Saturday, March 28, 2009

Home Again (For awhile)

OK - - - OK - - - we’re home! I know, it’s been a few days, but you all know how we are once we get back to our home base in southeast Michigan! Things to do, laundry to tend to, stuff to fix on the “mobile motel” and all that crap to unload from the over stuffed Jeep Liberty. Branches and twigs to pick up from all over the yard and the zillions of pinecones that the winter winds deposited on the lawn. But, most of the necessary things are under control - our house is warm and so is our beloved waterbed. Now I can concentrate on finishing up this last entry to our ever-lengthening travel blog.

From Tallulah Gorge, Rt 441 led north thru Tennessee to the Smokey Mountains. Luckily, most of the traffic was southbound and we even took the Gatlinburg bypass to avoid the tourist jams. Unfortunately, we didn’t just continue on 441 to Knoxville and we ended up smack dab in the middle of a stop and go traffic jam from Pigeon Forge all the way to the I 40 expressway. And even more unfortunate – we were not able to stop and visit Steve and family in Clinton as hoped for because they were in Mississippi till Sunday evening. So, like a robot set on an automatic course, H set the cruise and we got in the long, long line of vehicles rolling northward. Kentucky Horsepark in Lexington was our stop for the night and at 8am we were back in line again! This time there was no construction between Lexington and Cincinnati.

All thru Florida, Georgia and Tennessee there were daffodils, Redbuds and Dogwood trees in bloom. There were green trees and green grass! Pink and coral Azaleas! Ohio was BEIGE! Beige grass and beige roadways. The fields looked like a big, sleeping blond guy who needed a shave- really, really bad! If it weren’t for the paint palette of colors on all the semi trucks, there would not have been any color at all! And, the sky was a pale blue, albeit, crisscrossed with wispy clouds and fading jet trails.

Our little corner of Michigan IS turning green. The tulips and daffodils are showing buds. The iris and daylilies are pushing thru their cover of mulched leaves. Purple crocus and dainty white snowdrops are sporting their colors throughout all the flowerbeds. . The trees and bushes are starting to bud!! I have even planted a row of peas!

It was good to spend the winter in warm, sunny Florida, visiting favorite friends and dear family, and meeting SO many great new friends, BUT - - - - IT’S GOOD TO BE HOME!

Until we travel once again - - - - Stay Safe!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tallulah Gorge State Park Ga.

Tallulah Gorge State Park Ga.

Rt 441 leads from Florida thru Georgia and then Tennessee. We followed it south last December and now the yo-yo is being wound back up and we are being drawn back up that same road. Some of the scenery looks vaguely familiar and others are totally strange to us. In December the grass was dry and the trees bare. Now there are redbud trees dotting the forests, small purple and pink flowers splashing the roadsides and along side the fences. White Bradford Pear trees line driveways and daffodils fill up flowerbeds and boulevards. The best part about 441 is not having to drive thru Atlanta and NO traffic like what’s on I75!

Tallulah Gorge State Park is right on Rt 441, within the city limits of Tallulah Falls in North Georgia and I remember seeing the signs for it going south but back then it just looked like a dark lake rimmed with pines and craggy boulders. Coming north is a whole ‘nother picture!! Coming north you can see the opposite side of the dam, built in 1910 (which is right under the highway!) and you can begin to see the actual 2 mile long gorge that is at some points 750 ft down below.

Within the campground is a hiking trail that runs ¾ of a mile along either side of the gorge rim with several overlooks spaced along the way. Most of the path is listed as “easy to moderate” but we wondered - For whom???? We walked the one whole side and back and even ½ of the 1000 OPEN GRATED steps leading almost straight down to the bottom where a swing bridge crosses the river. The farthest overlook still has the remains of the tower that was used in 1970 when tightrope walker Karl Wallenda walked from the north side to the south rim on a wire strung between the two. The river itself drops 600 ft before it joins the Chattooga River and has 5 named major waterfalls. Of the 5, L’Eau d’Or (French for Water of Gold) is 46 ft, Tempesta is 76 ft and Hurricane is 96 ft. If you look closely in one of the pictures there is a tunnel that the water rushes thru! The west side of Rt 441 includes the lake itself, a beach, a 1913 restored jail, blacktopped bike/hiking trails and the actual town of Tallulah Falls. H said if we had more time here we would hike and explore more of the area.

We called son Steve via cell phone this evening in hopes of visiting with him and his family on our way thru Tennessee. He returned our call from Mississippi so I guess our visit will have to wait for another trip south, as he won’t be back in Clinton until Sunday evening. He told us he is still working but everyone in the plant took a pay cut and a cut in hours in order for no employee to be laid off. Everyone from the executives to the plant workers - now doesn’t that sound like a good company to work for?!! Unfortunately, his wife was laid off from Oak Ridge back in January.