Camping Compendium Day 1, Part 2

Just past the Oconoluftee Visitor Center, the Blue Ridge Parkway “ends”…  The Parkway stretches 469 miles mostly along the Blue Ridge chain of mountains that is part of the Appalachian Mountains, connecting Shenandoah National Park (mile marker 1 at the tip-top) to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (mile marker 469, bordering the Cherokee Indian Reservation).   We have traveled this route before, from 469 to about 160, and from 84 to 1, where it connects with Skyline Drive in Shenandoah.  We camped at Shenandoah many moons ago and drove Skyline in the fog.  It’s on our list to drive it all at one time, hopefully with the sunshine that we had last Saturday in North Carolina.

GSMNP was packed with visitors, so the the small 13-mile stretch we drove was a welcome relief from the lines of cars, and the views were just as awesome…

First we stopped at the visitor center…

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Then drove on up the mountain…

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I think the winding road down there is the one from Maggie that we drove in on…

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I love it when the mountains in the background look like waves…

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The colors…

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The weather was simply perfect…

 The only place you can buy alcohol in Cherokee is in the casino, and we are an alcohol-fueled couple.  We drove 30 or so miles down to Bryson City to visit Nantahala Brewing Company, figuring we’d pick up some beer.   It looks like the place is pretty new, large-screen TV’s and a stage for live music.  Right across from the GSM Railroad, it was about half-full of tourists like us.  We tried a flight of 4 5oz beers, one of which tasted precisely like Ass, complete with a whiff of fart.  The others were just okay, so we did not buy a $10 six-pack.  I did cleanse my palate with a nice cider that Nantahala does not make…

Back at camp, we had foil dinners…hamburger, potatoes, carrots, onions cooked over the fire.  We made foil apples, too:  cored the apples (I did this at home) and filled them with brown sugar and cinnamon, then wrapped them in the foil and cooked them over the coals until they were mushy…mmm…  I had brought extra brown sugar/cinnamon shake, too.

We watched the fire burn until our eyes couldn’t stay open…  Awesome Day #1

Trailer Travelogue…part 2

Guys, I have been trying to get fancy and added a page to my blog.  I thought it would be real cool to have my travel stuff separate from the normal News.  Alas, I don’t like it, for various reasons, so I’m going to just post the Travel Tales here.  If you missed Part 1 of our trip to Santa Fe, click Here.

Day 3

 I had a plan to take the Low Road to Taos and the High Road back to Santa Fe.  I also wanted to check out the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.  The bridge is just north of Taos and I figured we’d go there first, so I punched the coordinates in the GPS and off we went.  Google took me off of the Low Road (though I didn’t realize it at first) and down some country roads, directly to the bridge.  It was kinda cool to see the farms and homesteads  as we drove,  but I had read about the gorgeous vistas on the Low Road and was sorry I missed them.  By the time we got to the bridge, I had to use the Ladies’ facilities.  As I returned to the Expedition, I tripped and fell…skinned my knees and hands, shook me up, and killed my buzz…   I did not take a picture of my knee, but it wasn’t pretty.  (healing well now, thanks)  I did get the pictures I came for, but was whiny the rest of the day.

We hustled into Taos, stopped and got some ice to make an ice bag for my knees and hands.  I started to feel better.  We pulled into Taos Plaza, a teeny-tiny-little plaza surrounded by shops and restaurants.  Going straight to a place called “The Gorge”, I ordered up a margarita and felt even better.  I guess I had greater expectations of Taos…it seemed a little like Gatlinburg, though not as trashy…and I kept thinking I missed something.  It just didn’t impress me.  I Was impressed by my Mozzarella Caprese open-face sandwich, served with a smile at the La Fonda.  The pesto was delicious and the chef shared that it was a little lemon juice that made the difference.  Gotta try that.  The chef entertained us with stories of his family, who have lived on the same land for 300 years, and indulged us with samples of his soups.  I am inspired to use more hot peppers in my cooking.

 The day just didn’t want to get any better.  Here’s what we saw when we drove back to Taos Pueblo…

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Hmmph… That happens when there are religious ceremonies to perform.

The High Road south to Santa Fe follows the Rio Grande River…

We hobbled through a couple of wineries…

But mostly we just enjoyed the scenic drive…

You can see the puffy clouds floating through the blue skies, present for us nearly all day.  When we got back to the Park, it was raining somewhere, gifting us with a rainbow.  (This was the 3rd rainbow we’d witnessed this trip, including one in front of the previous day’s storm and a full, side-to-side bow that we literally drove through in MO)

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I propped my feet up and felt pretty good.

Monday:  Bandelier National Monument and Santa Fe Plaza.

Traveling Shoes

I’ll be arriving in NYC at 5pm or so today, staying until the 19th.  We will be seeing the Rockettes Summer Spectacular on Wednesday, and enjoying a feis or two over the week-end.  We’ll fill in the time with strolling the sidewalks, just being together.  The girls will be returning to Sonnystone with me to stay about a month.  I’m verrry excited.

As usual, I’ve been angsty all day, trying to decide how many pairs of shoes to take.  Thanks to my new Mary Poppins bag, I can fit in the whole lot of them….but I won’t.  I’ve never spent much summer-time in NYC, so I’m sort of suspicious that my wardrobe is so light.  Am I forgetting something?  Oh, well, I’ve heard they have a few shops in Manhattan.

I’ll try to do some live reporting while I’m there.     Peace…

the Bourbon Trail…

We took The Coach for a longer ride, leaving Wednesday afternoon and traveling to Kentucky Horse Park Campground in Lexington.  It was perfect weather, all sunshine and blue, with temperatures that flew right up the thermometer to the 80’s by the time we left on Saturday.  Camping at Kentucky Horse Park campground, we had a central location for our planned activities:  the bourbon trail, the Horse Park, and Keeneland Thoroughbred Racecourse.

Driving the Bourbon Trail, we made it to 7 of the required 9 Bourbon Distilleries.  We had taken the Trail several years back, 7?, and it was a smaller deal then. It has gotten so popular that both Jim Beam and Wild Turkey have built fancy new Visitors Centers.

The trail took us down back roads lined with stone walls and fences framing the acres of green bluegrass,  dotted with horses.  Driving back to Woodford Reserve is especially nice, taking us by brand-name horse farms.  Redbuds and dogwoods are blooming brightly among the leafing trees…check out the pictures…

  Wild Turkey made the mistake kind gesture  of leaving us alone in the tasting room…now it is

My New Favorite Bourbon…particularly Kentucky Spirit…

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I want to share more pictures of the trip with you,  but it is Really! Really! Spring Now!  I’m getting out to divide some daisies, plant some herbs, amend the soil; in short, I’m going out to the garden!!!

I’ll get by here to post the Horse Park, and Keeneland pictures tomorrow, I promise.

Go outside!