Mom and Dad are getting older and have decided to sell their place in the mountains. This has been our vacation place for the past six years.
Logan takes things as they come. It hasn’t bothered her much, although I know in the back of her mind she’ll miss it.
Sam is a bit upset. This is what he has known since he was four. I explained to him that now we’ll widen our travel area. We’ll make it a bigger adventure. And that piqued his interest.
We will still be mountain folk though the beach isn’t for us.
The wife and I aren’t looking forward to the hotel bills. But we’ve already found a small place in the same town that we love (see the post about Route 19 Inn), so you know there are other places out there for us.
Me? I’m wondering where I’m going to get my coffee.
I don’t do coffee shops. You’ll never find me in a Starbucks. I don’t do McCafés or frappés.
Nope. I’ve been going to the same gas station getting my coffee for my #CoffeeByTheCreek posts for the last six years.
I’ve made friends with the old fella that runs the place. He remembers me year after year. “Hello, my friend. It has been two years almost since I saw you last!”
I’ll bet we talked thirty minutes last Friday. I’ll miss that.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was created in 1933 to provide jobs to young men who were skilled in masonry, engineering, architecture, landscaping, or simply hard work. They built hundreds of miles of roads and hiking trails, bridges, buildings, campgrounds, and more in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The CCC most commonly used stone to build the structures. Some of the most well-known structures they built are the original Oconaluftee Visitor Center, the tower at Mount Cammerer, and the four-arch Elkmont Bridge. However, some of the accomplishments of the CCC are less well known, like the secret tunnel under Clingmans Dome Road!
The Thomas Divide Tunnel is less than a mile west of the junction with Newfound Gap Road. When Clingmans Dome Road was finished in 1935, there was a trail that closely paralleled the upper section of Newfound Gap Road on the North Carolina side. It connected to the Appalachian Trail on the far side of Clingmans Dome Road. Instead of routing the trail to cross Clingmans Dome Road, the engineers chose to build the tunnel under the roadbed. This old hiker’s tunnel kept the hikers from having to cross over Clingmans Dome Road
We usually visit The Road To Nowhere and a tiny cemetery on Independence Day. The. We head over to Nantahala. This year we added in Clingmans Dome because we found this online. It’s harder and harder to find something we haven’t done that’s regular tourist stuff. Occasionally you have to dig a little deeper.
It’s not hard to find. Just after the turn onto Clingman’s Dome Road, there’s a pull-off to the right. Park there and make your way to the bridge and down along the side. Watch your step.
It’s a neat place to find, and you certainly won’t have to deal with many people. If I’m heading out to Clingman’s, I will visit again. Maybe take a little picnic lunch and sit at the end over the parkway.
I have many other vids and pics to download and edit from the last five or six days. At least I have material to post.
We’re still here in the mountains. We always come up for 4oJ weekend. Well, we couldn’t last year so that makes this year that much better.
Today is a wander around Bryson City, NC. And then over to Nantahala White Water Center. Then on to Clingman’s Dome. All of this through the mountains on roads engineered and dug through some of the toughest terrain in America. Not with modern machines. Which makes it so much more of an incredible feat.
We love it here. It’s a great reminder of what we have.
I’m still here.
You’re still here.
We’re still here.
Happy Independence Day
When I was a kid, a very long time ago, there used to be a thing called the nightly sign off for TV. And on our local channel WIS TV, John Wayne, the Duke, would do the voiceover on various scenes of our country. And he would read this poem.
I still hear his voice when I read this. It brings a tear to my eye.
America, Why I Love Her
You ask me why I love her? Give me time and I’ll explain; Have you seen a Kansas sunset, or an Arizona rain? Have you drifted on a bayou down Louisiana way? Have you seen the cold fog drift over San Francisco Bay?
Have you heard a Bobwhite calling in the Carolina pines, Or the bellow of a diesel in the Appalachian mines? Does the call of the Niagara thrill you when you hear her waters roar, Do you look with awe and wonder at her Massachusetts shore where men who braved a hard new world first stepped on Plymouth’s rock? Do you think of them when you stroll along New York city dock?
