Friday, August 26, 2016

What is lonely?

What is lonely?

I have been asked by several people since I started my travels if I am lonely traveling alone over the many miles I have gone so far?  I think the thing about the question is that it really leaves a lot to be defined.
Lonely compared to what?  Compared to before I started travelling?  Compared to you?  Compared to the locals and people I meet along the way or where I am?  Compared to a “typical” single guy my age?  Compared to a married guy with children and an active social life?

For one thing there are many aspects of loneliness.  You can be lonely even if surrounded by people who know you because you feel they don’t “get” you. You can be lonely in a long-term relationship because you realize it isn’t going great and possibly over.  You can be lonely because you are stuck in a routine (at home or work) and not having deep conversations with people.  There are so many ways you may feel lonely in groups of people or all alone.

It just seems so obvious to many people that I must feel lonely as a solo traveler since I don’t have anyone physically or constantly there with me.  I wish I did since sharing adventures and travels is one of the things I love the best in my life.

But to me loneliness depends way more on the person’s mindset than on their situation.  By getting over the shy feelings and maintaining some personality when I meet new people, I can usually make new friends quickly no matter where I am.  Some places have been tougher to do this, but with persistence I always make one or several friends along the way.

People may say, “You can’t make a true friend in just a short time!”  I tend to disagree with that statement since over the years I have made many friends online having never met.  Once meeting in real life it was like we were best buddies forever. 
My Canadian friend Russ is a great example.  We met online almost fifteen years ago and he has probably been my best friend over the years even when we have not seen each other for a while.  When I would drive through Canada on my way to or from Alaska he was always a stop during my road trip.

I used to say about my ex-wife, “She never met a stranger only a friend she hadn’t met yet”.  She had a way she could comfortably talk to anyone when just meeting for the first time.  I keep that philosophy while on the road opening myself up to so far some pretty incredible meetings. When I have stopped by the roadside to give cold water to several lone bicyclists who shared their story of travelling while I shared mine, it opens up a whole new meaning to travelling.  People are on the road for a multitude of reasons and everyone has a story which is pretty cool if you have the chance to stop and listen.  Others in places to eat, rest areas along the way and at the many attractions where I have stopped, especially when I pull out Placido Flamingo to take photos or request others to share in my photo opportunity.
I don’t restrict my definition of friend to the sadly restrictive (for most of us) one of someone who I have known since childhood.  No matter where you are on the road, if you are open to making a new friend either with other travelers such as myself, or (more ideally) with those from the location I am visiting.  Hopefully I will never feel alone.

Ice

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Life Observation # 164 . . .

Life Observation # 164 . . .  

Life is a gift that you must unwrap.  It's up to you to determine if what's inside will lead you to happiness or dismay.  You have the power to make that decision for yourself.

Ice

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Georgia Guidestones – Elberton Georgia

The Georgia Guidestones

Several years before leaving Atlanta for Alaska in 1995 I discovered a unique and interesting site in a field near Elberton Georgia.  Rolling hills of farmland are the normal views one usually sees while driving in the area along Georgia Highway 77 (Hartwell Highway).  On one of the windswept hilltops just outside Elberton stands an unexpected granite monument.  The monument is alternately referred to as The Georgia Guidestones, or the American Stonehenge. 
I still cannot believe in the time I have lived in Alaska over the last twenty years the Guidestones are still relatively unknown to people I talk to.  It is not the typical tourist location but probably is in the same theme as the world’s largest ball to twine (Cawker City KS, Hwy 24 west of Topeka Kansas) or largest frying pan (Rose Hill N Carolina).  I have seen the ball of twine but not the frying pan which is still on my bucket list.
Elberton isn't called the 'Granite Capital of the World' for nothing. It sits atop a granite deposit 35 miles long, six miles wide and three miles deep.  If there was ever going to be an earthquake or natural disaster, I'd want to be right here atop six million tons of solid stone.  

The origin of that strange monument is shrouded in mystery because no one knows the true identity of the man, or men, who commissioned its construction. All that is known for certain is that in June 1979, a well-dressed, articulate stranger visited the office of the Elberton Granite Finishing Company and announced that he wanted to build an edifice to transmit a message to mankind. He identified himself as R. C. Christian, but it soon became apparent that was not his real name. He said that he represented a group of men who wanted to offer direction to humanity, but to date, almost two decades later, no one knows who R. C. Christian really was, or the names of those he represented.

