Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Stix n Brix, NC

Well Gin went to help her folks on Wednesday and has just now returned home.  They kidnapped her for almost a whole week!  I did get a chance to visit with them to negotiate a ransom.  She decided that she would return as soon as she got her dad's computer up and running.  She went to Rocky Mount to work on the remodel some but his computer crashed at the same time.  It had a bad virus.  I don't know anything about this keyboard in my lap, but she is a self-taught geek.  She has built computers from the ground up.  Her father is a semi-retired accountant in that he kept a few of his clients so it was imperative that the information was not lost.  I don't know what all she did to back up his files, but she got it working again.

I went there on Friday because she needed this computer and our server.  While I was there, my Mom, brother and sister-in-law were passing through town, so I joined them for supper at Olive Garden.  Thanks Doug for an early birthday dinner.  I came back home on Saturday so I could go back to work that night.  I've been on day shift the past couple of days.  I will be so glad when I retire next summer so I can have a regular sleep schedule.  Of course we'll be full-timing not long after that.  My brother has invited the rest of the family to their house for Independence Day.  They live on a lake so we'll take our kayaks and paddle around some if it's not too hot.  They enjoy camping a lot and talked about their last trip while we were at Olive Garden.  They went to Rutherfordton, NC and took their dog to Chimney Rock.  I think they understand our decision better than most people because they enjoy rving so much also.

It's really nice to hear Gin talk geek again and Smudge is glad she's home too.  While she was parking in the garage, Smudge was crying in the house.  She doesn't hear so good any more so she didn't know that Gin was home.  Smudge was on the floor next to Gin's side of the bed begging to jump up there.  I guess she was looking for her since she had been gone so long.  We'll all sleep good tonight even though it'll only be a few hours for me.  It's my bedtime so ta ta for now.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Golden Girls

Stix n Brix,NC

I worked day shift this past week end and have been on night shift during the week.  Gin had her treatment on Monday and has pulled out her cape again to go help her folks put up walls and such to convert the office into a small apartment.  They need to have it ready for the electrician by Thursday afternoon.  More power to 'em.

I think everyone remembers the show Golden Girls.  It had such an air of truth about it.  My mom is 82 years young and is quite healthy and spry.  She knows her limits and looks out for herself.  I bring this up because she just got back from a week at Atlantic Beach, NC with 3 of her friends.  They had rented a condo.  I can just picture it being a little like the show at times.  I'm so glad she has those types of opportunities.  She had a pleasant surprise when she checked her voice mail as she arrived home.  One of my nephews called to announce that he is engaged and Mom couldn't be happier.  She has been blessed to have a great relationship with all of her grandchildren.

I follow quite a few blogs and check in on many others from time to time.  I am generally a quiet person so I rarely post a comment.  I just wanted to let it be known that I do read everyone's post and I appreciate the blog world.  I personally don't have it in me to make a daily post.

Time for me to get ready for work.  Until next time...stay safe.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Where's the Cape?

Stix n Brix, NC

It's been pretty much the same stuff, different day for me here.  While I've been working night shift the past few nights, Gin has been helping her folks.  They had a huge yard sale Saturday (100 degrees) and have been clearing things out of the backyard office building in order to turn it in to a small apartment for Nick and Becca (the grandson and his girlfriend).  Their baby is due in a couple of weeks so there seems to be a deadline.  It'll be nice for Gin's folks to have a small apartment there for  later in life should they find a reliable person to maintain the yard and help out a little when they have a hard time taking care of things.  Can you say workcamping location?

Gin amazes me.  She really pushed herself while we were in the mountains and she pushed herself even more while helping her folks.  When she came home, I could tell that she was truly exhausted.  Her MS has pushed her around a bit but she has pushed it right back.  I've been looking for her cape for the past several years but can't find it.  What cape?  Her Wonder Woman cape, of course.  :)  She may go back to help her folks again this week end while I work day shift.  It depends how much the plumber gets done.

It's been so hot and humid here that I hate to go outside, but I've got some errands to run.  Check back later.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Stix n Brix
Clayton, NC

It was a long ride back to the reality of 13 more months of work.  It was a 612 mile round trip vacation.  The day started with a little rain but we waited until it stopped before we got the MH on the road.  It was smooth sailing until we were only 30 miles from home.  Then it was bumper to bumper for about 5 miles.  City life.  Glad we made it back before the rush hour hit.  First thing we did was the usual couple loads of clothes.  I go to work tomorrow night while Gin goes to her folks for a couple of days to help them with a yard sale and another project or two.  At least we will have fond memories of the mountains to look back on....Later

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Last Paddle

Cascade Lake CG site #P4
Pisgah Forest, NC

Yesterday morning we didn’t get out of the MH except to walk Smudge.  We enjoyed some relaxing time with the computers.  Gin has been working on our information cards and they are ready to be printed now.  In the afternoon, we put the kayaks in the lake for one more slow paddle up to Hooker Falls.  Gin took her fishing gear but didn’t have any luck.  As we were leaving the CG part of the lake, all the local geese were too.  Five adult geese have started hanging around the family with little ones.  That’s what the goslings will look like when they grow up.

