Friday, September 21, 2012

Smoky Mountain Melody

2:13 ET, Tuesday September 18, 2012

I'm sitting on the deck of the cabin in the Smoky Mountains listing to the rushing of a creek somewhere below me. The woods are thick just below us and off up the mountain to the right. To the left are rolling hills with green pastures and trees.

We got here on Sunday evening and it began to rain that evening and has not stopped until a few hours ago.  The cabin is very nice and rustic on the inside and while it doesn't have a “mountain view” I'm quite content with the quiet green of the woods that we have.

My uncle and I have played pool almost continuously. I've never played except video pool and so it is a lot of fun to actually play the real game. I wouldn't mind a pool table at home. I've read and gotten in the hot tub, too. It really feels good to get in that hot water. I wouldn't mind one of those either.

Tonight we are supposed to go to the Dixie Stampede, a dinner show. I think tomorrow we're going to the Old Mill Village and walk around. The weather is supposed to clear off in the next few hours.

I have a very bad night last night. My back flared up and I had awful pain. It woke me up at 3 a.m. And I've had very little sleep.  I forgot to bring my Flector patches that help keep the inflammation under control. I called my home pharmacy and they told me I could go to the CVS here and get my prescription. I thought I was getting one pack of the patches but it was my usual prescription. But I'm good with it. I'll have them for tonight. I can wear on during the day and one at night. I can already tell it is a bit better. Honestly, the nights are the worse. I simply can't lie down. I still forgot to get ice packs. Ice helps, too. Fortunately the emergency med kit in the cabin had a pack in it and I put it in the freezer. I was able to get it out after a few hours and use it but the night was nearly over so it wasn't a tremendous help that way.

I haven't written any so far. I've just played pool, read very little, played games on my computer and done the hot tub. The nice thing is that the deck is covered and I can sit out here. Someone with kids took the cabin next door and they've become loud so not sure how long the peace and quiet will last.

I have a some writing I'm going to try and do so I'll stop this entry here. I plan to publish these to the blog once I get back.

September 19, 2012

We went to a dinner theater last night. The Dixie Stampede and it was hilarious and the food was absolutely wonderful. Most wonderful cream of vegetable soup, small roasted game hen, ham, herbed baked potato, corn on the cob, and a biscuit that was to die for, unsweetened iced tea and an apple turnover for dessert. We couldn't eat it all!

This morning, the rains stopped so we left the cabin and headed Pigeon Forge, shopping in the Old Town and lunch at The Old Mill. Again, absolutely wonderful food and great atmosphere in an old restored mill. An elderly man was on the porch of the Mill store, picking a guitar and singing old hymns. He had the most wonderful voice and we sat down to listen to him. We did some shopping and took more photos.

After our shopping trip we headed for Clingman's Dome. We passed through Gatlinburg. Just before I left for this trip, Mike said, “Mom, you're going to be near Cooter's place.” I told him I didn't know who Cooter was and he said, “Dukes of Hazzard?” I told him I didn't know the guy and that I doubt he'd be interested in seeing me. As we passed through Gatlinburg, I yelled, “There's Cooter's Place! I have to get a picture!” Photo taken, we moved on.

The mountains are simply breathtaking. My aunt asked if we'd ever seen mountains this tall. My sister had not but I've walked in the Alps and they're a good bit bigger. Still, there is something very mystical about the Smoky Mtns. The drive up was just really wonderful. We took lots of photos, which will be posted on Youtube later. I'll come back and put a link in here.

Once you reach the end of the road for Clingman's Dome, you are at roughly 5,000 feet. There is still a half mile walk to the top, and the incline is probably 45 degrees  at which point you have to climb another couple of hundred feet to reach the observation point. You do this by way of a circular bridge that ends at a round covered deck. All this is constructed of cement and I'm sure is quite secure. However... if you've read my blogs for a long time you know …. I.... don't.... do..... bridges. Of any kind. On the ground I'm o.k. but even looking at a bridge suspended over anything simply paralyzes me. This one nearly did me in. However, from the base of the tower, you can't see anything but trees.

