouldn’t get dirty, and we wouldn’t have to worry about rain or dew. 

Here is what we found.   I don’t know why the CW photo insisted on putting the line across the photo. Maybe they didn’t want me to copy it?

Large Mesh Canopy Recliner   Four Corners Sourcing ZD B831L10 H   Recliners   Camping World

They have the canopy over the top which as it turns out is a pretty nice feature to block the sun.  It flips back when not needed.

They match the side of the coach pretty well, and we found them to be pretty comfy.  I will pull those white labels off once we’re sure they are keepers.


I managed to squeeze in a little reading time yesterday, but never quite got to see how they worked for napping.  :)

Once we left Camping World, we decided to go ahead and take a drive through downtown Atlanta and see how the traffic and road signs were.  We had been nervous about driving the motor home through Atlanta, and  avoided it on the way up here.  We’ve  decided to go back to Tampa via the Atlanta route.  It keeps us on nice straight 4 lane highways until we get to the interstate, and then it’s interstate all the way back to Tampa. We will avoid mountain roads and have a nice easy descent out of the mountains.

The traffic was pretty light when we first approached downtown Atlanta.

Atlanta traffic

The lanes quickly multiply until you are in 7 lanes of traffic each way.  You have to be careful to stay out of the two furthest right lanes, that are always merge and exit lanes, but there are plenty of other lanes to travel in without impeding the flow of traffic.  The drivers seemed better than Tampa drivers, but maybe it was because there were so many of lanes to choose from, and the lanes didn’t end without warning.

The Atlanta skyline was pretty. The roads were good and the exits well marked.


The gold dome of the state capitol building was pretty in the sunlight.


There is a lot to see in Atlanta, including the famous Atlanta Aquarium, which is home to a whale shark.  I’m not a fan of aquariums capturing these amazing creatures to put in a fish bowl, but I have never seen one in the wild and would really love to.

These 40 foot fish are plankton eaters,so are no threat to man.   Can you imagine an aquarium large enough to hold one?

Whale Sharks   Whale Shark Pictures   Whale Shark Facts   National Geographic

We hung around Atlanta most of the afternoon, and as the day wore on, the traffic increased.  It was particularly bad south of the downtown area in the town of McDonough, where we went to a Home Depot. 

We bought a pretty new plant and scarecrow for our fall decorations.  They are big into decorating their yards and storefronts around here.  Fall tourism is very big here, so I’m sure that’s part of it.

How do you like our cute little scarecrow?  This plant is a Rudbeckia, or black eyed susan.


We think that we will probably go back and explore Atlanta on the way back up here next time.  It looks like an interesting city with a lot to do.

After a full day, we headed home, hit the hot tub, watched a little TV and went to bed. 

The other day, at the Farmers Market, we found this cute little bluebird house day, for only $10. 


I know the bluebird is not colored correctly, but I don’t think the reddish colored breast would have shown up as well.  Notice the shingled roof?  It even opens up for cleaning.

We’re going to hang around the house today and do some much needed cleaning.  We have company from Tampa coming tomorrow.  On the 20th a friend I worked with at USAA is coming up. We were told the prime leaf peeping time is sometime after the 20th, which is what we remembered as well.

On the 8th of October, Chuck and Anneke, of Goldenshoe Rv Trip, are coming.  I guess my photos inspired them to visit this area.  We can’t wait to meet them.


If any of you say my post on Facebook last night about the missing granddaughter of my cousin, please know that she has been found safe and sound.  She had been missing 24 hours from the Carlsbad, New Mexico area and her family was worried sick.  I don’t know the details, other than the fact that she is safe.  Thanks to any of you who shared my post.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hiking Bear Hair Gap Trail


Blairsville, Georgia (high 76, low 52)

It started out cloudy yesterday, but soon the blue skies returned.  We were looking for a hike nearby, so we chose to go back to Vogel State Park, which is just a couple miles from us. There is no end to places to hike around here, but some require a further drive than others.

We had already hiked the lake and waterfront trail the last time and decided to check out another one of their trails. They have a nice trail system and you can connect with the Appalachian Trail from there as well.

We decided to  hike Bear Hair Gap Trail.  The description of the others said the minimum width of the trail could be 6 inches in some spots.  Since Al is allergic to poison ivy, he prefer wider trails.

