Sunday, October 1, 2023

Friday, September 15, 2023

Interim Update #1,280

So we are in Cary,* NC, settling into our one bedroom apartment, beginning the Death Cleaning project aforementioned, re-acquainting ourselves with suburban life. Such as it is. We have even bought a television; our first in fifteen years. The apartment is larger and quieter than we had imagined, even has a view, sort of, and will accommodate all our remaining but dwindling stuff. The location is very good for us: 2 miles from Rebecca's house, near one of the major bus routes, a few hundred feet from a small strip shopping center with a sizable hypermercado, a few hundred more feet to Bond Park, a large city park (lake, forests, athletic fields, trails...), and within the park, the Cary Senior Center, where we are already taking courses in technology, line dancing, and tai chi (or is it chai tea?). One of my long-held dreams has been to cross-breed line dancing with tai chi, to be done to Pashelbel's Canon or possibly Gregorian Chant...but I digress. Anyhow, we are here until spring, with plenty to do but with plenty still to decide. Like whether or not we should keep this or some other apartment; buy an RV; just keep moving.... We have reservations for Nice/Paris/Belgium/the Baltic for the spring, but, beyond that...well, stay tuned. 

We are actually somewhat below and to the left of the red Google pin; Rebecca, Jeremy and Penelope
are in the Riggsbee Farm area to the left; no relation to Eleanor Rigby

*not named after Cary Grant**
**nor the great Mel Brooks routine (horrible video but Mel Brooks at his best)

Saturday, September 9, 2023


We had our reasons for going to Dollywood, Vicki, hers, I, mine. It was for us most certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And I didn't even go: just being near it was enough. Penelope, on the other hand, loved it: far from being merely a family theme park, it hosts a remarkable collection of extreme roller-coaster and similar rides, some of which she did a dozen times or more. She is at that age. Grandma did several of the extreme rides but mostly served as chaperone. I kept the batteries charged.

Local sentiment; and not without reason

Delivering prizes for the Midway
Easy to spot Penelope: generally first car, hands-up!

On her favorite, the Mystery Mine, which she did 19 times

It's a Dolly thing

In the historical precincts

Get your Jeezus T-shirts here

Return To Deep Creek

The main point of locating in Cary, NC, was to be near grand-daughter Penelope and her family, and we lost no time in getting together. After a week moving in and getting the apartment functional (not settled nor presentable), we took her back to the Smokies for more of Deep Creek and environs, sites in the great park itself, and then to Dollywood, the heart of the 30-mile strip of tawdriness that runs from Gatlinburg through Pigeon Forge to Sevierville: the Pride of Tennessee. Yours truly, being physically unfit for tubing and rollercoaster riding, was excused from these activities and served largely as chauffeur, gonfleur des tubes, and chargeur des batteries. Dollywood will of course require a post unto itself.

About to embark; the Creek was much higher than last year, though
still not living up to its name

Vicki underway; her cheap, flimsy tube was good for just one voyage;
perhaps as she had planned

Penelope underway, navigating a tricky spot

Action shot

Eddying out

Next morning we did a scenic drive into nearby Nantahala Gorge...
bigger creek, serious white water

But were back on Deep Creek that afternoon

We were traveling by rental car and motels but wanted to do
a camping meal, fire, s'mores, Vicki reserved a campsite
by the creek and we did it all again, sans camper

Next day we drove around in the Park a bit...Clingman's Dome, Cade's
Cove, etc., Newfound Gap...


Scarlet beebalm...reminded us somewhat of the West and
so-called Indian Paintbrush

On the Appalachian Trail, parts of which both her mom and Auntie
Rachel have done

Contemplating the final push to the summit of Clingman's

Made it!

Bee in Vicki's bonnet


Happens all the time near beebalm patches

On the painfully long yet dull drive to Cade's Cove, a red fox/wolf/coyote
eyes us in the gridlock

Among the more interesting features of Cade's Cove, which, in 1969 we thought
was really interesting...

Your have been warned...actually, best not to go to Cade's Cove
at all, unless you have a hankering for 1st gear and 1920s pastoral
squalor; and snakes and gridlock

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Roadtrip 2023!

We did our first US road trip in 1970, between college and first job/graduate school, driving from Miami to Boston, up to Maine, across Canada past the Lakes, then the West, California, down to Arizona, up to Colorado, and then back to Boston. All in the summer and all in a very minimal 1968 un-air-conditioned Dodge van camper. Favorite songs, FWIW, were Ride, Captain, RideMidnight at the Oasis, and In the Summertime. Or maybe those were some other road trips. I never listened to the lyrics much. Too much engine noise and the windows down. And it was AM radio. We've lost track of how many more such trips we've made in the past 53 years, but a few are recorded on this blog. Explore the search box.

Anyhow, on July 24th, we departed Missoula and headed east, mostly I-90 and its many Montana memories, before dipping into Wyoming, then South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and finally our new temporary home, North Carolina. En route we spent a couple nights with college friends Tawana and Wes in Fayetteville and then a couple more with Vicki's sister Marie and husband Norm in Knoxville. We got to Cary in the evening of August 1st, spent the night at daughter Rebecca's, and then drove to our new, as yet unseen, apartment, to begin two long days of unloading. The trip was without difficulty--no accidents nor breakdowns nor surprises of any sort--but not one of our more memorable road trips.

Picking up our truck at Clark Fork Storage...nearly new, 63,000 miles,
good tires...the most pressing question was whether we could get all
our stuff in it

We did!

With room enough to pick up a bistro table and chairs and a Costco
sofa bed along the way...ever watchful for bargains...

Passing through the heartland of these United Shit-holes
of Trumpistan, we didn't take a lot of pix...

Barbie premiere somewhere near Kansas City

With Wes and Tawana

Who were duly impressed with our Arkansas U-Haul
Crossing the Mississippi; or was it the Nile, at Memphis...

With Norm and Marie, who never seem to get tired of us

At the North Carolina welcome center

We also unloaded our Cary storage unit
About to move the pieces already in Cary into the
apartment; thanks, Rebecca, Jeremy, and Penelope,
for helping us those two days...

Turning in the truck

Thankful for a successful move

But overwhelmed with the unpacking, moving-in, death-cleaning
about to begin...

I'll post some pix when things are a bit more settled and presentable...
which might be some months from now