Traveling To Cherokee

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and are ready for 2015.  So hard to believe that 2014 has come and gone.  Is it just me or did 2014 absolutely just fly by?  Thinking back it seems like we just moved in here in Navasota and it has actually been a year.  Funny …we are still throwing out stuff that we dig out of boxes.  Yes, we still have crap we haven’t unpacked.  And who knows what it is.  I haven’t missed a thing.

Where I left off last… was….that Bill and I had left his brother’s in Rogersville, TN.  Went through the mountains and stopped several times to take some incredible pictures.  It still snowed on us off and on.  All good but we were very careful as we are not used to that type of driving.  Arrived in Gatlinburg and was amazed to see how that town has grown since I was a kid.  I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising as it has been 50 some odd years since that family vacation.  Dollywood says it all as far as expanding the town.  Bill and I picked a brewery to have lunch in.  Called Calhoun’s.  Family owned.  The ribs were awesome and the brewery was set up to give tastings of the beers they produce.  We were told that we needed to leave Gatlinburg before 4 PM to avoid being stuck on the Tennessee side of the mountain.  When there is ice and snow there is a window of time you must hit in order to go back and forth.  Something the forest dept. sets up for safety and it’s usually opened only 11 AM – 4PM.  So off we go towards Cherokee.  At the top of the mountain the trees were frozen solid.  All white and ice.  Waterfalls were frozen.  It was so beautiful.  You see it on postcards but this has to be seen to believe.  You almost expect Jack Frost to jump out at the car.  At the bottom of the mountain is Cherokee.  All kinds of shops.  Then you come up on Harrah’s Casino.  Completely surrounded by the river.  Mini rapids and guys actually fly fishing as you valet park.  

Lani and TJ met us there.  And I think I created a monster.  Lani is now addicted to three card poker.  We had a blast.  Left a little money in North Carolina but what fun.  Lani and TJ drove back to South Carolina because they both had to work but not until TJ and Bill “turned the Crown upside down”.  And you know what I mean!  Those two were “Crown princes” the entire 4 days.  But… fun was had and some stuff not remembered and that’s what makes it all alright.

Bill and I drove to Highlands, NC to see my old friends Bob and Ginny Wright.  We stayed Sunday evening at their beautiful home nested 4,000 feet up in the mountains.  A forest reserve backs up to them and their casa is literally built into the mountain.  The day we got there, Ginny said while walking their dog,  momma bear and her two new cubs were right outside.  Kinda glad I missed that.  Not what I’d want to see while walking the dog.  But momma shooed her little ones up a tree and just stared.  I would have to change underwear.  I found out that you do not run but make loud noises or scream.  They get away from the noise but if you run you are fair game.  UGH!

We left for Greenville/Spartenburg the next day but not before having lunch at a wonderful market place in Highlands with Ginny.  Poor Bob was recovering from knee surgery and couldn’t be with us.   Grocery, deli, pizza, bar all wrapped up into one.  Our type of hangout. 

The last night was bittersweet.  We were getting homesick but didn’t want the fun to end.  Spent the night at a hotel close to the airport so we could turn the rent car in early and catch the 8 AM flight to Houston.  We left about 6 beers, a tiny bit of wine, and a few Coke Zero’s behind.  Don’t know who the lucky hotel maid was that cleaned the room.  I left a note saying it was all hers.  Not to mention missing  Lani and TJ.  We had to call them from the airport to let them know we were boarding.  (Columbia was just a little too far to drive that early in the morning). 

All in all…a great time.  We can’t wait to go back.  We didn’t get to see and visit with TJ’s parents, so hopefully we can make up for that.  It worked out well as far as timing because there were so many shops to pick up Christmas gifts.  Bill kept an eye on his credit cards!!!!

I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year.  As for me, January is a big month.  My 3 month doctor visit with Dr. Bevers and blood work, port cleaning, and my 64TH birthday on the 21ST.  Talk about time flying!  Please pray for great test results as all of my prayer warriors usually do.  I depend on your love and prayers to get through the nervousness of waiting for results. 

Hugs and love,
Happy New Year
Ride, Baby, Ride and Keep those Pistols Loaded!!!!
Leilani

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