Day 1. From Solon Springs to Champaign, Illinois with lunch and a few stops along the way. I was reminded how flat the landscape is and how much corn is grown in Illinois. 548 miles
Day 2. Champaign, IL to Sevierville, TN with lunch at the Waffle House in Lexington, KY. Kentucky is a beautiful state and I'd like to go back and see more of it. Arrived at the Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede just in time for dinner and the show. No pictures allowed during the show. It was a good time with good food and the North won! 525 miles
Day 3. Our first day in the Smoky's with retired forest ranger Dwight McCarter. Beautiful day with breath taking views. Stops at Cherokee and an old grist mill.
Here's an unusual Christmas tree that was in a shop in Cherokee. Cheddarhead hats and mice on a ghastly red tree! Eye catching for sure!
In the afternoon we took the tram ride at Ober Gatlinburg. This was an awesome ride and view! I loved it!
In the evening we had time for shopping and dinner in Gatlinburg. This is where you go if you want to buy some moonshine...and I did! 110 miles
Day 4. Today we drove to Cades Cove on a very narrow and winding road. It was another beautiful day to be sightseeing in Tennessee. I'm going to fess up to y'all (see, I really was in the south!). I didn't take that many pictures because I didn't want to look like these guys. I wanted to see it all with my own eyes.
In the afternoon we were at Dollywood. I really had to control myself and not sneak some pictures while at Dolly's Museum. This was my favorite part of Dollywood. It had many of her gowns, shoes, awards and other memorabilia, but no pictures allowed here either. Dolly is one $mart lady. If you want pictures of her stuff, buy the book or postcards.
Interesting story about this train. Back in the 40's it was used up in Skagway, Alaska when the Alaskan Highway was being built. At the same time and place my Dad was working on the Alaskan Highway construction. Made the ride much more meaningful for me. 95 miles
Day 5. Up early and on the road to Asheville, NC to see the beautiful Biltmore Estate. No pictures allowed inside, but you can take them outside. I bought the tour book, postcards and wine from the Biltmore Winery. 250 rooms in this mansion plus gardens, stables, indoor pool, winery, bowling alley, you name it! 230 miles
Day 6. Sadly it's time to head home already. We left early and finally got to our destination in suburban Chicago around 6:30. Took longer than expected because 3 semi trucks crashed into each other and really screwed up traffic in Indiana. 595 miles
Day 7. Arrived back home around 3:30. I had a great time, saw lots of new and interesting sites, met some wonderful, friendly people and I'm looking forward to another trip next year. 413 miles for a total of 2516!
First I want to apologize to all my blogging friends. I haven’t been doing much commenting or blogging lately. I’ve been in some kind of funk and I’m trying to get out of it and back into visiting with all of you again. Thanks to all who continue to visit my blog, even though I haven’t been updating very often. But like the title of this blog, I have some news.
First the bad news. Yesterday I went up to take another picture of the view from my blind. From the back everything looked just fine, but then I noticed on one side the zippers were unzipped. Hmmm, that’s strange. Then I could see the front was ripped and my chair sticking out of it. We’ve had lots of wind lately and it must have caused all hell to break loose in my little blind. I may be able to repair it with duct tape, but it did sit out in the sun, wind and rain all spring and summer, I think the elements got the best of it. I’ll be adding a new blind to my Christmas list. I know, in the big scope of things, this is hardly bad news, sad would be a better word for it.
But now for the good news. On Saturday, I’m leaving on a trip to the Smoky Mountains! Jim has no desire to travel and I do! So I’ll be taking a bus tour and will be gone for 7 days and 6 nights. I plan on sending pictures to my Facebook page and Google+ as well as adding some here when I get back. The weather forecast sounds perfect! Can’t wait to board that bus at 6:05 Saturday morning. See ya all when I get back.
We were heading up to Superior Wednesday morning and saw this turkey vulture sitting in a tree along the road with its wings spread out. Most likely it was letting the sun dry it’s feathers.
