Thursday, April 20

R5N Soaring Contest

 "Al's Gliders" returned to a tiny town in SC this week for the Region 5 North contest of the Soaring Society of America. This is the most attended contest of the season. Pilots register well in advance. Al and Rhonda Tyler are magnificent hosts at the Perry International Airport. The town of Perry sits on 613 acres and has a population of 196. That population is probably doubled on the week of "Al's Gliders."

Learn about the sport in my previous post here.

Here are some shots I took of the landings on April 20, 2023.

Wednesday, October 26

Hickory Knob State Park in the Fall

So I crossed the South Edisto, headed upstate SC and crossed Rocky Creek while catching up with old friends on my smart phone. I gave a nod to the small but mighty Little Stephen's Creek, hung a left somewhere and found myself crossing Steven Creeks. I hung a really hard left and landed in McCormick South carolina, where everything is closed on Mondays. Just so you know. And it was Monday.

I took a pic of the orange spot and motored out the other side.

I crossed Hawe Creek where Baker Creek dumps into it and I watched the ripples flow to the charming Savannah River. I came perilously close to the Georgia line and pulled a hard right into Hickory Knob State Park which will eventually be underwater when the Savannah River completes its oxbow. As for now, there I was on a stubborn spit of land in the Savannah River.

My parents and sister soon arrived and we caught sundown before a fierce game of ping pong on this spit of land in the proud Savannah River.

Morning comes quickly on the Savannah and there we were looking for breakfast. The Hickory Knob State Park restaurant was closed until Thursday, as was nearly everything else, but they did not tell us that in advance, so we found ourselves at the Huddle House in nearby McCormick.

After having my usual and whatever the others got, we hightailed it out of there heading West Northwest towards Comer, Georgia, to Watson's Mill Bridge State Park. 

Because it was such a dry year, the waterfalls did not cover the expanse of the width of the bridge. So that was not as pretty as it could have been. But it was still beautiful and worth a trip

We walked the boardwalk and got a lot of pictures. One of which is my favorite from the whole trip:

Everywhere I travel, I like to find benches and sit on them and read. I certainly found my bench here:

We jumped in the car, crossed back into SC and headed to historic Abbeville, where almost everything was closed on Tuesdays. We did find a hot dog joint with the best hot dogs ever, RoughHouse.

We then headed back to Hickory Knob where we sat on the patio overlooking the Savannah River and I crocheted while the rest read and we all talked and got caught up together. 

When the time came upon us, we headed back to McCormick for dinner. Everything was still closed and apparently don't open till Thursdays.

We ended up at the same restaurant we went to Monday night because it was the only one open, Michelle's.

Don't let the outside of this place fool you. They serve amazing Italian food. On the first night, I had a New York style pizza and tasted my sister's calzone. On the second night, I had the calzone and part of my sister's meatball sub.  We all agreed it was pretty much better than any place we ever tasted. 

With our bellies full, we returned to Hickory Knob to play some pool before going back to our room. 

On our final morning, everything was still closed so we found some pre-wrapped sausage biscuits in the golf pro shop, microwaved those suckers and downed them.

Said b'bye to the beautiful deer population at the park and went our separate ways.

We had a very relaxing time and enjoyed being together without interruptions.

If you go to Hickory Knob, I just recommend you go on the weekends in the fall. In the summer it is probably great any day.

Hickory Knob has a ping pong table and a pool table, an outdoor fire pit, cornhole and some other games and a swimming pool. They also have kayaks to rent and an area for skeet shooting and of course they are most famous for their golf course.  They have three hiking trails.

Thursday, October 20

Prompt: in a world that often seemed chaotic

In a world that often seemed chaotic, she found her solace in watching the neighbor slowly, painfully, retrieve his newspaper each morning just as the sun crests the Sycamore tree. Outgoing, he moves precisely, with great concentration and stiff limbs. Each step a culmination of 83 years of stepping. Step, thump, scrape. With the return trip, he is  limber and loose, always producing a wave and a smile, eager with anticipation.

Friday, October 7

Everlasting Life

Jesus said to her,
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. 
Do you believe this?” 

Tuesday, July 19

Island Time Crochet Afghan

So.... I guess I haven't been keeping up with my new year's resolution to blog every day. Life is too short for that.  But I'm here now.  For a minute.

I've started a new crochet blanket that I wanted to share.  It's gorgeous.  It's called Island Time and is a pattern by Mallory Krall. You can purchase the pattern on NautiKrall or Ravelry. Wouldn't this be great in a beach house?

