Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On the Hunt for Fall Color - North NC

We are on the road again, heading straight into the heart of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park all the way to Tennessee!

Brrr... it's chilly up in those mountains!

We pulled over to take a walk through all the natural beauty. As I was picking up pretty leaves, I found a cell phone! It belonged to a couple visiting from Florida. When we got home, I dropped it in the mail to them. I hope that they got it...

Anyway, back to the trip... We drove all the way up to the highest peak. Clingman's Dome. It was so high up, it was above the color line. No leaves left here except on the pine trees...

We've have a really quiet week traffic and tourist-wise, but today the tourists were out in FORCE! Clingman's Dome was packed! Thank goodness for Uncle George's handicap placard. When we reached Gatlinburg, Tennessee, streets were packed with cars, sidewalks were packed with people, traffic was terrible! There was no way we could stop, so we turned around and headed back to North Carolina.

Now here's a pretty little spot...

What are we doing here Uncle George?

We are picking out a new rock for Uncle George's rock garden. Uncle George has rocks from around the world! Here is what it was like picking a rock for the rock garden...

Uncle George: Find one between an ostrich egg and a football.

Jim: Here's one.

Me: Not that one... the brown one!

Jim: Which brown one?

Me: That brown one!

Jim: How am I supposed to reach that? (rolling eyes)

Me: But it's special! (pout)

Doesn't it look great? See, I told you it was special!

That's it for our drive through the Great Smoky Mountains... Tomorrow it's time to head home.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

On the Hunt for Fall Color - East NC

Today is misty rainy, and Jim and I are headed East. Not all the way East to Jim's brother's house, but just as far as Ashville, NC. Our plan was to see the Biltmore House. This is as far as we got... the gate house:

It costs $59 per person just to get into the grounds. THEN it costs $10 more per person to get into the Biltmore House itself. I kid you not, $70 to take a self-guided tour of a house! We passed on the outrageously expensive house tour and asked Garmina to find us another nearby attraction.

She took us to Jumping Off Rock in Hendersonville. It has historical significance because a Cherokee woman jumped off the rock to her death when she heard that her lover died in battle. Kind of morbid, but what a gorgeous place! We took a hiking trail through the woods. Look at these photos! I think the color pops even more because the day was overcast.

We took the Blue Ridge Parkway back, stopping off at the Blue Ridge Folk Art Center. It is supposed to be THE place for authentic Appalachian Arts and Crafts. We didn't buy anything...

But, time to head back to Otto to go out to dinner with Uncle George. He took us to the Blue Ridge Roadhouse in Franklin. Very cute decor and great food!

Have a great day, everyone! Tomorrow we head North through the Great Smoky Mountains into Tennessee.

Monday, October 29, 2012

On the Hunt for Fall Color - South West NC

Uncle George took us on a tour through south-west North Carolina. Our first stop was Wayah Bald tower. At 5342' in elevation, it used to be a lookout tower. Now it's a place for fabulous views!

We also took a tour of the beautiful waterfalls in the area. Bridal Veil Falls (you can drive under), Dry Falls (you can walk under), and Cullasaja Falls (you can see from the highway).

We also stopped at the Blue Canyon Overlook. This was another place with great views and lots of Fall color!

Tomorrow we head East in search of more Fall color!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

North Carolina Here We Come...

We have discovered that Atlanta has a fondness for the street name PeachTree... PeachTree Road, PeachTree Street, West PeachTree, Old PeachTree Road, New PeachTree Road, PeachTree Industrial Blvd... and we have been on them all between downtown Atlanta and the SouthEastern Railway Museum. The museum was closed, BTW. Apparently, tourist attractions in Georgia are only open on the weekends.

Thank goodness for Garmina (our friendly Garmin-Nuvi). She got us navigated through all the PeachTree streets... all the way to North Carolina!

... and on to George and Joann's house in Otto, North Carolina.

Say, "Hi, Uncle George!"

Here's a surprise! Joann's son's are visiting too! Here we all are settling down for a family dinner. Joann is a fabulous cook!

On our second day, we went gem stone mining. Here are some highlights:

What surprised me is that gem stones are nothing more than... stones... rocks... Picking a gem stone out of a pile a rocks is beyond our ability, lol! But thanks to our host, we found a sapphire, two small garnets, and several small rubies.

Look for some North Carolina color tomorrow!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sight-Seeing Atlanta

Even with the time change we were up and about early in the morning. Since it was weekend, we thought that the aquarium would be crowded, so wanted to get there early.

After a Subway breakfast sandwich, we walked to the aquarium:

No lines... no waiting... we walked right in!

It's a very nice aquarium. We saw the dolphin show. It was a fun show, but it was weird seeing a dolphin show inside. I guess we are so used to Sea World. The tanks were HUGE and BEAUTIFUL!

Can you see the whale shark and manta ray in this picture?

How about a beluga whale?

We left the aquarium just as it started to get crowded and walked across the courtyard to the World of Coke.