Several things are apparent. The messages engraved on the Georgia Guidestones deal with four major fields: (1) Governance and the establishment of a world government, (2) Population and reproduction control, (3) The environment and man's relationship to nature, and (4) Spirituality.

Engraved in eight different languages on the four giant stones that support the common capstone are 10 Guides, or commandments. Though relatively unknown to most people, it is an important link to the Occult Hierarchy that dominates the world in which we live.  The stranger wanted a Stonehenge built -- he had a model of it in a shoe box -- and had selected the area because it was remote and it offered good granite.  Mr. Christian reportedly left $50,000 in a local bank, told the locals that they would never see him again, and vanished forever.  Following Mr. Christian's detailed instructions, the company erected what are now known as The Georgia Guidestones, four granite monoliths, each nineteen feet tall.
The main cluster was completed on March 22, 1980, using granite quarried from nearby Elberton. One slab stands in the center, with four arranged around it.  A capstone lies on top of the five slabs, which are astronomically aligned.  An additional stone tablet, which is set in the ground a short distance to the west of the structure, provides some notes on the history and purpose of the Guidestones.

On the top stone, carved on the four sides in Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Babylonian Cuneiform, it says: "Let these be Guidestones to an Age of Reason." On the upright slabs, carved in eight different languages (including Swahili, Hebrew, and Chinese), are Ten Commandments for the coming "Age of Reason," encouraging visitors to "unite humanity."

A message consisting of a set of ten guidelines or principles is engraved on the Georgia Guidestones in eight different languages, one language on each face of the four large upright stones. Moving clockwise around the structure from due north, these languages are: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.
  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature
  2. Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language
  4. Rule passion – faith – tradition – and all things with tempered reason
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties
  9. Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for nature

I found it interesting the choice of placement of the languages on the stones.  Several were very opposite cultures of the language on the reverse side. I think there was a lot of thought given the message and the cultures represented on the stones.

There are many theories and people’s thoughts about conspiracies of the Guidestones.  Is it a new world order or the commandments for the anti-Christ?  Who knows but its message in many ways is a start to a safer world, giving others a chance, protecting our environment and controlling our population so as not to destroy our natural resources to survive.

“I want people to know about the stones ... We're headed toward a world where we might blow ourselves up and maybe the globe will not exist ... it's a nice time to reaffirm ourselves, knowing all the beautiful things that are in this country and the Georgia Stones symbolize that.” – Yoko Ono
Placido Flamingo enjoyed his visit to The Georgia Guidestones being another unique and thought provoking place along our journey.

(*Some reference material found here from various sources from the internet)

Ice

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Look Back

I was taking a look back to when I first started blogging in November 2005 to find my first post which was about what it would be like to be the Downey ball in the washing machine but for some reason my archives start with December 2005 missing those first few posts from around the Thanksgiving holidays.

I saw one from December 18, 2005 which reminded me of this story told on the TV series The West Wing.  Many of us can relate so I thought I would re-post part of the original post.

This is for today.

I enjoy watching the acting and conflicts on the TV series The West Wing” and one of the actors, John Spencer died Friday. He will be missed both in the show and by those who knew him in real life. R.I.P. John Spencer The West Wing”.

He told a story about Friendship on one of the episodes in 2000 that always stayed with me and I would like to share it with you:

A man falls down a hole and can't get out.

A doctor walks by and the man shouts, "Hey! I'm stuck down here. Can you help me?" The doctor writes out a prescription, tosses it down and walks away.

A little later a priest walks by. The man shouts up again, "Help! I'm down here and can't get out." The priest says a prayer and walks off.

Later still a friend walks by. The man shouts, "Hey, Joe! I'm down in this hole and can't get out." The friend jumps down into the hole.

The man says, "Why did you do a stupid thing like that? Now we are both stuck down here." The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been here before and I know the way out."

Leo McGarry (John Spencer) to Josh Lyman (Brad Whitford), The West Wing, "Noel" 20 Dec 2000

Many of us have things that happen in our lives that make us feel like the man in the hole and that everything is too big or difficult to handle.  Just remember that there are many people out there who will give you support and help lift you out of the hole.  We are there for each other, if I am having a bad day then I need you to lift me up and if you are having a bad day then you need me to lift you up, it’s just what is done by family, friends and those you are in contact with.

