Early this morning we had a rain storm at the Grissom Air Museum. We had to wait for the rain to end so we could walk about two blocks to the Dutch Cafe, a local restaurant with good ratings. We were definitely glad we waited. We shared the country scramble which was three eggs, bacon, hash browns, cheese and toast made from home made bread. Very, very good and almost more than the two of us could eat. Some of you will find this hard to believe but we didn’t even eat any of the cinnamon rolls. Of course we did share one for our dessert after lunch. Excellent! We saved one for tomorrow’s breakfast.
After a nice walk we left the museum en route to Elkhart, Indiana. We will be meeting here the next three days with the NOMADS committee in charge of the 2021 annual meeting. First meeting was at 3:00 this afternoon. It was good to see everyone and hard to not hug some dear friends but we wore our masks and everyone kept their distance. So tired of Covid! The meeting ended a little early because on an approaching severe storm. We all pulled in our slides and put all the chairs and outside stuff away and then returned to the more secure building to ride out what were predicted to be 70mph winds. It was an impressive storm but no damage in our immediate area. Not too far away there was some damage. Again we were blessed and it reminded the committee of the need to have emergency plans in place for the meeting. It was another good day.
Yesterday morning we completed the packing up of Fred and were on the road again. This time our destination was Sparta, Kentucky. It was a beautiful drive through more of the Tennessee mountains and into Kentucky. We exited the interstate and drove through the country on US Hwy 127 to Sparta and the Steepleview Farm. It was an interesting drive. This was the weekend of the annual World’s Longest Yard Sale. It goes from Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama on HWY 127 or 690 miles. We live just about 30 miles from Gadsden but we have never partaken of the festivities of this event. We had to drive to Kentucky to have this experience. There were cars and vendors lining the highway for miles. Sometimes there was a gap of several miles and then there would be more vendors and cars on the side of the road. It made for a slow drive from the interstate to the farm. It wasn’t bad but a longer drive than we expected. Steepleview Farm was our first visit to a Harvest Host site. If you aren’t familiar with Harvest Hosts look them up. Our host Marc met us as soon as we arrived and helped us get parked. He was great. He introduced us to his wife and showed us around the organic farm. It was a beautiful country farm with sunflowers, zenias, all varieties of tomatoes, watermelon, peppers, corn, homemade items such as salsa and honey from their bees. Yesterday they had vendors for the yard sale set up in one of the pastures beside the road. We had a beautiful sunset, a quiet, restful night and wonderful sunrise this morning.
After visiting with Marc again this morning we were on the road again and this time to another Harvest Host site at the Grissom Air Museum in Peru, Indiana. It is a small museum but they have a large number of planes outside for viewing and then some cockpits, flight simulator, and other educational materials inside for viewing. The docent was very informative and the lady handling the Harvest Hosts duties was welcoming and helpful as well. Currently we are sitting outside in the parking lot enjoying the cool evening breeze after another really good day.
Today was a beautiful day in the Smoky Mountains. We were again up for an early morning hike. This time we drove over to the Cosby area of the park, about 45 minutes from Fred. This is a less used area of the park, being further away from Gatlinburg. We decided to hike to Hen Wallow Falls by way of Gabes Mountain Trail and were on the trail by 7:30. If you want to know how it got it’s name click here. Round trip is 4.4 miles and is considered a moderate hike. It is 2.2 miles of up the mountain hiking. It’s a steady upward slope all the way but there are those areas that are much steeper. The trail has lots of roots to challenge the balance. The payoff is a nice 95 foot water fall. The great thing about this hike was that we had the entire trail to ourselves. We saw no one else until we arrived at the falls where there was a single female sitting reading a book cooling her feet in the water. It was awesome. We stayed at the falls for probably 30 minutes taking videos, pictures and just sitting admiring God’s handiwork and no one else arrived to disrupt the tranquil setting. We were probably 20 minutes back down trail before we met other hikers. There were beautiful views throughout the hike with smaller waterfalls and beautiful forest. After returning to the trail head and having a sandwich we walked around the “closed due to Covid” campground just to see what it was like.
When we left the park we turned right on Highway 32 rather than left (the way home) again just to see what was out that way. The next section of 32 was miles of one hairpin turn after another – but gorgeous drive. Finally we saw the bears we had been hoping to see. A sow and her two cubs!!! The cubs were so cute. Mom was digging for grubs and eating leaves. The cubs were eating leaves and playing. So much fun to see wild life!
Click here if you want to see a short video of the mama bear. After enjoying the bears we headed back home. It was another wonderful day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Today we decided to allow ourselves to sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast at home rather than the protein bars we have had the past two days. We also had to make some calls regarding our next travel plans and do some other work. Mid-morning we headed out on a road trip on the Foothills Parkway. Today we drove the southern most portion from Chilhowee to Wears Valley. There is another 5 miles of it on the northern end that has been completed and then a 33 mile incomplete section in the middle. The Park Service has the right of way but the funding is not in place to complete the project. Guess what. The project began in 1944. The drive is beautiful. It reminds us of the northern portion of the Natchez Trace. No commercial traffic is allowed so it is a peaceful and slower paced drive. We stopped and did a little hike up to Look Rock Tower, and enjoyed many scenic overlooks. It was a good day in the least crowded place we have been around here.