Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Beautiful, Beautiful Mountains . . . . .!

A few weeks ago,
Bob and I had the blessing of being able to spend 4 days in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We stayed at a beautiful campground in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.
We had a gurgling stream right outside our back window, and the mountains on all 4 sides of us!
There were lovely tall trees and we were even treated to a very heavy frost one morning!  :-)
We love the mountains!!!  Some years ago, when Mama and Daddy moved
back to Michigan from Washington state, Mama had called to apologize
to me for the move . . . . . I told her that I was thrilled that they would be back "home"
and asked why on earth she would apologize . . . . .   She said that she knew how much Bob and
I loved the mountains, and she was sorry to be taking that trip away!!!!
What an amazing Mama---she always put our likes and loves above her own . . . .

This was the view directly behind our trailer . . . . . love the smokey mist in the mountains!  (Hence, the Great Smokey Mountains . . . .)

This a a shot of the campground and the mountains to the front of us.

Another shot from the campground ---- every view was so beautiful!

Above:  Home Sweet Home!

We  were in Maggie Valley the first week in November, and the tourist season was ended, so we did not have the traffic and tourist busy-ness to contend with, it was nice being able to enjoy the beauty at a slower pace and not be rushed along.

The photos above and below are taken on the outskirts of Maggie Valley, and are said to be the "most photographed area in the Smokey Mountains."

While in Maggie Valley, we had the Great Smokey Mountains National Park very close by, and also the Blue Ridge Parkway, so we took advantage of our proximity!  


Both the park and the parkway are amazing to visit . . . .. we had not been to the park since 1973 and the parkway since 1998---the beauty seemed to have multiplied!

The park has a few entrances, we entered from the Cherokee, North Carolina point, and went on over to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, got fuel in Pigeon Forge and then exited back in Cherokee.

This pioneer village is at the visitor center in the park.  On our way back to Maggie Valley that late afternoon, we saw around 6-8 elk in the open meadow area right by this village---unfortunately it appeared as though everyone in the park had all stopped to watch and take photos, so we missed our 
photo . . . . .  Next time!

The drive we took followed this lovely stream much of the way . . . . . it was wonderful to just listen to the gurgling and the rushing!  What a delightful sound!

Usually I am the one behind the camera lens, but Bob changed 
spots with me, he indicated we needed some visual proof that I was there too!  :-)

"The mountains are calling, and I must go."  John Muir

Grizz and Bailey really enjoyed being out in nature, the smells, the sights, the TREES that must have squirrels!!!

They would have preferred to be able to be out of the truck at all times, and to run free with no leash . . . .  Bailey would have had her nose to the ground and off on a hunt   :-)

I could never grow tired of this view!  I imagine that the Lord
smiled when he created this area, knowing how the views, the power of being surrounded by
His workmanship, would render us speechless.

There was no view that was unappealing

Such a lovely contrast of colors. . . . .

Out for a bit of a walk . . . . .

As you can see, the day was amazingly beautiful!  (This is one of my favorite photos)  The temps were cool, I had to stop and 
get a sweatshirt on the way---but it felt so good, so very refreshing!

The road was chiseled into the mountainside!  Look how this rocky overhang looks like 
a face . . . . .  see his eyes looking down to the road, or further on down the 
mountain  . . . . . .

This is in Cade's Cove, a very popular area of the park.  There were beautiful meadows, old, old churches and homes---much history!

One of the old cabins in Cade's Cove.  This one belonged to Carter Shields.

"Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God."
George Washington Carver

These peaks are called "Chimney Rocks"

This was taken on our drive back to the trailer.  There was so much I wanted to capture with
my camera, but time moves on, and the veil of evening's darkness falls much more
quickly in the mountains
So, we made our way back to Maggie Valley, both exhilarated and exhausted!

The next outting was to the Blue Ridge Parkway!

Till next time dear family and friends . . . . .
Bob and Deb

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In September, Bob and I had the treat of being able to help Jason, Kerry, Danny, Karen and Ashley Mae move from the San Antonio area to Burkburnett, Texas.

