Monday, April 27, 2009


Judy went and worked out at Curves this past Monday morning and then brought us breakfast back from Hardees. I had the coffee made when she arrived and “MAN” was it tasty!

We then hopped in the truck, cooler in the back, and headed for the grocery store. She knew I would not feel like shopping after our hike, so we put the perishables (milk, etc.) in the cooler and headed for Black Mountain.

The area we hike on Black Mountain is at the Trailhead for the Cumberland Trail, near the Grassy Cove Overlook. The woods there are full of sprouting, budding, and blooming Pink Lady’s Slippers. We’ve never seen so many of them in one location in our lives!

If you know the area, head up there next week…it should be a carpet of pink everywhere you look.

We walked the full 1.7 miles of the Loop Trail and saw many new flowers and some old familiar ones. It’s always a treasure hunt for us when we go. It is just so relaxing walking done the paths scanning the sides of the trail for something we’ve never seen before. Since wildflowers bloom at many different times of the year, you can always be assured the odds are you are going to see something different and more beautiful than the last trip, or even the last time you were on the same trail.

Back at the truck, we both chugged on some ice water we had brought and cooled down. It was in the 80’s today, so the trail was hot, but at that elevation it was somewhere between 5 and 10 degrees cooler than back home in the valley.

We made it to Midtown, a community central to Roane County, Tennessee, and pulled into the “Good Ol’ Days Diner”! We had just eaten there on Saturday, and the burgers, fries, and onion rings were terrific! It was all so good we didn’t have room for one of their old fashion desserts. The ice cream is hand dipped…no custard there!

We decided to half a “club sandwich” and some corn nuggets (remember those from the 60’s and 70’s)? They went perfectly with the tomato on the sandwich! Later, we decided to split a “Brownie”! Naturally, men usually wind up with the larger portion, as I did Monday, and it tasted so good after being on the hike.

If you ever find yourself in Midtown, Tennessee, stop in and say “howdy” to Shannon Crawley. She’ll really make you feel at home and treat you real fine! Tell her Mushy sent ya!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Let me take a moment to post (brag) about my granddaughter’s first prom!

Kaitlyn (Katie Bug) and Zack have been excited for weeks about attending their junior year prom.

The day finally arrived for them and members of both families met at Katie’s for photos. Cameras were snapping away like the beginning of “A Hard Day’s Night” (you have to be old to get that one)!

There was just enough time to capture this three generations photo of my wife Judy, Katie, and her mother Tracy. How proud of each other they look!

Traditionally, all the prom goers and their families meet at the Gravel Pit”, a parking lot across from the high school, to take pictures before seeing the kids off to the dance. The dock, overlooking the beginning of the Tennessee River, was full of posing students and parents and friends frantically taking photos.

Four families, Katie’s included, joined in the cost of renting a limousine for the evening. Partly due to normal concerns about the number of young people killed each year going or coming from their proms. However, this year there was the added incentive of the community suffering the loss of one of their own earlier in the week.

Parents of the Roane County High School students attending the prom were concerned that Tuesday’s accident, that took the life of James E. Sams III, would dampen the spirit of the event. However, the students showed their respects earlier in the week at the funeral home, at a special candle light observance, and did special private things to honor the well loved student and football star’s memory. At the pre-prom photo shoot Saturday, one of Sam’s classmates showed how he felt by cutting a tribute into his hair for the dance (#8 was his football jersey number).

Roane County High School senior and multi-sport athlete Sams, 18, was headed east on US Hwy 70. At approximately 5:37 PM, he crossed over the center line and slammed into a pickup truck hauling lawnmowers near HWY 70's intersection with Country Road, near Kingston, Tennessee.

The truck then left the roadway and turned over on its side. All three people inside were wearing seat belts, only the driver suffered injuries.

Sams was not wearing a seatbelt and passed away shortly after the crash.

Katie reported that the prom was wonderful, as she had expected it, and that she and Zack danced the night away. Everyone, thankfully, got home safe.

