Premature On-Line Bliss

My online happiness did not last long. After the last post, I was knocked offline, never to get back on (of my own accord). As it turns out, it was a blessing in the end.  Kind of.

I spent half of Wednesday messing with the computer and the hotspot with every combination of options I could come up with.  Nothing worked. We had an appointment at Rusty Wallace Toyota for the car’s 10,000-mile service on Thursday morning.  So, afterward, we went back to the AT&T store in Sevierville.  Turns out there was an option I had not chosen.  That was easy.  Then, the young woman told me I had already used most of my data.

“No, I haven’t.  I have an unlimited plan.”

“No, you don’t. You have”……blah, blah, blah, whatever she said. It’s a good thing we went into the store and discovered that or we would have gone over the plan and had huge extra charges. Making that discovery was the blessing.  We spent several agonizing hours trying to get the computer to “see” the hotspot.  Then, when we got back to Big Creek, it worked fine for a short while.  Then, not at all.

I waited for the store to open before calling this morning.  The guy in the know had gone to the bank.  I called back an hour later when I figured he had enough time to deposit and withdraw all his money. He was with a customer. My annoyance and anxiety were growing. Finally, he called back and got me online after instructing me to take out the battery and reinstall it.

Digital happiness again.

Things are slow in Big Creek. It has been cool and damp all day. We only had two campsites occupied this morning. This is Spence’s weekend, so he did not stop in for coffee. The people with group site reservations have not shown up.  I haven’t checked the horse camp yet. That just might have to wait until morning. It is raining heavily with rumbling thunder in the distance.  That is forecast to last several days.



May 10, 2016 – Liz Dickson

We got a big surprise in the campground this morning.  A familiar woman came up to say hello, but I could not quite place her. I recognized her as soon as she said her name.  Liz and her husband (whose name won’t come to me tonight) were here two years ago and we enjoyed talking with them about where they had hiked and what wildflowers they had seen.  I ran up to the car and got her email address as they were driving out of the park and she has been reading my logs ever since. I’ll have to get another picture with his eyes open.

b Liz Dickson
Liz Dickson

Regular camper Windy was in Site 8 but, I forgot to take his picture.

Spence had been weed whacking all along the campground road and the picnic area parking lot all morning. He had just stopped by the toilet building when I snapped this picture.  His lower pant legs are covered with bits of grass. He also managed to fling a pebble, or some other small object, and hit himself in the cheek.  He said it wasn’t as bad as the time he whacked some dog poop and got it all over himself.

b Spence After Whacking Weeds
Spence After Whacking Weeds

We ran out to town.  We stopped in the Hartford post office to register to receive mail there, general delivery. I forgot to mail my outgoing mail. I got a haircut at the barber shop.  I decided that is the best place.  The people in the hair salons always do what they want and not what I ask.  That man cut my hair exactly as I asked him to.  I’ll go back there for next year’s hair cut. We stopped in the library to use the Wi-Fi – and I forgot to send out the log.  Our last stop was the grocery store for a few items.  I didn’t forget anything there; I had my five-item grocery list.

Ten of the twelve campsites were full by mid afternoon though two of the three prime sites were empty. We spent a long time chatting and giving advice. The horse camp was empty so I took these two pictures.

b Buttercup
b Wings Closed
Wings Closed


May 09, 2016 – Joe and Linda Coffey

Andy made crepes for breakfast and I loaded them up with strawberries and blueberries.  Yum.

Spence stopped in for a cup of coffee, but didn’t stay to chat.  He was anxious to get started weed whacking, or string trimming if you want the official government terminology.

I was running a load of laundry and we were sitting at our computers when I saw small motorhome coming down the drive to our site.

“Oh no, someone is driving in here with an RV.”

“Wait!  It’s Joe and Linda!!” I jumped up and ran out the door while Andy was trying to make sense of it.  Joe and Linda Coffey were in Key RV winter before last.  She reads my log and sent an email a few weeks back saying they might stop in on their way to Michigan.  Frankly, I had forgotten about it.  Linda was worried that we would not be here because she could not contact us by phone or email to let us know they were coming.  In the past, Monday was our day to go to town to shop, but Boss Larry had said he was coming over to see us at 10:00 so we stayed home.

