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Old 07-23-2007, 05:34 PM   #21
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LG4N: Don't forget to give us a trip report. I will be interested in biking opportunities down there - although my busted wrist is shouting, "only road bikes, no MTBs."
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:31 PM   #22
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home again. nice trip. on the way i stopped in atlanta, a 10-hour drive from here. i'm not crazy about the place but i wanted to see beluga whales in one of this country's only exhibits.

first i stopped at my old company's regional office. at once it struck me how deserted it seemed. not only were many desks empty, but even more were missing with only dust and extension cords still in place. after a few minutes of searching, i finally found one of my old colleagues who jumped up from her desk to kiss me.

she took me to lunch and filled me in on my two-year's absence. as bad as corporate life was when i left, it got even worse post early retirement. working life apparently became progressively miserable and then, six months ago, they downsized yet again. imagining the workloads on the remains of the remaining made it difficult to digest lunch. i didn't feel any better for me but i felt badly for my old friends.

after lunch we stopped in to see my old boss's boss. my old colleague was surprised at this encounter because she had always viewed him as nothing but an s.o.b. while i always had a friendly relationship with him. in fact, when in town, i was his drinking buddy and he'd keep me out until the bars closed, as he'd be nonstop ordering another round.

he was also glad to see me, told me i looked great and said how i had the life everyone envied. but i turned his comments around a bit to discuss how retirement isn't for everyone. it wasn't for my mom and it wasn't for him. i have no doubt that this guy will run the entire division of this fortune 5 when his boss retires. and as much as he might like to fantasize a life like mine, there is no way he'd be willing to give up what he is about to realize in his own life.

off to the aquarium, i played the role of tourist. the place was mobbed. i bought my 4 o'clock ticket at 1:30 but finally thoroughly enjoyed the whales and recommend the experience to anyone who loves wildlife, even though it has been captured.

gail mentioned the penguins in chattanooga, my next stop, but i didn't do the aquarium there as i was tired of waiting in line. i did however have a very fun penguin experience in atlanta. there, the aquarium has domes which stick up in the displays where kids can crawl into and become part of the animal exhibit. three kids did this with the penguins, which came over to the dome and started fornicating right in the childrens' face. needless to say, those of us in the audiance who didn't go into shock just went into hysterical laughter. between that and the belugas: well worth the price of admission and the long wait.

parked at the chattanooga choo choo, i biked through town which i enjoyed very much. for a small town chattanooga has a lot to offer, even a thai restaurant where you can get ginger possum sushi. the riverfront is appropriately set up for public use. all very nice though i also found lots of poverty where most tourists probably never bother to explore.

then off for a week in the sticks of tennessee, speedwell, just outside of la follette, a tiny town about 45 minutes north of knoxville. thirteen of us including 5 adults and 8 children ranging from 6 to 19 in a 4-story cabin with two personal water crafts at the dock on gorgeous norris lake.

surprisingly not a sailboat in sight, just wave runners, pontoon boats and speedboats, so not as relaxing as it could have been but very fun. the kids had a blast. on one outing i rode with the 6 year old who was first afraid to board but once he got the throttle in his little hand became fearless. i'd let him control the craft at slow speeds but at high speed i kept my hands at the wheel. when i loosened my grip of steerage, i felt him aim for every wave. how quickly he learned to jump wakes. when our companion boat started to catch up with us he'd rev up to over 6000 rpm. very fun.

we only had a few days of great weather and then every day of at least 1/2 a day of rain so i didn't get to go biking through the area. we got cabin fever about 1/2 way into it so took a day to visit the twin consumer heavens of gatlinburg and pigeon forge. also we did a tour of tuckaleechee caverns.

parting company, i planned a scenic trip through the smoky mountains and then the blue ridge parkway to asheville, with later stops in charlotte (where my brother is thinking of eventual retirement) and charleston but the rain sent me directly home.

i drove for an hour or more through the smokys on newfound gap rd which bisects the park. what a pretty drive. fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, at higher elevations there wasn't much of a view as i was driving with my head in a cloud, literally. i'd never done that before. i couldn't decide if when the road comes up into the cloud if the cloud isn't just fog until i stopped where the appalachian trail intersects newfound gap rd, got out of the car and had clouds streaming into my face. this must be what it is like to ride outside on the wing of a jet.

decending top down through the clouds into south carolina, i enjoyed cherokee for a short while before beginning my ascent on the blue ridge parkway towards asheville. i didn't last 10 of the 80 miles there. the road quickly rises to 4,000 ft and from there maintains levels between 4 & almost 6,000 ft in elevation, right in the thick of a storm front which had positioned itself in our area all week.

i couldn't see 20 feet in front of my windshield and to the side all i could see was the road dropping off. fun for a short while but not a relaxing drive. so i found some local roads off the mountain which lead me to some highways home. looking up at the mountains i was glad i came back down. where i couldn't see the bottom now you couldn't see the tops. a little tired of all the rain, i skipped my next two stops and headed home.

here are some pics i took with camera phone of cabin (actually one next to ours) and our camp fire. will post more when others from our group send me their pics.