Oh yeah...Judy captures me in action!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Corey and I challenged each other to a dunking contest Saturday and surprised ourselves at how high we could jump. We jumped around like young fools who had just ate jumping bean chili! What incredible “ups” we made, and the intensity of our efforts were very evident on our faces…wow!

Corey has his 3 year-old daughter, Lily, trained right. He had her out mowing the yard while we dribbled around his home court. Heck, he even had her pushing him around on “her” toys!

After she finished the yard, she came over to my place and washed both my vehicles. She’s going to make someone a fine little wife one of these days!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Check out my documented sightings HERE!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Katie Bug and her beau Zack were to be out of school today, so Judy and I told them we would take them hiking at Burgess Falls. However, Wednesday started off under heavy clouds, no rain, just low clouds, and cool temps. Therefore, we decided to save the long trip for a better day, and just go somewhere within 20 miles of home.

Before climbing up Black Mountain, we passed this beautiful field of wild mustard in the valley below.

We ended up at the Justin P. Wilson Trail Head near Crab Orchard, Tennessee, just upon the plateau off I-40. When we arrived at the parking area, you could actually see the clouds drifting across the parking lot and trail. The temperature was about 10 degrees colder than the valley, and never got above 43! It was cold and damp hiking thorough the drifting clouds, but it was actually comfortable for a “big man” like me!

We saw hundreds of Bloodroot plants pushing up through the brown leaves, with an occasional bloom here and there. There was little else blowing besides a yellow violet I found.

About half way around the loop trail, Judy, Katie, and where Katie goes Zack goes, decided to cut through the woods to the parking lot and wait for me in the warm truck.

I finished the hike, walking much faster than I would normally with a group, and made it around the loop to where I had spotted the Pink Lady Slippers last season. There they were, but they were only tightly wrapped green shoots, about the size of your little finger, just poking up through the leaves. I’ll have to go back in a couple of weeks to get the bloom shots.

We went back down the mountain to Ruby Tuesday’s in Harriman and had a nice late lunch. It was a very nice day to be with the kids.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Judy (a.k.a. Granny) always cooks on Easter and Christmas Day, and this Easter was no exception.

After gorging ourselves Saturday at the warm-up posted below, Judy and I shared the preparation of pork tenderloin in the crock-pot, with potatoes and carrots. We added a little coleslaw, some rolls, and left-over coconut cake for another killer meal!

After we sat and talked a few minutes, we all went outside and started playing HORSE…well, it was actually turned into ELEPHANT, since that’s what we all felt like.

All-in-all, it was a nice Easter weekend. Hope yours was just as enjoyable.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


We had so much fun today…so much food today…that we simply forgot to take any photos.

These three were all I took all day!

Note how spring has come to Charlotte and Gary’s place; notice too the puppies (click to enlarge) in the kennel watching every move I made. Gary’s kennel is full…actually overflowing!

He is so well known for his expertise in training labs that his spring and summers are booked. However, he does get in a little duck and turkey hunting himself, but he and Charlotte are up at the break of dawn each day running the boys and girls through their paces.

It turned out to be a cool, but a very beautiful spring day. Heavy storms passed through our area last evening, but we were spared the tornadoes Middle Tennessee suffered.

Oh, yeah, there was some cigar and Fat Tire indulging too!


Saturday, April 04, 2009


Do you remember back when I posted about Steve gettin’ on his Mustang (click here), well, we were left to our own devices (doing what we please) again today, and the ol’ hundred mark rolled around again!

Ron is in California, visiting his brother, and the girls were out and about by themselves shopping on a beautiful spring day in Knoxville. The sky was as blue as could be and the temperatures pushed up near 70 – just right for convertible weather!

Steve and I perused Gander Mountain without parting with a dime, but we then made the mistake of heading to Best Buy!

As the weather dictated, outside sat a beautiful Boxster all dressed in red with the top down! Inside, Steve could not resist a Wii with Wii Fit add on! He intends on losing about 15 to 20 pounds using it, so I’ve decided to get one IF that happens!

At the Smoky Mountain Brewery, we each had a burger and 3 drafts! Yummy!

So, on the way home Steve dropped the top and put the pedal to the metal!

Man, do I love the sound of that thing! Brings back such sweet memories!