To each his own. To me my own.

Posts tagged “Mountains

Up High Again

This past weekend we packed our bags and headed up to Blowing Rock in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains for an overnight trip. Normally being a day trip, it amazes me the intense coordination and planning it takes for us to ‘get away’ for just one night. The house sitter for our baby boy Mojo, food and drink shopping for said house sitter, coordinating the alarm system, etc. Of course, it does help knowing the house sitter is non other than my baby girl and her robust boyfriend. So at least there’s no huge guesswork on food choices there.

We stayed in this same place March of last year, a week after Keith proposed – so this return trip was very special to us. Originally built in 1874, the adorable hotel is called The Hemlock Inn. Today, the original inn has been completely refurbished with additional rooms having been added. Each of the beautifully decorated historic rooms offer individual rustic mountain settings complete with hardwood floors and antique decor. Each room having it’s own unique decor, we opt to stay in a different room each time. This was our room last weekend:

Room_4

Here’s a couple shots from their website showing what’s in store once our beautiful warm summer weather decides to arrive (and stay).

OutsideSeating

Garden

Knowing the shops on Main Street so well, I was surprised we’d never been in the Six Pence Pub. Then I remembered neither of us are bar people, never have been! But since this place came highly recommended, we decided to pop in after we were checked and settled in our room. It did not disappoint. Though I didn’t get them in the picture, I’ll have to admit the fried pickles here are probably the best I’ve ever had.

sixpencepub

Of course the trip would not have been complete without a leisurely drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway before we left on Sunday. It’s my dream to someday drive the entire Parkway from start to finish. We always gravitate to ‘our’ overlook… Big Bear overlook. This overlook has 360º scenic views and is very near Price Lake. It was disappointing to see that someone had stolen the rustic sign that’s resided there since we started coming – I guess this tells me it’s not just ‘our’ favorite overlook.

bigbearoverlook

Here’s another panoram of the luxurious mountain laurel.

mountainlaurel

As usual, I found a t-shirt in a local store that I just couldn’t leave without. This shirt might as well have come preprinted with my name on it…

tee

So I guess I’ll save my story of walking around naked in the dark with a gun for another time.

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I have my own Tour Guide, thanks…

On this day four years ago, Keith and I went on our first date. For this reason, we’ve always celebrated it as our anniversary.

I remember I didn’t want him coming directly to the door of my third-floor apartment. I think this was a combined reasoning of not wanting to add to his stress level of a first date along with if I didn’t want a second date, the exact location of my apartment would be kept secret. 🙂

Wearing high heels while descending wooden-slat steps could prove to be a recipe for disaster for any woman, especially an accident-prone one like myself. I was certain I wouldn’t make it down without a catastrophic fall. I didn’t, though. As I rounded the sidewalk and the parking lot came into view, so did this tall, dark and handsome man – flashing a grin while leaning back ever so cool-like on the hood of his Volvo. Four years later, I can still see it as clearly as I did that evening. If memory ever eludes me when I get older, I pray for this one memory to remain because it is seriously that precious to me.

We went to dinner at a restaurant called The Grid Iron, which is still open today. Through the course of the meal, the conversation seemed almost too easy, if that makes any sense. He talked about his job as an elevator installer and came across as just a kind soul in general. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was spot-on in that analysis.

To bide a little time before the movie started, he asked if I’d like to ride around his town of Gastonia for a bit. I found him to be an excellent tour guide, narrating this and that, gingerly pointing out an establishment or two he’d installed elevators in.

I’d never seen a Harry Potter movie, actually don’t think I’ve seen another one since. But Harry Potter it was that night, and looking back it was probably the best choice by far. After the movie, he drove me back to my apartment in Lake Wylie. Because of a few losers I’d been out with prior to Keith, I decided I didn’t care much to kiss goodnight on the first date, and so I held fast to that. I reached over the seat, hugged him and told him I’d had a good time. That was it – our first kiss didn’t actually happen until another week later on our second date.

