Friday, December 7, 2012


As mentioned in several blogs, I slowly made my way back to Georgia, where I was from the middle of October until Thanksgiving.  For the first 8 days, I stayed at Fort Yargo State Park again.  This park is one of only a few parks that are fairly close to Athens, GA.  While there I met friends I hadn’t seen in a while, went to a couple of doctor appointments and did a little bit of hiking at Fort Yargo.

Abstract painting??

Nope -

As seen in the picture above, it’s just the reflection of the trees in the lake from my lake front site at Fort Yargo. 

From Fort Yargo, I headed to the North Ga Mountains.  For the first 3 weeks I stayed in Mountain City, GA and then moved to Dillard, GA for my last week.  The campground I liked in Mountain City decided to close for the winter season.  I knew that going in, but I like staying there so decided I would move when they closed.

While in the mountains, I visited with my mom and went back for more doctor’s appointments.  I don’t have too many pictures as it the same as it was the last couple of years.  I thought about taking pictures while in the doctor’s offices as a joke, but I never did.    Since I have mentioned it several times, I should mention that one of the doctors visits was about my knee.  As I suspected it is just Arthritis.  But I just never knew what it felt like or how much it can hurt.  I did get some exercises that I am supposed to be doing that might help.  I should probably do them regularly to see if they really help!  I have only done them a few times so far, I really need to start doing them more often.  

I did get a surprise; while in Fort Yargo my sister and niece, Avery, decided to visit my mom.  If she would have waited a week, I would have been closer, but I still saw her a few times.  I went up to the mountains twice and I met them in Athens one day.  So  most of the pictures in this blog are family related.

No, the picture below is not of Avery doing the chicken dance.

As any good Aunt will do I taught her things her parents do not!  Like any good kid, she knows where her head, shoulders, knees, toes…. are.  But what kid knows where their Arm Pits are.  (Actually I was calling it under arms, but my sister decided Arm Pits sounded better, so we changed it). 

That same day, Avery tried on her Grandmother’s reading glasses.  While walking and looking through the glasses she acted like she was drunk.  I am sure she could not understand why she could not see correctly.

I am not much of a shopper, but of course when they came for a visit in Athens, we went shopping.  In one store (I think Kohls), Amy and Avery tried on fancy headbands.  I did too, but luckily nobody took a picture!!




From GA, I headed south back to Sanibel Island where I am currently.  I will blog about that once I leave, but there will not be as many pictures since I have blogged about it previously.   Just an FYI, its about 80 degrees and beautiful outside right now (actually I wish it were a bit cooler).  I’m headed back outside now! 

Sherry asked about my canopy chair and I didn’t reply until today, so in case you missed it.  It is a Renetto Canopy chair.  You can see them at  Mine has the footrest and I love it.  I bought mine at the International Kite festival in Washington state a couple of years ago. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet, SC

I had 2 weeks between my Townsend, TN stop and my trip back to Georgia so I decided to go back to the beach at the beginning of October.  I had looked at Huntington Beach State Park previously, but it was full and I could not get a campsite.  This time when I looked it was full on the weekends, but during the week they had a few spots available.  So, I ended up staying half the time at Huntington Beach State Park and half at Myrtle Beach Tourist Park. 

The Tourist Park was typical of many (if not all) of the private campgrounds in Myrtle Beach with most spots very close together, but I was luckily enough to ask for a spot with shade.   My spot was one of the larger spots and backed up to the lake.  I could just make out the ocean by looking over the lake  and above the RVs closer to the ocean.

One day while biking around the park, I noticed the above in the lake.  It kind of looked like a shark, but of course this was in the lake not the ocean.   Upon a closer look, I realized it was the back fin of a fish who was swimming very close to the top of the water.

Luckily most of the time I was there it was warm enough to swim.  So I kept myself busy by walking, biking, swimming, reading by the pool and floating in the Lazy River. 


Above I am in my Renetto Canopy chair.  A great chair to enjoy the sun, but keep it off your face!  From here, I headed about 25 miles south to Huntington Beach State Park.  While here I hiked, biked and watched birds.  I went on one of their bird walks.  Below is an Ibis with a small eel in his mouth.  At least some people in the bird watching group said it was a small eel.

Other Bird pictures --

About 15 minutes after taking the picture above, the egret flew away and a great blue heron took his place.  At one time both were there, but they flew away before I could take a picture.  That seems to be my luck, always a bit late with the camera.  One day I was sitting on the beach watching the dolphins.  One of the dolphins decided to start jumping out of the water. 

I finally got my camera out as the dolphin made his last jump and of course he was almost out of the view when I snapped the picture!  One morning I saw what I would guess to be 50 – 60 dolphins.  It was a great walk, even though it took me much longer to walk the 4 miles than it should have.  I stopped too many times to admire the dolphins. 



From here I headed back to Georgia.  Like other years, I started at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder and then headed up to the North East Georgia Mountains.  I am currently in Mountain City in a campground about 5 minutes from my mom’s condo.  I’ll blog about this later.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Townsend, TN–part 2

All of the pictures below were taken from Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I visited it probably 10 or more times during the month of September.