I've been crocheting for about four years now. You can tell by my seams that I'm not an expert yet.  I really need to learn to do better seams. Some of my afghans are for sale and some I have gifted. My artsy side met up with my hippie side and resulted in a love for crochet... and less time for blogging. 

What do you love doing right now?

Tuesday, June 14

Grandfather Mountain Camping Trip


           Grandfather Mountain in profile.

So we crossed the Tyger River once again and headed upstate, crossed the NC border and flew through Linville Falls to arrive in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain just before bedtime. We had three tent sites and one cabin reserved at our beloved Grandfather Campground. My son brought his golf cart and upon arrival, I was greeted with the grandkids piled on the golf cart, riding precariously through the campground yelling "POOKIE!"  I arrived.

How ironic my cabin was on Granny Branch Drive. Charlie commenced to calling me Granny instead of Pookie. I've always been a tent camper.  Until my fifties. My hips... back... and shoulders all require extra padding from the ground now, so it's either an air mattress or a cabin for me.  Don't judge.

Grandfather Campground is well-kept and clean.  They have a small playground, a wonderful creek, a trout pond and a gem mining facility for the kids. They are close to many area attractions - Boone, Blowing Rock, Mystery Hill, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Falls, and Linville Caverns to name a few.

You can always find a big rock next to a creek on which to picnic.

On Day One, we headed to Grandfather Mountain. The entry price is steep, I'm not sure it's worth it. They enjoyed the mile high bridge.  Used to be the "swinging bridge," but it's been rebuilt and doesn't swing anymore. 

Across the bridge, you can hike a little and enjoy the rock croppings. There are several hikes within the park. There's a lame zoo type thing the kids might like and plenty of picnic areas. 

Back at the campground, the kids enjoyed trout fishing and gem mining. Also, cornhole and horseshoes. I enjoyed the campfire.

On day two, we headed to Linville.  The kids went to Linville Caverns while I went to one of my favorite places in the southeast:  Wiseman's View.  The kids were highly disappointed with the caverns. First, you had to wear a mask - in June of 2022.  A covid mask. The three year old wouldn't keep hers on and they were kicked out of the caverns tour because of it. The others who finished the tour said the tour guide was horrible and rushed them through it.

As for Wiseman's View..... it did not disappoint. The drive up is not for regular vehicles. It's literally a 20 minute drive up a dirt road with huge potholes and divets. A car or van or SUV CAN make the drive, but you will probably need an adjustment afterwards. My Jeep did amazingly well.  I was bounced around a LOT.

Upon arrival at Wiseman's View, I had a five minute jaunt down a paved trail to the lookout. The view is spectacular.  You HAVE to go at sunrise though to really see the beauty.  I've gone at sunrise plenty of times and it is creepy to walk that five minute jaunt in the woods alone.  But so worth it.

Linville Gorge

The view across the gorge at Table Rock.

After my view, I headed to the caverns parking lot to meet up with the kids for a picnic lunch. Then Patti, the kids and I hiked up to the Upper Falls of Linville Falls.  I tried to remember how to get to the swimming hole we found years previously, but I couldn't find it.

We cooled our feet in the pond under the falls. Such a relaxing break.

The Upper Falls are just a short hike from the parking lot. It is hilly and a little more strenuous than a "moderate" hike. If you feel like hiking more, you can proceed up the trail to the chimney, a much more strenuous hike, where you get a view of both the Upper and Lower Falls.

We then went back to the campground for more gem mining.

I slept in the tent that night with NO air mattress. Just like the old days when I was young and spry. I was awakened at 7 am (late for me) by Benji's pounding on rocks to break them open and find gems.

I strongly recommend this campground and activities. If you can afford Grandfather Mountain, then go for it.  If it's a strain, then skip it.  Blowing Rock is a good alternative and the town has an excellent playground for the kids. Also, somewhere along the Watauga River, there is a great jumping-off point we enjoyed one year.  Not sure how to locate it now or if it's still there. You can see it near the end of the video in this blogpost.

Enjoy!  Keep an eye out for Hillbilly Sam, NC's oldest Hillbilly.

Tuesday, February 15

Juliette, Georgia

So 2 friends and I crossed the South Edisto, and the Savannah rivers, passed mistletoe park with no one to kiss, crossed Oconee Lake and found ourselves gliding through the shady Oconee National Forest.

