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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

VACATION- Tuesday Weavers, Great Smokey Mountains and on to Georgia

(too tired to do a blog last night, so this is about Tuesday posted on Wednesday) 

Brrr our morning started with ice on the steps (look out when letting out the doggers!) and frost on the ground.  Although the day was supposed to get warmer, this was quite the chilly start.

I took the dogs out for a bit of ball playing in the fenced in doggie park at the campground.  They sure loved fetching with their new ball throwing device I bought them last month.  It was our first time to use it, and they thought it was delightful!  A spare ball stows in the handle in case you lose one.

The wand helps you throw the ball, and also the C clamping shape on the end lets you pick it up to throw it again, without having to touch the wet-dog-slimey surface of the ball!  These are some pretty happy doggers, being able to play on grass instead of snow..... and find places to SNIFF!

We had a bit of breakfast and then I ran Steveio's computer over to the clubhouse at Escapees Raccoon Valley RV Park to use their DSL line.   I put chrome on Steve's laptop so it made it easier for him to browse his Craigslist and Ebay stuff.  Last week we had his computer set up with a new system, but it didn't include Chrome, just Internet Explorer.  We are both used to Chrome, so we downloaded it on his very fast on the DSL line. (instead of using up our meager 5GB plan on our tablet.)

Steve was busy getting the rig "road worthy" while I hopped in the Tracker  and headed up the highway one exit to go to the Appalachian Art Center  where Linda meets every Tuesday for her weaving guild (a guild is a club of artists or craftsmen).  I got to meet many of the weavers that I had read about in their weekly blog posts:  Loomy Tunes - Tuesday Weavers  LouAnn wrote the newest blog about my visit!  They have a room full of looms to work on as a group, and also nearby are potters, quilters and various artisans.

I knew a few people in her guild, and met one of the other members in person, Carol, in the past on her journey north a few years ago.... but now I got to meet others and see their guild in action.  It was a pleasure to meet so many of the familiar faces, and wished I could have stayed for the whole session.  Especially I got to meet Marie, who was also a full time RVer for a number of years.  We shared ideas and places and fun stuff.  Wish we could have talked longer too. 

I also had the chance to see my old Newcomb Studio Loom!   It has been taken to the art center via Linda to be used there for the guild to weave on now.   Hello Loom!!!!

Gosh I loved that loom so much, once we bought our house last winter, I went out and bought another one just like it!  LOL  They are pretty common around the Great Lakes area, as they were made in Iowa and very well loved by the Swedish, Norwegians and Finlanders that immigrated to those areas of the country.  I knew when I sold both of mine when we sold the house, that I would be able to find one again just like it (and I did!)

It was fun to see some of the other projects people brought in, and also the pretty brown textured warp that Carl is putting on the big barn loom.  What a great loom that is!  I have a soft spot in my heart for big old rugged barn looms.

I can't wait to see the future blog posts about the rugs Carl is going to weave on this warp.... 

I really liked looking at the projects and seeing what people were doing.  It's such a creative guild, and they sell their items in the store upstairs.  They are located right across the road from the famous Appalachian Museum north of Knoxville, TN on I75.  Stop in and see what they have to offer!

All too soon, it was time to say goodbye to Linda--- Steve was fueling up at the truckstop near the RV park, and I was to meet him at 10:30.   Linda and I said our goodbyes and we went up to the parking lot where I gave her a container of chocolate chip cookies that I baked the night before.  She had given me 2 jars of homemade grape juice to enjoy.

For the longest time, we were "best-friends-who-never-met-yet", first finding each other on Rugtalk, a yahoo rug weaving group.  We began corresponding on emails and sending pics and helping each other with weaving projects.  Finally we got together and now have visited each other multiple times both in Tennessee and Wisconsin, and also joined by our 3rd "best-friend-we-never-met-yet" but finally did, Rosie in Bethel, Missouri.   We are quite the trio when we get together, and barely stop to take a breath.  Even when they visit, after a whole week, we haven't even talked ourselves out!  Still finding something that needs to be asked, said, helped with or laughed at. 

Goodbye, buddy Linda
Hope to see you on the return trip! 

I met up with Steveio (just a little behind schedule)  and little Finney had an absolute conniption fit without me in the motorhome when Steve had driven it over to the truck stop!   He paced up and down the motorhome length, frantically, knowing that his world was WRONG---- that I was not in my co-pilot seat.  Oh me Oh my....  Steve said he finally hid himself behind the loveseat and refused to come out.    When I got there half an hour later with the Tracker... it was "OH JOY OH RAPTURE OH WONDERFUL MY MASTER CAME BACK!!!!"   I swear he almost wriggled out of his skin to be so happy to see me.

Fueled up at $3.93 a gallon diesel and headed on our way after hooking up the Tracker.