Jason just retired from 20 years of service in the U.S. Air Force!  We are very proud of, and grateful for, his service to our Country. 

 ***Let me take just a minute here to thank each and every one of you, and of your family members, who are reading and who are serving, or have served,  for the sacrifices that you both made, and were willing to make, for each and every American. Freedom comes at a high price, and far too many citizens do not understand or appreciate the cost.  We thank you!***

Jason is finishing his Master's Degree and hopes to begin his Doctorate's soon after.  Kerry is about to graduate with her Bachelor's Degree in Education (she is carrying a 4.0 + average and will graduate with honors!) and hopes to be teaching soon in the Burkburnett school system.  Before being transferred to San Antonio, Jason was stationed at Shepperd AFB in Wichita Falls (10 miles from Burkburnett) for several years.  They loved it there, and that is where they decided to retire.

So, it is fun for them to be able to see friends that they made while they were there, and the kiddos are not entering a school system that they are unfamiliar with . . . . . . .  


We camped at Fort Sam Houston, an Army Post in San Antonio while we were there.  It was a great campground, clean, good sized lots, very nice folks . . . . .
Labor Day, we had a cook out there by the camper.  The canopy worked great to help keep the sun and heat off of us . . . . . . that is, until a great gust of wind tried to take it away!  Bob and Jason moved quick as a flash and grabbed the poles!   . . . . . . Making Memories . . . . .    :-)

Danny on the left, Robert and Karen on the right.

Tex, alias Jason, or J.D.  

Kerry and Duke . . . . .

Kerry was telling us a story . . . . .

Our Ashley Mae----our Cowgirl   :-)

Karen keeping the text messages going good . . . . .

Danny is growing into such a young man . . . . . .

Duke, or the Dukester!

Bob giving Jason some OJT on retirement!!!!

The colors of the sunset were so vibrant, I couldn't capture the colors very well, but it was a beautiful ending to such a wonderful day!

This is amazing to be able to be able to pull up stakes and head south to be available to Jason and Kerry!  In the past, with work, the flexibility just was not there.  We are so thankful!

Plus, it is great to get them closer to the DFW area once again!

Blessings and Hugs----till next time!
Bob and Deb

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Beautiful Misty Morning In South Carolina . . . . . .

A beautiful good morning from Abbeville, South Carolina!  This morning we were greeted by a light mist that was so lovely, I had to get out the camera!

This month, we have been visiting a very good friend of ours, Dean Landmesser.  Dean was the first person that Bob met at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, all those years ago----well, in 1974.
Dean, like several of our friends from those days and through the years, have become family.


Dean has a love of the outdoors and camping, and has warmly shared his home, his family and friends, and his heart with us . . . . . blessings all the way around!

These photos on this blog today are from Dean's place in Abbeville.

Many of you know my love of history and genealogy. . . .  . well, this wonderful home is on Dean's land.  I was immediately intrigued.  It once belonged to a Doctor in the area.  It has no electricity or water running to it.  There is also a smaller home on the land that once belonged to the Fortisque family, who worked for the Doctor.  We have not discovered the good Dr.'s name yet, but it has been fun to try to trace some information on the land and its prior owners. Maybe one day we can share these photos with descendants ...

The photos above and below show a few clips of the Dr.'s home.

The rays of sun coming through the mist in the trees was so beautiful . . . . .

Everywhere I turned there was another "beautiful shot . . . . ."

"Thus says God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out, He that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it, he that gives breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein."  Isaiah 42:5

Dean has LOTS of red cedar on his land.

It was so quiet and peaceful, one could almost hear the footsteps of the angels . . . . and feel the smile of the Lord!

So very grateful this morning for the beauty surrounding us . . . . . and for the love and companionship that we area blessed with through our family and dear friends!

What is it about a bit of a mist . . . . . . it seems to add an element of the mysterious and emotional . . . . . it touches the soul it seems.

These photos were all taken from the front "yard" area of Dean's land-----it is another adventure to walk down into the woods behind the house.  There is a spring . . . . .and a pond . . . . 

"The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it, . . . ."