Have you seen a snowflake drifting in the Rockies, way up high? Have you seen the sun come blazing down from a bright Nevada sky? Do you hail to the Columbia as she rushes to the sea? Do you bow your head at Gettysburg at our struggle to be free?
Have you seen the mighty Tetons? Have you watched an eagle soar? Have you seen the Mississippi roll along Missouri’s shore? Have you felt a chill at Michigan, when on a winter’s day her waters raged along the shore in thunderous display?
Does the word ‘Aloha’ make you warm? Do you stare in disbelief when you see the surf come roaring in at Waiamea reef? From Alaska’s cold to the everglades, from the Rio Grande to Maine, My heart cries out, my pulse runs fast at the might of her domain.
You ask me why I love her? I’ve a million reasons why — My beautiful America, beneath God’s wide, wide sky.
We’ve finally broken free of lockdowns and masks and have run for the hills of North Carolina.
The kids came up yesterday morning, and we decided that if we got off work early enough that we’d come on up if we could find a room for one night.
We stayed at the Route 19 Inn which is a refurbished hotel that had been here since the 1940s.
I was speaking to the owner this morning and the place was buried under downed trees for years. They came in and completely refurbished the place, gave it an old school motor inn vibe and gone to work. They’ve really made something of the place in a year.
Y’all, abandoned is my thing. I have driven by this place for six years. It’s just off Soco Road. I can’t believe I haven’t noticed.
Just a quick review of the room.
It’s basic but you have cable (we didn’t even turn on the TV), USB charging ports, and the wifi was strong.
Nice price for a one night stay and finding a one nighter is hard nowadays. Extremely friendly owners.
The building itself is at least as unconventional as its mix of tenants. The site was originally composed of a massive new-build S. Klein department store (over 200,000 square feet) and a smaller separate strip plaza housing an A&P supermarket and a few other stores. Beltway Plaza in its present form is the remnants of both original separate pieces with a newer enclosed mall bridging them. It has seen a succession of anchors and semi-anchors over the years, from discount department stores to two movie theaters to a Chinese buffet to a space offering computer workshops. It is now home to a church, several restaurants from Italian to African, one movie theater, a gym, an arcade/fun center, a supermarket, salons, and a variety of budget-oriented smaller stores.
I used to love malls. We had Eastland Mall in Charlotte, NC and Columbia Mall in Columbia, SC as our main go to malls in our area.
Now the malls that are left are a shadow of what these cathedrals of capitalism used to be. It’s tiresome just to visit them.
Eastland had an ice rink and we’d go there with our youth group from church every year to skate and shop for Christmas.
One of my most favorite stores was The Intimate Bookshop.
I loved the creaking floors and the smell of the store. I don’t know if it’s was a piped smell or the book bindings. I miss that place.
And I can’t forget The Tinder Box. The smell of tobacco and all the paraphernalia that goes along with that. If you’ve never been to one it’s not a head shop. It an honest to goodness tobacconist. I think that’s the right word anyway. I don’t know if they still exist as a company. I enjoyed them though. (A quick bit of research and they do still exist!)
Strange how a token found in a tobacco shop can take you on a stroll down memory lane.
I wrote about fixing my truck Sunday. As a part of this ongoing project (and yes, there’s a lot to do) I’m going to be posting here and there about it. This blog is my daily outlet. This is why I’m here.
🎼Some days are better than others…
Today was great!
I’ve been using OBDLink (Apple) with my OBD scanner. It’s a nifty little tool that can drop all kinds of info on ya while you’re on the move. My primary concerns this week are engine coolant temp and the voltage on the battery. I replaced the thermostat several months ago. The battery was dead Sunday. So worth watching over. The MPG was a plus today.
I drove home with the A/C on this afternoon. I also fueled up at a station that may have had okay fuel. But as far as gas mileage I’m pretty happy with either number.
Before I figured out the problem with the plugs it was getting 22/23 mpg. This is a huge improvement.
For a twenty two year old truck this is pretty phenomenal I think.