I like to visit in the morning as the wildlife is a bit more active during that time.  Sunrise in the cove --  

I saw bear several times.  Once I saw a mom and her 3 cubs, but didn’t have time to pull my camera out before they got out of sight.

None of my bear pictures are that good.  For some reason when I suggested to the bear that they quit moving, they did not listen.  Also I am not as stupid as some tourist.  I stay my distance, it is illegal to approach closer than 50 yards.  Not everyone obeys--

I have visited Cades Cove many times in the past, but I have never stopped at every stop.  I attempted that on one of my trips this time, but ended up skipping 2 stops.  One of the first stops is the John Oliver Cabin --


There are a couple of churches in the cove, but I had to post the Methodist Church since I am Methodist.  I knew that when you see the 2 doors it typically meant that at one time women went in one door and men in the other.  I didn’t think Methodist ever did this.  I found out that this church borrowed the plans from another church and just left the door that way.

I enjoy old cemeteries and Cades Cove has a few.  This tombstone caught my eye--

I enjoyed the Elijah Oliver stop.  It was about a mile hike to get to the cabin and other buildings. 

Elijah Oliver cabin -

Gristmill close to Cades Cove Visitor Center -

Mushrooms -

I enjoy looking at and photographing the mountains when they look kind of like an abstract painting, when you can just see the outlines of the mountains.  Either early in the morning or on foggy days.  They never turn out as well as I want, but here are a few of my favorites--

From here I headed to Myrtle Beach for a couple of weeks, before making my way back to Georgia.  The next blog will be about my trip to Myrtle Beach and Murrels Inlet (Huntington Beach State Park).

Townsend, TN: The quiet side of the Smokies

The month of September I stayed in Townsend, TN.  I have stayed here a few times as some of you may remember from past blogs.

After being in Townsend just a day or 2, I drove to my mom’s for a visit.  She lives about 2 hours from Townsend.  On the drive over the mountains, just before the Smokies visitor center outside of Cherokee, NC I saw several elk.

And of course, any wildlife cause a traffic jam – especially when they are crossing the road.  Luckily it was early in the morning so there were not too many cars.

You may have noticed from my blogs that I have slowed down a bit in hiking. My knee was still bothering me. Some days it was ok and other days it hurt quite a bit, especially going down stairs or downhill.   I visited the doctor and of course, she couldn’t say much and suggested I go to an Orthopedic clinic where they could really tell what it was.  They made the appointment for me.  The next day I started to get a sore throat and the following day I was sick.  For 3 days I didn’t do much other than go to Walmart for some medicine.  Then it rained for 2 days.  After that my knee felt much better.  I had not exercised at all for 5 days and walked very little.  So I decided to postpone my appointment until after my trip to the beach to see how it was. 

But back to the rain.  It rained about 6 inches in 2 days, but most of it within several hours.

It’s not a good sign when your Welcome Mat floats away!  I had ended up in one of a few spots that flooded badly.  Another camper asked how I enjoyed my lake!

I seem to have good luck in trying to go somewhere I can’t go.  A couple of days after the rain, I was headed back to Elkmont and found the sign above.  While it says, Road Closed and Ice and Snow, I found out it was really a mud slide that closed the road.  One Sunday morning,  I debated going to the campground church service or to the River Trail.  I decided to go walking.  I was just a minute or 2 from the turn off to Elkmont and there were cars stopped (this was about 8:15 in the morning, so I didn’t think there would be too much traffic).  It ended up that a tree had fallen across the road and the ranger said it might be 30 minutes or so before they got it moved.  I decided that maybe that was a hint that I was supposed to go to church.  I made it back just in  time for the service. 

Most of my time was spent walking the River Trail at Elkmont (one of my favorites in the park), hiking a little and going to Cades Cove.  Below is the river beside River Trail.

I saw a lot of wild turkeys while in the Smokies.

While in Cades Cove, I saw the 2 deer below fighting.  I have seen deer many times, but I had never seen them fight.  I have a few pictures of them actually fighting but because of the grass when there heads are bent you can’t really see them. 

The Foothills parkway is a scenic drive that they (whoever that is) have been working on for a very long time.   One of the open sections is not far from Townsend.   The picture below was taken from one of the scenic overlooks.

The next blog will be some more pictures I took while at Cades Cove.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Starved Rock State Park, IL

I’m not going to even say it, if you read my blog regularly you know I am behind in blogging.  (ok, I said it).

After leaving Wisconsin, I made my way to Townsend, TN.  But I made a stop in Utica, Il at Starved Rock State Park.  The campground was nice, but away from all the hiking and things to do in the park.  That didn’t really bother me, but I know some people want things within walking distance.  

