Great Smoky Mountains & Cherokee Rally



Arriving at Happy Holiday RV Park in Cherokee two days before the rally, we decided to drive north on 441 to see the leaf changes.  The national park had just opened that morning and visitors were flocking to the different attractions.

Our first stop is at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to tour the Mtn Farm Museum.   The old farm has many out buildings similar to the ones we remember from our grandparents’ homes.



Notice the old fencing around the garden plot!

The farmhouse was gated to prevent entry but pictures were made from the door.  Image living here back in to 1800’s! 




After admiring the Oconaluftee River,


we are heading for Mingus Mill, a 1886 water-powered turbine grist mill.






Love this old mill…it’s still grinding corn!  Fresh corn meal can still be purchased inside.

After a few more stops we are back on 441.  The trees are becoming more vibrant as we ascend the mountain.




The mountains are obscured by the thick haze that gives them the name of “Smoky”.



The winding road and parade of colors is hypnotizing as we cruise up to Newfound Gap.  Then our stomachs are protesting with hunger and keep us from exploring Clingman’s Dome, 7 miles farther up the road.

Forty-five minutes later we are arriving back at Happy Holiday RV park, our home for the week.

This is our 4th rally at Happy Holiday and it’s the mountains and the trout stream that keeps pulling us back.  And, of course, all the cute little white trailers!


Our home and the creek just behind us.


The RV park is huge with two creeks and a lake (pond) in the middle.  The eggs are mixed in with the larger trailers and motor homes but all appear to be happy.


The morning mist is lingering over the campground



A few late flowers are scattered at the more permanent sites.



The rally has the usual egg parade and potluck dinner…..those at the end of the pot luck line were ravished with hunger but said it was worth the wait!

No pictures from the pot luck…too busy eating!  And only one mod is captured.  Our shoes are always in the way….love this idea.  It is just in front of the bed.


A few unusual trailers… this is Troy’s silver painted Burro.


We camped next to him in 2011…nice to see old friends.  And others made new friends.



In honor of Halloween…..kept this non-tripod night shot of the lake and trailers.


Love this lantern!


This fur baby is 16 years old and has cataracts.  The sunglasses are not just for show!

The sunshine is abundant on Friday and we are heading east on 19 in search of fresh apples and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Beautiful day!



And suddenly it’s all over…but not before we make our reservations for next year!

PS    To my loyal readers:

Apologies for being so late with this post!  And the lack of comments on your blogs.  Trying to find the balance between living in the Casita world and living in our Chattanooga world. 


Happy at Home!!?!


I believe in positive affirmations, positive thinking and being positive all around.  But believing and doing are somewhat different when it comes to this stationery adjustment!

We’ve been home one month and 4 days and it’s not been much fun!  Lots of $$$ going to places that aren’t joy producing…home insurance, new tires, car repairs  (got the check engine light fixed), A/C repair…

In the middle of spending all this money,  new camera bug bit me.  My rationale is something like this…..spending all this money on stuff that brings no pleasure, might as well spend money on something fun!  So a cute little red Nikon Coolpix with a 30X zoom came into my life.

Watch what this baby will do.  This is picture of downtown Chattanooga taken while on a Stringer’s Ridge hike.


Notice the spot of blue in the center of the picture…..look hard!

This is the  walking bridge, Walnut Street, on the left and Market Street bridge on the right.

Zoomed partway…..


And zoomed again!


Unfortunately it lacks a viewfinder and all one can do is point in a general direction and zoom.  Can’t really see what is being photographed.  After studying the above picts, the camera was returned and the trusty D-40 will get a cleaning!

This past weekend the Nina and Pinta were in town…..remember Christopher Columbus and 1492?……and we walked across the Walnut Street bridge heading for a tour. 

Rowers were all over the Tennessee River preparing for a race.







And a few paddle boarders!

Could not get a good picture of the ships but learned a lot about sailing in the 1400’s.  These boats are replicas built in 1988 and 2004 in South America.



If this interest you, information can be found by following the site on the sign.


Topic change!

Started writing this post yesterday morning, before we started packing for the Cherokee rally.  By mid-afternoon there was a noticeable shift in my energy; happiness mixed with  joy and anticipation was filling my heart!  All I need to do, to feel happy, is to pack and leave?

