Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Camper !!

I shouldn't be tired--but I am!! I washed windows and cleaned spots off the front of the T@B. More arranging and re-arranging. I washed a few dishes, and filled the five gallon fresh-water storage tank. I shouldn't be tired--but I am!! It must be the fresh air here in the mountains. ~~ Today, most of the others here at the Rally scattered to points-of-interest. I couldn't get enthusiastic about climbing up Chimney Rock; I don't like heights!! I'm sitting here counting all the money I saved by staying "at home."

I spent over an hour walking around taking pictures of the variety of T@Bs (twenty-one in all). I tried to get just the right angle, just the right background, etc., etc. I've invited people who expressed interest in my T@B (at Ingles, Earth Fare, Best Buy, Panera, etc., etc.) to come visit during the Rally and see the variety. No visitors!! (Bea, in Black Mountain, where are you??)

I'll post pictures at a later time.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Needed to tie up loose ends

My KIA annual registration is in May. I hoped--and trusted--that I would be able to renew before leaving North Carolina. (We leave on Sunday to caravan the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Skyline Drive, to Gettysburg, PA.) ~~ The car and T@B have been hitched together since April 4th--until yesterday.

Today I went to an inspection station in Marion. "No, we don't do emission checks. They aren't required in this County." I had the choice of going to Rutherfordton or Morganton (two adjacent counties). I opted for Morganton. On the outskirts of town, I found an inspection station and asked if he could do it "a few days early." Long story short, he did the inspection and told me where to find Department of Motor Vehicles (less than a mile away). On the strength of my current registration, the clerk pulled up my information and said "Twenty-eight dollars." I was in-and-out in about seven minutes. Strangely, about ten people suddenly in line behind me!! I guess I'm living right!!

Heading back toward Marion, I saw an Aldi's grocery store and bought a few items for the upcoming evening get-togethers. Then gas..., then Wal-Mart..., then back to camp.

A beautiful afternoon so I unloaded a lot of things from the KIA (after putting the new sticker on the license plate). Hopefully with a few more "arranging and re-arranging" I'll have less clutter in the T@B and more in the car!!

Lots of visiting with fellow T@BBers. A wonderful day!! I'll close because at 7:30 we gather for "Tall Tales Around the Campfire."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mountain Stream RV Park

Mountain Stream RV Park is so beautifully dressed up in Spring green and early flowering trees and shrubs!! The owners advertise this as "The Prettiest Little Park This Side Of Heaven"--and you won't get an argument from me or the other twenty or twenty-one T@B owners. At 7:30 in the evening, everywhere you look, bright colored T@Bs. Many owners sitting around talking--in the pavilion. Honestly, this old lady doesn't handle "cold" very well and the temperature has dropped and it is windy. I excused myself and came into my trailer and hooked up the computer. We have free WiFi!!! Hurray!! (I may need to get out the little ceramic, electric heater.) Back to the comment about bright colored T@Bs: Directly across from me is a bright red T@B with silver trim. From another window I can see a silver T@Da pulled by a red Hummer. Several of us with silver T@Bs with orange trim. A couple of silver... with yellow trim. The size, and color, vary for the tents and awnings. I didn't put up either awning or "add-a-room"; I was content to watch others struggle with theirs.

I arrived at 11 o'clock--I was the first one here. I've told you that I was eager for this Rally!! I had time to arrange, and re-arrange, before others started to arrive. I rolled up the bulky black sleeping bag because we have electricity (and I have the little heater). A black sleeping bag isn't very attractive when I want to "show off" my home. ~~ I swept the floor and put down an orange rug. (Inside and out, orange accessories and trim.) ~~ I opened the box with one-burner electric hot-plate and used it for the first time. (Recent purchase from K-Mart in Asheville. Free parking in their lot.) ~~ Of course, I visited with almost everyone as they arrived; I appointed myself the welcoming committee.

I'm having a problem with the WiFi signal so will publish this while I can. More details about our Rally will follow.

Blue Ridge Rally starts

Can't sleep!! I'm eager for the day to unfold because this is the first day of my "official" T@B travels. Yes, I've had a couple of weeks in the trailer since leaving Shelby but that was just "setting the stage" for what is to follow.