So, I climbed it, walking behind my aunt and watching her feet, one foot in front of the other. Once on the deck I was able to look out at the amazing view. It is worth the huge effort it takes to get there. My aunt and uncle made this walk, barely breaking a sweat or breathing heavy. My sister and I had to stop at every park provided bench and then some. You think your going do die of a heart attack. If you have a heart condition it isn't the walk for you. If you're overweight... probably not the walk for you. My sister and I are both overweight, she more than I, and this was rough on us. Still, we made it and coming down isn't hard at all. But it is a mile round trip so not a little jaunt.

We stopped in Gatlinburg on our return trip to really visit Cooter's Place. It is a shop with items associated with the television show. Ben Jones is apparently the sponsor or owner. I'm not sure but there was everything Dukes of Hazzard right down to the General Lee. Another photo shoot, some purchases for Mike's birthday on the 22nd and we headed off.

September 20, 2012

We take our time in the mornings. We get up around 8 a.m and have breakfast. I was, by now, having a bad time with the back and leg. The prescription I was able to get from CVS and the ice packs I bought helped but not nearly enough. Walking was not a problem. Sleeping was.

Today we headed for a ride into the Smoky Mtn National Park. We stopped at a trail head that lead to Laural Falls. 1.3 miles up the trail is a lovely waterfall. Yes, up. 1.3 miles. It is heavily wooded and there were flowers along the way, lots of tilted stones that were totally unsuitable for seating and no Park provided benches. This was roughing it. We walked. We rested. We walked some more. A mile on a level fields is not a long walk. A mile on another angle is not a piece of cake. Oddly, enough, I didn't find it nearly as hard as Clingman's. Maybe it wasn't as steep but it was twice the distance. You reach a point where you begin to wonder if you're ever going to get there. Everyone you mean says, “You're almost there. It's worth it.” And it is. And on the way back you find yourself repeating the same phrase. Because it was.

We continued our journey through the Park, stopping at a small cafe to eat lunch. Another really good lunch. From there we went to Cades Cove. This is an historical community with log cabins and churches from two centuries ago. It was my kind of sight to see and took us all afternoon. I could have spent longer but the day was nearly over. We headed back to the cabin for time in the hot tub and a game or three of pool. I'm improving.

I took a last look around the dark woods and the sky that always seems to have clouds wreathing the mountains. I'd miss it.

September 21, 2012

Phyllis and I said good by to our aunt and uncle and headed back to Evansville today. It is a six hour drive and I would normally have driven it with no trouble. I'm simply exhausted. I had some upsetting news last night and didn't sleep much. The real world intruded and reminded me I have to come back.

We stopped somewhere east of Nashville and just had a drink, used the WiFi for an hour and continued. We lunched at Taco Bell just outside of Clarksville, TN and from there, we came on to Evansville, about a two hour drive. We were thrilled to be home. She took her stuff and left me.

Dave came by and I had Sarah for a few hours. She was in fine form, entertaining me and acting silly. She is changing so much. I'm amazed and frightened by it.  Tomorrow is Mike's birthday and we are all going to lunch to celebrate with him. I have gifts for everyone.


  1. I loved it! I'm looking forward to picture's

  2. It sounds like you had a good break apart from the back pain and real life intruding. Hope you have a good birthday celebration with Mike.

  3. Sorry to hear about your back pain but what an awesome and peaceful time the Smokey Mountains have provided! I am so looking forward to seeing pictures!

  4. It really is a shame that your back caused you so much pain. I hope you are better. Sometimes just getting back to your own bed helps. I've been to Clingman's Dome, the National Park, and the Old Mill. It is so beautiful there. I look forward to seeing some of your photos! Thanks for the update!!

  5. Sounds like you all had a great visit, in spite of the rain and your back issues. I'm sure the hot tub helped.