Wednesday, June 10, 2015

AN UNUSUAL STORE AND GOING DUTCH


Memorial Weekend (continued)


Despite the crowd at the state park, there is surprising little in the surrounding area.  Very rural and a bit depressed.









So I was very surprised to find the coolest little store in the middle of nowhere!   With natural remedies, organic spices, grass fed beef and homemade cheeses.... Baked goods, books on farming and homesteading.  I bought some grass-fed beef short ribs and a half dozen free range eggs.





For the rest of the weekend, I practiced my patience with children not related to me and my dutch oven cooking skills.  Having just participated in a class at the Blue Ridge Rally a few weeks ago, I was anxious to put my new found skills to the test!  So far I've made pork loin, chicken, ribs, dessert, and even a frittata.







I shoulda' known better

Memorial Weekend


My destination in Ohio is the Airstream Factory and an event known as Alumapalooza.  But before we get there on Tuesday I need a home for the holiday weekend.  So... in all my infinite wisdom, I booked a site at a nearby state park a few months ago.

Indian Lakes State Park is an 800-acre multi-use park on the banks of the 5,800-acre Indian Lake.  It offers a variety of water-related and other recreation.  There is boating, fishing, skiing, camping, playgrounds, trails and even a BMX area.   There are 500 camping sites plus cabins.  It is the first weekend after school is out for the summer.

Do you see where this is going yet???

Every single available campsite is booked.  They are all about 10 feet apart.  Each site has a large camper and a tent or two.  There are a minimum of 53.2 children per site.  Each child has a bicycle, or a skateboard.  Each parent has a golf cart.  I get 10 points for near-miss of a child on a bike trying to back into my camping spot for the weekend.  42 golf carts are waiting for me to get out of the road so they can get by.  I throw my keys to the macho man-child who saunters up to the truck window to see if he can help me out... "Be my guest".  I never do this but it has been a long day that started with me driving off with the rear stabilizers down.   I've been through Louisville, downtown Cincinnati and Dayton on the way here.   I get out and join the 42 golf cart drivers in staring at the truck.  I smile when it takes him three tries and he doesn't even get the extra points for almost nailing a bike rider.  I thank the man-child, he leaves, and I enjoy an adult beverage to recover from the trauma.  The weekend has begun!
The lake has a dog beach and Grace is in heavaen - no gators and new friends to make

Stay tuned for the rest of our weekend adventures!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Onward to Ohio

Our next stop on the way to Ohio was in Kentucky at Mammoth Caves National Park for a quick overnight.  I didn't go into the caves (I have Grace with me and I've been there before) but there is still a lot to do at this park even if caves aren't your thing.  

In typical National Park fashion, you can visit the giant dinosaurs or sleep in a tepee on the way into the park.  There are also several other cave systems.  You could choose to zipline, canoe or kayak on the Green River, visit an Australian animal park or the American Cave Museum or visit Munfordville for some Civil War history.

The Park itself also has an extensive Bike/Hike trail system that is quite nice.  A nice long walk was just the right thing after a morning drive.  



There are quite a few ranger-led programs, and a gift shop where I acquired a new sticker  for Breezin's door.   I would have like to have had a few days in the area to explore, but needed to continue north...
I love the south in the spring!

Seriously... do you want a book about mosquitos??

Around the visitors center

After an uneventful night, it was time to move on to our next destination...



This sweet beauty was parked next to us when we woke up this morning!



Monday, May 25, 2015

The Friends and Family Plan

Old Stone Fort State Park

Following Fall Creek Falls, Grace and I headed out for Old Stone Fort State Archeological Park in Manchester, TN.  A short drive through some beautiful country.

This would be our home for the next two weeks while we caught up with kids and grandkids and friends. 

The Old Stone Fort is a prehistoric Native American structure.  Most likely built between 80 and 550 AD during the Middle Woodland period.  Native Americans used this area continuously for about 500 years, eventually leaving it abandoned.  The park's museum consists of displays of prehistoric Native American replicas as well as dioramas and photos. The exhibits provide information on the theories regarding the enclosure's builders, archaeological excavations at the site and the culture of its builders.  There are some great walking trails with small waterfalls and access to the Duck River.  According to the website, the main hiking trail follows the wall of Old Stone Fort which was used by the Native Americans as a ceremonial gathering place.  You can see the original entrance of the fort which was designed to face the exact spot on the horizon where the sun rises during the summer solstice.
Our campsite for the visit.  Sites are small, but private

Waterfalls along the Duck River


Grace is loving water with no alligators!


Maureen ("Momo" ) and I enjoyed several hikes
Just one, please...

Got to visit with my brother John, and see his soon to be completed new restaurant

Watched granddaughter Vera graduate from 5th grade up to middle school next year... how did that happen!??  She is such a beautiful young lady.



And had a lovely dinner with these lovely ladies.... it was great to catch up with good friends.  Miss you guys!

After two weeks it was time to leave for our next destination....
Farewell Tennessee.... until next time






Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fall Creek Falls State Park

After a jam packed week at the Blue Ridge Rally, Grace and I headed to another Tennessee state park for some hiking and downtime -- accompanied by a friend, Judy, and her two border collies.

From the website:  "Fall Creek Falls State Park is Tennessee’s largest and most visited state park. The park encompasses more than 26,000 acres sprawled across the eastern top of the rugged Cumberland Plateau. Laced with cascades, gorges, waterfalls, streams and lush stands of virgin hardwood timber, the park beckons those who enjoy nature at her finest. Fall Creek Falls, at 256 feet, is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States. Other waterfalls within the park include Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls and Cane Creek Cascades."

The sites were large, with some privacy between them, shady, and I had 3 bars of LTE for work.  We did a bit of hiking, a few scenic drives, some cooking and visiting and lots of relaxing!

Some of the scenery...







Around camp...

Living riveted!


Hey -someone's gotta do it!

Grace - post hike

Hello Spring!




Friday, May 8, 2015

Spring Adventure Part III - The Blue Ridge Rally


Held this year for a second time at Big Meadow Family Campground, in Townsend Tennessee -- 65 trailers of Tabbers and former Tabbers descended on the peaceful side of the Smokies.  Hosted by Sharon Sigmon and Splash Tab, along with assistance from her sister Becky... this is the rally highlight of my year.  As evidenced by the growing numbers, lots of people feel the same.  The rally is now attended by R-Pods, Roadtreks, Airstreams, Transit Vans, Lance trailers, a Sonic, and of course - a plethora of T@Bs.  Sharon will tell you, once you are part of the Blue Ridge family... you are always a Blue Ridger.  I've never met a more welcoming group of people.  There is so much to do and see, and you can participate as much... or as little...as you'd like.  I was having such fun this year, I forgot to take photos but here are a few highlights from the week!
Our campsite at BRR
Florida meets Redneck - sign contest
Bear sighting!

Cade's Cove Driving Tour 







We had a pancake breakfast, a potluck, bingo, corn hole, Bill's now-famous Happy Dance Party to start the day. There were drives to Gatlinburg and the NOC store there, along with Pigeon Forge and the Lodge and Coleman outlets.   We toured a winery, had a free tasting (or three), some went horseback riding, on a hayride or fly fishing in the Little River. 



Lois, Elaine and Bill gave a dutch oven cooking presentation.


Townsend held it's annual Old Timer's Festival with local crafts and music and fresh fried pies.




video



Sharon held a make-a-sign party and accommodated all of us and our various camper shapes!




Grace and I had a great time and can't wait for next year!!