Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Catching up

Well, we don't do anything for almost a month, then we do a lot in a few days.  After we left our poor sick bike in Ohio, we spent July just doing our usual stuff around the park.  Over Labor Day weekend  daughter Stacy and her partner Ruth Ann came for a visit.  On Saturday we drove to Pigeon Forge to visit Dollywood.  We opened the park at 9:30am and closed it at 7pm, all without a camera, unfortunately.  Between those times we walked all over the park watching the musical shows, cruising the shops, picking the best food to devour and riding the roller coasters.  We were all looking forward to the Flying Eagle so we were upset when Duane woke up with vertigo!  He managed to make his way to the blacksmith shop, the carvers' and the glassblowers (what I call the Wegley Triangle cause he gets lost in there).  The girls all went on a mine rollercoaster, then Duane decided he would try the steel 4-loop-de-loop coaster.  He didn't have any problem so we headed for the Eagle.  That was the most awsome coaster ever!!!!  With nortriptolyn and a Dramamine I managed to ride them all before I got nauseated.  By that time, Duane was feeling fine.  After lunch we sat in a darkened theater for a very nice rock and roll show.  I sang along with every song and was back to normal and ready for more fun.  We rode the Ferris Wheel, and got harnessed up for a walk around what I guess could be called scaffolding.  It was a three story framework with different kinds of steps, rope crossings and ledges.  The harness was attached to a rope which in turned slipped into a track above our heads.  We moved the ropes with us as we worked our ways around.  Great exercise, great fun.  We spent quite a bit of time moseying around Dolly's museum and took a quick tour of her bus.  We got a few souveniers then traipsed back to the Jeep and made our way home. 
Next day we set out to explore the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park.  We drove through the tunnel under the Cumberland Mountains to the Visitors' Center.  This is very nicely done museum, theater, and gift shop.  The museum gives a very clear picture of the importance of the Cumberland Gap, the only way from the east into the far west of Kentucky.  There are dioramas, timelines, and excerpts from personal diaries of pioneers traveling to the new land.  The theater has a nice little film explaining the importance of the gap and the gift shop features the work of area artisans.  Next we drove back into Tennessee and to the top of the ridge.  From the parking lot there's a short walk to the observation point where we could see Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia.  Back down the mountain we found a trail that led us to the gap itself.
Ruth Ann and Stacy  
At the top is a little gazebo where we could stand in three states at once.  All weekend we had been keeping an eye on hurricane Ike, hoping our weather would not be affected.  Our luck ran out just after this dorky pic of Louise was taken.  Thunder rumbled, clouds gathered and began to spit at us as we hurried down the trail.  By the halfway point, the showers changed to a downpour.  We splashed and dripped our way to the car where Stacy produced plastic sheets to protect her Jeep.  We made one stop on the way home--at a Red Box to rent Joyful Noise.  After leftovers for supper we made popcorn and enjoyed some more Dolly before lights out.  Monday we woke up to a soggy world so after breakfast we took a drive around Norris Dam and Lake.  After lunch the girls packed up and and took off. 
We did our usual stuff for 2 more weeks then got word that our bike was back from the hospital in Wisconsin and would be ready to be picked up by the 15th.  Yay!!!  We drove to Ohio on Sat. am, driving directly to the H-D shop.  They were in the process of putting the engine back in and assured us that it would be done that day.  We grabbed some lunch then headed to our other daughter's house, where Rachel, her husband Benji, and (our) grandkids Maddy, Si, and Judah welcomed us.  Maddy celebraged her 8th birthday on Sept. 11th and had her party the 15th.  Her present from us was this  "I Dream of Jeannie" outfit which I made for her.  She picked out the pattern and the fabric.  She loved it and wore it for her party. Rachel is in green in the background.
Dad Benji giving her the cake.  Maddy helped make the cake and did most of the decorating. 

We left the party in good hands and drove over to our friend Barbara's house.  Maddy had 4 girls over for a sleep over so we opted for a quieter evening. The shop called to say that the bike was done but they were closed.  We opted to pick it up Monday so they would have a chance to clean it up.

 Sunday we drove to Lake Loramie to visit my Uncle Paul and Aunt Rhonola.  Uncle celebrated his 95th birthday the next week.  We had a nice long lunch and visit then headed back to Barbara's.

Monday we picked up the bike and left the truck there while we rode to Christiansburg to meet with friends Pam and Eddy Shouse.  I don't know why we didn't remember to take the camera, so unfortunately you don't get to see their smiling faces.   After 3 or so hours we took the bike back to Barbara's  In the evening we met my sisters Marycarol and Martha for gabbing and pizza then back to Barbara's.  
Tuesday Duane went on a ride with his friend Wayne.  I stayed at the house and played Rummy Cubes with Barbara.  Every time we were not visiting other friends and relatives, we visited with Barbara and her fiance Gene.  They are two of the nicest people we know.  They met in church, have dated for three years and are planning to tie the knot sometime in the near future.  Barbara will sell her house and move in with Gene so this was probably our last visit to our 'bed and breakfast'.  Next time we will see them at our new b&b.  It's good to know we always have our home away from home and we thank them very much for being our friends.
We took our leave on Wednesday morning and drove our bike home in the truck with no problems.  Duane worked Thurs am and we both worked all day Fri. Duane rode his baby around town doing errands.  On Sat. we suited up for a long ride with new biker friends Mark and Loretta.  Our plan was to visit the HD store in Maryville then ride the Dragon's Tail over the mountain.  By the time we got to the interstate two miles away, the bike was sputtering and cutting out again.  It cut out then smoothed out then cut out all the way to Maryville so our bike went directly to the service department.  Four hours and one hour's labor later we were on the road again.  Mike and Loretta (again with no camera!  What's up with that?  Two more people you don't get to see!) ate lunch with us at the conveniently located restaurant on the HD grounds, did some shopping in the store, chatted a while, then headed down the road for ice cream, after making sure we could contact them if we needed anything.  Do we meet nice people or what?!  After the service tec found a spark plug wire touching the engine and changed it around, the bike was healthy again.  We found Mike and Loretta at the local WalMart then took the scenic route home.  Sunday we goofed off.  Duane rode the bike and I worked on a quilt which will be a wall hanging in the clubhouse here at Raccoon Valley.  Monday Mike and Loretta had other plans so we took off for the Dragon's Tail.  The road's claim to fame is 318 curves in 11 miles.  The day was perfect.  Deep blue sky, sunshine, dry roads.
 One of the many scenic overlooks
my view of the curve 

This overlook was popular.
inside curve 
At the end of the Tail, we took a lunch break then picked up the Cherohala Skyway in Robbinsville NC.  The Skyway is 40 miles long but if you drive the limit and stop at the scenic overlooks, it will take 2 hours to drive.  We took about 1 1/2.  We liked this drive better.  The curves were wider and more sweeping so Duane had some time to look around.  The overlooks were very clear and well maintained.   

Info boards at each overlook explain how pioneers settled in the coves and survived far from other people and stores.  The trail runs between Robbinsville and Tellico Plains TN. 

HD store in Tellico Plains
There you go.  With us its feast or famine.  We hope you enjoyed the feast.

Keep checking on us.  We're bound to do something interesting again soon.  This is our last week here in TN.  Next week starts a month off before we start working in FL for 5 months.  I'm sure we can regale you with our wonderful travels south!

Til that happens we're still us

Louise and Duane