Starved Rock State Park is known for their box canyons.  In late August there was very little water(if any) in the creeks and waterfalls.  But that actually made it easier to get around.  I read that during spring, you have to cross several creeks to get to the great views.   So, easier to walk, but no water, so no waterfalls--

The above was taken from inside Council Overhang.   The pictures above that were taken from different box canyons.  I went to 4 different ones.  My knee had been bothering me a bit so I only went on short hikes.   On one of the hikes I was close to the end so, I was boxed in on 3 sides.  I heard a loud banging noise.  I hadn’t seen anyone else on the trail and could not figure out what it was.  Finally I saw a Pileated Woodpecker pecking on a dead tree about 25 feet from me.  Since I was in a box canyon, his pecking was echoing and made the hike a bit eeri. 

From here I made my way to Townsend, TN where I spent the month of September.  I will blog about that trip next. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Horicon, WI

On the way south, I stopped in Horicon, WI for a few days in late August.  

I went to Horicon Wildlife Refuge several times, biking and walking in the refuge. 

They have a great floating boardwalk on one of the trails.

I saw lots of ducks and herons.  I also spotted a Bittern, Falcon, Hawk and a Bald Eagle.  Below is a Yellowlegs, I’m not sure if it is a Lesser Yellowlegs or Greater Yellowlegs.

The 2 pictures above were taken while riding my bike on the Old Marsh Road thru the refuge.  The first is a close-up of a Peregrine Falcon, the second is the marsh, with the tree that the falcon is in.

I also stopped for a couple of hours at Dodge County Ledge Park.  I stopped to check out their campground, but found an interesting trail – Ledge Trail.

After walking for a little while, I wondered if I was still on the trail.  I wasn’t concerned because I knew I wasn’t that far from the road, but still I like to stay on the trail.   After turning a corner, I saw this

and felt a little better because I was still on the trail.   This is a neat little park. Most of the campsites were for smaller RVs and tents, but they had some that would work. I’ll definitely keep this in mind if I come back to this area.   

From Horicon, I stopped in Rockford, IL for a couple of days for an appointment and to run errands.  After that I stopped at Starved Rock State Park, IL.  I’ll write about that in my next blog. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chippewa Falls, Wi – Lake Wissota State Park

As I mentioned a time or 2, the reason that I came back to this area was for the wedding of Chelsea, my niece (my sister’s oldest daughter).   Just like last year (for the wedding of Chelsea’s sister) I stayed at Lake Wissota State Park.  This is a nice campground, with hiking and dirt biking trails.  For a couple of days, I relaxed, walked and ran a few errands.  Then I had to pick my mother up at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.  It was a couple of hours ride from the campground and I got there about 15 minutes early (and that’s after stopping at Trader Joe’s for a few items).  Luckily they have a cell phone lot, where I could watch the planes and wait on my mom to call.

I met my new niece, Avery, for the first time at dinner the day before the rehearsal dinner.  My sister and her family adopted her in April of this year.  She had fun playing under the tablecloth skirts at the rehearsal dinner.

I didn’t take any good pictures during the wedding because my view was of the back of the best man’s head! I did get the one above of my niece and nephew (Summer and Parker) as they walked back down the aisle.  I took some pictures after the wedding while the photographer was posing everyone for the official photos.

The Wedding Party -

The Bride and Groom, with my sister (Amy), her family and my mother-

One of my favorite pictures, Chelsea (the bride) and Morgan (her sister) -

Avery, letting everyone know she is tired of having her picture taken, and Gavin who looks like he may be thinking the same thing -

Avery looking at baby pictures with her dad, Tom.  It amazes me that at 18 months she knows to swipe the screen to see the next picture.  Amy tells me that when Avery walks down their hallway she tries to swipe the pictures/photographs hanging on the wall as though they will change also!

Taking wedding photos is a lot of work, everything has to be just right!

Parker pulling Avery around in the wagon-

Avery trying to get a drink out of the bathtub -

My mom playing ring toss.  Luckily you didn’t have to actually get the ring around a coke to get a prize! 

My sister, Amy, and Avery.  Her dress didn’t quite fit in the stroller!

The day after the wedding several of us went on a tour of the Leinenkugel Brewery.  Below is Morgan and her husband, Dirk, in the gift shop.

My sister taking a picture of me taking a picture of her.  The free tour included 4 small glasses of beer to allow you to taste their different flavors.  I don’t drink beer very often anymore, but I liked their Summer Shandy beer (slight lemon flavor). 

Avery and Gavin appear much happier in this photo than in the wedding photo above!

The following day, I took my mom back to the airport and then had a couple of days to myself.  I hiked and biked and relaxed.  I also started back to Weight Watchers.  Even though I know how to eat right, it seems that I am the type person who needs to go weekly and get weighed and stay for the meeting.  Hopefully I will stick to it this time!

One more picture of Avery, with her dad at the wedding -

And Chelsea in one of the few photos I have of her taken during the ceremony -

From here, I had about 2 weeks to make my way back down south.  I have reservations for the month of September in Townsend, TN (the quiet side of the Smokies).  My next stop was Horicon, WI.