The rest is history. He got the car door for me that night, and he still gets it for me today. He still sings Josh Turner songs to me in that deep sexy voice and it still makes my stomach flutter. His tour-guide antics still entertain me, especially when we’re up in the North Carolina mountains where he’s spent so many years working.

And so inspired a little tribute to you, baby. Happy Anniversary to my precious tour guide…


The Legend of the Blowing Rock

Last weekend we took a day-trip back up to the town of Blowing Rock, NC. With the majestic Blue Ridge Mountain scenic views, the town shops and our favorite barbecue restaurant, it tops our list of favorites. We had never actually been on the Blowing Rock, so we paid admission to see what it was all about.

I admired this little bird who chose to sit atop the Blowing Rock.

This little girl beside me looked lonely. 🙂

I’ve always loved a good legend. Something about them always connects me back to my childhood, where things could instantly turn magical and mystical. This, to me, is one of those tales that takes me back to that time.

It is said that a Chickasaw chieftan, fearful of a white man’s admiration for his lovely daughter, journeyed far from the plains to bring her to The Blowing Rock and the care of a squaw mother. One day the maiden, daydreaming on the craggy cliff, spied a Cherokee brave wandering in the wilderness far below and playfully shot an arrow in his direction. The flirtation worked because soon he appeared before her wigwam, courted her with songs of his land and they became lovers, wandering the pathless woodlands and along the crystal streams.

One day a strange reddening of the sky brought the brave and the maiden to The Blowing Rock. To him it was a sign of trouble commanding his return to his tribe in the plains. With the maiden’s entreaties not to leave her, the brave, torn by conflict of duty and heart, leaped from The Rock into the wilderness far below. The grief-stricken maiden prayed daily to the Great Spirit until one evening with a reddening sky, a gust of wind blew her lover back onto The Rock and into her arms. From that day a perpetual wind has blown up onto The Rock from the valley below. For people of other days, at least, this was explanation enough for The Blowing Rock’s mysterious winds causing even the snow to fall upside down.

I’ve got my own handsome Cherokee brave. 🙂

The Blowing Rock website


Tunnel Vision

Each in separate cars, Keith and I were on our way somewhere. As I drove behind him, all of a sudden he made a quick turn and disappeared from my sight. I immediately took note of the fact that my phone was not with me. Of course, I could still ‘see’ him worriedly dialing it over and over to no avail, not understanding why I didn’t answer. A mile or two further up the road I turned the car around, parked, got out and started walking back the direction I’d seen him last.

As I was walking, I happened upon a grocery cart. Not just any old grocery cart – one that I could push off with one foot and ride on down the sidewalk like a skateboard! This baby was slick as a whistle and was getting me places fast. That is, until I noticed I was skimming through what seemed to be a bad side of town – then it started skipping and giving problems. Suddenly passersby started throwing garbage at me and calling me homeless. Not a good feeling.

While still pushing the cart along I noticed a familiar face – a former schoolmate named Seth. I asked Seth if he’d seen Keith, to which he replied “Yeah, he’s over at DNA.” Now I had no idea where this DNA place was, but it didn’t appeal to me to find out. I turned around and began the trek back to my car.

I never located Keith.

By the time I reached my car I’d made the decision to take a little vacation all by myself. I somehow ended up with a reservation at what was to be a very large and swanky log cabin located in the mountains. I remember draining my savings to pay for myself 3 nights at this place for the sum total of exactly $2967.00 or $2963.00 (that last digit is foggy though I repeated it several times). I got there only to find I had to dig my way underground in a tunnel to actually reach my final destination. I used a huge outdoor umbrella and other objects to push the heavy dirt out of the way;  it took a long time to dig my way there. When I finally arrived I was filthy, but gave the guy a check and went inside to check out my beautiful One-Grand-Per-Night posh quarters. I was appalled to find it resembled something like a concentration camp, with one huge darkened room containing 8-10 double beds; meaning I was bunking with others. The linens and curtains were yellowed and worn. No bath or shower was afforded, just one 4×4 room with a toilet. The other ‘guests’ seemed as appalled as I was, but for some reason were planning on fulfilling their stay.

