Friday, October 31, 2014

October 30th - Art Class & Lunch

The girls were here to finish their art project today.  They painted the trees and pumpkins and the paintings turned out really cute!
  
I painted a picture, too, just to show them what to do, but they both took that instruction and made it personal.  I like that their paintings are so unique.  Smart girls and good artists!

David's mother is visiting, so she was along when they got here.  She was anxious to see the "art room" so she got the grand tour of our bonus room.  She enjoyed seeing all the projects they have finished so far.  They went out to shop while we did art class.  They picked Brooks up from pre-school on their way back.

Since it was lunchtime by then, we all went up to Del Rio for lunch and had a fun time.  We love sitting on the patio, as the kids can move around without bothering people.  Ashby and Abby had brought some Barbie dolls from my house and they entertained themselves  - and could have continued to a long time, if it hadn't finally been time to leave.

Venett and I got to talking about family history (we are both ward consultants) and she is already registered for Roots Tech in Salt Lake in February.  She convinced me to come, too.  I already wanted to go, but she and Lisa persuaded me.  She already has a room booked, which we can share.  When I got home, I registered.  Now I will just have to come up with some money for an airline ticket!  I am really excited.

On my way back home, I had to make a library run to pick up a book that was one hold.  Today was the last day to pick it up, so I made it under the wire!  It was a copy of a book that is being read as part of an online genealogy book group.  Should be fun!

The rest of my day - what was left of it - was pretty lazy.  I was mostly at the computer working on my usual pile of stuff.  I still can't figure out how I can get rid of a pile and have a new one the very next day! 
 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 29th - Family History Day

First full day home and I got to go to the Family History Center for half of it.  I can't complain about that!  We didn't have any patrons, but I spent the whole time reviewing and getting acquainted with the premium websites that are available there.  I will have to sound like an expert about it at the next Genealogy Study Group, so I figured I had better start learning!

At home, I managed to get three loads of laundry done.  Other than that, I was mostly at the computer.  I worked on my Sunday lesson, on my presentation for the stake class in November, and on a handout for the premium websites.  It kept me busy!

It is good to fill the first day back with things I really enjoy - lessens the feelings of "I wish I was still on vacation!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 28th - North Carolina Day 5 - Heading Home

We were supposed to check out by 10:00, so we just had cereal for breakfast and got packed up.  There wasn't really much to do, though, as we didn't have to do any cleaning.  Well, other than the dishes, of course, but there weren't many dirty ones anyway.  Packing the leftover food only took a few minutes.  Suitcases were easy to pack since almost everything was dirty anyway.  We didn't want to leave, but finally decided we just needed to go ahead and go. 

We went back to Franklin by a different route than we had used before, but it took just about the same amount of time.  This time we were on the highway, rather than the mountain road.  It was a little longer, but much faster. 

When we got back to our area, we stopped for lunch at Red Lobster - give of the last hurrah of our vacation.  Then we were home, unloaded, unpacked, etc.  Bill had some errands to run and I was at the computer.  I mostly planned the art classes for next month, as I had nothing planned after this week.

It is good to be home, but it is always sad when a vacation ends, especially one that has been so good.  We enjoyed the few days we were away so much and the weather was absolutely perfect.  What more could we ask!!  Well, maybe that it could have lasted another day or two???

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 27th - North Carolina Day 4 - Fontana Dam

We started our morning as usual - lazy!  Loving it!  After another good brunch that Bill cooked (omelets, grits and bacon), we relaxed a little and made plans for the day.

Our first trip was to drive down The Road to Nowhere to see where it went, which was....... nowhere!  Actually, we had already found out that it was originally to be a road to the lakeside, and in fact is called Lakeside Drive, but six miles out, after building a tunnel through the mountain, the whole project was stopped and never competed.  As a result, the road really goes no where, although we did enjoy seeing the tunnel.

From there, we headed back into Bryson City and stopped at the city museum and visitors center.  We picked up a map and got instructions on how to get to the dam.  We also toured the museum, which was interesting, as it told the story of the Swain County area.

We then headed out to the dam.  It was about a half hour drive, but the drive was beautiful.  Of course, wherever we drive around here, it is on a mountain road and is beautiful.  The Fontana Dam itself was also interesting.  It is the largest dam (by height) east of the Rockies.  We also went into the visitors center to get information about its history and met a couple that volunteer there - such nice people.

We had planned to stop and eat, but when it came right down to it, we decided to just go back to the cabin.  We had chili dogs instead.  Not too exciting, but certainly more relaxed sitting at the table looking out the window that sitting in a busy restaurant!

The rest of our evening was the usual relaxed, do nothing important, that we are getting used to!  I sat out on the deck and read for a long time, until it got too dark.  Bill sat out there after dark so he could look at the stars again.

This is our last night.  Tomorrow morning we have to pack up and be out of here.  We have had such a great time.  I wish we had a couple more days!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 26th - North Carolina Day 3 - Clingmans Dome

What a beautiful day!  Of course, we were lazy this morning, doing nothing of great interest.  We loved it, though!  No, we didn't make it to church.  We had even brought our clothes, but neither one of us wanted to move fast enough to make it!  Sometimes, we are bad..............