Vogel is a very pretty park and the leaves are starting to show signs of fall color.  It should be gorgeous in a few weeks.


I can never pass up a photograph of a blue spruce.   We sure never saw any of these in Florida.



Does anyone have any idea what this tree is called?

The little pods were covered in a very prickly coating and the nut inside looked like a very big acorn.


As usual, when hiking in this area, we followed a mountain stream for part of the trail and there were a few small waterfalls.


I really like hiking in Georgia, because the trails are usually very well marked, and this one was no exception.  Nice green blazes on the trees, and signs where needed.



Since, I am never sure how well a trail is marked, I always try to remember to start my phone app called  My tracks.   It will tell you how far hiked, the elevation change, your speed and most importantly, it shows you a map of your tracks.  It can be very helpful should you get lost.  It always seems to work, despite how deep in the woods you are, and it’s free.

There were some huge boulders along the trail, which is pretty typical of this area, but these were especially large, don’t you think?



There were some smaller ones too.


We were in a heavily wooded forest so there was plenty of moss covered rocks, which I thought were pretty.



I thought this next picture shows how well nature adapts.

Where there’s a will, there is a way!


We walked quite a while, but our hunger pains were calling, so we turned around.  We decided to take a different route back, and ended up walking through the campground.  It was mostly empty, so we got a chance to see some of the campsites.

Site 21 was a particularly nice site, don’t you think?   Flat, level and long.

site 21 at vogel. level, flat and large.  


We stopped by Home Depot on the way home.  These maple trees have been turning red for the past month, and are getting prettier every day.

colorful trees at Home Depot

I don’t know what kind of maples these are, but the ones we have on our lot aren’t changing colors at all yet.

After I got home, I made us a some enchiladas for lunch.  They were not as good as those at the Mexican restaurant.  I guess I need more practice.  I use the vegan version of ground beef and I defy anyone to tell the difference between it and hamburger.

We puttered around the rest of the day at home.  Al is making some bear cut-outs to hang on the side of the cabin.  I trimmed the neighbors Bradford pear tree, and did some laundry.  I sure am getting spoiled having access to a full size washer and dryer.

The people we’re buying the new lot from have arrived, so today we’ll get a contract signed and then take it to our real estate attorney so that they can get the closing scheduled.  They have two lots here in the park and are keeping the one with the 5th wheel on it.

My plans for today are to hang out at home, do some chores, and sit out on the deck and read.  Al is going to play poker with the rest of the geezers.  :)    The ladies also play cards, but I can’t see sitting inside playing cards on such a beautiful day, so I’m staying home.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Florida Keys State Park Reservations


Blairsville, Georgia, (high 78, low 59)


We made campground reservations at Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon Key, for 7 nights, starting November 19th. It is at site number 5, which is not waterfront, but is a large private site and easily accessible.  The sites are very reasonably priced (for the Keys) at $36 plus tax a night.  If you are 65 years old and a Florida resident, it is half price. We have decided not to go to the Keys until later in the year, so we will be canceling them.  I wanted to let everyone know, they will be coming available, in case anybody wants to go to the Keys.   It’s beautiful there in November, and this is the newest state park in the Keys, and is very nice.  If you’re interested in this reservation, email me.


We  didn’t have a very exciting day yesterday.  We started off with taking Baxter on a buggy ride.  He likes to ride in the morning when the sun is shining and it’s warm.    We came home, showered and then took off to get lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  We have a mostly vegan lunch  consisting of bean enchiladas, rice and refried beans.  Yeah, we eat a lot of beans, and yes, we’re used to them.  :)  It’s always delicious and they have a good price for their lunch specials.

We then went to the town of Young Harris.  Al heard about a shop he wanted to go to.  Unfortunately, we forgot that a lot of these places are closed on Sunday and Monday, and this was one of them.   We ended up finding a few other places of interest.  I bought a pumpkin for a decoration and I’m getting a little scarecrow to go with it.  We found a few things to hang on the outside of the new cabin. 

By the time we got home, we had a short nap, then watched the next to last episode of Breaking Bad.    I sure hate that the series will be ending.

Of course, then it was time for happy hour and the Baxter buggy ride.  He really enjoys his ride, but after a while he started meowing.  I think he was getting chilly.  He has a thick fur coat, but he’s still a gweenie (big wienie) and he gets cold.   It cools off quickly in the evenings.  We dropped him off at home,  and continued our ride.  We saw 4 deer on that trip.  They saw us, snorted and took off running.   No bear sightings for quite a while, but we’re still looking.

