Thursday, May 6, 2021


 Another thing we did with Andy and Nikki was to visit the Gatlinburg Skybridge.  I've never been a fan of heights but neither is Nikki and she said it would be ok.  I shouldn't have trusted her!  :)

Here's how it went...

You start out by riding a ski lift to the top of the mountain.  That wasn't great fun, but not terrible either.

The entrance to the bridge.

Here's what it looks like from the side.

The skybridge is the longest suspension bridge in North America.  It's 680 feet across and 140 feet high.  There is a section of glass panels in the center of it that are 30 feet long.  Because it's a suspension bridge it sways when you walk on it!

Here's the start.  It only took a minute to realize this was not going to be fun!  I who usually take lots of pictures, stopped at the beginning to take this shot, then I walked fast, just wanting to get to the other side!

I did stop to take pictures of the glass panels but then kept going and was so happy to reach the other side!

Here's the view from the deck on the other side.  Bob, Andy and Nikki joined me after a little bit.  For some reason, they enjoyed the view and walked a lot slower!

The sad thing is - you have to cross again to get back down the mountain!  On the way back, some crazy guy laid right down on the glass portion so someone could take his picture.  Yikes!

They have a little refreshment stand and souvenir building.  In it was this flag that was flying during the 2016 fires.  Much of the skybridge was burned at that time.

After all that, we had to go back down in the ski lift.  I was glad to be done with it.  I can say I did it, but I don't think I would do it again!

That evening, we had a fun activity.  Andy had taken along an MRE that a pilot had left in one of the Apache helicopters he was working on.  Normally it would be thrown, but he thought we might enjoy seeing it.

Here's the unopened package.  It had Ratatouille, crackers and peanut butter, dried cranberries, carrot cake, strawberry banana drink, coffee, creamer, salt, pepper, toilet paper and gum!

The drink

checking out the crackers and peanut butter

The girls were pretty suspicious of all of it and didn't want to taste it.

They did try the gum, but weren't impressed.  The guys tried it all and said it was ok.  I guess if you are hungry it works, right?

And that's it for another day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Historic Elkmont

 Andy and Nikki told us about a ghost town in the National Park, that we found and walked around.  Not much remains of this town, besides fireplaces, chimneys and stairs, but we thought it was still very interesting.

The town was called Elkmont and it was originally settled in the mid 1800's.  In the early 1900's a logging company began working there so the town grew larger.  However, by 1926, the logging stopped and in 1934,  the Smoky Mountain National Park was started.  Many people sold their property and their homes were demolished.  However, some people got extended leases and would come back in the summer.  The last lease expired in 2001.  Those cabins were left have fallen apart and not much remains.

Stone pillars at the entrance to someone's home.

A beautiful old fireplace.  You can see the slanted line near that top of it the was the original roof line.

Another fireplace and chimney with nothing else remaining.

Moss covered stone fence.

Another old fireplace and chimney.  This was a fairly large place with another fireplace behind it.

The second fireplace at this spot.

Stairs to a home that is no longer there.

This bridge is near several of the home sites.  It's called the troll bridge and was very charming!

As Bob and I walked around all these old sites, we thought of the people who had lived here, the joys and sorrows that had taken place here, the hopes and dreams these people had.  I was reminded again of all the time and value we put into our homes, then the years pass and they fall apart.  It's a good reminder to focus on the things that really last!  It's not things, it's our relationship with God and those He puts in our lives.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

A Day in my Life - May

 We interrupt this vacation to share A Day in my Life.  It's May!  

The first day of the month fell on a Saturday.  It was an unusual day because neither Bob or I were working and we didn't have any grandkids over night.  So here's how the day went.

We slept in!  We got up shortly after 8 and I made us some breakfast.

We had bacon and eggs, which is very unusual for us, but we enjoyed it!

After breakfast, I started some laundry  and then did a little meal prep.  Sundays can be busy days for us, so I usually get some meals ready on Saturday.  We usually have some type of hot sandwich at night.  I mixed up a recipe for a deviled ham spread which is put on half buns and broiled.  I also like to have something ready for a lunch, because we don't get out of church until about noon and I don't like to take a lot of time fussing when we get home.

