Sunday, June 28, 2015

Carl Sandburg & Reedy Branch Falls

This post will wrap up my recent trip its always good to have these self published memories to graze through when our memory fades In fact I needed to recall some info from last years travel and I looked it up on my blog GOSH what will we do if Blogger should ever close? I always try to tag my post as this is 'my diary"

We headed to Greenville but along the way I wanted to see the Carl Sandburg House. To be honest I had never really know that much about Carl Sandburg...or his works. He was from Illinois and his first claim to fame was his biographies about Abe Lincoln, he was known as a poet of the people and he also was a folk singer.

web photo

 I swear he reminds me of John Denver in this photo!! Or Maybe Denver fashioned his look after Sandburg? He purchased this 248 acre estate, Connemara,  in 1945 for $45,000!  His wife established an award winning herd of goats she called Chickaming after her home town! Sandburg won a Pulitzer in 1951 for his poetry,  was named International  Poet Laureate 1963, and passed here at this estate in Flat Rock NC in 1967.  

The estate is quiet lush and green it has several ponds and many types of plants and trees.  Sandburg was know to enjoy sitting near these fields and ponds to do his writings..

The house is typical Southern Mansion style built of wood  and stone, with 3 stories.  We did not take the tour since Casey had to stay in the van, we limited our time on the campus to 20 mins...Once again I had windows open and fans on for him..I don't have to see every detail of a place to enjoy it...we walked up the steep path and enjoyed the grounds and the gift shop in the basement level and that was enough for me.  While in the gift shop I got my N.P. Passport cancellation stamped and picked up the 2015 release of stamp sets! 

the house is going to undergo a restoration and all the furnishings and the library collection  of more  than 16,000 books will be packed up and held for  safe keeping off site while the work is done..

It was an interesting place to visit run by the National Parks Service...
It was about a 2 hr ride to my sisters home where we had a great pizza dinner and played 2 games of Sorry I won the first game and finished last in the second;o/ On Saturday we planned a picnic and water fall hike...

Well it wasnt really much of a hike only 600 ft.  Due to threatening storms I changed up the venue from the planned 2 hr hike to Opossum Creek Falls,  to this falls just off Long Creek ...Reedy Branch Oconee Co. SC

a 30 ft falls in a very pretty setting...

Because of the stupid system of "reserving"and having to pay for all the sheltered picnic tables (WHICH Is stupid..what about handicapped access to covered tables)...we had set up in a covered table, and were told by State Park staff it was reserved and we had to leave so by the time we found another spot, got mom out to it which took 2 of us, and set up the storm was upon us! Thank you kindly staff of LAKE HARTWELL S.P. ;o(
The shelter DID NOT have a reserved sing on it and that was our second attempt at finding a handicapped access picnic table under shelter! We should have done the picnic first because right after I took this photo below the bottom fell out we all got soaked to the skin the wind blew the lightening struck the thunder boomed it came up so FAST  our plates of sandwiches blew away in the wind!! LOL Im sure if we had returned to the falls after the storm it would have had twice the flow as it did up there!!  We were drenched!! 

L-R Mom, My Friend Cyndi, and in red my Sister Marsha. 

Mom said "I told you we could have a picnic right at home"...
Later on we ended up eating our picnic at home...
and another game of Sorry I finished 2nd. 
I've been back home a week now and can't wait for my next adventure...meanwhile this week I've been back on the bathroom work! 

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Black Mountain Camp

I hope to get my last weeks trip all blogged out...I have one more after this
I didnt have good internet when I traveled and it was just too hot to worry with it so Im trying to blog from memory-its sketchy!

SO we left the OBX and took a motel for the night enjoyed a late night swim, then in the morning I made a few calls to check on campgrounds in the Pisgah Forest area of NC where it was cool, literally we were so happy to have the lower no humidity air! Called Mt. Mitchell State Park they were full, with only 9 sites I figured as much, but they gave me a tip so we drove west into the highlands of NC.

Many wild flowers were in bloom we were stopping and snapping through the van window...

              flame azelea  firey pink

 morning glory  oxeye Daisy  yarrow
Flame Azalea, firey pink, morning

 glory, oxeye daisy, white yarrow

trumpet honeysuckle

The steep windy hairpin road hwy 80,  brought us right alongside Lake Tohoma, a very picturesque lake with some McMansions around it...this is called the Casino, its a private members only rec center...

When the road turned to gravel we followed along the South Toe River to the Black Mountain CG! 

We got a nice spot by the bathhouse--we took this site so we had only one neighbor...SO cool we actually had a fire in our fire ring that evening and watched the movie "SKINS" on my 7 inch rechargable DVD player! 

We set up the tent for my friend and the site had a nice separation from our neighbors..
You can't see it but there is a Roadtek right on the other side of those trees...I highly recommend this campground and I reviewed it on Campendium which I recommend as a great tool for finding camp spots. 