During the first cup of coffee this morning, my thoughts are on a friend who may not live another 12 months.  It’s reminding me that I want to live each day as if it is the last….and something must change in the way we are living here at home!

Embarrassed to confess that TV has become very important with more and more shows to be watched each week.  Filling my inner spaces with action and mystery, non-uplifting shows with titles like Revenge, Betrayal and Scandal.  And reading dark books to fill the void…They Are all Gone and Gone Girl.

Still not sure about what changes must be made….but need to stop numbing myself with mindless activities. 

Trusting that life will reveal a new direction, eventually.

Here’s a picture taken from the Cherokee rally several years ago. DSC_2245

Keeping my fingers crossed hoping the rain will be minimal.  Time to continue packing!  Hoping to be there by mid-afternoon!


biking the river park



Three weeks and two days, that’s how long we have been home from our epic trip and we are still adjusting to the luxuries of hot water, electricity and space….

The past 3 weeks have not been much fun due to a virus that invaded my sinuses and lasted over two weeks.  Then allergies started making me ill.  I’m taking allergy medicine for the first time in my entire life!  Is this what I get for leaving the area for three months? 

Chattanooga is situated in a bowl with mountains and ridges on all sides….this year we have the honor of being the 9th worse city for fall allergies.  Since I have lived here most of my life, never experiencing allergies, figured there was some type of natural immunity inhabiting my body.  Alas, no more!

On the positive side, the over the counter meds are working and wellness is returning.

Still struggling a bit in putting our lives back to order.  Exercising has always been a high priority for both of us, but our trip was a disaster for elevating our heart rates.  (Mine did get elevated a few times when I was not driving and someone else was!)  We did a little hiking, here and there, but overall we are returning home with much poorer physical conditioning than when we left.  This was our first trip, ever, to leave the bikes at home.  And it will be our last!

So now that I’m feeling better, we are walking, hiking and riding our bikes.  Last week I grabbed my Nikon as we were heading out to the Tennessee River Park.  The park, opening in 1989, is 10 miles, running along the Tennessee River from the Chickamauga Dam to downtown Chattanooga.

After a few miles I am finding the SLR too cumbersome, dangling on my shoulder while bike riding and ditched it back in the van.  Will need to depend on the cell phone for any additional photography.


The sidewalk is wide, we always pass people who are walking, saying “on your left” as we come upon them.  This is THE correct protocol, or sounding a bell to let them know a biker approaches.  The walker should bear to the right giving the biker space to pass.  (It is not pretty when the walker goes left into the bike path!)



This is the bridge over the South Chickamauga Creek…the TN River can be seen below at the very end of the creek.



Another view of the bridge.  Now imagine flood waters more than halfway up the exposed tree trunk in the center.  This is what the park endured last July while we were traveling in AK.


Another picturesque tree with a tell tale water mark.



Great blue heron fishing on the Chickamauga Creek.


Civil War history found at this site…. the Northern army crossed the river here, heading south toward Chickamauga Battlefield.

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Wildlife crossing our path!2013-09-26 10.20.02

Our ride is perfect until we leave the pavement and hit the boardwalk.  Unfortunately that is exactly what we did…hit the boardwalk!!!   It is wet and slick from previous rains.  I started going down the instant my rear wheel left the pavement.  Hubby, five feet behind me, could only watch me fall as his bike went out from under him.  After going down, I am sliding five feet or so on my left hip and shoulder before coming to a halt.

Bystanders ran to our aid, one identifying herself as a nurse.  I am hurting, bad, but so worried about David and his artificial hip. But he has landed on the other hip and is OK.  My shoulder is hurting and I am wondering if a trip to the ER is necessary but we ride back to the car.  And, after a day of icing my shoulder and two days of pain meds, the body is ready to go again.

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This smiling face is NOT how I was feeling at the moment!  Notice the blue sign!

We were very lucky….will not be riding on wet paths again.  Too old to fall that hard!

For my readers who want to hear about the Casita…..two weeks from today it will be on the road again!  Heading to the Cherokee, NC rally!