North Carolina for the Holiday

November 28th, 2008
We flew into North Carolina on Monday.  Travel was uneventful.  Staying with family for the holiday.  Just hanging around eating too much and playing a lot of Wii.  We actually finally found one for ourselves… Yeah Black Friday:)
Chase, Grandma, and Grandpa compete at bowling

Chase, Grandma, and Grandpa compete at bowling

 

We have had a lot of fun playing Wii.  Even Joanne and Stan are becoming addicted.

Chase and Kim try their hand at Guitar Hero

Chase and Kim try their hand at Guitar Hero

 

Kim will definitely not being giving up her day job. 

Carolina Hurricanes were in town

Carolina Hurricanes were in town

Carri, Chase, Kim, and Chris went to a Hurricane game while Mike cooked with mom.  The game was fun but they lost…
Thanksgiving was very nice.  A good time was had by all and Mike did a great job on the dinner.  We have been enjoying spending time with family doing a variety of activities.  Chase had hockey practice which Chris, Grandma, and Grandpa enjoyed watching.  Mike, Carri, Chase, Kim, and Carri’s brother Brad went ice skating on Sunday.  It was a succcessful trip as we all returned without incident.  Back to work for Mike and Carri on Monday but Chase spent the day with us and we did some touring of local parks in the area.  We stopped by Bond Park which Chase likes to visit in the summer to go fishing and rent paddle boats.  The day was quite chilly so there was no water sports involved.  We decided to head to another park called Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve where we took a few short hikes.  Have to make the most of each day.
Chase takes a shot at Hockey practice

Chase takes a shot at Hockey practice

Grandma, Grandpa, and Chase at Bond Park

Grandma, Grandpa, and Chase at Bond Park

Chris, Stan, Joanne, and Chase walking through Hemlock Bluffs Preserve

Chris, Stan, Joanne, and Chase walking through Hemlock Bluffs Preserve

 
 
Barry and Nancy walking around Jordan Lake in Cary

Barry and Nancy walking around Jordan Lake in Cary

 It was great spending time with Barry and Nancy.  Had dinner at their house then did breakfast and a hike with Stan, Joanne, and Chase.  They showed us one of the lakes that they spend time at boating and camping.

Chase smiling as he leads the way around Jordan Lake

Chase smiling as he leads the way around Jordan Lake

Nancy captures the tire swing fun

Nancy captures the tire swing fun

Oops, shouldn't have swung so hard after breakfast...

Oops, shouldn't have swung so fast after breakfast...

 

Kim encourages everyone to get in, open the windows and for Chris to drive fast!!!

Kim encourages everyone to get in, open the windows and for Chris to drive fast!!!

Chillin in Slidell and New Orleans

November 21st, 2008
We have layed pretty low this week, spending time visiting with a few activities thrown in. 
Lee, Kim, and Chris playing Hackysac in the driveway

Lee, Kim, and Chris playing Hackysac in the driveway

Playing Hackysac brings back old memories.  It’s been a while, but the old folks did pretty well.  We have spent a few hours in the driveway trying to rekindle our skills.  We were unable to locate an official hackysac but one of the dogs toys worked quite well.

 

Lee and Karen's house

Lee and Karen's house

 

We had to back the camper between the pillars that are at the beginning of the driveway.  The picture doesn’t really do justice to the “skill” (luck?) it took to get the camper through. Quite a long driveway to negotiate but Chris made it happen after numerous tries.

Chris's KTM in New Orleans

Chris

We decided to head into New Orleans for breakfast/lunch.  We road double up for our outing, not quite sure how traffic would be.  Drove through some interesting areas on 90.  It really is amazing seeing the nothingness, rebuilding, and garbage that has yet to be taken care of.  We actually saw boats still on the side of the road.

 

Kim enjoying her Cafe du Monde coffee and bignettes

Kim enjoying her Cafe du Monde coffee and bignettes

Our first stop was at Cafe du Monde.  Can’t visit New Orleans without the traditional hickory coffee and bignettes.  For lunch we enjoyed the official muffuletta from Central Grocery on Decatur.

 

Jackson Square, an inside view

Jackson Square, an inside view

 

We both took shots here, but Chris’s made the cut.

 

Chris diagnosing the problem

Chris diagnosing the problem

 

The ride back from the big easy was not so easy.  We got a flat on 90.  Thankfully we were right next to Bayou Savage, a wildlife refuge were there was a parking area.  Once we realized the tire wouldn’t hold air, Chris set out to change the tube with limited tools.  Luckily he had a mini air compressor (that I complained about him getting).  I guess I won’t be complaining about that purchase anymore.