I demanded a full refund, which I received after having to wait an hour for the guy to return from lunch. Meanwhile, my Mom met me ‘on the outside’ after I emerged from the tunneled hole (exiting was the same as entering, after all). I’d forgotten my luggage, and was despaired to find I would be forced to dig back through that long set of tunnels in order to gather my belongings. My Mom insisted on coming with me even though I’d advised her how hard the trip would be. And so, we began.

A kiss on the cheek awoke me from the dream. I was told to have a great day and that I was loved. Keith was leaving for work.

Because you know this is how I roll, here’s a few search results in my quest to find the meaning of this dream. I find that a few closely correspond with current events in my life… a few don’t.

  • To see freshly stirred dirt in your dream symbolizes thriftiness and frugalness. Dirt is also representative of situations where you have been less than honorable and may have acted in a devious manner. You are trying to conceal or bury your questionable behavior.
  • To dream that you are living underground signifies a loss of status and wealth and even the longing for a greater piece of mind and sanctuary. You may be placing these matters and thoughts into the subliminal part of your mind.
  • Dreams that take place underground represent the dreamer’s need to explore feelings – possibly painful ones – that up until now they’ve kept hidden. Coming back up or emerging from underground in the dream suggests that the dreamer is ready to do this.
  • To dream of being underground is associated with feeling the need to hide oneself from other people or situations. Such a dream is typically the result of great shame, guilt and low self-esteem. Something could be going on under the surface or a change in lifestyle may be indicated.
  • To dream that you are digging, indicates that you are working to hard to uncover the truth in a problem that is haunting you. You may also be overly preoccupied with trying to find out about yourself, your reputation and your self-identity. Alternatively, the dream suggests that you are working on getting to the root of some issue. Or the dream could be a metaphor to imply an insult.
  • In a nutshell, any type of dream where you find yourself underground shows that you have a prominent fear of losing control of your life and that you are worried about failure.

A View from Mount Mitchell

Those who know me are well aware of my continuing quest to kick acrophobia out the window once and for all. Thought I’d share a few pictures of our road-trip yesterday up to Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest point in the eastern United States. This is the highest up I’ve ever been. For those of you who’ve been much higher and think this is a simply a walk in the park – humor me. I’m terrified this high up (mainly during the drive up and down), but for some reason the mountains keep calling me back. It’s so beautiful and peaceful here, even if it does scare me to death.


Mountain View

We finally made the trip up to Asheville this weekend to visit Biltmore Estate, the largest private residence in America. The mansion itself boggled my mind. It’s still hard for me to come to grips with the sheer magnitude of this place – especially coming from the era in which it was built. Once we cleared the forest and the estate came into full view, that was it – I was officially mesmerized.

The Biltmore House

Photography is only permitted outside of the house, otherwise I would have some fabulous pictures to share. To me the tour was eerily amazing. I use the word eerie because as I walked through this huge mansion, it’s almost like I could still feel the presence of the Vanderbilts who lived here. I couldn’t help but place myself back in that time, when everything seemed so much simpler – although this most brilliant architecture is anything but simple. I found myself wondering what a normal day consisted of for Mrs. Vanderbilt – what she did after she woke, what she ate for lunch, what she did during the day in that big house, what rooms were her favorites. As I walked through the lush gardens, I imagined her there admiring the beautiful roses. I thought of the grief she must have felt when her husband died unexpectedly leaving her with a young daughter. Walking through the basement in the servants quarters, I imagined the young servants and what their lives might have been like. As we continued to climb stairs, gaining story after story, the long hallways brought to mind their only daughter Cornelia and how it must have been to grow up in a house like this. An image formed of the little girl running down one of the many long hallways and bounding into the endless amount of rooms. I wondered if she’d ever gotten lost in there. These ‘thoughts’ still run rampant in my head – I now realize a visit here lingers with you long after you’ve left the estate.