Can't sleep!! My friends have insisted that I stay in their guest room so I'm in a new house, new room, new bed, etc., etc. The Grandfather clock just struck twelve times--so new sounds.

Don't misunderstand, I'm loving every minute of my stay with Linda and Doug. My laundry is up-to-the-minute; I've been well fed; I've seen more of Marion, NC, than I would traveling solo. It is so nice to "ride" in a car with someone else doing the driving!!

Can't sleep... so I'll check the T@B forum, and my e-mail messages. ~~ More later.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pitter-patter of little feet

Pitter-patter of little feet!! Three dogs--twelve little feet, forty-eight little toenails--on the tile floor. Linda has insisted that I stay in the guest room because (first) the tornado warning on Saturday night, and (second) I could take a shower before going to Church with them Sunday morning. So I've awakened to the sound of little feet on the floor. ~~ Saturday was delightful--all day--because an eighteen month old granddaughter was here and her little feet never stopped moving!!

I'm using Linda's computer (for the Internet) and I have the most awesome view out the front window, from where I'm sitting. A hummingbird feeder, a bird feeder, a bird bath.... A gray squirrel is stealing from the bird feeder. We see Cardinals, Doves and Finches, and Hummingbirds (of course). Such a beautiful, relaxing sight!! According to the thermometer near the feeders, it is 60 degrees. It is a cloudy morning. The wildlife is well fed here: The fish in the large pond get fed every night. (Good fishing, I'm told; no license required, private pond.) Doug planted corn "just for the deer." I imagine other wildlife (rabbits?) help themselves to the garden. I'm told bear occasionally visit because this property is just below the Blue Ridge Parkway. ~~ Just like the dogs they adopted, and the wildlife they feed, Doug and Linda have "adopted" me. I'm told this is my home!! I'm so delighted!! I feel so loved!!

Postscript, Tuesday, April 27, 2010: Sleepless night!! I kept wondering if dogs have five toenails each foot, or only four. I haven't had any pets for many years. Nobody sent a comment correcting my arithmetic. (Above, I originally said sixty little toenails.) Three dogs times four feet equals twelve; twelve times four (toenails) equals forty-eight.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bluegrass & much more

I've already experienced a blessed Sunday--and the day isn't over!! Sunday School and Church with my friends Doug & Linda, followed by lunch at Subway. Then to the small town of Old Fort to sit on the porch of the museum and enjoy Bluegrass music. It's a beautiful sunny day after rain and thunderstorm yesterday. Parts of Mississippi were devastated by a tornado. No serious damage here (to my knowledge). Pictures at a later date.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Strangest thing happened...

I had the strangest experience today!! I "lost" three hours forty-five minutes!! Around 11 o'clock, I looked at my faithful Radio Shack clock and it said 7:24. I tried changing the time zones but time was still wrong. When I checked my GPS for exact (satellite) time it was 11:09. The clock--also designed to pick up accurate time from the satellite--said 7:24. How strange!! So I again adjusted the buttons but could not change the displayed time.

I began to unload bags from the KIA. Somewhere--properly stored--was a package with a variety of sizes of batteries (Sam's Club purchase in preparation for this trip). I finally located... and changed the two AA batteries. I reset the date but still the wrong time. I speculated that I'd be buying another clock. ~~ Half an hour later I noticed the clock registering the accurate time. ~~ Given a little more time, I'll make some intelligent comparison. Right now I'm just amused by the fact that an almost dead battery changed time, date and temperature.

Another frustration: The pictures are not attractively arranged in some of my blogs!! I'm very aware of the situation when I visit my blog from someone else's computer. When I have the time (and WiFi) I'll change to smaller images and (hopefully) that will correct the problem. (Sorta like changing batteries corrected the problem??) I have yet to understand why the published blog appears one way on my computer and different on someone else's computer. (Suggestions appreciated.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Linville Falls & much more

I'm using a friend's computer so this will be brief. I'll update at a later time and upload pictures.

