Judy and I were up at 7 and left by 8:15 in order to meet Neena and Ron at the Cracker Barrel in
Friday began our traditional fall road-trips, which usually begin when the weather cools significantly in October. The temperature Thursday night was down in the 40’s, and the high expected for Friday (10/3) was around 74, and, with the sky a deep blue, it was perfect!
After pancakes, biscuits, sourdough toast, eggs and such, we were off on our 75 mile one way tour of the Cherokee and Nantahala
Ron had actually just returned home from spending a few days camping, hiking, and kayaking inside the Indian Boundary Campground, which is located in the
From there we made our way east on 165 to Indian Boundary Campground, and toured the camping area, looking at the spaces and noting the variety of camper types, pop-ups, normal trailers, 5th wheels, and self-contained RVs.
We are becoming interested because of
We then made another pit-stop and started around
We left Indian Boundary and headed toward the 5500’ elevation at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line, known as Huckleberry Knob. We also plan to go back there during the peak foliage weeks, and hike out to one of the nearby balds. There are several “balds” in this area (not counting Ron), all due to the high elevation, wind, and cold at this level.
On each side of highway near the top of the “knob” are tall poles with a long board protruding at a right angle out over the road. You see at least two places where the forestry service has placed these poles. Do you know what they are for?
Think about it before reading on!
I didn’t know either because I was too busy shooting flowers to read the information posted at the overlook. However, the girls did read it and finally knew something we didn’t!
There is a large population of Glaucomys volans living in this area. That’s “flying squirrels to most of us, and these poles allow them to glide across the highway safely, avoiding being flattened in to tiny furry rugs! I know! I learned something too!
I’m including a scan of a “dragon” I found on a map of “The Dragon” (be sure to click this link), an 11 mile stretch of Highway 129, along the border of the
There are several wrecks and deaths each year, on curves with nicknames like, “Pearly Gates”, “The Whip”, “The Wall”, and “Gravity Cavity!”
Of course, the day was filled with laughter from the back seat, which spilled over into the front! Hard as Ron and I may have tried, we couldn’t help but either laugh along with, or at, the two crazy Dragons in the back!
One story from Neena, which usually entails her view of how her older sisters abused her as a child, concerned how the power used to frequently go off in their neighborhood. Neena was probably 8 or 9, while her sisters Judy and Linda were about 5 or 8 years older.
Anyway, this particular night, the girl’s mother had fixed a big pot of pinto beans and other things, but the girls all love to eat their beans with something sweet. This night Neena had a big pile of beans and a coconut covered “snowball!” “Our first introduction to appetizers,” Neena said!
You do remember “snowballs” don’t you?
They were chocolate cake with a cream filling, covered with a marshmallow like icing, usually pink in color, and sprinkled in coconut!
It turns out that both of Neena’s sisters were fondling the top of the snowball in her plate, and when the power came back on all the coconut had been rubbed off!
Of course you had to be there for it to be funny to you, but for some reason it hit me hard in the funny bone! I suppose I was waiting for her to say that the snowball was gone when the lights came back on, but even without the expected punch line I cracked up. The laughter spread to everyone and by the time the last one caught the laughter bug, we were all about to pee our pants!
No, this wasn’t the only moment of levity, but it was the most intense!
So, as we headed back toward home on north bound two lanes of Highway 68, toward I-75, all eyes focused in on two cars ahead of us. One had crossed the two north bound lanes was sitting in the median, while a second was sitting to our right at an intersection.
Just as we were about to pass between the two cars at about 50 to 55 mph, the woman in the Ford Ranger to our right decided to pull across. Ron had already lifted his foot from the accelerator and as she suddenly pulled into our lane, Ron made a slight right direction change in order to pass behind her if she continued across. The woman, who was close enough for us to see clearly was holding a cellphone to her left ear, realized her mistake and slammed on her brakes, stopping directly in our lane, and our path!
Ron corrected his earlier move and slammed on his brakes, sending them into anti-lock mode, and turned to the left to pass her in the left lane. As soon as the car was straight, and it was evident the woman was stopped, Ron released the brakes and we rolled on past.
I had a good close-up of her, still talking on the phone, as we passed.
With adrenalin coursing through my veins, I shouted, “Put down that damn phone you idiot!” Of course she couldn’t hear me, but I had to vent!
The last thing I do the night before one of our trips, and the first thing I do the morning of a trip, is ask the Good Lord to watch over us and bring us back safely. I’m thankful of two things: the answered prayer and that Ron had gotten the brakes fixed last week!
The beers Ron and I had at Aubrey’s back in
Neena and Judy split an order of Pizza Rockefeller and Chicken Quesadillas, Ron got the Grilled Tuna sandwich, and I decided on the Peanut Crusted Catfish! It calmed us and made us very full and happy once again!
Next week we’re off to a fall festival!