Partial view of the garden

After touring the house and gardens, we ventured over to the village and winery, and even happened upon a Tiffany Lamp gallery. I was very happy for the opportunity to see all these gorgeous lamps in person. It reminded me of an art gallery because everyone was so silent except for whispers. Again, cameras weren’t allowed in there because they want you to visit in person. My mom has wanted one of these lamps for so long, I’d love to be the person to get her one someday.

Since the leaves are so beautiful this time of year, we decided to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a leisurely ride over to Grandfather Mountain. The weather couldn’t have been better, and the scenic views were breathtaking – it was a lot to take in.

View from Blue Ridge Parkway
Taken from ‘our’ Thunder Hill Overlook

We’ve taken tons of pictures at the above overlook. I like it best because it comes complete with views on both sides – across the road is a beautiful field with a tremendous view of it’s own. It would be a great spot to picnic.

Another overlook on the Parkway
A favorite spot at Price Lake.

I love the mountains. I learn something new every time I visit – but this particular trip will probably hold the record for a long time to come.


Roadtrip

I love spontaneous roadtrips. With us they usually end up in the mountains, and I’ve grown to love the area a lot. Yesterday we set out early to Maggie Valley/Cherokee, NC. This is the location of mine and Keith’s very first trip together over two years ago, and I was surprised to see how much I remembered about it! Maybe my old memory isn’t as bad as I thought it was. Keith has Cherokee roots from his mother’s side of the family, and even looks the part. He could probably put on a headdress and pass very well.

We mostly walked both towns and perused the shops,, and ended up in Waynesville to eat dinner. Thought I’d share some photos of my favorite findings of the day – I hope everyone has a enjoyable and safe Labor Day Weekend!

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Name That Place

Since the ole’ anniversary’s over with now, guess I can spill the beans about what I got Keith. Pack up the kids – we’re goin’ to Biltmore! (just kidding about the kid part.)

Yep, I said we.

This was my present to him, two tickets to The Biltmore House. I suppose it might sound a little self-serving (or a lot, depending on who you are)… but just what do you get a guy who’s got everything (including me)? 😀

I pondered what to get him for months. Here’s the lowdown on said conversation(s) with myself.

Me: Electronics? Guys always like electronics…

Inner Self: He’s already got everything. Besides, I’d need at least two grand or more to impress him in that area.

Me: Clothing? Maybe some fall wear?

Inner Self: I’ve gotten him apparel as a filler for every occasion for two years. He’s gotta be so sick of it by now.

Me: Jewelry?

Inner Self: C’mon Bon, really? What, a nice necklace (already has)… a bracelet (won’t wear one)… a watch (has five or more)… hey how ’bout a ring?? (Smacks self in forehead) Now what kind of an impression would that lead to? Talk about self-serving…

Enter ‘trip’ thoughts.

Me: Beach?

Inner Self: We were planning that anyway. 

Que the Biltmore House. We’d talked about going there but had never made any final plans. Not only is it expensive – but devoting one lone day to seeing everything just isn’t going to cut it. At least eight full hours are needed there, maybe more for the winery and gardens – and it’s about a 2 1/2-hour trip one way. So an overnight stay would definitely be in order.

Neither of us have ever been before – I’d never have considered it if he had. Two native Carolinians who’ve never been to Biltmore usually make for interesting conversations with some of the older locals. Whenever we feel like pushing it a step further so as to to appear sheltered, we’ll throw in the fact that neither of us have ever been to Charleston, either.

The poor babes, they really do need to get out more. These places have been around since the arc.

It’s probably the closest we’ll ever come to being in a castle. I’m ready to be mesmerized and enchanted…

http://biltmore.com/


My Cure for Acrophobia… NOT

As much as I’ve been up and around the area, I’ve never been to the very top of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Positioned 5,946 feet up in the clouds, it’s height is impressive even when compared to that of Mt. Mitchell which stands at 6,684 feet – the highest peak in the eastern United States. Grandfather Mountain is definitely the highest point I’ve ever been in my life, and likely ever will be again. It’s surely high enough for me.