And here is our trailer nestled behind this stand of red cedars. . . . .the wooden building is the well-house.  Behind us, is Dean's house.

Blessings, hugs and love to each of you!

Till next time--------   Bob and Debbie

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Bit of Arkansas

After we left Indiana, we headed toward Arkansas.  We drove on a bit of Arkansas Highway 7 . . . . . . Beautiful!!!!!  One of our first "scenic stops" was overlooking the Buffalo River Valley.  The view was amazing!  

More Buffalo River Valley . . . . . .

Mace on his way up the lookout tower stairway.

Looking out from the top of the tower.

Both photos above and below taken atop the lookout tower.  The clouds and the sky were just beautiful for us!

As we neared Petit Jean State Park, where our reservations were, we drove into Yell County . . . . . those True Grit aficionados out there will recognize that name.  We drove a bit further, and we drove into Dardanelle!  Mattie Ross (from the True Grit book and movie) proclaimed herself to be from Dardanelle, in Yell County Arkansas!  
The day after settling into our camping spot at the State Park, we headed back toward Dardanelle, and up to Mount Nebo State Park.  Mount Nebo rises 1350 ft. up above the Arkansas River Valley.  The drive up the mountain did not allow vehicles over 24 ft to go up.  The road was so fun!  Major hairpin curves, narrow road, no side rails, and lots of 10 mph signs!  More beauty everywhere we turned . . . . .

Looking out over the Arkansas River Valley---this was taken outside the gift shop at the top of Mount Nebo.
Mace enjoyed all the high rock formations, and we got lots
of photos!  Right along here is a trail entry to the Rim Trail, which has safety warnings at the beginning.  We had the dogs with us, so did not take the trail.

Some of the flora and fauna, and bumblebees!

A beautiful stone garage or workshop atop
Mt. Nebo
Driving back down the Mountain . . . .

We left Mount Nebo and headed to a spot that Bob and I and the kids and my brother Derek had camped at about 25 years ago . . . . . Mount Magazine and Cove Lake.  Mace had heard our family stories of Mt. Magazine and was so excited to be able to finally see it. It is a lovely park.  One of the places that we had taken a photo out on a ledge is now fenced off for safety, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

The above photo was taken from the truck, looking up the side of the mountain.  You know that God had to have had so much fun during creation! 
 I love being surrounded by His creation, rather than seeing 
concrete, asphalt, formed metal and the like . . . . . . 

On Mt. Magazine

One of our Happy Travelers!

Petit Jean State Park was beautiful!!!  It sets upon Petit Jean Mountain.  It was named for the legend of a beautiful French girl who disguised herself as a young cabin boy and followed her beau across the ocean.  Here is a link to the history of Petit Jean Mountain:   

We took a couple of the trails there . . . . . .

The initial walkway was nicely done and so easy to navigate

The drop was amazing . . . . . .

Ahhhhhhhhh, so peaceful here!

A great spot to relax a bit!

The trees were like spires, all trying to be the one to reach the furthest into the sky . . . . .  .

Some of the signage along the trail . . . . . .  .

Bear Cave Trail was so much fun for us all!  We were up and down rocks and boulders, on trails, in caves and through a formation called "Eye of the Needle."

Mace giving us an idea of a "Bear Cave"   :-)

Bob and Grizz and Bailey were in the lead on the trail.  They came upon this cave, got up into it and waited . . . . . quietly, of course . . . . .
As Mace came by, Bob let out a good "Bear Growl" ------ Mace jumped good I hear, and then when I, pulling up the rear, came by, they growled for me too!  What fun!  
We all got up into the cave, it was bigger than it looks here.

This reminded me of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade . . . . .

What fun we had!!!!!  Look at this great team!

Mace in what we figured must be the "Eye of the Needle"

Walking about in the rock formations

This was taken the morning we got back on the road.  This was a scenic pullout on Petit Jean Mountain.

What splendor!

About to hook up and pull out.  This was out campsite.  It was extremely generous in size, and the view was lovely!

The view from our campsite

And so we say farewell to an amazingly beautiful spot and state . . . . . full of gratitude for God's blessing!
Wish you all could have been here with us!