Ice

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Alpine Helen Georgia area

Helen Georgia originally was primarily a logging town and community that fell on hard times in the mid to late 1960’s.  I think it was almost bankrupt when the town resurrected itself as a replica of a Bavarian Alpine town.  Not in Germany or Bavaria but in the Appalachian mountains in Georgia instead of the Alps. The city changed their zoning and building codes in 1969 so everything was designed and transformed into that classic south German style which is present in every building within the town of Helen.  Even the couple of national franchisees locations of Wendy’s and Huddle House share the Alpine theme. A town corporation was formed, land bought to maintain the desired alpine atmosphere and shortly it seemed the tourists were flocking to the area.

I have a friend who I had not seen since my twenty year high school reunion invite me up to say hello and also see the area once again after so many years.  Much has changed but many of the old country stores and attractions were still going strong.
Tourism became the main business with weekend travelers from Atlanta during the early seventies being the town’s main revenue source. During that time period I remember going up during the winter months and almost everything was closed down. Over the years and as the town has grown it is a vibrant place all year long. The Chattahoochee River run through the city where tubing the river is one of many ways to spend the day.
This was a family I met in Helen who wanted their picture taken with Placido Flamingo.

It was natural for Octoberfest to be one of the major draws to this area so the town holds it’s even in September and October.  Many turn up in the traditional alpine costumes and beer flows freely.  When the leaves in the mountains start turning and the beautiful colors abound on the hillsides Helen becomes crowded with tourists from all over.
Spring and summer find the whole town in vibrant colors from the flowers that are everywhere to the nicely painted murals depicting the alpine way of life.  There are mostly mom and pop shops that have a wide variety of food, snacks, souvenirs, and nick knacks of every sort.  There are baked goods which have the German or Bavarian flare as well as several restaurants offering authentic food.  
Many years ago I had the opportunity to participate in the first Helen to the Atlantic Ocean Hot Air Balloon race in 1974 with my friend H. Harold Carter.  It is hard to believe the race is still going on every June.  The concept simple, people of Helen Georgia believe it will start at the "center of the world" (that's Helen) and as in Columbus’ day the finish line will be at "the edge of the earth", the Atlantic Ocean anywhere between New York and Miami along I-95. Balloons can only be controlled in two directions, up and down, so the direction a balloon takes is totally dependent upon the wind, and thus the length of the finish line.

Normally, a balloon will stay up about four hours, and balloon pilots are followed by an entourage of crew who have tanks of propane to refuel the balloon and send it back up again to continue its journey. It is possible, under the right conditions, to reach the Atlantic in two days. To qualify for the championship, a balloon must reach the finish line within seven days.

Helen is vibrant as ever with the streets filled with people walking to the various shops, eating the wide variety of foods and enjoying a lazy float through town.  Traffic is backed up as everyone slows with all the activity on both sides of the street.  Many shops are now also on the side streets with everyone enjoying the alpine experience.  Helen has expanded in the twenty years I have been away with the valley filling in with local shops, venues for excursions, and several parks for the kids to play and relax.
Things have moved from a tent to a large indoor pavilion area for Octoberfest with its month’s long celebration.  There are several pubs located throughout town now and more local eateries.  There are now several vineyards’ in the area with wine tastings and tours.  Bottles of wine offered and enjoyed in various settings. The national chains have mostly stayed away or possibly not willing to change their facades to the alpine theme required in town. Either way it is nice to see the mom and pop local vendors flourishing these days.  The city has embraced the changes from the once sleepy logging town to a vibrant close knit community with now several generations of local families’ involvement keeping things running smoothly and growing in the Nacoochee Valley.

Anna Ruby Falls and Unicoi Park
Just north of the Alpine village of Helen, Anna Ruby Falls is adjacent to Unicoi State Park.  Part of the 1600 acre Anna Ruby Falls Scenic Area, the waterfalls are named for the daughter of John H. Nichols, a wealthy White County resident who owned much of the land in the vicinity.  Besides the falls, Nichols had purchased significant amounts of land around the Chattahoochee River, Duke's Creek and Sautee River.  The gazebo that sits on top of the Indian Mound built by Georgia's Mound builders at the junction of Highway 75 and 17 at the start of the Nacoochee-Sautee Valley was one of many area structures he designed and built.