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As we drove on past our favorite little town of Blowing Rock, NC we decided to visit the top of this infamous mountain. I learned a good bit about it, including the fact that Grandfather has more plant diversity contained in it’s area than in all of Europe. It’s landscaping and inhabitants are largely protected, which is always great to see. The admission fee included entrance to everything except the highland games. Nature museum, gift shop and restaurant, animal habitats, many impressive cliff points, walking trails, and never to be last –  the mile-high swinging bridge.

Ohhhh, Mama.

I’ve worked feverishly for years to try and rid myself of this dreaded fear of heights, also known as Acrophobia. Countless trips to mountains, numerous rides on the Intimidator coaster (tallest and fastest in the Southeast), a couple of paragliding adventures over the Atlantic… but nothing could have prepared me for the entirely helpless panicked feeling of being out on that bridge.

I wanted to be able to snap a pic or two out on there, but I had to keep walking moving. My legs felt like jelly, I was shaking uncontrollably, and my chest felt as though I had entered into cardiac arrest. I couldn’t disappoint Keith, I knew how badly he wanted to walk it – but I simply cannot explain how terrified I was.

To say the drive up to the highest point/swinging bridge was treacherous was an understatement. Several complete u-turn points paved the way up the last several hundred feet, with nothing but sheer drop-off below. Each car literally had to stop and think first about what they were doing. Except for the pavement quality, it seriously reminded me of that tv show ‘Most Dangerous Roads’ usually found in third-world countries. And I thought the trip up was bad until I realized we had to come back down.

Another tidbit of info I learned: Remember when Forrest Gump ran across America? A portion of his trek was filmed while running up Grandfather Mountain (a curve now appropriately named “Forrest Gump Curve”. Ironically, I came home and the movie was on tv last night… one of these snapshots is of Forrest running around that particular curve on my tv. 🙂

I guess the height thing is one phobia I’m just going to have to live with. As far as ever conquering it, I can’t say I haven’t tried!

http://www.grandfather.com/


Chillin’ on a Dirt Road

Although I appreciate most genres of music, I’ll admit I’ve grown into a country music kinda girl. My thanks to Keith who keeps me current with other stuff like hip-hop, pop and rock – if it weren’t for him, I’d be stuck on just country for sure.

I love this song. Listening to it puts me in a car pickup on the way to the beach or mountains for a long four-day weekend. Sun’s high in the sky, and it’s mild enough out to have the windows down blowing my hair everywhere. Instead of a beer beside me, there’s an ice-cold diet Coke or diet Dr. Pepper – no DUI for me, thanks.

But when we arrive at the beach/mountains, I’m poppin’ that top. To whoever made this video, you deserve to be at a million hits by now. I tip my hat to you for a fantastic job…

Yeah, I’m chillin’ on a dirt road…
Laid back swervin’ like I’m George Jones.


The Town of Blowing Rock

It’s one of my favorite places. Basically, I love everything associated with the majestic Blue Ridge mountains – the Parkway, the scenic overlooks, the endless trails to choose from, the attractions like Linville Falls and Taverns, Chimney and Blowing Rocks. And I adore all the little towns in between.

They apparently received some more of the white stuff up there on Saturday. We saw a few small piles of snow scattered on the sides of the road as well as leftover brime. It was a perfectly weathered day to walk the town of Blowing Rock, with the afternoon high reaching about 65º. We hit all our favorite shops like Poppy’s and The Last Straw, and even bought a couple of things. Keith bought a couple of the led wax candles, that actually have timers on them! I thought it was so neat that we’ll never have to touch them except to replace the batteries. I bought something I’ve had my eye on now for over a year… those little battery illuminated willow branches that compliment a large vase arrangement.

It’s nice to walk up and down the streets of a quaint little town while holding hands, never being in a hurry. I always find myself wishing we could stay longer. Of course, the trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to Kilwin’s for some homemade fudge. Like I really needed another couple pounds! Oh well, maybe I can spread it out a little so that it doesn’t accumulate all at once…

Visit the Town of Blowing Rock online


Hibachi Hearts

Oh how I’ve missed my little blog. Seems like there’s not been enough time lately to do anything. I’ve got some catching up to do on my reading as well! Today makes it official – the month is now half spent. In lieu of content, thought I’d bore you with some pictures today…

The sunrise this morning was beautiful – it cast a pinkish-purple hue on the buildings around me.