Another mushroom picture. This one was growing in the Brule Bog, which actually looks like a fairyland. Lots of moss, mushrooms and the feeling little gnomes and trolls are watching your every move. I have no idea what kind of mushroom it is, but I’m willing to bet it’s poisonous.
This picture has a little bit of everything in it. Bad lighting, greenery, fall color and the last flowers of the year.
And to show you how quickly things are changing, here are two pictures of my little blind. The first one was taken on Sunday, Sept. 25. The next one was taken on Friday, Sept. 30.
No, I’m not talking about Facebook, I’m talking about all the changes around here. It seemed like it happened over night. The deer lost their pretty red coats and are now wearing their winter coats. The fawns have lost their spots too.
The summer birds are all gone and now the tough winter birds have taken over the feeders. Blue jays, chickadees, nuthatches, downy and hairy woodpeckers and an occasional goldfinch.
Our menu has changed from summer salads and meat cooked on the grill to soups, chili and all the other great comfort foods I cook when it starts to get cool. And cool it has been! We had a couple killing frosts and that took care of the pesky mosquitoes, gnats and flies.
The landscape has gone from green to shades of yellow, orange, red and brown. Oh yeah, it’s fall and I’m lovin it!
Many more colorful fall pictures will be coming next week. The leaves are changing really fast and it’s just gorgeous out there!
Thank you everyone for your nice comments about Molly. She's such a good girl...most of the time!
She’s getting old and likes to rest…a lot. As I was going through some of the recent pictures of her, I couldn’t help notice she’s resting in almost all of them. But when you turn 11, in dog years, that’s old! While out for a walk one morning, she rested along the side of the road while I was taking pictures.
When we’re out driving around she lays with her head between our seats. Many times, she nudges me with her nose because she needs her neck/head/ears scratched.
But she’s a good girl and I don’t know what we’d do without her.
Last summer/early fall she gave us quite a scare . Something mysterious happened and she became almost completely blind. We don’t know what caused it and neither did our Vet. But in February, something just as mysterious happened and she regained her sight. Whatever it was, we all hope it doesn’t happen again. Especially Molly!
Linked up to Tammy's Photography Spot "Behind The Camera".
Yesterday we stopped to take a walk near the pond by an old gravel pit. Back in the day, this was one of Molly’s favorite swimming holes. Now, she’s not too interested in water or bringing back sticks, but we still like walking there. Anyway, as soon as the pond came into sight we could see a big ol’ swan swimming around in it. As we got closer, I took some pictures and I had a feeling I’d seen this swan before. Bet you’re wondering how does she know it’s the same one she’s seen before? Well, you see this swan was wearing a yellow collar. When we got back to the cabin I was so excited when I checked the pictures and sure enough, the number on the collar was 26C. Back in the March of 2010 I saw this same swan and reported it to the USGS. Here it is swimming around in the same pond.
At that time I reported it and received this Certificate of Appreciation. The cool part about it is knowing the swan was born in 2004.
But to take this one step further the first time I saw this swan in 2009! At that time it was in a river not too far away from the gravel pit pond. It had a couple cygnets along with it as well as another banded swan. I sure wish I would’ve reported both of them at the time.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to make my day!
We’ve been getting pictures of the same deer and the same raccoons around here, so we decided to take one of our trail cams and try it out on some of the roads we walk on. We picked spots where we see tracks of other animals. Mainly deer, wolves and bobcats. So far we’ve been happy with the pictures.
At the cabin, it’s always nice to see the little doe and her fawns come by. The dots are slowly fading away on little Spottie and Dottie.
And it wouldn’t be right to leave out the raccoon family. They don’t have names, because I don’t like them and wish they’d find another place to hang out.
Drum roll please….! Well, maybe not that dramatic, but Tammy over at Tammy’s Photography Spot has passed along this award to me. Thank you Tammy! I'm honored, happy to accept it and to pass it on to other sweet bloggers out there in Blogland.