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We went up a cove that has had a beaver dam in it at one time.  It’s a little shallow and is full of fish beds.  All the geese followed us.


As we rounded the point, a Great Blue Heron flew away.  A pair of Belted Kingfishers also like that cove and flew by flirting with me to take a picture.  They wouldn’t stay still very long so this is the best shot I got.

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Just before you leave the CG part of the lake, there is a nice little boat landing.  They allow small boats with a maximum of 12 hp in here.  Most people use canoes and kayaks.


The mountain laurel is starting to fade a little and the rhododendron is just getting started.  They should look real good in a week or so.

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Here’s one more shot of the falls just to say that we made it.


I love the rock and plant life along the bank.  I don’t know how plants hang on so strong.  The moss and fern are so green and really help to take the stress away.

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There were some fish in this oxbow so Gin cast her rod a few times but didn’t have any luck.  She saw a river otter on the bank, but he was way too fast to get a picture.  We also saw a lot of newts in the shallow area.  I don’t know what kind of bush this is but the fruit look like tiny cherries.  Maybe it’s a wild cherry tree, but I sure wouldn’t eat any.

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As we were slowly paddling back to camp, this herd of noise came paddling by.  The boys looked to be 12-13 years old and three young adults were with them.  Too much energy for us.  I counted nine boats and most were tandem.


As I approached camp, our geese family greeted us.  I was hoping they weren’t so protective that I couldn’t get out.  They sure have grown a lot this week.


Today (Wednesday) is our last full day here. After seeing rain in the forecast, we packed up the outside stuff and relaxed inside for the afternoon.  The rain started about 3:00 and it was the gentle napping kind.  I’m glad we put away the stuff while it was dry.  We plan to leave fairly early tomorrow since it’s a long drive.  We like this CG and plan to be back next summer (after retirement).  We may even be full-timing by then.  It would also be a good place to be a volunteer host couple.  The manager couple is Jeff and Lisa Shepard.  We camped next to them last year.  He is a retired Transylvania County Deputy and his son Chris is a NC State Trooper.  The Cradle of Forestry in America is the concessionaire.  They also handle the Davidson River CG on Hwy 276 along with many other facilities in other states.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Moore Cove Falls

Cascade Lake CG
Pisgah Forest, NC

I started the morning a little earlier yesterday.  The water on the lake was so smooth and it was quiet.  Except for the humming birds.  I know at least one cg host has a feeder.  They’re hungry little things.


We decided to go to Moore Cove Falls.  The weather was perfect, low humidity and about 80 degrees.  I packed a picnic lunch and refilled the humming bird feeder.  While I was doing that, our cg neighbor came by to say that she has enjoyed the little birds too.  She has been full-timing about four years now in her Lazy Daze Class C MH.  She’s a senior citizen and is on oxygen but seems quite happy.

We drove over towards Brevard and Hwy 276 past the Ranger Station.  There is a little pull-off on the right side of the road right at a bridge.  This is where the trail to the falls begins.  It’s about 7 tenths of a mile one way…up.  That’s the Suki by the road.

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We saw a lot of fern and moss on the trail.  You can hear traffic for a while but then birds and running water are the only sounds.

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It was so peaceful with a small creek right beside us.  Mostly “down” beside us.  It is only about 4 feet wide and that is what the falls is on.  I wasn’t anticipating a very big waterfall.


Little one-person bridges crossed it several times.  There were a couple of big rock outcroppings along the way.


It just amazes me that a big tree or in this case, a beautiful rhododendron bush can grow out of solid rock.  What a great root system.


I sure wish all the trail was this nice, but about half of it had steps, stones, or roots to trip you up.


We finally got there, and it was worth it!  That’s me in the bottom corner.  It’s a 50 foot fall even though it’s a small creek.

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The greatest thing about this waterfall is walking behind it and looking up through the water at the blue sky and trees.  Small plants are hanging on for dear life in the rock.

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It’s almost like a cave behind the falls.  There is this one really neat rock formation about the size of a car jutting out but touching anything.


I’m not real sure what Gin was thinking about, but she may have been dreading the walk back down the trail.  This is her last hike for quite a while.  Her legs are killing her.


We slowly started our descent back to the Suki.  This is a popular trail.  Many people passed us going up and coming down.  They all seemed to be in a rush to get to the falls but didn’t go slow enough to enjoy the journey.  A little bit like life for some folks.  We stopped to look around and even enjoyed breathing the clear air.

We decided to have our picnic at Sycamore Flats.  It’s a nice public day use picnic area of the Pisgah National Forest.  There is a Forest CG close by, Davidson River CG, that has no hook-up on most sites.  We’ll keep it in mind when we are full-timing in this area.  This picnic area is beside the river and is a popular place.  The squirrels are almost tame.  This one was fun to watch.  He kept burying the same nut over and over.  Notice how he pats it down with his paws.


We made it back to camp.  Smudge had stayed home this time so I walked her as soon as I got there.  Gin took a well deserved nap on the couch and I snoozed a bit in the lounge chair outside.  It’s made for lounging ya know.  After supper, Gin built a nice campfire and we sat outside until the stars came out.  You just don’t know how many there are if you live near a city.  Oh, the coconut marshmallows were a perfect ending to the day.