By the time we got back home again, we were both freezing.  I had on long pants, and two jackets, but was till chilly.   I think it’s about time to put the cover on the golf cart to keep the wind off.

We decided to have a soak in the hot tub.  It’s always a little difficult to think of getting in when it’s so chilly out, but once we’re in, it’s just fine.

Let me know if you’re interested in our Keys reservation. 


Gotta go, Bax is patiently waiting.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Baxter on his first Buggy Ride


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 78, low 54)

Yesterday was one of those picture perfect days with the most beautiful blue sky I’ve seen in a long time.  I guess the rain on Saturday cleared the air, because it was absolutely gorgeous yesterday.

So what did Al do on this beautiful day?  He played poker….INSIDE!   Not only did he miss the beautiful day, but he lost $3.00.

I sat outside on the deck, camera in hand and watched the hummingbirds frolic.  It seems that the rain brought more to our feeders and I’m sure we had at least 10-12 yesterday.

I got my first ever shot of hummingbird tongue and feet and maybe even a little butt!


The black thing the hummer was sitting on was one of those small plastic zip ties.  Only a hummer could sit on one of those and not have it bend!

He sat there for the longest time and preened. 


At one point I saw a gnat flying around and actually saw the hummer grab it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t catch it with the camera.  I keep wanting to say “on film.”


See his little feet?

hummingbird feet


Can you see his little tongue on the next picture?  It’s actually quite long, but this photo only shows a part of it.

hummingbird tongue

I think this little drop on his beak is a droplet of the sugar water.


I sat outside all afternoon, with Baxter and Chatty beside me, in their cage.  They enjoyed it and I tried to read, but the hummingbird antics kept interrupting me.  They were so noisy kept buzzing right in front of me.  I should have taken a picture of that beautiful blue sky.

Around 4pm, I realized we had some DVD’s to return and since Al was playing poker, I decided to attempt to find the video store all by myself.   I am extremely “directionally challenged” and had NO CLUE where the video store was, even though I had been there with Al several times.   I have a terrible sense of direction, and unless I actually do the driving, I pay no attention.  Over the years, with the invention of GPS, I have managed to get around.  Of course, getting back home is a whole other problem.   :)    Jeanne, I know you can relate!

I didn’t even remember the name of the video store and of course it wasn’t on the dvd label.  I searched my phone for video stores and found two, one of which I thought was the right one.  Long story short, I went to about 5 places before I stumbled on the correct video store.   I was pretty proud of myself for finding it though, even if it was by accident.  

When I got home from town, Al was home, so we decided to take Baxter for his first ever buggy ride.

I wasn’t sure how he would react, so we went real slow until he got used to it.

His cage fits perfectly on the back of the golf cart, with even a little room to spare for some trash.

Baxter on golf cart

He’s such a calm natured cat and not really afraid of things, so I felt sure he would enjoy the ride.

He did.

At first, we stayed on the campground road, but once we felt he was comfortable, we ventured out on the back roads, where there were a lot of interesting sights and smells. 

The river is pretty loud and he was a bit nervous when he first heard it.

Baxter on golf cart

Baxter on golf cart

His nose was sure working overtime.  Lots of new smells.

Soon, he met a couple of friends.

Bo and Pepper and their chauffeur

Meet Pepper (grey kitty) and Bo, on the right.  Their chauffeurs take them for a ride every night.   They only have on a collar and a leash and apparently do not attempt to jump down. 

Okay…I have to confess.  I’m not sure of Bo and Peppers chauffeurs names.   We think he is Duane, but we’re not sure of hers.  Too many people….too many names to remember.  :)   I know their last name is Lipp because their license plate on their car is “tulip”   You know  2 Lips.  Cute, huh?

We drove around for over an hour and Baxter did fine.  He met a lot of new friends along the way.  There seem to be more cats here than dogs, which is very unusual at a campground.


Al and I have decided to purchase another lot here at Rivers Edge, for investment purposes.   We got a good deal on a site near ours, so we will be renting it out, cheaply, to our friends, so if you’re going to be in this area, let us know and we’ll leave the light on for you!  I’ll post some pictures of the site later, but it’s similar to this one.


the end


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Plan B


Blairsville, Georgia (high 76, low 52)


Our plan to drive up to Tennessee, to watch the river after a water release at the Ocoee III Dam, kind of fizzled out.