Nearby is Mt. Mitchell the highest peak east of the Mississippi we went up and checked that out..not my first time up here but the weather was nice it can sock in real fast as the clouds move in and out...there is a summit hike of just over 6 miles one way and you can start that hike right here in the this is a great base camp for doing that.


there is some amazing views up there...  Unfortunately this little black weevil is killing the fir and spruce trees! 


                   Very unfortunate...WE were covered in the little blighters as we walked around..

its such a shame as the tress are so beautiful..

the views from the platform at top are awesome...

... slept snuggled up in our sleeping bags that night the temps were in the low 60's...
We spent one night then broke camp to head to my sisters house to spend the weekend and pick up Mom and the Girls!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

First in Flight...

more on the trip to the coast of NC and the Outer Banks....
we broke camp on Thursday morning and we drove up to the north end of the OXB.

Our plan included a stop at the Wright Brothers Memorial and Museum near Kitty Hawk..


There is a huge Monolithic's really huge!  One side has this wing pattern on it and the other side 

has the names..


and a replica of the plane ...

The cluttered background makes it hard to see the plane...ooops.

Inside all sorts of cool facts n stuff..

Like this wind tunnel they used to test the effects of wind on the plane design.
I got my passport stamp here and on we went...up to 

Nope Im not gonna pay to make my heart race..

I like this little cistern building off the side of the house..what a great idea!  People take notice!  I know its illegal to catch rainwater in some areas but if it ain't we should do it! 

We had hopes to see some of the wild horses up around Corolla  but turns out its 4 wheels drives only or pay $50 for a "safari" type tour...passed on that you can help rescue a poor slaughter bound horse for that...
So we did have a nice dinner then headed back to the mainland we took a motel for that night and turned out they had a sweet heated pool so at 9 pm we were dog paddling!! 

My Impressions of the Outer Banks: 
TOO Commercialized! 

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pea Island

We drove on Monday, did the Beach on Tuesday, and the Hatteras Lighthouse and Pea Island Refuge on Wednesday.  I told you about the light house.  Pea Island has the potential to be a good birding area but we hit it at just the wrong time,  the hottest part of the day...AND  if you're going there leave your pet some where cause they don't allow dogs on the trails.  So we had to cut it very short as Casey was with us....I left ALL the windows open  in the van and put my battery fan on for Casey..he was fine when we returned but we did a very fast look around... so that translates to us not seeing much of nothing!! They do get Black Necked Stilts but we saw none in our fast walk around. 

Not many birds were out in the open a few Least terns, lots of Red Winged Blackbirds, and a few Egrets, some laughing gulls..

This cute snapping turtle poked his head up to have a good look at us..

Eastern Towhee and Eastern Meadowlark were around...

The trail has this cool living arch over it  in several spots...
and there is quite an accumulation of sand dunes along the road

Thursday we broke camp and this was our last day of touring the Outer Banks we had a couple more stops in mind before heading to cooler climes for the duration of the weekend. 

more on next post...

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sights of the Outer Banks

My trip seemed so short! I need more...and it ended up being the hottest week since August of last year UGH!  But we made as much lemonade as we could by enjoying the scenery around us.
 We shot over the Intracoastal Atlantic Waterway it appeared to disappear into the horizon.

Intracoastal Waterway

But actually this bridge, Lindsay Warren Bridge, goes over the Alligator River!  It's 4.54 kilometers or 2.82 miles in length! 

Lindsay Warren Bridge

We passed through Roanoke Island, and then onto the spits and islands of the Outer Banks and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  

We had planned to camp and even tho it was HOT the WIND was constant so as long as we created some shade and found some ice cream shoppes we were fine!  We camped at Cape Point CG.  Its a National Parks run CG and its a first come first serve self check in.  The other 'reservable" campgrounds were crowded. There is Oregon Inlet, Frisco, and Okracoke.  The Cape Point CG has  200 sites and we were one of 3 there! SO we had the privacy we wanted the shade was in short supply tho.

Cape Point Camp Ground

The draw is the beach, its not right next to the point so we drove about 1/4 mile to the public access point, there is a lot of 4 x 4 ing on these beaches (no ATV's) that creates DEEP hot as cooking oil and the surf was rough ,we did get  a nice sunburn when we played in the surf..Casey did NOT like his cloth crate and eventually destroyed it! ;o/

my bff and Casey under the umbrella

Other must see's are the lighthouses...we only stopped at 2 but saw others from a distance...the most popular is Cape Hatteras it was actually moved 17 yrs ago! Built in 1870 they moved it 2900 ft due to erosion of the site where it was.

we didn't get thrilled at the idea of going up the over 250 steps so we took photos got my Passport stamped listened to the 30 minute Ranger lecture on the history of the lighthouse, the moving of it, and the ecology of the area, and moved on...

besides we became intimate with the light house as she gave us light each night at the campground!

One thing they left out of the brochures is the awesome sky watching since there are no trees..
I did try for a couple photos but I have nil-skill and not the right equipment for starry night photos...we sat out under the stars each night, saw 2 shooting starts and the milky way!

More later! It may take me a week to catch up on reading your blogs I did not do the Internet on this trip. 
Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.