After crossing Standard Creek, we hung a sharp left and crossed the Tomaliga river, coming to a slow crawl on McCrackin Street in Juliette, Georgia.

Home of Whistlestop Cafe. The place where the 1991 film Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed. A shrine. And we were giddy. 

As we waited for the restaurant to open, we gazed at the Ocmulgee river and the railroad tracks where Buddy lost his arm.

We walked around back to see Smokey's little bungalow and we caught the waitresses having a break on the back patio. We had one foot in 1991 and one foot in 2022. It was hard to toggle back and forth.

I think I prefer the '90s.... But anyway....

Our name was called and we entered the restaurant, taking photos of the famous booths. Of course we started with the fried green tomatoes which were incredible. We avoided the barbecue because we know the "secret's in the sauce" and we know what that secret is.

We all three got the country fried steak which was also incredible. We got different side dishes and some cornbread. Everything was fantastic and it was worth the 3-hour drive just to eat at this restaurant.

In movie terms, I am Idgie and I was trying to figure out which of my two friends would be Ruth and neither one really fit the bill. Either one could have been Evelyn scaring the young people in the parking lot.

After lunch we strolled the street and visited the gift shops. We found where Buddy's arm was buried and then we drove to the church where Ruth and Buddy were buried and their tombstones remain. We were quite surprised to see that fictional characters have a tombstone in a real grave with the beloved remains of real people. That tells you how loved this movie is.

We spent about two and a half hours in Juliette and loved every minute of it. We had a 3-hour drive each way and it was worth it.  My advice is that you watch the movie, go to Juliette, and then watch the movie again.  And definitely try the fried green tomatoes.

Saturday, January 29

Racing in my Genes

I took three year old Becca to the zoo yesterday and as we were driving down I-20 she expressed this observation:  "Pookie, your jeep goes FAST!" I smiled because really it doesn't. It's a 2-door soft-top Jeep Wrangler that shakes, rattles and pops and has little to no credible acceleration.  But OK, a three year old is impressed. I straightened my back a little, held my head up proudly.

Fifteen minutes later, Becca excitedly, confidently inquires, "Did we win yet, Pookie?!"

I smiled again because that's my girl! That's right, baby, we're in a tough vehicle, riding rough, going fast and we will win, suckers.

I don't really think I'm competitive, am I? I'm pretty cautious, kind of mellow.

Except for that time with the Busbees..... OK, so I was pretty riled up there.

And of course I get obsessed with the Dakar Rally every year.

And well, I worked for a place called The Race Shop.

Errr, I write an awful lot about Enduros.

Argh, I even love glider racing.

So maybe I do like racing.

But I'm not competitive.


Sunday, January 23

Dakar 2022 Sketches

I was again obsessed with the Dakar Rally during the first two weeks of January. I usually just watch the bikes, but this year I was also interested in the Light Prototype because I was following "Tomb RaiderAnnie Seel and Annett Fischer.  They came in #1 in all women team and #15 overall. Anyway, here are my sketches from this year.

Seel and Fischer's Ride
soft pastel:

Annett Fischer, beginning, day one

Toby Price, end of day full of trouble
water soluble graphite:

Manuel Andjubar
water soluble graphite with watercolor:

Adrien Vanbeveren, end of good day
soft pastel:

That's it!

Dakar 2021 Sketches

Sunday, January 9

Iceman Championship 2022

So I crossed the North Edisto and much later, the Saluda, breezed along the Saluda just short of Riverbanks Zoo and downshifted the Jeep as I approached the Saluda Riverwalk on Saturday, January 8. There was no parking, cars were lined up along the road and I parked the half mile away in an empty yoga studio parking lot. 

The Mill Race Massacre and Iceman Championship was in full gear when I arrived. Around 50 kayakers were doing their best to out perform each other on the icy Saluda. Maybe some were just trying to beat their own record.

The Saluda Riverwalk is new to Columbia and offers a wooden walkway along the river, picnic tables, restroom. I haven't kept up with the river scene in Columbia for the past couple of years so it's possible the walkway connects with other River walkways. I think the city was trying to get them all connected. I didn't walk far enough to find out.

I was there to play around with my camera. I was disappointed to find that I had the settings wrong and the pictures aren't quite right. I was also there as a fellow kayaker however this is not the kayaking that I do. I ride the sit on top kayak and just float down a lazy river with no white water.  These kayakers probably resent that I used the word kayak. 

Anyway, it was a beautiful day and I thought you might enjoy the pictures. Even overcast, cold days can be beautiful.