Finding Fall Folliage in North Carolina

We broke the drive into two days so we could relax and enjoy driving back roads and minimizing travel on busy I 75. As we drove over the skybridge crossing Tampa Bay we saw a flock of flying sails. There must of been over twenty kite boarders taking advantage of the great breezes blowing that morning! Pulling over to an area on the causeway beside the bridge we paused to take pictures—it was an impressive sight!

Driving on the Suncoast Parkway north of Tampa we encountered a Trump for President motorcycle motorcade. About 300-400 Harley-Davidsons in various forms of livery got on the road at Brooksville and clogged the lanes for miles, occasionally shifting from right to left lanes and making driving difficult. Thankfully they left us at the end of the highway near Homosassa Springs and we went right while they went left. As we had Mia, our Benji Terrier with us we had to locate dog friendly restaurants to have our meals. Again the “Bring Fido “ app proved to be very helpful in locating dog friendly restaurants and hotels. After locating the “Just a Cupcake Cafe and Bakery”specializing in cupcakes and sandwiches in Dunellon, we continued north to Valdosta, Georgia and a stay at one of our favorite dog-friendly hotels-the Wyngate by Windham. We dined that evening on the sidewalk outside at Steel Magnolias, a southern style restaurant  and another favorite of ours in downtown Valdosta. The next morning we headed up I 75 for the mountains. The roadsides were lined in fields of white-it wasn’t snow it was the cotton crop ready for harvesting!

Leaving the interstate for good we traveled more back roads up the center of the state and having lunch outside of Athens in Watkinsville at a nice restaurant called “Chops and Hops’ before arriving in Franklin later in the afternoon.

We settled into our cozy little cabin and then food shopped before calling it a day.

The next two days were spent exploring the mountains. Winding dirt roads lead us to spectacular views. Fall had arrived in full glory atop the 5360 ft peak known as “Wayah Bald”. A clear day with blue skies and we were able to see for miles across the Appalachians!

Later that afternoon I had wanted to take pictures of the sun setting over the mountains. Sadly trees blocked our views but we did discover a family of donkeys including a cute young colt!

After a cool evening fog had arrived the next morning and cloaked the mountains. We headed east and drove through the Cullasaja Gorgeon US 64. The road twisted and turned through the gorge yielding beautiful views of bright color amidst the series of waterfalls that cascaded down below us

 After having lunch in Highlands at the Midpoint Restaurant, we headed back down through the gorge,this time stopping at Bridal Veil Falls. I loved the views of the falls and its descent over a sharp overhanging cliff

Late in the afternoon we made one more attempt to try and shoot the sunset. Parking at the top of Winding Stair Gap on Chunky Gal Mountain, we hiked the Appalachian Trail for about a mile up the mountain. The trail was pretty and we saw the sun but we still had trees blocking our view. We returned to the car and called it a day after dining in Franklin at a small Japanese restaurant called Kobe Express Japanese. Sadly we had to leave the next morning and head south for a long drive to Charleston, South Carolina.More about that in my next newsletter.

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Loving Sculpture in Loveland

Sadly leaving Estes Park we headed east on US 34 through winding canyons along the Big Thompson River until we reached the City of Loveland, Colorado. I had last passed through Loveland about 20 years ago when I was investigating job opportunities at the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper(how the world has changed).

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A Rocky Mountain High

Leaving my friend in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, it was time to continue east.
We headed over Rabbit Ears Pass through the city of Kremmling fueled up in the town of Granby had lunch at the Granby Garage Roadhouse. It was a rainy day and the skies were gray. We headed through the beautiful town of Grand Lake to the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park.

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The most beautiful highways in the U.S. (if not the world!)

After staying in the pretty little town of Bluff, Utah for a couple of days we started heading north. We drove to the city of Blanding to grocery shop and then headed west on Utah 95. I love the Utah state highway signs as they feature a beehive with the highway number in the middle of it.

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Dye-ing to Get Started on a New Painting!

Now that I am back in the saddle after being on the road in “The Roge Mahal ” for the past 3 1/2 months it is time to get to work! Of course I will continue sharing snippets from various stops on our trip in the near future. Sadly I returned to a yard full of weeds that needed pulling, a septic system that needed to be replaced for the studio, and a minor flood in the studio from a small roof leak after I got home.

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Enjoying The Fruits Of Their Labors

One of the joys of traveling in our RV has been the chance to enjoy local fresh fruits and vegetables. With Summer in full swing we have been able to sample nature’s bounty. Staring with the small ripe apricots that were growing wild by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad tracks at our Durango,Colorado campground we scooped up the sweet tastes that come with fresh ripe fruit.

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A Monumental Valley

We had left the Durango, Colorado area after a week of camping in one of our favorite western towns and we drove southwest for several hours with a lunch stop in Cortez, CO within view of Mesa Verde National Park and the Sleeping Ute Mountain. As we headed south the landscape dramatically changed, with the mountains being replaced by long flat vistas of buttes and mesas peppering a treeless dry dessert.

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