I think the World of Coke is competing with Disneyland for the title, "The Happiest Place on Earth." After watching a happy movie with a cute fuzzy character falling in love with a dandelion, we entered the World of Coke... full of bright happy music, cute decor and of course the polar bear.

After tasting over 60 different flavors of coke from around the world, we walked through the CNN tower and the Atlanta Underground. Both forgettable experiences.

Our last adventure was trying to find some place to eat just as the Falcons vs Raiders game let out at the Georgia Dome. WOW! People in Georgia really like their football! There were thousands of fans in costume roaming the streets and filling all the restaurants.

That is it for our day in Atlanta. Tomorrow, we head to North Carolina!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Welcome to Atlanta!

This is a recap of our recent trip to North Carolina... Warning! Lots of pictures!!!

We got into Atlanta in the late afternoon. That's just the way it is flying East... leave in the morning and get there late. It's too late to head out to NC right away, so we decided to spend a couple of nights in Atlanta.

We had a GREAT hotel in walking distance to the Georgia Aquarium, World or Coke, CNN Tower, Atlanta Underground, Olympic Park and FABULOUS views of the city. We have lots to explore tomorrow, but right now it's time for dinner (there was no food on the airplane):

Love that Atlantic seafood! YUM! After dinner, we took a walk around Olympic Park. We were told at our hotel not to go through Olympic Park at night, but it just so happens that tonight, there is a night race through the park.

There were lots of people, lots of lights, and lots of music! I really wish I had my running shoes with me, but I didn't. Instead of running, we took a stroll through the park and I convinced Jim to stand in the middle of the largest Olympic fountain in the world... what a claim to fame!

After that, we went back to our 12th floor room, grabbed out swim suits and went swimming in the 7th floor pool... Ahhhh, city living, lol!

Get ready for more Atlanta pictures tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Long Beach Half-Marathon

I'm running behind on posting pictures, so I'm in catch up mode! Look for a lot of photos posted in the next few days. We ran the Long Beach Half-Marathon on Oct. 7, I'm just getting around to posting photos now. We forgot to take the camera to the race, so I was waiting for race photos to get posted online; and I kind of just forgot about it...

Anyway, here are the photos!

The kiddos were not in race shape, so they ran together slowly. I took off and was on track for a new PR, but my legs started cramping at mile 9. I slowed way down, but had to walk starting mile 12 when the cramps seized up. The kiddos passed me about mile 12.5. After that I got to the point that I couldn't even stand. I was crouched at the side of the road waiting for the cramps to pass, and the paramedics came over.... it was all very embarrassing. Equally embarrassing was my finish time...

Here are our times... no PRs for anybody....

Overall: 3569 out of 11257
Women: 1405 out of 6583
F 20-24: 106 out of 415
Age/Grade: 49.29% Place: 3700
Finish: 2:13:34 Pace: 10:12

5 Km: 28:37 Pace: 9:13
10 Km: 58:32 Pace: 9:26
10 Mile: 1:38:55 Pace: 9:54

Overall: 3524 out of 11257
Men: 2143 out of 4674
M 15-19: 47 out of 94
Age/Grade: 45.49% Place: 5353
Finish: 2:13:14 Pace: 10:10

5 Km: 28:36 Pace: 9:13
10 Km: 58:30 Pace: 9:25

Overall: 4471 out of 11257
Women: 1906 out of 6583
F 50-54: 119 out of 551
Age/Grade: 54.55% Place: 1897
Finish: 2:20:11 Pace: 10:42

5 Km: 27:36 Pace: 8:53
10 Km: 56:01 Pace: 9:01
10 Mile: 1:33:49 Pace: 9:23

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's Card Kit Time!

Is it October ALREADY?!!! Why is it that the weeks go so slow, but the months fly by? The Holiday Season is just around the corner!

We finished our last round with the card kit group and started over with an additional two ladies! Everyone welcome Diane and Terri to the group! With 6 people and just three months left in the year, we decided to break up into two groups. Everyone will rotate through the groups so that we are in a group with different ladies each month.

I got to supply the kit for one of the groups this month. Here is the kit that I put together. Kind of fall-ish... only kind of... The typical fall pallet, brown/rust/gold, is so not me.

And here are my cards....

This first card is the one that I had in my head when I put the kit together. It uses one of my favorite trees from Unity Stamp Co, and one of the Think Big #13 stamp set from PTI.

Here is my second card. The leaf stamp is from Unity Stamp Co, and it uses another sentiment from the PTI Think Big #13 stamp set.

This last card uses all stamps from Unity Stamp Co.

I had a good time making this embellishment cluster.

Thanks for stopping by! Now go see the what the other ladies have created with this kit:

Hostess Joni - Diane, Mary
Hostess Beth - Mara, Terri

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thinking of you...card share

I'm still participating in the progressive challenge at Crafter's Digital Art Center. Here is my card for this month.

The image a digital stamp from DoodlePantry through the Crafter's Digital Art Center Progressive Challenge.

Thanks for stopping by!