We plan to take it easy today around camp and perhaps paddle on the lake some.  It’s another perfect weather day so we may just sit outside and enjoy the clear mountain air.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

CG Trail

Cascade Lake CG site #P4
Pisgah Forest, NC

Saturday was indeed a day of rest for us.  I did refill the hummingbird feeder.  They have enjoyed it and we have enjoyed watching them.  We only have one male visiting for every five female visitors.  I’ll need to fill it again on Monday.  We spent  a little time on the laptops and had a grilled steak for supper.  There are a lot of families here for the week end and they are having a good time.

Sunday started at a slow pace.  I paddled around the lake for about an hour.  I also struck up a conversation with a volunteer host couple here, Linda and Howard Jackson.  They told me about a nice little walk through the woods behind the swim lake.  It was less than a mile and not very hilly.  We decided that was about the right pace for us this afternoon.  As we got to the backside of the swimmin’ hole, we saw the family of geese.


We saw some interesting plants on the ground.  The first that caught my eye was the ground cedar.  I’ve seen it in the woods before, but I had never heard a name for it.  Linda had told me what it is called.


She also had a name for the other interesting plant we saw.  It is the Indian Pipe plant.  Howard told me a brief Cherokee story of the origin of the plant.  Basically the Great Spirit punished some tribal chiefs by changing them into these little flowers since they were smoking the peace pipe even though there was no peace.  Here's is a link to that story.  The little flowers have no chlorophyll.


This hike was much easier than the one to Courthouse Falls.  It hadn’t rained here yet today so it wasn’t wet or slick.  Yes, Smudge walked a couple hundred yards before I carried her the rest of the way.

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Here’s a good carpet of ground cedar.


We got cleaned up good and went out for supper at Twin Dragons in Brevard.  They have a good Chinese buffet.  I ate too much of course.  The CG has thinned out for the next few days.  We hope to have a few more adventures before leaving here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Courthouse Falls

Cascade Lake CG site #P4
Pisgah Forest, NC

Over the river…

…and through the woods…

…to Courthouse Falls we go!


We packed a picnic lunch Friday and took the Scenic Byway through Brevard and up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It’s a 65 mile loop by way of Hwy 64W, right onto Hwy 215(very curvy), right onto the BRP, and right onto Hwy 276(curvy) to Hwy 64 again.  We wanted to find a beautiful, remote, yet fairly easy to view waterfall.  Courthouse Falls fit  the plan perfectly.  From Hwy 215 you turn onto FR140 and go about 3 miles.  It’s a gravel road with potholes.  After all the rain we’ve had, it was quite bumpy but there were spontaneous small falls and seeping rocks right beside the road.

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After parking at a pullout next to the fourth bridge, we got on the Summey Cove trailhead and followed it for about half a mile.  This was a beautiful but wet hike with Courthouse Creek flowing right beside us.  We had to stop a few times just to enjoy the view.

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Gin got this salamander on a rock but I was too mesmerized by the flowing water to notice it.

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The switchback part of the trail to get to a clear view of the falls was a bit tricky and wet.  I know why it is so lush and green…it rains a little every day in the mountains.  We made it down to get some good shots but we didn’t try the very steep steps to get to the very bottom of the falls.  There was a young couple down there enjoying a picnic and we didn’t want to land on them if we fell.  :)

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Yes, I carried Smudge the whole way.  She weighs 10 pounds so I switched arms once in a while.  She is 13 years old and she has aged a lot in the past couple of years.  As I stood next to the sheer rock with the water seeping out of it, I felt like I was so far away from the rest of the world.  The rock wall circles this 45 foot waterfall.
We started working our way back to the Suki.  She handled this road pretty good but I wouldn’t bring a small sedan back there into the woods.  This is what the trails looked like for the most part and another view of the creek.

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After the bumpy ride out of the woods, we were very happy to get on smooth pavement.  We soon got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and saw some beautiful rhododendron blooming.  I don’t know what the orange flowering bush is, but it was sprinkled along the roadside also.

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We stopped for lunch at one of the first overlooks we got to on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It was a nice little picnic table there and a view of the Devils Courthouse which feeds the creek that forms the falls.  Click on the information sign to get some background info.  It’s kinda interesting.

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The fog moved in.  It was, of course, more rain clouds.  We could no longer see the huge rock of Devils Courthouse which was right in front of us.


After putting our trash in the bear-proof trashcan, we hit the road again.  It is about 10 degrees cooler up here than it is at camp.  I just love the weeping rock right next to the road.  It was easier to see inside the tunnel than it was in the thick fog.

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We were both tired so we didn’t make any stops along Hwy 276.  We got back to camp and took naps.  The invasion of the week-end warriors began in earnest.  The only plans for Saturday are to relax, fill the hummingbird feeder, and cook a steak on the grill.  We need a day or two off to recharge.  It should be nice weather Monday so I feel another waterfall trip coming on. :)  There’s just so much to do in this area.  We could spend all summer here and still not run out of adventures.