Bill fixed us bacon, eggs, and grits for brunch, which we didn't even eat until 11:30 or so.  Then we took off for an afternoon adventure.  We had decided to drive to Clingman's Dome, the highest mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is on the border of NC and Tennessee.  It was a little more than an hour's drive.  But, the drive itself was beautiful.  In fact, it was much like the Parkway itself, following the mountain ridge and opening to some beautiful views of the mountains and valleys.  With the fall colors, it is especially beautiful, although the colors are not as vibrant as they are sometimes.

You can drive almost to the top of the mountain, where they have parking, a store and then a trail up to the summit.  We had not expected it to be quite so busy - cars were parked way down the road and there was a line moving slowly through the parking lot.  Luck was with us, though, as a car pulled out and we were able to pull in to a parking space in the parking lot. 

The view was beautiful, but I did not hike to the summit.  It is a nice pathway, leading to a very unique observation tower, but I wasn't up to walking a half a mile up and then the same back.  I insisted that Bill go, though, as he has been wanting to take a walk.  While he was hiking, I checked out the store, bought a magnet, and then sat on a bench and enjoyed people watching.  Very entertaining, I must say!

Bill bought himself a tee-shirt when he got back that says he climbed to the top of Clingmans Dome.  Then we headed back.  The drive back was just as enjoyable.  Things look different going the other direction.  We had thought we would stop along the way for a late lunch/early dinner, but we didn't see anything that reached out at us and we decided there was plenty of food at the cabin.  When we finally got around to eating, we had soup and BLT's. 

We spent another quiet evening at the cabin.  I mostly read my book; Bill watched the Series.  He also sat out on the deck for a while, looking at the stars. 

Day 3 has been another success! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 25th - North Carolina Day 2 - Explore the mountains!

We had a very casual morning - didn't get dressed until who knows when.  It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed just relaxing and doing nothing of great importance.

By early afternoon, we decided it was time to get out, so we went for a nice, long ride in the car.  The first thing we wanted to do was to see where the road we are staying on ended up.  We discovered that Deep Gap Road is a big loop that starts and ends on Alarka Rd.  We went the other way on Alarka to see where it ended up, which was in the mountains at a dead-end.  Actually, we knew that road ended, but it was fun to drive it as it got narrower and then eventually became just a gravel road.  It was a beautiful drive, though.

After driving back down the mountain, we headed into Bryson City to get a feel for it.  We had only been to Bryson before when we had taken the train ride, which ends here.  So we had been in the downtown historic area, but that was all.  From Bryson, we stayed on the same road and went on up to Cherokee.  We have been there many times, but had never been on the road between the two.  It was another beautiful drive.  We may not make it to the Blue Ridge Parkway this time, but we are certainly getting plenty of beautiful mountain drives. 

We stopped at the grocery store to pick up butter - the main thing I forgot!  We got a couple of other things, as well - Bill can't go into a grocery store without "shopping around."  While we were out, we also stopped and had our lunch at a nice Mexican place in Bryson City. 

Back at the cabin, we fell back into lazy mode and enjoyed the evening.  We didn't do a big dinner, since we had eaten such a big (and late) lunch - just sandwich meat and cheese.

I have finished the book I was reading and have picked up a book from the cabin.  They have a shelf of books with a note to read all you want, take it if you don't finish, and feel free to leave any that you have read and don't want anymore.  I liked that.  I usually try to read what is in anyplace we stay, but it is not always quite so inviting.

Day 2 has been a wonderful, relaxing day.  We are looking forward too a few more days just the same - lazy, relaxed, do-nothing important!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 24th - North Carolina Day 1 - Getting Here!

I was up and at 'em this morning, as I had to make my run to the grocery store.  Everything else was packed and ready, at least all of my stuff!  Bill paid the bills while I was out.  When I got back, it only took a few minutes to get the food into the bin or the cooler and I was ready to go!  10:00 was my goal and I made it with time to spare!

Bill, on the other hand, was moving a little slower.  We finally got packed and on our way, having to stop at the post office and the bank on our way.  Still - not too late.  The drive up was nice - it was a beautiful day.  We got stuck a few times with traffic, though.  The first time, we were up past Gainesville where I-985 has become a four lane highway.  There were police cars blocking the traffic both ways at an intersection.  We waited patiently, thinking maybe a funeral procession was coming or something.  It turned out to be a classic car parade that was passing by.  Bill enjoyed trying to figure out what all the cars were.  He said that was the best reason ever to get stopped in traffic!

Going through Clayton, it was a terrible mess - barely stop and go.  We eventually got to the source - a bad accident right in the intersection, involving at least three vehicles.  The third delay was as we were driving from Franklin to Bryson City.  It is a little two-lane mountain road, very winding.  We got in a line of traffic behind a tractor, who proceeded to drive for several miles before he finally turned off.  Welcome to the mountains!

We had hoped to be at the cabin around 2:00, but it turned out to be more like 2:45, with all our delays.  We are pleased with the place.  It is very clean and well stocked with paper products, etc.  It is a nice layout, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  The best feature is the deck off with a beautiful view!

We do not have cell phone service - I think it is the first time I have had my phone simply say "No Service."  But, there is wi-fi, so we have access to the computers and the other stuff on the iPhone. 

We got ourselves all moved in and stuff put away and then just enjoyed a quiet evening; a lot of it spent just looking out the window at the view and the sunset.  We fixed dinner here and Bill watched the World Series, while I read.

The first day is already a success!