We got up at 5am, and on the road around 7:00.  It was raining lightly and the radar showed a front moving towards us (and our destination) that was likely to bring rain all day long.   I thought it was going to be light rain, but it turned out pretty heavy at times.

Along the highway into town, we almost hit two squirrels and came across a deer, that someone already had hit.  After having a quick breakfast and watching the rain get heavier, we decided to cut our losses and go back home.    We figured there was no sense in being out on those wet mountain roads.  It turns out it was a pretty good call, because we got some pretty heavy rain and it didn’t quit until late afternoon.

On the way back home, we took a drive through Meeks Park.  It’s a very nice park in Blairsville.   They have a pool, and tennis courts, but also a very nice walking trail along the river into the woods.   We’ll go back when it’s not pouring down rain.

After we got home, we decided to take a nap and catch up on some missing sleep.

We ended up running back into town for lunch, and to pick up a movie called, The Wild River.  It was set in the time where the Tennessee Valley Authority was buying property to build the dams to tame and divert the Tennessee River.  It was recommended to us by Pam from Travels with the Big EZ.  It was a good movie.  Thanks for the recommendation Pam.   We’re curious about that period of time and wand to learn more, so I think we’ll probably see what we can find at the library, since we are the proud owners of a brand new library card, and all.   :)

The homeowners association had a planned dessert and bingo get together last night at 6:30.  The people are very nice and try to make sure we are included in everything so that we don’t feel left out.  

Al played poker with a bunch of the men Friday afternoon, so he’s getting to know some of them. 

Al was lucky at bingo last night, and was the first winner of the night.  He won a $20 gift certificate at a local restaurant.  Later in the evening, he won some “chrome “  wheel covers for the golf cart. 

Pretty spiffy, huh?

golf cart new rims

Another bingo prize was for golf cart storage for the winter.   A local place will pick it up, store it and keep it charged all winter.  Now, that’s a prize we would have really liked to have won, but at least now we know such a service is available.

We haven’t planned our day yet.  There is so much to do around here that it will take years to get to everything. 

I think Mr. Baxter might get his first golf cart ride this morning after breakfast.   One of our neighbors takes their two cats on a golf cart ride every night.  The cats are on leashes and never try to jump off the cart, but it makes me nervous.   You can bet Baxter will be harnessed, caged and the cage strapped!    :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Oh NO, Where’s My Camera?


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 74, low 56)  thunderstorms


We are up early to head back to Tennessee and the Ocoee River for the last planned water release of the year at the Ocoee III damn.  We have seen the Whitewater center with virtually no water and we want to see it with flowing water.

So….despite the predicted thunderstorms and rain predicted for much of the day, we are still planning our trip.  It’s only about 35 miles if we don’t take the scenic route over to North Carolina first.

We had a chance of rain showers overnight last night. 

I went to get BC (Big Canon) to download the photos I took yesterday and couldn’t find it.   UH OH.

Then I remembered that I left it in the golf cart.  Did I mention it was supposed to rain last night?

Al went out and got it.  The golf cart has a roof on it, and I keep it in the little half enclosed compartment, but it could still have gotten plenty wet if we had have had any rain. 

Thankfully, no rain and it was good and dry.  As Judy would say  Uf-Dah!

Yesterday we went over to Vogel State Park, which is about 2 miles from us.  It’s a lovely park with a pretty lake and we just found out, a waterfall!


We took the hike around the lake and found the trail to the waterfall.


This was a short and easy trail, but there are others in the park that lead to the Appalachian Trail.  We both decided this would be a nice place for David and Sherry!  We even toured the campground to see if Winona would fit.

The  lake trail veered off a little for a short walk down to the waterfall. 





The trail around the lake was lovely with a touch of fall color starting to show.






There are some nice rental cabins on the lake, with lovely views.


The small lake was nice for a short paddle or some fishing.


In the picture below, these trees were up above the trail. There was some erosion, and it looked like this one tree was reaching out to hold the other tree up. You can see in the top of the photo where the tree on the left was actually leaning against the other tree.


The campground was pretty nice, despite this being one of the older parks in the state.

It was definitely do-able for a larger rig, although you’d have to be careful on the campground roads.