Doug and Linda took me to Linville Falls: Linda did paperwork while staying at the car, in the parking lot; Doug was my tour guide to the Falls. It was an energetic walk... and I really got a workout!! Doug shared details regarding his youth in this area and identified trees, shrubs, flowers, and herbs. He made it so much more interesting than a solo trip along the same trails. Seeing the Falls was spectacular!! Be sure to visit... if and when you travel the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Then we indulged Linda's passion for Thrift Shops (and Lorraine's passion, too). I contributed to the local economy by purchasing a few things. Back to their home, near Marion, a little after 3 o'clock.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Thoroughly Modern Millie." Not !!

My new friends, in Asheville, took this picture with their camera--and forwarded it to me. That's exactly the way I look this Thursday morning (picture was taken Sunday evening). For the record: I have three outfits that are exactly alike; I'm not wearing the same clothes four or five days later. Furthermore: I've lost some "belly fat" since I bought several pair of black slacks (for my travels). Now the hems drag the ground!!

Thoroughly modern Millie?? Not!! No fancy diet like celebrities who push their products on TV; just increased exercise the last couple of months. Frankly, I'm eating less, too, because I'm not conscious of "breakfast, lunch and dinner."

Thoroughly modern Millie?? Not!! I don't rent movies!! I buy the DVD several years after the movie was released to the theaters. Last night I watched "RV" with Robin Williams--on my little Sony DVD player (battery operated). "RV": How long; four years?? That movie has a smile a minute!! ~~ The previous night I watched "The Bucket List."

Thoroughly modern Millie?? Not!! In the retail store, at Tom Johnson Camping Center, I talked to a man who paid $1,000. for his first GPS system. I paid less than $200. two days (three days?) ago. So many expensive gadgets for the RVer but nothing I couldn't live without!!

Thoroughly modern Millie?? Not!! I don't have one of those convenient, expensive, attachments for the laptop so I can access the Internet via satellite. I'm back in the lobby of Tom Johnson Camping Center using their free WiFi, and charging my cell phone. I spent less than $3. for breakfast so Tom Johnson won't get rich off of me. I'm surrounded by people who own extremely large, beautiful, Class A motorhomes. I'm embarrassed to tell them that I have the tiny trailer in the parking lot. On the bright side, I'm not here for RV repairs!! Many of the folks sitting in this beautiful lobby are waiting on repairs for their motorhome. Very few RVs in the campground; maybe it is too early in the season?!

Postscript, 5:30 PM: In the space of a few hours I shifted from Tom Johnson Camping Center to Doug Johnson private retreat (distant cousins). I met Doug and Linda at "Singing on the Mountain" (Grandfather Mountain) on June 28, 2009. We kept in touch, and we had a subsequent visit on July 29, 2009. I phoned yesterday and we made plans for lunch today. After lunch, I followed Linda to their home (approximately seven miles from Wal-Mart). Within minutes I had electricity from their big workshop. Immediately thereafter I was told to grab my dirty clothes so "we" could do some laundry. I have been encouraged to stay in the guest room but plan to stick with "Mercedes"(my tiny travel trailer).

I repeat what I said on April 18th: "Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I'm awake or is it a dream." Everyone is so eager to share! I'm having to learn to receive. Twice recently I've told a story I heard (probably in Church).
An individual died and went to Heaven. Jesus was showing them everything--far and wide. Finally He took the individual to their mansion. Inside were beautifully wrapped boxes of all sizes and shapes. Imagine the most elaborate wrapping and decorations. When the individual inquired "What's all this?" Jesus said, "These are all the gifts we wanted to give you while you were still on earth. You never unwrapped them."
Then I add this postscript to the story: "You are one of those God-given gifts that I've been privileged to unwrap while still here on earth! Thank you!!" ~~ In the last ten days: Deborah & Wayne, Janna & Steve, Linda & Doug.

I'm on Linda's computer adding the postscript. I have pictures to add but don't know how to upload while on someone else's computer. Where would I store the pictures??

