Okay...so where were we? Ahhhh, yes. We were heading up to see Mom's property. Mom recently purchased some lots on a mountain not far from Uncle Tim's. So we headed out to the highway and turned right, and 6 or 7 miles down we hung a left and started up the mountain. After much winding we came to the foot of a driveway and a black mailbox.
Now this incline may not look like much to many people, but remember that Mom and I have spent much of our lives in the flatlands of Florida. Looking up a driveway like this was very intimidating to us!
Tim headed up the paved driveway, passing a neighbor on the left. Halfway up the pavement stopped, and we found ourselves on gravel.
Curving around the driveway...
...we finally found ourselves at the top of the driveway by the pumphouse.
First we examined the top lot next to the pumphouse. This lot has a beautiful view of the mountains...
...and Tim says that the view will be even more spectacular in the fall/winter when the leaves are off the trees.
The back of the lot abuts the mountainside, and it is bordered by the driveway on one side and the treeline on the other.
The top lot looks down on the two lower lots, and it is about 5-10 degrees cooler up here than the lower lot.
After taking a look around the top lot (probably the best "building" lot), we ventured down the driveway to check out the middle lot.
This lot has some wild berry bushes along the driveway, along with some wild strawberries.
It also has some nice wild flowers...
Snoop even found a Turk's Cap Lily...
...and there were maple saplings galore.
The middle lot overlooks the wildness of the undeveloped bottom lot. This lot is my favorite, because of it's wildness and the creek.
After looking at the property, Mom and Tim spoke for awhile with the neighbor on the upper lot by the pumphouse.
In case anyone is looking for a mountain getaway, you may be interested to know that this neighbor is selling their home. I believe they are asking around $189,000 for it, which was a steal considering the cost of homes at the time, but this was mid 2007 before the foreclosure and banking crash. Who knows whether they're still selling, and if so for how much.
After speaking with the neighbor, we headed back down the mountain and back to Tim and Elaine's. We got one last look at the view on the way down.
Day Three found Mom and I downtown, and photographing what is supposed to be the most photographed courthouse in the country (don't you hate feeling like a lemming, when you learn that you are following along and doing the same thing everyone else does?)
While downtown, I spotted Woodrow's idol hanging over a shop window, and couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a picture for him:
I really love little downtown areas like this.
Day Four brought Scott and Stacy to town to visit, after a harrowing and nerve-wracking trip through the mountains with their pop-up trailer and poor directions. They wound up not arriving until about 11:00 PM at night, when they were expected in around 6:00 PM. They only found us after knocking on the door of a house and finding some kind neighbors who were willing to open their door to strangers and give us a call. There Mom and I were nearing midnight and standing at the foot of the driveway with flashlights to wave Scott and Stacy in from the road.
The next morning I got to see my favorite boy, Scott's Amazon parrot Bubba:
He's about 25 years old now.
While Scott and Stacy were visiting, we celebrated Scott's birthday with a trip to Mom's property and dinner out (and a little antique store shopping, which Scott was bored with as any good man would be once pushed beyond his limit).
Day 6 found us in Cherokee, NC located near Smoky Mountain National Park on the Cherokee Indian Reservation. One of the first things that you notice is how strange the native language is (I assume that it is Cherokee?)
The next thing you notice is how commercialized this town is. We stopped at the Visitor's Center to get our "bear"-ings:
Then we headed over to the Cheif Saunooke Trading Post Mall...
...where we did a little shopping, and stopped for lunch by the creek.
After lunch, we did a little shopping and rested in the courtyard. (This is where I bought the sapphire blue ring just before I went back home to Florida and bought my sapphire blue Cherokee!)
Afterwards we headed down the highway into Smoky Mountain National Park, and stopped at the first Visitor's Center. Snoop and I found a creek running behind the center...
..and the map located near the farm museum.
When we were done there, we headed a little further into the park, where we came upon a beautiful mountain creek at a scenic lookout. We pulled over and spent a little time taking in the view.
Then we climbed down creekside to take a closer look...
When we were done, we headed back towards Tim and Elaine's to get back for dinner. On the way back, I had to get a shot of Gimp and Crow's for Woodrow:
We got back and spent some time during our last evening in NC sitting on the front porch, while Elaine played catch with her grandson.
Day Seven was our final day, and time for Scott and Stacy to head north (and then head out again for another road trip), and Mom and I to head south back towards Florida. Mom and I took a different way home than we did coming up, and it made for a much more enjoyable drive. We also missed some awesome photo ops during the drive. One was a place called "Goats on a Roof", located near Tim and Elaine's town. There was actual grass on the roof with a fenced in area containing goats! Another was on a back country road near the North Carolina/Georgia border where we passed a coyote just standing on the roadside, watching as we drove by. Just a few hundred yards down the road past the coyote, we passed two deer in the trees just 15 feet off the road.
Mom and I spent the night in a motel once we got to Florida, and arrived home on Day Eight. We enjoyed our trip, and our visit with Tim and Elaine and their family.
We can't thank Tim and Elaine enough for their kind hospitality, and for Elaine's good cooking. Snoop and I hope to get back up there again before too long, and next time we'll have the 4-wheel drive to tackle that driveway on Mom's property!