High atop Tray Mountain the water that becomes Anna Ruby Falls begins its journey, part as underground spring, and part as runoff.  The peak, on the eastern Front Range of the Appalachian Mountains (the Blue Ridge Mountains), is a popular destination for area hikers.  Mountain laurel and rhododendron constantly battle for control of the sun.  White pine and poplar dominate, telling the story of the over-foresting that took place here less than a century before. 

The trail to Anna Ruby Falls is a continuous, easy to moderate paved climb with bridged crossings of Smith Creek.  Towards the end, there are well-placed observation decks which afford an excellent view of both waterfalls.  The path to the falls is paved, and benches line Smith Creek, which the path follows. It is a steady climb to the falls and storms have dramatically altered the walk over the last 15 years. When I last hiked this path in the early 1980's it was heavily shaded, with large trees blocking the sun. Today, because of many storms, trees have been removed and light breaks through to the ground in many places.  The rare double waterfall is formed by Curtis and York Creek from Tray Mountain which is behind Anna Ruby Falls.  It is a tranquil walk with the sounds of the water running down the mountain, the water hitting and falling over the multiple rocks with mini-falls as you make your way up and back.

Mark of the Potter

Traveling on highway 197 near Clarksville Georgia is an old grist mill which was turned into a pottery studio in 1969.  It is located on the Soque River right at a small dam across the river.  They have several potters on staff as well as guest potters who come in and do live demonstrations or making items for sale.  The retail store has many different items of all sorts from bowls, plates, cups, or other items. It is very informative and has the history of Mark of the Potter and several newspaper articles.  On the back deck overlooking the river you can see large trout swimming about.  People can feed them as the fish swarm around waiting to be fed.  It is comical watching them waiting for someone to throw food in the water.  The views of the falls upriver are beautiful and vary depending on the season.  Fall colors can give the river a colorful look and when the snow is on the ground or on the rocks it takes on a totally different look and perspective.
There are many activities to do in Helen ranging from tubing the Chattahoochee River, golf, hot tubing at many cabins/lodges in the area, hiking the many trails and waterfalls, museums, winery tours, swimming, biking, and amusement parks.  There is something for all ages in a unique to Georgia setting with the Bavarian theme.

Next up . . .

Ice

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Revisiting Atlanta Georgia and changes over twenty years away

It has been over twenty years since I left Atlanta and so much has changed during that time.  The Atlanta that I knew growing up can hardly be found anymore.  Much of the buildings that were icons of the sixties and seventies are now gone, replaced by some bland and faceless building or space.

A few icons remain, The Varsity on North Avenue
Polaris restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta,
and the Peachtree Plaza hotel, but many are no longer all over town. 

Some of the more familiar that I grew up with living originally in downtown Atlanta in area near Georgia Tech and North Avenue called Techwood are gone now.  Much of this area was demolished and rebuilt during the building phases for the Olympic Village prior to the 1996 Summer Olympics.  We lived just down the street from what are now Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia Aquarium.

Icon buildings along the then four lane freeway were the Noland and the Wilson Jones building with the famous “Fly Delta Jets” sign on its roof.  That neon sign with its red glow above my bedroom window for as long as I can remember was a soothing nighttime fall asleep Zen like condition in my youth.
Both are gone now as the freeway was expanded multiple times to accommodate the growing population of Atlanta and the vehicles going through town or into downtown businesses. I had a paper route where I delivered papers to many downtown office buildings before I went to school each morning. Many of those buildings are gone making way for newer more modern buildings. 

Driving around North Avenue where the historic Fox theater is located, thankfully still there as it was one of my early jobs being an usher at the Fox and Lowes theaters back when you learned where every seat was in the theater and actually took people down the aisle and sat them down to watch the films. All the old historic buildings of Pershing Point in midtown have been torn down for progress of this city. It seems a shame to tear down these beautiful architectural buildings to make way for “something different”.

Going north on Peachtree Street at 7th Street a new type of motor hotel called The Atlanta Cabana Motel was built in 1958. It was Atlanta’s version of Fontainebleau Miami. As things changed in midtown over the years so did the Cabana changing owners and razed in 2002 for a new 28 story residence tower called the Spire. A little known fact was Doris Day was a part owner in the late 60’s and 70’s.
Peachtree and 10th Street area was a Hippie neighborhood in the 60’s and 70’s, the home of Margaret Mitchell who wrote “Gone with the Wind”. 