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tom Johnson Camping Center, Marion, NC

I'm "tickled pink" that a camping experience in 2009 is enhancing my April 2010 travels. I spent a week at Tom Johnson Camping Center for several nights of Southern Gospel Singing Concerts. I enjoyed their beautiful lobby, using WiFi and visiting with other RVers. Free coffee!! Breakfast and lunch are served!! Gorgeous bathrooms; laundry facility.... This will be my "port in the storm" today. Rain off-and-on since noon yesterday. Hoping for nicer weather, I think I'll wait until tomorrow to drive to Linville Falls, and Linville Caverns.

10:00 AM and the sun is shining brightly. Looks like a beautiful day. I may reconsider my plans (a woman's prerogative). ~~ I've been organizing my uploaded pictures in separate albums, on my laptop. With "time on my hands" I may catch up with digital camera and laptop tasks that have been neglected.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mount Mitchell and the Blue Ridge Parkway

This is the "reader's... condensed" version. I'll add more later. I'm in Tom Johnson RV Sales & Camping Resort, Marion, North Carolina. I camped here last year and know they have free WiFi in their lobby. So I wanted to lock in the time and date, and upload some pictures--before they lock the door at 5 o'clock.

I had hoped to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way from Asheville to Linville Falls, and Linville Caverns. However, two closures. I was able to drive to Mount Mitchell but a few miles thereafter I was detoured toward Marion, NC. I'll have to take secondary highways to Linville. ~~ I'll spend the night in the parking lot of the nearby Walmart.

I could have stayed at Mountain Stream RV Park but laughingly told the owner that I wouldn't be able to travel if I spent every night in a Good Sam or KOA campground.
"I'm just stopping by to say hello." It was a pleasant surprise (for me) to see Mountain Stream RV Park--on NC 80 (the detour)--because in one week a number of T@BBers (Lorraine included) will attend a Rally there. It is a lovely campground!!!!

Postscript, 9:00 PM: It has been raining off and on all afternoon. Sometimes quite hard. I've been cozy inside my T@B since 5:10 PM. I did not "shut down" the laptop when I left Tom Johnson's; I transported it with the T@B Yahoo forum open. ~~ I parked as close to McDonald's as possible without being in their parking lot. "Yes, I was immediately able to pick up McDonald's WiFi signal." For one-and-one-half hours I read and answered messages. Then the laptop battery went dead!! That's OK; I can recharge it tomorrow. Then I got out my little Sony DVD player and watched a DVD on its battery. I was able to see the entire 90 minutes without a problem. Several days ago I purchased "The Bucket List"--on sale--at K-Mart. It was at my fingertips and just the movie to watch on a chilly, rainy evening (IMHO).

I love Garmin !!

Ignore the time-stamp. I "saved" the time--and day--so I could return with a Tuesday message. It's 3:30 PM and I'm in Tom Johnson RV Sales & Camping Resort in Marion, North Carolina. I've just driven from Asheville--to Marion--via the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE GARMIN !!! (And we only met about 28 hours ago!!) While driving very carefully on the Parkway, I could see all the hairpin curves ahead of me, on the Garmin. What a hoot!! I'm so fascinated by the features. Example: Touch "Where am I" and it gives my exact location (but you already know that). ~~ I regret that I did not buy a GPS a year ago for all the 2009 travels. Oh well, there's an old saying: "Too soon old, too late smart!".

Monday, April 19, 2010

Obama in Asheville? "Priceless" publicity

Quoting from the Sunday, April 18, 2010 Asheville Citizen-Times:

Obama in Asheville? "Priceless" publicity
Officials expect bump in tourism, by Clarke Morrison

Amount of money spent each year on ads promoting the city as a tourism destination: $2.5 million. Value of having the president of the United States choose the city for a weekend vacation: "Priceless."

That's according to Marla Tambellini, director of marketing for the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, who was thrilled to learn that President Barack Obama plans a trip here beginning Friday.

News of the visit by the president and first lady Michelle Obama is sure to increase the city's profile among those deciding where to travel and spend their money, she said. "Anytime you have a notable person visit, it certainly raises the level of awareness of your destination," Tambellini said. "But when you have someone as significant and important as the president of the United States, that's certainly publicity you can't buy. Having the leader of the free world visiting your destination is priceless as far as promoting your community as a great vacation getaway."

