On our adventure to the Smokey Mountains we drove through the rest of KY, Virginia, Tennessee, then North Carolina. We stayed for 3 days at the smokemont campground. The trees were so bright orange, red, brown, and all colors in-between, the air and sky even seemed beautifuly tinted.
This area, before it became a national park in 1926, had roughly 1,2000 homesteaders. Little farms where they were able to eek out a self sufficient life. All the trees in this area, 5 mile radius, are second growth and the families were displaced; part of the Hillbilly Hwy. Of course, that was after the Cherokees were displaced. Here is the grist mill the farmers used
Not but a short walk from our camp is the old church
shibo liked it!
We then road up Balsam Mountain. I can’t even explain how gorgeous it was.
Don went fishing on the Oconaluftee River and caught a trout!
Kentucky is a place I have always wanted to visit. Now I understand why this is your favorite state dad. After I watched the series Justified, I really wanted to go to taste the bourbon, eat fried chicken, try “Apple Pie”, travel up a holler, see the beautiful fall, and go to harlan. We did all that. For years I have read people’s tellings of living in the hollers up in the appalations and of the coal wars. Infact, I am now reading “Hillbilly Elegy”. His life story, the Hillbilly Hwy and a culture in crisis, all started about 20 miles from where we stayed.
We have now traveled through OR, ID, UT, WY, NE, IA, MO, IN, IL, KY and fall is getting more beautiful. KY is amazing; green,lush, warm, the trees leaves are turning into the color of a campfire. Our first stop in KY was Bardstown where we had fried chicken with fried green tomatoes at Mammys, and toured the Lux Row distillery
We stayed at the Holly Bay Campground on Laural lake in the Dannial Boone NationalPark. We did a lot of biking and hiking on the Sheltowee Trace, a three hundred miles long trail.
We then did a gravel ride up a holler outside of London Ky. It had some tough spots and we also saw a couple arches.
So, umm, I left out Nebraska. After driving through ID,UT, and WY, I was glad to get to Nebraska, the corn husker state, with green grass, trees, and rolling hills of corn as far as you can see. As we drive along we look up interesting facts about the area we are in. Well, one fact was that Runza is only in Nebraska, and it is very popular. Infact there are 86 Runzas vs 77 McDonalds. So, I had to try one of these cabbage, meat, and spices rolled onto fresh dough and baked things. Loved it. Had a traditional Runza with an order of Frings.
From there we drove on to Indian and toured the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln and the resting place of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the mother of the president.
For our 40th anniversary we decided to drive to Florida and stay at the Fortwilderness Campground at Walt Disney. So, we finished our week as cooks at outdoor school and away we went.
We left outdoor school, drove home to get shibo, then we drove as far as the Dalles and stayed at the rest stop. Infact, we drove for 7 days and slept in 6 rest areas. We had a flat tire outside of Laramie Wy so spent some time there while it was being repaired.
Rest areas aren’t so bad when you live in an airstream. Below are pictures of blades of a windmill that were traveling down the road along with us and spent the night in the same swanky rest stop we did. These things are huge. Zoom in and take a look
When we got to Hannibal, Missouri, we stayed a couple days and toured Sam Clemens, Mark Twain, house and neighborhood. That was fun.
Then shibo, Don and I went for a bike ride along the Mississippi river
The next day Don and I took an adventurous ride along the river. We had permission from the railroad crew to trespass, but it was still fun!
LOVE YOU DAD AND WILL TELL YOU ABOUT NEBRASKA AND KENTUCKY TOMORROW. can’t believe I skipped Nebrask, Runza, and Abe Lincoln
Hey dad, you remember this place. One of my favorite places on the planet. This year we not only rode down the the McKenzie Trail, we rode back up it as well!! We want to come back and do the entire trail in one day instead of breaking it up into two days. I sure did miss my ebike on some of those hills!
Collin came up and went fishing with Don a couple of days and I hiked, biked, and ran the dogs, Bert and Shibo. They caught a lot of fish in those two days. From there we went to the Metolius River.
Don caught some very nice trout off his paddle board in the lake by where I’m parked 80 miles out of bend. I ran and road my bike and one wheel. Mike Kimber Laurie and Michael were parked by the lake that’s 80 miles from bend also.
I’m still parked out here by the lake. Someday I’m gonna move. But for now I’m still sitting by the lake. You know the lake 80 miles from bend.
We will move to the Mckenzie river. Sit by the river till we move.
We have been in Fossil for 3 and a half days and rode our bikes all of them!
We road to John Day Fossil beds Clarno Unit. On most of our riding we have to avoid running over snakes. They look just like rattlers but are gopher snakes. Some have been up to 5 feet long! Here is a picture of a small one.
We saw some nice craigs
We rode to Twickingham also. Small communtiy southeast of Fossill. There we found a school built in 1909, a huge herd of elk, a Herier hawk, and the John Day River. This was an incredibly steep and windy and windy road (yes windy and windy are both spelled the same. I had to look it up). The elevation change on this ride was 2,500 feet! Our time going down was a little faster than going back up.
Here is a sign post to give you an idea of the area.
We also rode from Kimberly to Monument. Monument is a cute little town way out in Grant County. On the North Fork of the John Day. We saw to American Eagles.
I have really enjoyed seeing this area that is all new to me. We have seen some rickety old bridges, barns, tractors and other odds and ends. Don has wanted to see the area for a long time.
Well dad, we are headed up wo Walton Lake tommorow and will not have any services. Walton Lake is 16 miles south east of Hwy 26 half way between Mitchell and Prineville. Don will do some fishing and I will do some trail running. Will catch you later.