We drove east of Knoxville and then headed south through Pigeon Forge and into the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.  Whew.... the commercialism of the areas on the north and south ends just before the park was staggering!   I can not imagine it wall to wall people in the peak season!  As it was, just driving through the areas were chock full of tourist traps, souvenir shops and hotels abound.

We did see the upsidedown house as we drove by.... 
no, they didn't get any admission fees out of us two tourists to see that.  LOL 

Oh, we did see the Titanic, well... kinda sorta? 

Now it was time to enter the lovely Great Smokey Mountain National Park... oh my the scenery was so beautiful, and I snapped as many pics as I could (ummm 107 to be exact)   There was some road construction going on, so very little space to stop and take pics anywhere... the pull-outs were mostly full of construction trucks and piles of staged equipment to use to make road repairs.  I suppose this time of year is the only time to get things done, before the throngs of tourists descend on the park in peak season.  Not really our kind of place.   The scenery though is gorgeous!

We cruised through a few small tunnels, around switch backs and loops as we ascended and descended the terrain through the park... mostly going south, sometimes north to get south again!

The happy motorhome man was so alert and concentrating on his driving the big rig down the narrow roads, I don't know how much he got to really see of the scenery.

Yes. there is snow yet in the park.. some of the highest points are above 5,000 ft elevation, and we were up at the top a few times as we drove through the major portion of the park.

We drove on down into N. Carolina and then into Georgia.  The weather was SO NICE!  We had temps in the 70's, sunshine and blue skies.  It was an easy ride down into eastern Georgia, avoiding Atlanta all together.  We holed up overnight at a Walmart in Madison, GA for the evening.

Our RV friends Linda and Howard of http://www.rv-dreams.com/ fondly call the rotisserie chickens from Walmart their quick meal of "Pickin Chicken"  .... so that is what we did---- bought a Pickin Chicken to pick all the meat off and eat an easy supper tonight! Add in some tater salad, a few wedges, and some glasses of wine.  Ahhhhhhhh.

It rained a bit overnight, but we didn't care.  We were cozy inside our motorhome, and resting well.  The overnight temps were in the 60's so we didn't even need a heater on.  Compare that to the frosted steps and ground this morning in Tennessee.   What a difference~ 

The dogs are having a good time, and Duke is sure looking happy now that he is in HIS motorhome.  I have not seen him this "perky" in quite some time.  I think he is very happy to show Finney "the ropes" about our motorhome traveling and all the good things they get to sniff.  

Finnegan is getting better about going up the steps into the motorhome.  At first he didn't like them because they extend and retract as the door opens and closes.  They make a noise that I think scares him.  We are training him with setting treats on each step, he goes up them hesitantly, but on his own!  When we park for more than an overnight or wayside, we lock the steps into a down position, so they don't make the noise when extending or retracting. 

Got fueled up before leaving the area, as Georgia is one of the cheapest places for fuel right now.  We paid 3.87 a gallon for diesel in a smaller town... along the interstate we have seen as high as $4.07.  At 8.4 mpg average, every little bit helps.  heh heh

As I type this, we are now past Macon, GA and taking that last sprint into Florida... We will be by my folks house tonight in Williston (between Ocala and Gainesville, FL)   Poor Mom has been waiting and waiting for us to get there....  my Dad drives like the retired truck driver that he is, and to them going from Michigan to Florida takes 17 hours, not 6 days like we do....



  1. Craig drove long distances too when we were first starting in the Alfa. He was used to going to San Diego in one day. Now I have finallly gotten him to slow down a bit and we have a nice routine of stopping at the Camping World in Bakersfield which is about half way. It has hook ups, so it is not really boondocking.

    We aslo drove from Milwaukee to Orlando in less than two days when we were young and in a car. The vacation didn't start until we were there. Now traveling is a vacation in itself. Destination doesn't mater.

    Someday we might even get further than the RV dumping station in town!

  2. So glad that you are getting away from the cold. You are like us and just enjoy taking your time and smelling the roses and enjoying the stops along the way.

    We were only briefly in the Smokey Mountains a number of years ago and it is a place that we want to see again but not when it is full of tourists.


  3. Gatlinburg was always a touristy kind of place, but fun to walk through, especially with kids. I couldn't believe the change in 1997 when I went there during my Appalachian Trail hike. It had been totally spiffed up and Disneyfied - not good.

    The GSMNP is God's country as far as I'm concerned, especially the backcountry.

    So cute about your little doggie not wanting to leave you behind. Aren't they something?

  4. It sounds like your having a good trip! Did you go through that tunnel? It sure looks too low!

  5. Looks like you are having so much fun! Good for you. We leave here tomorrow and head to east Texas. It was very warm today. Believe it or not, I was whining about being so hot. lol.... never satisfied.

  6. I really like the "best friends who never met"

    So wonderful!

  7. Goodness, I just paid $3.48 for diesel in a small town north of Corpus Christi. You should be here but I know you have other places to visit too.


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