Her house was an eyesore for many years finally restored and placed on the National Historic Registry in 1997. 
This area was in constant change from the 60's to the 80’s when the gay movement changed this area of town. It had gotten pretty run down but with people revitalizing the Piedmont Park and Ansley neighborhoods while many high rise buildings were built many of which were residential. 

During the 60’s we moved out to north east Atlanta in the area around North Druid Hills and Brookhaven.  The Lenox Square Mall which at the time was a large open air mall with concrete forms and spires crossing from one side to the other was a totally different look for a mall. Actually I think it was one of the first multi-store type malls in the south.


There were places for people to perform for those shopping, several restaurants for those living in North Atlanta and who could forget the Lenox Square Gulf Station with its iconic spaceship look it was a great unique building in its time which is now gone.
Much has changed, population has grown three fold in twenty years and now it is a solid mixture of businesses, malls, apartments, condos, and strip malls from Gainesville to the north to Jonesboro to the south.  It has grown exponentially over the years. The metro Atlanta area consisted of five counties in 1995 when I left with a population of approximately 1.7 million people and has grown to 29 counties with over 5.3 million in 2010 census now making up a huge area.  Traffic has always been an issue for me and the major reason I left many years ago.  Orange barrels on I-285 and every other interstate around Atlanta was the joke when I left.  There have been many improvements in the highway system including toll lanes for moving “swiftly” along or high density vehicle lanes are common now.  Traffic is still bad, the area downtown when I was young had four lanes (2 in each direction) which is now I think at least 10 each way with no more room for expansion through the downtown corridor.

Atlanta is still a beautiful city, just not the beautiful city I remember from the seventies.  As it has grown over the years one of my questions back then was who/how many to change all the light bulbs in the street lights along Atlanta’s roadways?  Now it must take a small army of people as you fly into Atlanta you can see the lights from several hundred miles out when landing.

It is still hot here but for some reason more manageable than it was when working in the heat every day. Much has changed; the skyline is different now as it has grown but one constant even with all the influx of people from other places (mainly the northern states) is the Southern people and our heritage.  The traditions are alive and well here which is refreshing.  

During the time in Alaska people would often comment about my mannerisms and sayings which I always carried my heritage within my soul over the years.  Opening a car door or shop door for others is so much a part of me.  The friendly banter with people in the service industry is something I take pride in.  Our ways may not be understood by those whose mama and daddy did not teach the traditions of our southern heritage but they are an important part of my life.

As I continue to stay in the Atlanta area there are other places I would like to revisit and write my perspectives on and witness the changes over my absence.  The South is strong and its ideals ingrained in our being.  We will do fine and always have.  The south is, in our day and age, a cultural, industrial and economic power.  Cities including Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, Charleston (one of the busiest ports in the country), Jacksonville, Mobile, and Montgomery are all cities of industrial and cultural importance.

The old adage, “The south shall rise again”, is often misunderstood but its message is clear . . . The South has risen from the ashes of the Civil War and now play a major part in this nations business, political, and cultural sense with our genteel way about us.

Good day,

Ice

Monday, August 08, 2016

Leaving ABCon in Kentucky for Virginia and Georgia

Saying goodbye to everyone who gathered in our “friends playing with friends” group was hard for everyone and the buzz about next year’s gathering in Seattle was already starting. I was able to take a tour in the ATV with Ian around the farm before leaving Monday morning.  We drove through several fields seeing the various groups of cattle grazing.  The interesting thing was what you saw from Ian and Amy’s farmhouse was only a very small part of the farm.  It went past several hills, across a road and had multiple houses for family members, ponds, and different types of things growing. It was great seeing all the things happening on a working farm.

I’m leaving Kentucky for a drive to Virginia to see my oldest daughter and her family.  It has been way too long since I have seen them so it was a day of anticipation and a great feeling going into the Appalachia Mountains once again. The mountains in other parts of the country have a stark contrast with sharp edges, rocks above the timberline and vary greatly within the ranges.  The mountains of the South in the Blue Ridge have a much softer look with the trees covering the mountains and the clouds and soft hue of blue hanging over everything. It has a feel to it like coming home once again.  I spent a great deal of time in my youth in these mountains hiking, camping and flying hang gliders from many of the peaks in several states.  It always had a good feeling for me spending time here over the years. 

I decided to drive the interstate highways today and not the route my GPS was telling me to go. I wanted to make this an easy drive with little stops, small towns, or winding roads which is what the route looked like on my phone. I easily returned to I-75 south from the farm, only about a five minute drive then headed toward Lexington KY where I would turn east on I-64 towards West Virginia.