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Old 07-30-2007, 03:41 PM   #23
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The Tennesee State Department of Fish and Wildlife is advising hikers to take extra precautions and be on the alert for bears while walking in any wooded areas.

They advise hikers to wear noise-producing devices such as little bells on their clothing to alert, but not to startle the bears unexpectedly. They also advise you to carry pepper spray in the case of an encounter with a bear.

It is also a good idea to watch for signs of bear activity.

Hikers should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings on the golf course.

Black bear droppings are smaller and contain berries and possibly squirrel fur.

Grizzly bear droppings have bells in them and smell like pepper spray.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:40 PM   #24
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CFB, good one!
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:32 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
Grizzly bear droppings have bells in them and smell like pepper spray.
funny. though more dangerous than big bears was a little rain. finally i understand why flooding is such a problem when not in florida. here, we can get 10 inches in a few hours but it just drains through the sand & recharges the aquifer. but in tennessee it rolls off that red clay better than it beads off the hood of my well-waxed car. man that stuff is sticky and slick. you can't even walk on it when wet. i'd take a bear encounter over wet clay any day.

another thing about tennessee that i didn't know is how it split during the civil war. while in knoxville, i read a plaque describing how many citizens abandoned town when they thought the confederates were about to attack. further south & west of there in chattanooga many families found themselves in war against each other. so i guess even tennessee is not as deep south as ya'all might imagined.
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:14 PM   #26
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So I guess the worst of all worlds is rain wet, sticky, slippery bear droppings with bells in it and a smell of pepper spray?
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:58 PM   #27
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Quote:
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further south & west of there in chattanooga many families found themselves in war against each other. so i guess even tennessee is not as deep south as ya'all might imagined.
Heck Lazy, we still "war against each other" every chance we can get. It's a southern "thang"..

Glad you enjoyed your trip. You were around my old stomping grounds during my college days there at Norris Lake and rode your bike within miles of my easy chair.

You come back, you hear

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Old 08-01-2007, 10:30 AM   #28
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thanx hillbilly. i most certainly will return. you live in a beautiful part of the country worthy, certainly, of more than just one visit. my brother loves it so much there that he bought two properties on norris lake. will be so great when he builds us a cabin there (notice how i included me in that--hey, that's what ya do when you don't have your parents to mooch off any more.) and even better, next time he wants to bring some paid help along to do the cooking, cleaning and watch the kids so we have more lake time for ourselves. my mother never would have allowed for that so i don't know who spoiled him, but, sweet.
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:22 PM   #29
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thanx hillbilly. i most certainly will return. you live in a beautiful part of the country worthy, certainly, of more than just one visit. my brother loves it so much there that he bought two properties on norris lake. will be so great when he builds us a cabin there (notice how i included me in that--hey, that's what ya do when you don't have your parents to mooch off any more.) and even better, next time he wants to bring some paid help along to do the cooking, cleaning and watch the kids so we have more lake time for ourselves. my mother never would have allowed for that so i don't know who spoiled him, but, sweet.

Not so loud Lazy, let's keep this place a secret,,, we are all just "Hillbilly" type folk around here, there's nothing about this place that is so great

Seriously, glad you enjoyed. We were joking at work the other day about people paying $1M for mountain lots to have views of our city, while about 10 miles away, there is a trailer park that has a $1M view. Makes one wonder...

PM me before your next visit and I'll give you some off the path areas/places to visit in the area. Good luck with the cabin(s).
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:30 PM   #30
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I am back in Chattanooga to take care of my mother after her surgery. This place changes each time I come back. It has taken on a more modern flair and the NorthShore (where I used to live) has gone from some seedy bars and greasy spoon restaurants to a real Yuppie mecca of high end bike shops, upscale condos, riverfront parks and mile and mile of bike trails. it is a nice change and I look forward to seeing what the next 5 years brings.
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