I cooked some chicken, and added in peppers, onions and fajita mix.  On Sunday, I put it on flour tortillas with a little cheese and made fajita quesadillas.  Simple and good!

While I was doing that, I could see Bob working in the back yard.  He had mowed the lawn and was using the weed whip to trim things up.

When I finished in the kitchen, I wandered outside to check out the blooms.

The grape Hyacinths are blooming like crazy.

In the side yard, the forsythia and the red bud are blooming!  I wish they stayed in bloom all summer!

Bob and I had lunch and then he headed out to work on the front yard landscaping.

When we started on this porch project last year, all the plants had to be pulled out and moved.  Then heavy equipment came in and drove over the yard, leaving a mess!  Bob had dirt delivered before we went on vacation and had spread it out, but needed to start moving plants and bushes.

While he was working out there, I tackled a project that's been hanging over me.  We have a freezer downstairs that needed to be defrosted.  It's something I put off, because it's a pain!  It involves emptying it all out, then putting a heater in front of it, moping up melted ice and chipping it off the shelves.  Why did I not buy a frost free freezer when we got this one?

But look!  Doesn't it look good when it's done?  (In case you are wondering, the Harley Davidson bag came from a co-worker who was selling burritos for a fund raiser)
When I finished it, I was on a roll and decided to do the refrigerator and freezer in the kitchen as well.  So nice to have that done!

When I got done, I saw Bob finishing with his projects for the day.  He's not completely done yet, but made good progress on moving plants.

We had pizza for supper.  Bob had seen these Digiorno Croissant pizza's and thought they looked good.  I don't like pepperoni, so I pull it off part and move it to Bob's section.  I added cherry tomatoes and they tasted good!  The pizza was ok, but not as good as we anticipated.

Then we had a nice quiet and relaxing evening.  It was a good Saturday!

Vacation reports return tomorrow...

Monday, May 3, 2021

Smoky Mountain National Park

We knew it wouldn't work to try to have all of us together, all the time.  So everyone came up with things they wanted to do during the day.  We each did a few things with some other family members, and some things on our own.  We enjoyed time together in the morning and again in the evening.

The first morning, Nikki came up and said there was a raccoon on our deck, next to the hot tub.  Sure enough - he was quite comfortable and we let him be.  He hung out there all day and finally left during the night.

Bob and I spent the first day driving through the Park.  We've been to the Smoky Mountains several times, but the beauty there never fails to astound me.

I always enjoy the tunnels in the mountains.

The streams running through the mountains are a never ending source of beauty!

There is moss covering tree trunks and stones.

Wild flowers can be seen all over.

I thought the shadows on the path were so cool!   

We stopped at this working gristmill.

We were surprised to peek inside and find this man playing banjo.  He was very friendly and chatted with us for a few minutes.

As we were leaving, we ran into Aaron, Laura and the girls who were also coming to see the mill.

We saw signs like this throughout the park, where "Bob"  had gotten into trouble.  I thought I should get a picture of one of them.

We stopped at another old settlement that had an old farm, house, blacksmith shop and several other buildings on it.  I find these old buildings so interesting!

Everything was so green there!

The Smoky Mountains

As we finished the day, I couldn't help but think of the song "How Great Thou Art".  We had seen so much beauty that day, that it was hard to take it all in, and I had to thank God for the beautiful creation he gave us.

Bob and I had supper at a restaurant called "The Local Goat".  I had read many reviews saying we needed to check it out.  We had a really good supper there.  I thought the goat murals they had on the wall were pretty fun.

When we came back, Alaina and Ruby were all set to play a game with us.  We've played it with them before - Beanboozled.  You choose a jelly bean and each color can be good or bad; like coconut or dirty dishwater.  As you can see, we had lots of bad ones!  We also had lots of laughs.
And that's enough for today!  More fun tomorrow.