As I approached Ashland and Huntington Kentucky there was a huge Marathon Oil gas refinery which I was not expecting in this part of the country.  There were storage tanks on both sides of the road as well as the huge complex for the refinery.  Seeing these refineries in California, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi are what one would expect to see while driving but in this part of Kentucky I was expecting to see signs of coal processing or things relating to the coal industry.
Most of the interstate highways I have driven across the country are dedicated to veterans and are called the Purple Heart Trail. Most states I have traveled have had this or something similar to honor veterans sacrifice for this country.

The Alaska Highway from the Canadian border to Delta Junction, AK is designated the "Purple Heart Trail" in honor of our veterans and their sacrifice!
According to Wikipedia, The Purple Heart Trail system, established by the MOPH in 1992, is purposed to "create a symbolic and honorary system of roads, highways, bridges, and other monuments that give tribute to the men and women who have been awarded the Purple Heart medal." The program places, where legislation is passed, signs designed to remind motorists of the freedom of their country, and of those who have paid to keep it that way. The program designates bridges, sections of highways, and other roads as part of the trail. It forms non-continuous paths, and is present in 45 states and the territory of Guam.

As I drove Interstate 64 and made the turn south onto Interstate 77 into West Virginia I made my way through several toll booths, $2.00 each to arrive in Charleston, West Virginia.  American Hero General Chuck Yeager who lived close by had a bridge named for him. There are several places in West Virginia which have renamed things in honor of Yeager. Among them: Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia, the Interstate 64/Interstate 77 bridge over the Kanawha River in Charleston is named in his honor. On October 19, 2006, the state of West Virginia also honored Yeager with a marker along Corridor G (part of U.S. 119) in his home Lincoln County, and also renamed part of the highway the Yeager Highway.

Aviation legends like Chuck Yeager are few and far between these days, having “The Right Stuff” to break the sound barrier or flying combat missions as well as one of the top test pilots in the world make fascinating reading of his exploits.  The rumor of his flying under the bridge in 1948 have gone on and been expanded over the years but being the home hero gave those proud to put his name over the bridge.

As I was near my exit from the interstate I was talking with my sister on the phone. Her last statement before hanging up was to text her that I had arrived at my daughter’s house.  I left the highway and had about forty miles to go before arriving. I looked at my GPS and saw it continuing to give me course changes and directions but then it gave me a message it was no longer connected to the server.  I looked at my phone, no service.  I arrived and found out that the county they live in only has Sprint and Verizon cell service and that AT&T has no towers anywhere around. It was a couple of days before I got to a place where I had cell service and could check in with everyone.  There were several concerned voice mails and texts that I hadn’t checked in like I told them I would.

We spent a family day on the river kayaking for about 12 miles where it was great spending time talking in such a beautiful setting.  The river with its different wildlife appearing as we made our way past was enjoyable and pretty incredible. A large heron would stop in front of our kayaks then as we approached within about 15 yards it would fly slowly down the river about hundred yards then land and wait for us to float closer.  He repeated this about five or six times before flying back up the river where we first saw him.  I was told by one of the guides that the heron had been doing that for several years as the different raft or kayak groups floated past his location.  Several deer jumped into the river ahead of us and swam across which was a nice surprise for everyone to see.  A rain shower rolled in just as we made our way to a large rock outcropping which had an overhang that we were able to put all four of our kayaks to sit out the heavy rain shower. We sat under the rock for about twenty minutes until the rain stopped and another set of floaters in our group who had been in the rain caught up with us.

I headed out Friday for Atlanta and back to my sister’s house driving almost an hour before I finally was back in range of any AT&T cell towers. There were many messages and texts from people making sure I was ok.  It is great to have friends and family support while I am on the road. There were several wrecks and construction delay’s but with a new phone app I was told in Kentucky called Waze it alerted me of the hazards or delays as well as give me alternate routes to go to continue to move and not just sit in traffic.  There were alerts for police, debris in the road, and even potholes along my route, it was great to use this application.

I arrived in the Atlanta area in the early evening and saw several of my family members before they headed home for the night.    My sister and I sat up talking and watching some television before she went up to sleep. Over the weekend there would be visits to other family members and friends.

Up next? Who knows but we will let you know shortly, until next time . . .

Ice