The Obamas plan to spend the weekend at the Grove Park Inn. The White House said there will be no public events during the visit.

Mayor Terry Bellamy met with the president when he campaigned here on Oct.5, 2008. "I think we made a good impression on him and his family when they were here last," Bellamy said. "He said then that he liked Asheville and that he would return." The mayor said she believes a vacation visit by a sitting president will boost tourism.

Surveys conducted for the Convention and Visitors Bureau show that Asheville receives nearly three million overnight leisure visitors a year. "The president's visit here will only add to the attractiveness of Asheville for visitors," said Rick Lutovsky, president of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

En route to the Blue Ridge Parkway

Number One: En route to Best Buy to obtain a GPS.
Number Two: En route to the Blue Ridge Parkway to see Mount Mitchell, and Linville Falls.

Bye, bye, Panera.

Postscript, 4:00 PM: It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind!! Right?? I'm back at Panera after spending hours--and dollars--at Best Buy and other stores in that very large, many stores, shopping area. I've programmed the Garmin and used it long enough to know that it isn't accurate regarding Walmart (the Walmart near the airport). I drove past the extremely large Super Walmart while being directed to a location that has been closed for a period of time. Ho-hum; so much for technology!!

While in the parking lot of Best Buy, I had four separate individuals approach me because they wanted to see "the cute little trailer." Visiting with people, and programming the GPS, kept me in the parking lot for an extra hour. It's a nice thing that I have lots of time.

This late in the day, I decided against traversing the Blue Ridge Parkway.

"Tomorrow, tomorrow,
I love you,
You're only a day away."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I'm a glutton for enjoyment !!

I'm a glutton for enjoyment!! I'm still in Panera Bread. I published the earlier blog; I checked, and read, my e-mail. I devoured my favorite whole grain bagel with veggie cream cheese. I consumed my favorite Hazelnut coffee. I'm a happy camper!! Life in the slow lane!!

2:45 PM and I'm back in Panera. I went to the T@B at 11:30 because the facility was crowded and I didn't want to take up valuable space. I prepared lunch in the trailer and wrote more correspondence. About 1:30, I was ready to lock the trailer; I had my laptop computer in my arms. A couple stopped to see... and visited with me for half-an-hour, or more. They were en route to Lake Powhatan to bicycle. I've been invited to park in front of their home tonight--with electricity (and a shower if I wish). They are owners of a Scotty tiny travel trailer so we had a lot in common!! Furthermore, they have access to a weather report and tell me that it will be 37 degrees tonight. How nice that someone is concerned about my warmth and well-being!! They will escort me to their home when they return from their bike ride.

While waiting, in Panera, I checked my on-line banking, made a couple of payments, checked my e-mail--while thoroughly enjoying the parade of people streaming through this store.

Postscript, Mon. 4/19/2010, 10:00 AM: Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I'm awake or is it a dream!! At 4:10 (yesterday) I followed new friends Steve & Janna to their nearby home. I saw their adorable tiny travel trailer--totally remodeled by Steve. Later we enjoyed freshly prepared, homemade vegetarian pizza, and garden salad. A long electric cord was stretched out to the street so I had heat during the night. First thing this morning (at Janna's insistence) I had a shower and washed my hair. Steve had breakfast waiting for me. I feel so blessed!! ~~ Back in Panera to check e-mail and update the blog. Soon I'll depart... and see more sights along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Everyone loves my T@B !!

Everyone loves Mercedes!! Late yesterday afternoon I drove across the street (from Panera) to Earth Fare market. I was barely in the door when a couple approached me. They saw me pull in and (I suspect) followed me into the store. They travel with a large rig with slide-outs, etc., and were fascinated by my "Little Guy" (they read the license plate [reused from my earlier teardrop trailer] ). We talked for at least thirty minutes and they wished me "safe travels."