Linda said they didn’t remember the campground name correctly and went to Deep Creek campground on the south side of the park near Bryson City. The folks there never heard of us. Joe and Linda checked into a motel with internet access and read my blog to find the correct name for our campground, and then drove here this morning. They drove up to the campground first and saw Spence. She asked him where to find us and he responded that he didn’t know us, but Linda recognized him from the blog and knew he was joking. I was just as surprised as Andy was to see them drive in. Neither of us were surprised that Spence was joking.

We walked around and showed them the campground (Andy did the morning campground check) and followed the path along the creek.  Andy met us at the bridge.  OK, I took a lot of pictures of Joe and Linda at the creek. They are just the cutest and most photogenic couple.

b Joe and Linda Coffey
Joe and Linda Coffey
b Joe and Linda Coffey 2
Joe and Linda Coffey by Bridge
b Joe and Linda Coffey 3
Sitting on the Rocks
b Joe and Linda Coffey 4
Next to Big Creek
b Joe and Linda Coffey 5
Joe and Linda Coffey Surrounded by Green

Spence was working along the fence near the toilet building when we walked by to the host site.  He yelled at me that I never take his picture when he is working so I turned around and aimed the camera.  He struck a pose but, it doesn’t look like he is working.

b Spence Posing for Picture
Spence Posing for a Picture

Boss Larry had not shown up by lunch time and Joe and Linda needed to sample Mellow Mushroom pizza.  I called Larry on the radio to let him know we were going out.  He did come over and drop off some supplies for us while we were out to lunch. I hate to miss him, but Joe and Linda bought the pizza!

On the radio: There was an automobile crash in the spur from Pigeon Forge into the park.  The reporting party said that the car had passed them at a high rate of speed. They were calling for a tow truck and extricating equipment. The driver needed to be air-lifted to UT in Knoxville. We hear this sort of accident periodically on the radio but, what struck me this evening was that they were struggling to find available rangers to assist.


May 6 – in Big Creek

I am in the internet access world again and am posting the logs for May.

Friday, May 06, 2016 – Big Creek

We had a beautiful drive up US 441 from Madison, Georgia. The trip was 208 miles.  As soon as we got to the Smokies, it started raining. We stopped to top off the fuel tank in Hartford, Tennessee before heading back over the border to Big Creek on the North Carolina side of the Appalachian Trail.  As usual, we unhooked the car next to the Pigeon River.  Andy drove the car ahead to stop any traffic coming down the Big Creek Road.  Only one car was coming out and they pulled into the parking lot by the ranger station so I could pass.

It is cold up here!!  After we got Sao settled into our host campsite, I did not go back outside. It was 48 degrees when Andy got up this morning. He was making his waffle for breakfast when we had a knock at the door.  One of the campers could not get his car started and needed a jump-start.  Andy told him he had to finish cooking and eating his waffle and then he would take our car to the campground to give him the jump.

I did get out for the morning walk around the campground and took a few pictures of our surroundings. Here is Sao in our camp host site.  The log fence in the foreground is new.  Maintenance man Richard told us he brought it from the campground with a forklift.

b Sao in Big Creek Host Site
Sao in Big Creek Host Site

The sweet shrub is blooming along the campground road.  It looks as though the cold has damaged the bloom.  There are a lot more buds so I’ll get another chance at a good photo.

b Sweet Shrub
Sweet Shrub

The Yellow Trillium are blooming all over the campground and along the creek.  Most of them look as though they have been nibbled on.

b Yellow Trillium
Yellow Trillium

There has been plenty of rain and Big Creek was full of water.

b Andy on Bridge Over Big Creek
Andy on Bridge Over Big Creek

This is looking upstream from the bridge.

b Big Creek Upstream
Big Creek Upstream from Bridge in Picnic Area

We took a mid-day walk around the campground and the horse camp. There were three site occupied with seven horses.  Five were in the first set of stalls.

b Horses in Horse Camp
Horses in Horse Camp Stalls

There was also a party in the horse camp day-use parking lot.

b Horses in Day Use Lot
Horses in Day Use Lot

All twelve tent sites were filled in the evening. We walked around and chatted with the campers and reminded them to keep their food locked in their cars or the bear-proof locker.