 

I had fun taking some pictures while he worked…

Chris handling his frustration well

Chris handling his frustration well

 

 

 

 

Kim practicing her timer skills

Kim practicing her timer skills

Spanish moss on a cypress tree in the bayou

Spanish moss on a cypress tree in the bayou

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LINDSAY

November 18th, 2008
Allison, Kim, and Lindsay having fun at Stoneybrook State Park

Allison, Kim, and Lindsay having fun at Stoneybrook State Park

Lindsay doing barrel races
Lindsay doing barrel races
Lindsay taking yet another great picture
Lindsay taking yet another great picture

 

 

 
 
 
 
Team Competition at the State Fair- Go Red:)

Team Competition at the State Fair- Go Red:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Dyed my hair again...

 

 

 

 

Thinking of you… All our Love, Kim and Chris 

Hanging in Slidell with Friends

November 17th, 2008
Karen, Lee, Kaylee, and Lauren

Karen, Lee, Kaylee, and Lauren

 

We arrived at our friend’s house on Saturday afternoon.  They have a great house and yard.  After some fancy maneuvering and some coaching from Lee and Kim, Chris got the camper tucked into their driveway.  The drive from Tennessee to Slidell was relatively uneventful.  We did pass a camper “graveyard” that seemed to stretch for a few miles, about 100 miles outside of New Orleans on I59.  We assume that was the temporary housing from Katrina.  There is still a great deal of devastation and rebuilding going on.  It is amazing the long term impact.  We are looking forward to getting into the French Quarter, eating some oysters, hearing some music, taking some pictures, etc… 

Kim, Lauren, Molly, Telah, and Jack

Kim, Lauren, Molly, Telah, and Jack

They have three incredibly cute little dogs.  We never thought we would even consider having a small dog but this crew is winning our hearts.

 

 

Telah and Jack on Chris's Lap

Telah and Jack on Chris

Don’t tell Chris but he has two small dogs on his lap.  How cute are they?

 

 

 

Day trip to the gulf coast

Day trip to the gulf coast

Today we decided to venture out on the motorcycles.  Although it was still a bit chilly we managed to find sun and some fun.  We traveled along the coast to Mississippi and lunched at the Silver Slipper (one of the rebuilt casinos).  After enjoying our free stuff we decided we would head down the coast further to Gulf Shores and hit another casino.  Didn’t quite make it to Biloxi…  It was quite strange driving the coast.  There are some homes that have been rebuilt that are quite impressive.  While others are still just foundations or families living in trailers.

 

On the road again… New Orleans here we come

November 14th, 2008

We were planning on heading south after Turkey Day but needed to find some warmer weather.  Our motorcycles were getting lonely.  We packed up and headed out about 1:00 this afternoon.  We called our friends Lee and Karen (from the road) in New Orleans and asked if they would like some company.  They said sure, when?  We said tomorrow, we are on our way…   Good thing they said yes:) 

We are updating our post from our humble abode for the night, as you can see below.

Chris takes me to all the best places:)

Chris takes me to all the best places:)

Hopefully we will have more to report once we get settled in the Big Easy.

Last Day in Fall Creek Falls

November 13th, 2008

We have been fighting with the weather for several days.  Making the most of cloudy and 50, we have taken several hikes in the area.  There are many really interesting and picturesque spots.  We found more waterfalls and views today, however we are staring to feel like mushrooms.  The  decision is made and we are going to get out of dodge tomorrow.  Time to head for warmer weather and different views.

Cane Creek Falls

Cane Creek Falls

 

The beginning of our walk took us around the back of the nauture center we visited yesterday.  Along the way we found Cane Creek Falls.  It’s hard to tell the size of this waterfall from the picture but it was pretty impressive from above.  We were actually up pretty high lookng down on it.  Due to bad hair, we couldn’t include a person to help with the scale:)

 

Falls Creek Gorge

Falls Creek Gorge

This was an awesome view of Fall Creek Gorge.  We found a great little spot to do some rock climbing and take this shot.
A suprise gift
A suprise gift
When we returned to camp after our day of hiking we started our first fire at this location (due to the inclement weather).  While sitting and chatting about our day, I noticed something under the front of the camper.  Chris went to check it out and to our SURPRISE it was a gift left by our friend Alabama Dave who we had met the other day.  How sweet… He left a bottle of wine with well wishes for our trip.  THANKS DAVE!!!Hope to hear from you again.  You put big smiles on our faces.  It is so nice to know there are such great people in the world.

A Cloudy Day in Tenessee- Caves and Falls… Again

November 12th, 2008
 
Erica and Kim in Cumberland Caverns
Erica and Kim in Cumberland Caverns
We headed out early, knowing we were looking for some good inside activities due to the weather. First stop, we visited Cumberland Caverns and were lucky enough to have a private tour.  Apparently it isn’t too busy this time of year. Erica was a great guide and the caverns were very interesting.  These caverns were created by water and we saw a lot of cool formations on the trip including stalagtites (from the top) and stalagmites (from the bottom). 
 
 
Holy cow, there is a Jeep in this cave!

Holy cow, there is a Jeep in this cave!