The groceries were in the T@B and refrigerator; I was leaving the parking lot. A lady waved and motioned for me to roll down the window. We were in the lanes for fifteen minutes before someone chose that route and honked for us to move. We moved to parking spaces and resumed our conversation. She (Diana) took time to "get the feel" of the T@B and jotted down relevant info. Diana departed when a woman pulled up and asked if I travel alone. "Yes. Would you like to see the trailer?" "Oh, can we?" as she let three children out of the van. I encouraged her to take the kids camping and told her there's many places nearby. She thanked me and said they want to convert "a big old bus."

What a remarkable three hours and the odometer never rolled over during my drive from Panera to Earth Fare, to K-Mart. I inquired and OK to spend the night in K-Mart parking lot. I spent $35... and now have a desired electric hot plate. (Wouldn't you know? I gave one away before I realized I "needed" it!!) I've searched Thrift Shops and couldn't find one. I believe I'll save money, and propane, by using the hot plate while I'm hooked up to electricity in RV parks.

"The Bucket List" was on sale; I didn't see the movie. When I have electricity (!!) I can watch it on my little Sony DVD player. To a degree, I'm planning to experience things on my "Wish List" this summer. ~~ I found several other sale items before asking a Manager about parking. "Yes, but be out by 10:00." I laughingly said "Definitely." (Note the time stamp; I was in Panera before 8:30.)

Before I got the laptop computer out of the trailer, before I even crossed the parking lot to Panera, a young man pulled along side and said "What a cute little trailer. Who made it? Where did you get it? How much did it cost?" I explained... and invited him to step inside. He loved my freedom to travel and not stay in hotels or motels. He had just spent $100. per night in a nearby Asheville hotel. I told him that moments before--driving out of the K-Mart parking lot--I said to myself "Caa-ching; saved at least $65.00."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I love Lake Powhatan !!

I'll repeat an oft-repeated lament: "I get lost every time I drive around Asheville!" Thursday was no exception. Frankly, I had no idea where I was!! (I planned to drive to Walmart.) When I saw an entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, I was in familiar territory. Eventually I arrived at the Forest Service campground at Lake Powhatan. I spent several days there last August--and love it. There were many improvements over the Fall and Winter months including new, very modern restrooms and showers. Improved sites now include electricity. With my Golden Age Pass I paid $7.50 per night last year; with my Golden Age Pass I paid $15.00 per night this year. So I paid $7.50 per day so the refrigerator could keep my few groceries cold!! (Big grin.) The showers were wonderful!! Punching the little button every thirty seconds, I took twenty minute showers.

On Friday I sat at the picnic table and wrote a long letter to a cousin. Later I used a product to clean and wax the T@B. I removed the bugs that the truck wash missed! I'll be honest: It was a lazy day and I loved every minute!!

I consolidated and rearranged things in the T@B. I need to find a way to secure things so I don't open the door (after traveling) and find everything jumbled in a heap on the floor. Today I'm trying a 25 foot Bungee-type cord (purchased Thursday at Harbor Freight in Asheville). I'm looping around handles so items stay on the bed; I'm anchoring the hooks around the table. FYI: I didn't need the full 25 feet; the cord is adjustable.

All day Friday, I was reminded of the poem by Joyce Kilmer: "Trees."
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree who looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.
Sorry, I've forgotten the remainder of the poem (memorized decades ago [grin] in my youth). The campsite was a very worshipful setting.

Before I departed the campgrounds, I took care of the housekeeping chore of dumping the "just for emergencies" porta-potty. A lady, walking a dog, admired the trailer and (of course) wanted to see inside. We talked for an extended period of time; she wants to "see the country." Last: I prepared my lunch in the parking lot overlooking Lake Powhatan. Then I hiked down to the lake. Trust me, it's a long walk down to the lake!!

For the record: I've driven less than 300 miles since leaving my apartment in Shelby on Monday, April 5th.

The Census Bureau calls...

Some time ago, I applied to the Census Bureau for a job, took the test and waited for a call. I thought, perhaps, I was to remain in Shelby and a Census job was my "fleece." No call so I continued with my travel plans. Yesterday (4/16/2010) a pleasant-sounding man was asking me to come to work. Too late!! Sorry!! I'm on-the-road to new adventure. I'm spending money rather than earning it!!