I have a little bit more mechanical to work on. I have some plans for the exterior and a few more improvements to the interior look and functionality.
8:00 AM: I’m starting off the day trying to figure the problem out with the truck and these spark plugs. And I may have found the problem. I think it’s the wrong set of plugs. You’d think the guy at the counter would have some knowledge as to what he’s selling you but I’ve trusted too much in that. It would seem he’s wrong.
(Further on I’ll be talking about O’Reilly’s. I didn’t get the bad plugs from there. – Credit where credit is due.)
I’ll be taking off to the parts place with a little more knowledge this time and the manual and truck info to back me up.
But first, church.
I’m at O’Reilly Auto Parts and my man Chuck here confirmed part of a problem. I was sold single platinum plugs instead of double platinum plugs at the other parts place. The plug in five split and is causing misfire. These plugs couldn’t handle the workload.
We may be onto something…
1:00 PM: I got back home, stepped out of the car and directly to the truck. I went to work on replacing the plugs.
I started at one and went to six. I didn’t pull a wire until I had the previous one gap checked, greased and seated. That fifth cylinder misfire was because of these old plugs. That would be number five in the lineup pictured above. Absolutely the wrong equipment for the application.
2:14 PM: After about an hour I was back on the road but it wasn’t all rainbows and roses, no. The battery had died and a cell had went bad so I was off to another O’Reilly’s to see about a new battery.
The truck isn’t cutting back like it was and no check engine light. No misfire. This, for me, is huge! I love my truck but it has to be usable to stick around.
At this point I was only into this little adventure for blood, sweat, and $32.00 USD. I was dreading having to shell out for a new battery. They aren’t outrageous but they aren’t cheap either. And this battery was only a year old.
But then I guess there was a bit of “whiskers on kittens“. Turns out the battery I bought a year ago was under a two year warranty at O’Reilly’s. Those fellas helped me out big time to day.
A BIG SHOUT OUT to O’Reilly’s and to their employees. Gene and Jim in Camden, SC and Chuck in Lancaster, SC. They were super helpful and knowledgeable today.
And also, I’m thanking God. It’s getting hot and there’s no air in the Escape. The Ranger has super cold air. I prayed over the truck last night hoping that this was the problem. I needed it and it was granted. So thank you Lord for the hands and mind to work the problem and the grace to let this happen.
5:50 PM: I haven’t eaten all day. I was all about getting this done. And now it’s almost supper time.
Time to shower, eat, and relax. Tomorrow’s Monday.
The Lampyridae are a family of insects in the beetleorder Coleoptera with more than 2,000 described species. They are soft-bodied beetles that are commonly called fireflies, glowworms, or lightning bugsfor their conspicuous use of bioluminescenceduring twilight to attract mates or prey. Fireflies produce a “cold light”, with no infrared or ultraviolet frequencies. This chemically produced light from the lower abdomen may be yellow, green, or pale red, with wavelengths from 510 to 670 nanometers. Some species such as the dimly glowing “blue ghost” of the Eastern U.S. are commonly thought to emit blue light (<490 nanometers), although this is a false perception of their truly green emission light, due to the Purkinje effect. (From the Wikipedia article.)
All I know is there’s a bunch of bugs in the woods ready to get it on.
If the weather stayed pretty much like it is right now, I would be perfectly fine. It’s just right.
There’s an Apache legend in which the trickster Fox tries to steal fire from the firefly village. To accomplish this, he fools them and manages to set his own tail on fire with a piece of burning bark. As he escapes the firefly village, he gives the bark to Hawk, who flies off, scattering embers around the world, which is how fire came to the Apache people. As punishment for his deception, the fireflies told Fox that he would never be able to use fire himself.
And this I found really interesting:
Want to know something else that’s pretty cool about fireflies? In only two places in the entire world, there’s a phenomenon known as simultaneous bioluminescence. That means that all the fireflies in the area sync up their flashes, so all they light up at exactly the same time, repeatedly, all night long. The only places you can actually see this happen are Southeast Asia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
As I’ve mentioned before we vacation pretty much only in the GSMNP. I’ll be watching for this to happen.