Pardon the office lights in the background!

This past weekend was perfect weather. We took full advantage of it Sunday by gathering our daughters together and climbing a mountain. Okay, it’s not the biggest mountain around, but a mountain nonetheless. It was a great time to be had – we took on the climb, had a beautiful scenic view for a prize, and partook in a nice picnic lunch afterwards that sweetened the deal.

Feel the vogue. Feel it.

The last stairway to the top...

Our prize for the climb - whatta view!

Our lovely ladies – mine on the left, K's on the right.

Last night my sweet man brought me roses for Valentines day, both stem as well as a plant for the yard. ♥ We went to dinner at our favorite Japanese steakhouse, Sasaki. My gosh how I love that place! It’s so nice to walk in there and be greeted by our first names – and we always seem to find another friendly neighboring couple to chat with.

St. Valentine's dish o' the day. Yessir & thank you.

Good times.


Work it out

Having been sunny and highs hitting the mid-60’s, what a beautiful weekend it was. We went hiking for a bit yesterday at a local mountain/state park near Keith’s house – it was just the perfect day for it. With the amount of trailing we’ve done in the past year, I’ve decided that I might just be in need of some hiking gear. At the very least, a walking pole with which to steady myself. 🙂

My outdoorsy stud-muffin...

After the hike, I was completely spent. As soon as we got back, I promptly collapsed on the couch and went out like a light for two hours. This is not like me… I’ve seriously got to work on my endurance. With this said, I have been challenged:

The Jillian Michaels challenge for the week...

I really like the thought of a healthy new recipe under 500 cals per serving. Now, to burn 300 cals (or more) per day? I can only accomplish that one way, Jillian – Ima have to double-up on my workouts this week. I’ll be sure to let ya know how that goes for me.


More lucid delusions

The past two nights my dreams have been nothing short of incredibly weird. It was explained to me by reason of “sometimes your brain just needs to dump the crap each day”. Well, okay – I’ll buy into that.

Dream documentation #232.

Sunday night, I dreamed of myself, my daughter, my mother, my mother-in-law, my ex-husband, and my deceased sister-in-law. My remaining sister-in-law that is still alive was not in this dream. We all were at some recreational park in which a walkway surrounded this flowing river of sorts – almost like a man-made whitewater center, located in the mountains. I noticed my ex-husband racing a small motor-boat around in what turned out to be a lazy river, with swimmers and floaters alike occupying the water. I remember thinking ‘he’s gonna run over someone, or at the very least piss somebody off’. Meanwhile my mother, daughter, mother-in-law, deceased sister-in-law and I were were standing in line at some concession stand. My deceased sister-in-law was angry and upset with me, which seemed to be overshadowing an otherwise good time. I stood beside her in the dream, put my arm around her waist and said “This is not the place and time. We’re all here for Julia [my daughter]”, to which she nodded yes. Next I remember us walking up to a secluded cabin on a hill, where for some reason we were all staying at. The view was excellent and the cabin was rustic and beautiful, inside and out.

At the end of the dream my ex-husband was still out there, going ’round and ’round that river in the boat, as if being driven to do so.

As usual, in documenting the above dream the pertinent one from last night eludes me – this doesn’t come as a surprise. Maybe I’ll get some alone time today on my outside labeling project and it’ll come flooding back. If so, I’ll include it on here as I’d originally planned.

Dream documentation #231 (written December 13, 2010 – but never posted)

Deep into Saturday night, I dreamed of snow. I was driving on the interstate and it became increasingly difficult as I went along. At one point, I got a ‘running start’ while going downhill, and even while driving in someone else’s tracks the foot-plus of snow was bringing me to a halt. I haven’t seen that much snow in, well, it’s been years. It seemed so real. I ended up abandoning my car and attempting to walk to my unknown destination.