I'm in Panera Bread to update my blog and upload pictures. Everyone must love Panera because (at 1 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon) they are extremely busy!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I love Panera Bread !!

I have spent hours in Panera Bread the last two days. Furthermore, the manager allowed me to spend the night in their parking lot. I've used their electricity for my laptop computer. I've used their electricity to charge my cell phone. Thanks to the hospitality of Panera, I was able to upload the pictures that follow. I spent hours massaging the blog "Taking time to smell the flowers" because this is as close as I will get to being an artist.

Postscript, 3:30 PM, 82 degrees: Quoting from my handwritten notes penned earlier this afternoon. "It's 1:30 PM and I've been searching for a self-service car wash for an hour. None!! (One on every block in Shelby [big grin].) Near Hendersonville, I found a "truck wash." Expensive: $35.00!! But it was my mission to get the vehicles washed today. They are/were yellow with pollen and covered with dozens of spots with bird droppings. (The vehicles were parked in an orchard for over a week.)

"It's a beautiful day. I saw a Bank sign (at 11 o'clock) listing the temperature at 71 degrees. Even warmer now. Truck wash must be popular; a thirty minute wait. (I wonder how much they charge for great BIG rigs. Inquiring minds want to know!) 1:50 and still two trucks in front of me and now three trucks behind me. I'm sneezing and my eyes are burning because the drivers didn't turn off the engines. So many fumes! ~~ I pulled the vehicles into the large building at 2 o'clock and out at 2:30. They did a magnificent job of washing my KIA and T@B."

I'm back at Earth Fare Market after approximately 30 mile round trip regarding the vehicle wash. I ate lunch in the Earth Fare Cafe and discovered they have free WiFi. Now I have several options: McDonalds, Panera, and Earth Fare. While eating lunch... I browsed a free newspaper (Mountain Xpress). I rarely read the Horoscope but this "Freewill Astrology" caught my eye: "Pisces: In honor of the new identity you're evolving into, I hereby give you the nickname of 'Miracle Player,' or else--if you like one of these better--'Sleek Cat' or 'Giant Step' or 'Fate Whisperer.' You may hereafter also use any of the following titles to refer to yourself: 'CEO of My Own Life" or 'Self Teacher of Jubilance and Serenity' or 'Fertile Blur of Supple Strength.' Feel free, as well, to anoint your head with pure organic virgin olive oil, fashion a crown for yourself out of roses and shredded masks, and come up with a wordless sound that is a secret sign you'll give to yourself whenever you need to remember the marvelous creature you are on your way to becoming."

Antler Hill Village at Biltmore Estate

Antler Hill Village is the newest attraction at Biltmore Estate. Confession: Postcards are the only thing I can afford to buy in the gift and mercantile shops. A small salad, in Cedric's Tavern, is $8.

The farm display is very interesting (but I didn't take pictures). At the top of the hill, The Inn on Biltmore Estate. I'll continue to enjoy my little T@B teardrop trailer!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wonderful day!! Perfect weather!! Beautiful scenery!!

I was at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina, from 10 AM until 5 PM. I walked until my legs ached!! I sat down for a few minutes and then walked some more. Unfortunately, I forgot my pedometer so I can't give you statistics about how many steps--or how many miles--I walked.

I'm back in Panera Bread uploading pictures as fast as I can. It's 9:00 PM as I publish this and lots more pictures to share with you.

Taking time to smell the flowers !!

Pictures taken today at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed seeing everything!!

The Wisteria was so fragrant!!

The Vanderbilt's "summer retreat" (late 1800's, early 1900's).
Lorraine's "summer retreat" 2010.

Lorraine (in August 2009) at the end of that enormous "front yard."

Postscript, 5/22/2010: The captions I could not seem to list next to the pictures.
Tulips in the formal garden.

The rose garden will be spectacular this summer!!

Azaleas will be in bloom in a couple of weeks.

A long walk through the rustic informal grounds.

See the white spot in the center of the picture? A man and lady are standing where I was standing moments earlier to take the picture of the water falls.

The view from the front entrance of the house.