Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The traffic around Atlanta was tolerable and the drive was easy -–up the valleys, all four lane now on US 23 to the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway -–easy except for that one long hill over Brushy Fork Mountain to Dillsboro. we join the circus There we “joined the circus.”  We were in trail with three huge circus midway haulers. We were crawling, but we were in good company.
Big splashy drops of rain out of  a partly sunny sky greeted us at the Park boundary. The Park looks newly minted -–fresh asphalt, new Visitors Center at Oconaluftee, freshly 2011_0602smokies0006baled hay still standing in the fields which are now an “Elk Viewing Area.”  Sixty million dollars in stimulus money helped the park dig out of a 100 million dollar maintenance backlog, but the new Visitor Center was paid for totally with donations from Friends of the Smokies and fees on the North Carolina Smokies car tags.  (We anted up for our renewal membership and now have a brick in that beautiful building.)

Smokemont Campground has also had an overhaul with new water system and new 2011_0602smokies00432011_0602smokies0038
asphalt, but the old CCC stone restrooms are still standing tall.

We set up in a steam bath, but we were soon rigging fly rods and down to shorts and wading boots.  The water is painfully low, but easy to wade and it is true—some of the prettiest water on Bradley Fork is IN the campground. Hard to figure where the fish were; we both stepped on some and caught them in both riffles and pockets , but not many…
boots drying

Monday, May 30, 2011

Delicious Bullock House

It was a morning for goodbyes.  Silver trailers slipped away early having said goodbyes last night, others lingered and traded a few more stories.  Bigmini and Someday’59 pulled out with their little ones pretty tired from all the activities.
Dave and Eileen, Pat and Al  headed to Warm Springs to the newly re-opened Bullock House.  What a treat!  Down home favorites served in a beautiful old home, good company and SECONDS.  Al was in heaven.  Dave presented an elaborate argument that such caloric intake was easily offset by any planned future bike rides…Lame, but he heard no rebuttals.  After long naps, we all prepared the ‘streams for a morning departure.  Tomorrow we head for Smokemont in the Great Smoky National Park.  Look out trout.

Favorite Memories:

Tonight only..one performance with S'mores

The Crowd gathers
  • Ernie's boys, aged five and three, posting their "Free Movie" notice in sidewalk chalk and biking the campground to collect an audience for the flicks projected on the 'stream.

  • Dinner with the Someday'59 clan, hearing stories about their adventures restoring and traveling from bright eyed kids and super bright parents.http://someday1959.blogspot.com

  • Evening get togethers in the pavilion, waiting to see what delicious marine cuisine Ann, the "Queen of the Sea", would serve tonight.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


     Callaway Gardens is beautiful. It is only 100 miles from  home, so it has been a special place for us over the years.  We brought visitors to the South to show them Southern Style, hiked and biked along the paths with our kids in every season. We have watched it transition from a family centered place with camp-like accommodations to a golf destination with "villas" and lately to a kind of spa culture with emphasis on the new communities of expensive second homes appended to the gardens. 

     Today the Gardens were deserted. We only saw six bikes on the trails all day and only a handful of cars at the visitors center.  That was great.  We had negotiated for Senior Annual passes and were ready to see every feature and ride every trail and road several times over our five day stay. 

    It was cool in the breeze as we rode and we watched for the storm buildup that was predicted for the afternoon.  

     The roots are already pushing through the surface on many parts of the bike paths, but  that may moderate the speed a little; some portions show evidence of resurfacing.  The main roads are smooth and traffic free.  The only activity seemed to be preparations for the Ski event at Robin Lake.

     Back at the rally site we enjoyed talking to Robert and Anita about "Grace", their beautiful Golden and their equally beautiful new 30' Flying Cloud. The storms came in the late afternoon, but the worst passed North and South of us.  We stayed buttoned up through the evening with light rain every so often.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


     The drive over to Georgia was easy Interstate and a nice rural road.  We met Dave and Eileen from Florida at park registration, exchanged a few stories in the parking lot, and the rally had officially begun.

     Rangers at visitor center gave an account of the damage to the park from the recent tornado outbreak. We have all focused on the catastrophic loss of lives in Tuscaloosa and Joplin while stories of the remaining storms reach us in fits and starts.  Alone, the storm that raked the Pine Mountain would have made headlines.  Fortunately, no human casualties.  During the Rally we drove past swaths of trees mowed down and saw the damage in nearby Warm Springs.  

     Later, Shannon and Ernie from nearby Columbus relocated to join the other silver trailers and we visited into the night --A night featuring a brilliant salmon salad by Chef Ernie. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We are SO psyched!

     In our first year as Airstreamers we have met so many kind and generous folks in shiny trailers. At Interstate rest areas, at gas and grocery stops,  or almost any campground, we are now not surprised to find another shiny Airstream parked nearby and a smiling couple standing out front.  We have gained so much knowledge and made so many new friends this way that we are PSYCHED to be attending our very first Airstream rally hosted by TAC (The Airstream Club) at FDR State Park in Georgia.  Preparations are almost finished; we pull out tomorrow and will probably arrive as the"advance party."  Bread is baking....

That's a little better.. if you don't look too closely.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


           "LOTTI", our beautiful 25' Airstream Safari is just a little embarrassed.  Perhaps she shouldn't be. She just returned from a lovely sojourn at Fort Pickens on the Gulf Islands National Seashore.  She is washed, waxed, refitted with all necessary provisions, fresh laundry, and a few new  accessories.  She would be so Proud if she could just overlook THE BLEMISH. Like a zit on prom night...it's right up front  for all to see.