November

Today has all the makings of a Monday. What better day to start a new month? Alarm clock sounds at 5 am. My bleary-eyed kitty hops on the sink for a drink before I have the chance to gargle and brush. A lonely drive in to work in the overwhelming darkness (go away, daylight savings time). The familiarity of pulling into my comfortable little parking space at work. Deeeep breath.

It was such a wonderful weekend. We drove up to the mountains, in a different area than we normally visit. Near Brevard, NC there’s a town called Linville Falls. With not enough time left in the day to make the trails to the Falls, K suggested the Linville Caverns. I had never been in the Caverns before, it was pretty neat. Of course, we had to hit Woodlands BBQ before we headed home. 🙂

U.S. National Whitewater Center is actually an olympic training facility in Charlotte, NC that I’d never been to in all the years it’s been there. The cool thing about it is there’s a flat fee of five bucks to park – then there’s acres and acres of trails to your liking. We opted for the easy mile track around the ‘river’. Got three miles in, not too shabby! There’s lots of interesting scenery to be had here, unlike my monotonous (yawn) treadmill.

I’d been itching to see Shawshank Redemption again (awesome movie). Although I know many parts of it by heart, I never tire of seeing this flick. Keith built a fire beforehand, I had a nice glass of wine and Camille took her place in front of it.

Yesterday we washed the cars and put a nice winter coat of wax on mine. As I came down the steps this morning, even in the dark ole’ Betsy gleamed to perfection

I never want the weekends to end, but life must continue on. All packed up and back to reality. Blessings to all for a great week!


Going Up

I’ve been going into bloggie DT’s. True I’m sitting underneath a Carolina blue sky on a beautiful day, but the yearn to post something these past few days has more than gotten to me. For some reason on Sundays I always get either really nostalgic or fall into a semi state of depression. It is, after all, the day the weekend ends and I have to go back home to my worklife daily ritual. I’m very thankful for my ritual, my job and the whole nine yards, don’t get me wrong. It just pains me to see Friday into Saturday into Sunday, end.

Short of driving up to the mountains this weekend (we knew better, it’s prime weekend for the season so we’ll just exercise crowd-control) we’re planning to ride 5 minutes past K’s house to a local mountain, not near as high as it’s lofty counterparts but shall satisfy the ole’ mountain yearn nonetheless. It’s a state park called Crowder’s Mountain, and the mountain is only accessible through hiking. The last time I was up there, I was 6 months pregnant. It was me, my husband and another couple, the other lady was almost 9 months pregnant. It doesn’t take a glance backward to see how very stupid we were for attempting to climb a mountain that far into a pregnancy, but we all made it to the very top and came out okay. Twenty-three years later, I shall attempt it again – just not in tiptop shape this time so say a prayer for me. 🙂

We covered up K’s pool yesterday, another thing needing done but I think both of us dreaded. He just smiles and says awww every time I look our beyond the patio window and say how sad it is. Soon the trees will be barren, and everything will appear dead for several months. A Spring/Summer person I am. As hot of a Summer as we’ve had… I do try and soak up every little minute we have of the warm feel and look of those seasons.  

 


Our Viaduct

Everyone probably knows by now about my acrophobia (fear of heights) as well as my contradictory fascination with extreme-height architectural feats. I’ve written of the Grand Canyon Skywalk, the Alpspix and the Burj Dubai. I’ve heard of viaducts in my life, but I wasn’t aware that’s what the one along the Blue Ridge Parkway on Grandfather Mountain was called. Appropriately named, I think. So what’s a viaduct? Here’s the official info from the visitor’s center:

“A viaduct is a long bridge with a series of spans supported on piers. The Linn Cove Viaduct is 1243 feet long and 35 feet wide. The “S” curve roadbed rests upon seven vertical piers that are spaced about 180 feet apart. The roadbed is made up of 153 precast concrete sections held in place with wire cables and epoxy glue. No two sections are exactly the same and only one section (#93) is straight and square. Each section weighs nearly 100,000 pounds. Linn Cove Viaduct is the first in this country to incorporate progressive placement of sections. What this means is that the bridge is built upon itself. Workmen, materials and machines move back and forth on the completed bridge to place each successive section. Little or no damage is caused to the landscape over which the viaduct is being constructed.”

