Archive for May, 2011

My World: Adventures With Mrs. P

May 31, 2011

Parson Branch Road, Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee. May 23, 2011.

This is my post for the My World meme.  It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar, Sandy, Wren, and Fishing Guy.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

Last Tuesday Betsy and I took a ride in the Smokies in our Prius, Mrs. P.  One of the seasonal back roads, Parson Branch Road, had recently been opened for the season.  Mrs. P sometimes thinks she is an off-road vehicle and was up to the challenge.

We had to drive through part of Cades Cove to get to Parson Branch Road, but that is always a gorgeous drive.  When we got to the road, we saw a big sign announcing that Parson Branch Road was a ‘primitive’ one-way road and that it would take at least an hour to make the eight miles to US 129.  (I wish I had thought to take a picture of that sign.)  The picture above shows one of the better sections.

We enjoy taking these back roads whenever possible, because they often lead to waterfalls that aren’t listed in any of the books we have.  We did find several waterfalls along Parson Branch Road which I’ll talk about in future posts.  At one point along that eight mile stretch of road I thought Mrs. P might let us down, but she managed to get up a pothole-filled stretch of road (slowly) and had no problems the rest of the way.

Image from the internet.

But our adventure wasn’t over when we reached the paved highway US 129.  We came onto the road along a stretch known as The Tail of the Dragon.  As the poster above states, there are 318 curves in 11 miles of road.  Obviously traffic doesn’t move at interstate speeds along this stretch of road.  It’s a favorite of motorcyclists, however, and people come from all over the country to ride The Tail.

All in all we had a very interesting, adventurous and scenic day in the Smokies.

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Memorial Day

May 30, 2011

The flag in our front yard, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee.  June 13, 2010.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.  There are many stories about the beginnings of Memorial Day and it is hard to say where it actually began.  Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first state to officially recognize Memorial Day was New York in 1873.  By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states.  The South refused to acknowledge the holiday until after World War I (when the holiday was changed from honoring just those who died fighting the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).  In 1971 the official date of Memorial Day was set by act of Congress as the last Monday in May.

For most Americans Memorial Day is celebrated as the unofficial start of summer.  The original meaning of the day has almost been forgotten.  But please, as you enjoy the holiday, take a moment to remember those who made it possible for us to enjoy it.

SkyWatch Friday: Approaching Storm

May 27, 2011

A storm approaching the island of Bali. June, 1987.

This is my post for Skywatch Friday, a meme for sharing views of the sky from all over the world.  To see more, or to join and share your own photos of the sky, click HERE.

I went to my archives to get this picture of an afternoon storm approaching the island of Bali.  You can see some sail boats at the extreme right of the photo — they were hurrying to the beach before the storm hit.

The picture above was scanned from a slide.

Down Memory Lane: The Blue Ridge Parkway

May 26, 2011

In October, 2009, Betsy and I took the scenic route home from Maggie Valley, North Carolina, by taking the Blue Ridge Parkway from Maggie Valley to its southern terminus in the Smokies.  Although we were a little late to see the best of the autumn colors, the mountains were still a glorious sight, which we thoroughly enjoyed, stopping at just about every overlook on our way.

To see larger versions of these pictures and others, click HERE.

Watery Wednesday #141: Cane Creek Falls

May 25, 2011

Cane Creek Falls, Fall CreekFalls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2001.

This is my post for Watery Wednesday.  To see more of our beautiful watery world, or to join and post your own pictures to share, click HERE.

Fall Creek Falls State Park here in Tennessee contains six major waterfalls.  Cane Creek Falls can be seen from the side at the Nature Center, but did get this view it is necessary to either cross a swinging bridge or hike over from Fall Creek Falls.  Either route gives a pleasant hike through the woods.

My World: Cumberland Mountain State Park

May 24, 2011

The restaurant at Cumberland Mountain State Park, Crossville, Tennessee. May 15, 2011.

This is my post for the My World meme.  It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar, Sandy, Wren, and Fishing Guy.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

On Sunday, May 15, Betsy’s youngest son, Jeff, came up to the Glade for a visit.  It’s been a while since he was up here (he lives in Chattanooga), so we took him to Cumberland Mountain State Park near Crossville to celebrate Mother’s Day (a little late) and his birthday (May 14).

Cumberland Mountain has a wonderful restaurant (pictured above) and they serve a delicious buffet.  As you can see, the restaurant has many windows that offer beautiful views of Byrd Lake.

Byrd Lake, Cumberland Mountain State Park, Crossville, Tennessee. May 15, 2011.

Byrd Lake was created in the 1930s when the park was established.  The CCC built the dam on Byrd Creek which formed the lake.

Byrd Lake Dam, Cumberland Mountain State Park, Crossville, Tennessee. May 15, 2011.

The Byrd Lake Dam is the largest masonry dam built by the CCC.  A unique feature of this dam is the seven arches that support the road crossing the dam.

The bird’s-eye view of Cumberland Mountain State Park shown above is taken from Google Earth.  This picture can be made larger by clicking on it.

Scenic Sunday: The World Turned Upside

May 22, 2011

The Surrender Field at Yorktown, Virginia. June 22, 2007.

This is my post for the Scenic Sunday meme, which shares beautiful scenes from around the world.  To see more Scenic Sunday posts, or to join and show your own pictures, click HERE.

This peaceful — and scenic — spot near Yorktown, Virginia, was the site of the surrender of the British army of Lord Cornwallis to the allied armies of America and France on October 19, 1781.

The British had been trapped in Yorktown by the Allies on September 28, 1781. Formal siege operations began o September 30, 1781, and the Americans and French began bombarding British positions on October 9.  On October 14 the Americans and French captured two redoubts (small fortified positions) in front of the British lines, which made the British position untenable.

When the British actually surrendered, French troops lined on side of the road in the picture above, and the Americans lined the other side.  The British laid down their arms and flags in the field on the far side of the road.

Tradition says that as the British marched down the road to the surrender site, their bands played a tune called “The World Turned Upside Down”.

Skywatch Friday: Clouds Over the Ocean

May 20, 2011

Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. May 4, 2011.

This is my post for Skywatch Friday, a meme for sharing views of the sky from all over the world.  To see more, or to join and share your own photos of the sky, click HERE.

When visiting the beach, I’m never sure which is most picturesque — the ocean or the sky.  I got this shot one afternoon while walking along the beach.  It was a gorgeous day and I was intrigued by the clouds floating across that beautiful blue sky.

By the way, the blip on the horizon is a casino boat heading back to Little River, South Carolina after the morning gambling cruise.

Reflections in the Sand

May 19, 2011

The pier at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. May 2, 2011.

One morning, as I was walking along the beach at Ocean Isle toward the pier, I was struck by the reflection of the pier in the wet sand.  It was nearing low tide, and there was plenty of wet sand to capture the reflections of the supports.

Watery Wednesday #140: Ocean Isle Beach

May 18, 2011

Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. May 2, 2011.

This is my post for Watery Wednesday.  To see more of our beautiful watery world, or to join and post your own pictures to share, click HERE.

The pier on Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, is a great visual landmark that can be seen all along the beach.