 

This cavern is currently being worked on and the maintenance people passed us by in their jeep.  What a ride that would be.  You can also camp in this cavern overnight… How cool is that?  They have adventure tours that include literally crawling through the nooks and crannies in the mud and water.  Not for me but Chris was thinking about it…

 
 A few shots of the formations we encountered…
Stalagtites in Cumberland Caverns

Stalagtites in Cumberland Caverns

More formations in Cumberland Caverns

More formations in Cumberland Caverns

Chris impatiently waiting for a picture
Chris impatiently waiting for a picture.
A chandelier in a cave?????

A chandelier in a cave?????

In the caverns there was a huge room dedicated to parties and group activities.  They have bands, weddings, Christmas parties, etc…  There were picnic tables, a snack room, stage, organ, etc…  The guide turned the lights out and loud classical music started as the chandelier above lighted to the music. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what happens when you have a 10 second timer lots of slippery rocks...

This is what happens when you have a 10 second timer and lots of slippery rocks...

On our ride to Sparta and Crossville, we found Rock Island State Park which had this incredible Twin Falls.  After a short walk over some slippery rocks we found our shot.
This is what we were going for.

This is what we were going for.

Stonehause Winery

Stonehause Winery

Hey Sue,  These are for you.  What better thing to do than stop in at few wineries on a cloudy day?  I wouldn’t move to TN yet…

Cherry Hill Winery

Cherry Hill Winery

First Day in Tennessee- Fall Creek Falls State Park

November 11th, 2008
Falls Creek Falls campsite

Falls Creek Falls campsite

We left Cumberland Lake State Park hoping our next location would be just as nice.  It was a short trip to Fall Creek Falls State Park in mid TN.  The park is very picturesque with many walking and biking trails.  One drawback is the limited internet and phone service.  We had to stop at the lodge to post today.  Thanks to everybody for all the comments.  Once we get to a place with better service we will join in the blog.

 

 

Falls Creek Falls

Falls Creek Falls

A picture of the Falls that the park is named after.  We took a nice ride through the park and this was one of many scenic stops along the way.

 

 

 

Cane Creek gorge

Cane Creek gorge

The park is “gorgeous”. This was one of the views we enjoyed as we cased the park. At one of these overlooks we had the pleasure of meeting Dave, a retired Park Ranger who had lots of ideas for our travels.
A few other stops during our day…
Kim and Chris at Millikan's Overlook and Buzzards Roost.

Kim and Chris at Millikan's Overlook and Buzzard's Roost

There are several suspension bridges in the park on the trails.

There are several suspension bridges in the park on the trails.

Cascades at the Nature Center in Fall Creek Falls
Cascades at the Nature Center in Fall Creek Falls

 

Last Day at Cumberland

November 9th, 2008

Our last day at Cumberland was actually eventful for a cold gray day(mid 40s).  Took a few hikes in the park, organized our gear to make tomorrow’s packing a bit easier, did laundry, and had a roaring fire.

 

Which of these tree faces is the scariest?

Another day of Kentucky Caves and Arches

November 8th, 2008
Deep in Cindy Cave, see Kim at the entrance?

Deep in Cindy Cave, see Kim at the entrance?

Started the day early (about 6:30).  After some coffee and a breakfast snack we headed out in the truck about 9 for Dale Hollow State Park.  We weren’t sure what to expect but it sounded nice and was a reasonable distance away.  A little chilly, 50’s, but partially sunny.  Found this really cool cave (Cindy Cave), which went back crazy far.  As it turns out we could have walked straight through the hill according to the ranger we spoke with after.  After hearing that we considered going back with flashlights but Kim’s claustrophobia won over.

 

Mouth of Cindy Cave, only slightly larger than Kim's :)

Mouth of Cindy Cave, only slightly larger than Kim

This is where we entered after a walk through the woods.  Amazing how many caves, arches, and/or natural bridges there are here.   As we cased the park for other hikes we happened upon the Mary Ray Oaken Lodge much to Chris’s glee as he was very hungry.  Apparently the breakfast snack wasn’t enough… Had a great buffet lunch at the Lodge looking over Dale Hollow Lake.

 

Creelsboro Arch, notice Kim in the lower left corner for scale

Creelsboro Arch, notice Kim in the lower left corner for scale

Creelsboro Arch or Creelsboro Natural Bridge also known as the Rockhouse has been advertised in several different brochures, you would think it was easy to find…  After a nice drive, a few wrong turns, a little grocery shopping, and a chat for directions with a local hunter along the way, we finally found it.  This is a natural limestone formation that has been used as a gathering place for hundreds of years.  There is even an Indian burial ground on the top, which we didn’t visit as I did not want to disturb those resting.

 

Our 'security guard'

Our campsite sentry, watching our toys

We may be missing neighbors in this campground more than we think. We are starting to see more faces in the trees…..