Ground was broken on the Blue Ridge Parkway on September 11, 1935, and all but 7.5 miles of it’s 469 were constructed by 1967. The parkway was completed in September of 1987. This final section below, around a rugged and rocky perimeter side of Grandfather Mountain, accounted for the twenty-year gap.

There was much controversy and debate over this ‘missing link’ as state and private officials argued over the environmental impact. How would they build a road at an elevation of 4,100 feet without damaging one of the world’s oldest mountains? Finally, NPS landscape architects and FHA engineers agreed the road should be elevated and/or bridged to eliminate the need for massive excavation. The result? The most complicated concrete bridge ever built – the Linn Cove Viaduct. The only trees that were even cut for the construction of this section were those directly beneath the roadway.

The Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Centre is located at Milepost 304.4, right after you cross the viaduct itself. You really have to look for it because it’s not clearly marked.The area has restrooms and a trail to Linn Cove Viaduct, of which we partook. The trail is less than a mile round trip and is moderate, starting out as an accessible paved trail at the visitor center and leading to a beautiful view of the viaduct from underneath – then finally giving hikers access to the Tanawha Trail. You can continue up the remaining dirt trail and climb by huge boulders for another 1/3 mile to get some views of the surrounding areas – but this personally scares the heck out of me and you won’t catch me doing it. As I watched Keith climb onto a huge boulder, I admit I had to turn my head and got more than a bit upset. The dropoffs are straight down and at that height, well – I shudder to think of the accidents that may have occurred there by persons striving to get a ‘better view’.

I have to say though, the views from this viaduct are the best I’ve ever seen from any of the North Carolina mountains.


Sun day Fun day

Been a beautiful weekend so far. My brother was in town, so yesterday we went over to my Dad’s house to see him. Dad threw some steaks on the grill and we had an awesome dinner… I’d forgotten how good charcoal makes a steak taste. Huge difference.

Along the lines of food, we’re currently driving 100 miles for a BBQ dinner. Not just any BBQ dinner though, this is the place I was talking about the other day (Woodlands) that absolutely rocks. My antibiotic finally kicked in on the offending tooth, and for the first time in over a week, I’m not in any pain.

I have a great deal to be thankful for. Heck just to have the freedom, ability and resources to jump in the car and go somewhere when you want to, well that’s a huge blessing.


Brand spankin’ new week

Goodbye to the three-day weekend – but oh, how I enjoyed it’s stay! It brought much cooler temps and beautiful skies – a chance to rest as well as the opportunity to get some things done.

A day-trip to the mountains was just what the doctor ordered. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and the crowds were even manageable. After miles of hiking on some not-so-desirable terrain, we could both probably use the care of a doctor. The statement “we’re sore” doesn’t quite describe the magnitude of the pain. Until today, I’ve never had trouble at all getting down my stairs. I had to laugh at myself this morning and hope no one was looking as I stepped sideways down the steps in an attempt to minimize the strain.

What amazed me about Sunday was the visibility factor. One worker pointed out two mountains in the distance that are ‘local’ to us – Kings Mountain and Crowders Mountain. Those mountains were now approximately 75 miles away, and we could still make out their silhouettes perfectly. Amazing!

Now if you’ll excuse me… I’m off to see how long I’m able to break the rules by donning my white threads after Labor Day.


Two of three

On the road early this morning as we decided to take a day-trip to the mountains. It’s cool out, even at 9:30am I can barely have my window cracked while going down the road. I’m loving that!! On the other hand, it’s a stark reminder that I’m in serious need of a new winter jacket.

There’s nothing like the feel of the open road ahead of you and knowing you’re getting out of town, even for a day – makes it even more special when you’re with someone you love. This morning the Carolina Blue sky is enhanced with wispy muted white ‘streaks’, almost as though an artist placed them there with a paintbrush. I see the mountains gaining clarity in the distance, and I continue to be ever-thankful for the ability to get out and move about… freely.