It will soon be daylight, so I guess I had better get ready for our trip back to Tennessee.  We’re hoping they haven’t canceled the water release due to the predicted rain.  I could find nothing on the internet to show any changes, so hopefully we’ll see some water over those big old boulders!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spreading the Wealth


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 75, low 56)

I guess we had a cool front move in, because our daytime temperature has only been in the 70’s the past few days.  It’s about 20 degrees cooler than it was back in Tampa!

We are loving the weather, but when it got down to 47 the other night, it was a bit too cool for me.

Al has been laughing at me because when we go on an evening golf cart ride, I’ve been wearing two light jackets and covering my legs with a blanket!   The other morning I wore a headband to keep my ears warm.    We ordered a cover for the golf cart for storage, like the following.



We also ordered one with clear vinyl windows so that you can have some protection from the cold.  They should arrive today.  Just in time!  That will keep some of the wind off when we ride.




We spent the past few days puttering around the house.  We finished the cabin staining project.  At least we finished what we could.  As it turns out, we have some bad wood on the back side of the cabin and we need to replace it.  It is something we should have noticed before we bought the place, but in our excitement, we only saw the good things!   Anyway, we found a local carpenter that has built a lot of decks and cabins around the park, and he gave us an estimate to replace the wood.  It wasn’t nearly as expensive as I thought it would be, so I was pleased.  The only problem is that he is booked up and can’t get to us for a few weeks.  I sure hope we will still be here.   Once he gets that finished, we will stain the new wood, and our two big projects will be completed.

We’re slowly but surely becoming a members of this community.  We have grocery store discount cards for two groceries stores, we have a library card and yesterday, we signed up with the local video store.

Pam, from Traveling in the Big EZ, told us about an old movie we might enjoy.  It’s about when they started the Tennessee Valley Authority and built all the damns in this area to divert the rivers.   It starred Lee Rimick, who was always a favorite actress of mine.   I didn’t find it on Tivo, so we thought the local video store might have it.  They didn’t, but could order it for us to rent or buy.  The lady that owns the video store, said they have been there 30 years and were the first video store in Blairsville.  As it turns out, they are the last video store in town as well.   Anyway, we were happy to help a local business out a little, and we’re looking forward to watching a movie about the history of this area.

Actually, we’ve helped a lot of local businesses out since we’ve been here.  We helped the hot tub dealer, the golf cart dealer and the nursery!     Not to mention the Mexican restaurant.


The campground has been pretty active the past week or so with people looking for campsites to purchase.   I got an email a few weeks ago from a couple that either found my blog or found me from Rv-net forum.  They are staying here while in the area looking for an Rv lot to buy.  It looks like they have chosen Rivers’ Edge and will probably be purchasing a lot across the street.  The people with the two big poodles, might purchase the lot next door to them.   It’s a good time to sell RV lots, I guess.


If you haven’t been reading Ricks Blog lately, you might want to go over and check things out.    Evidently there is a lot going on with Picasa and Google+ and I think Rick finally explained the whole web albums thing so that even I can understand.   I have used Picasa for years to organize and edit my photos, but never had a clear understanding of web albums.   Thanks Rick, I think I am finally getting it.     There are some exciting new photo editing tools available, that I look forward to using. 



We try to take a golf cart bear hunting ride each night.  So far, we’ve only seen the bear twice.  We think he may have changed his schedule.  We will keep trying.


Al on golf cart

It’s always pretty scenic, whether or not we see any wild life.




Not too far away, is an old church on the top of a hill.

A tree has fallen across the path up to the church.




We had heard about all the pretty stained glass windows in the church, so we finally got up there to see it.



When we were in Cades Cove (Great Smokey Mountain Natl Park) a few years ago, we enjoyed walking through all the old churches.

Unfortunately, this church was locked so we could only peek through the stained glass windows, but they were very pretty.


Last night after our golf cart ride, we were both feeling kind of achy and I was freezing.  We had planned on a hot tub soak, but I wasn’t so sure I could put on a swim suit and go outside, as cold as I was.  I am sure glad I did though, because the water was so nice and it relieved all of our tired achy muscles.   We soaked for quite a long time and got our body temperature up enough so that it was no problem getting out soaking wet in the cool evening air. Our plan was to watch a movie, but we found the soak had relaxed us so much that we were having trouble staying awake.  

It felt so nice, I think we’ll be doing it again this morning!