“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Friday, June 10, 2016

Late Entries

I did not do a very good job of keeping up my journal this week.  There was a lot to do. I wonder how I ever survived when I was working?

  We went over the mountains to my mother in law's house to visit. It's a long, long drive and over really bad roads. Even using the low gears, coming down the mountain on her side my brakes were burning.

The road we use was a freight road for wagons in the post civil war era. They had a sort of winch at the top of the steep sections, and you unhooked your mules , then they pulled you up with the winch. This was not free of course, and the road was called a "turn pike" because you had to pay the toll. My side of the mountain range is steep, but the other side is really impressively steep. Big trucks today can't use the road  because they burn out their brakes and go off the cliffs. That happened about 3 weeks ago, as it does periodically. Years ago a school bus from Florida tried to come down that stretch, burnt out the brakes, careened off the road and hit an oak tree. Ended badly.

We use it because it's the shortest way to her house, saves about 20 miles over going through the next pass over.



There are plenty of pull over's along this road, so you can let your brakes cool.  We took this picture while we were waiting.


We took this photo on the other side of the summit.  On a clear day with no smoke in the air you can see Atlanta from here.

You can't tell it, but just a few feet behind M is a cliff. Ever so often, people will pull over here at night, walk over to look at the lights, and go  right over the cliff.

I don't know why they don't at least put a sign or rails, something.





Just about six miles from my house, as the crow flies, is the Appalachian Trail.

This steep road crosses it at the summit. There's a trail head there where you can park if you want to do a day hike, or if you are coming from Springer Mountain and plan to hike to this gap, then quit and head home.  Not a good idea though, since the vehicles get vandalized or broken into on a routine basis.







If you saw the movie "Into the Woods", this is the Appalachian Trail way station where Robert Redford and Gary Busey were walking through the stone building. It's perched right on the summit, at Neal's Gap, Georgia  on Blood Mountain.

When we came back home, we came this way.  It's actually out of our way a bit, but the road is much better and you don't have to smell brake smoke all the way down the mountain.

 As you walk up the steps of the building , the trail passes right through a breezeway. This statue of Big Foot is off to one side.

North Georgia is popular with people who think Big Foot is lurking in the national forest. A couple of years ago, a deputy sheriff driving down the road at night in White county, Ga got some dash cam footage that is pretty hair raising, over near Helen, Ga,.

I don't know if Big Foot is out there or not but I don't meander around the woods anymore.  Hogzilla certainly was real and those guys are probably more dangerous than Big Foot if he is really out there.



The famous Neal's Gap Gato.  Everybody has to have their picture taken with him. I think he should put up a sign and charge $5.00 like the Indians do along the highway in the Southwest.


This is the overlook at Neal's Gap. They have a nice, shaded picnic area there, with tables.

The Appalachian trail runs through the overlook, up a long flight of stone steps, and then on off into the woods.

This picture doesn't do the view justice. You can see way down into the "flatland" from up there.






The Hiking Center at Neal's Gap sells all sorts of camping supplies, hiking gear, books on the trail and the mountains, maps, food , you name it. They also have a service where they will mail extra gear you don't want to hump over the mountains anymore back home for you.  We always go in the center and look at the offerings when we go this way, but we only use this road perhaps two or three times a year.


The trip to my mother in law's house took us through Helen, Clarkesville, Cornelia, Toccoa, Duluth, Gainesville, Cleveland and all points in between.  We took back roads all the way.  There were many, many little houses like this one, flying the Confederate flag, and lots of businesses. I saw many Confederate flag bumper stickers, and a lot of pickups with a pole mounted in the bed and the flag flying from that. It made me feel better. Things are not so grim as the talking heads would like everyone to think. In the country side, the appreciation of Southern heritage is strong.




I used the movie "Gettysburg" to show clips to my 5th graders when we studied the Civil War. It's a good , historically accurate movie.  It's also ok for kids about 12 and up, I would say.






Among other recent events, somebody broke into the kid's Jeep up there where they live, and stole the new $200 phone I just bought my daughter. It was insured, but what a goat rope it has been trying to settle all that. AT&T are the worst people in the world about trying to nickel and dime you to death when you have to make adjustments to the account. They are charging me a $20.00 activation fee to let the replacement phone use the account. AT&T reeks.  I have been looking for a better service, but I am limited by the fact that only Verizon and AT&T have any coverage here where I live.


Cell phones are largely line of sight propagation.  In the mountains, you can pretty well forget about reliable connections.

Thought for the Day




42 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this Harry. So many folks miss seeing the real America traveling the super highways.

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    1. The trip was really a bit much for us. Should have stayed the night at the mother in law's but I wanted to get home.

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  2. Oh, how I love history and your scenery along the way.

    Now I must know why they call it Blood Mountain.

    Flatlanders have no clue how challenging mountains can be.

    I have two flag stickers in my car windows, Hubby has a license plate and we have a flag in the dining room. I thought it history until they began to tell me I COULD NOT fly it. I'm kinda stubborn on points like that.

    Verizon is our best and we still only get signal if we stand on a big rock in the yard or drive up the hill a ways. I don't like phones until I NEED one.

    Thanks for sharing your trip.

    Have a very blessed weekend.

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    1. Hey, Gail. It's called Blood Mountain because before the Spanish came through here, the two dominant tribes were the Cherokee and the Creek. The Creek (pronounced Cree), where the most numerous and by far the most warlike. They tried to extend their control up into North Georgia. On Blood Mountain a Cherokee confederation met them and there was a day long battle, at the end of which the Cherokee held the mountain. Ever since then, the mountain has been known as Blood Mountain.

      The attack on flags, both Confederate and U.S. are just a small facet of the massive cultural reengineering program that's been going on since the days of LBJ. It's people like Hillary and Ted Kennedy (now thankfully dead), and all their little minions and lackeys, pulling the levers to rewrite history to their own liking, and sculpt the future to their taste.

      AT&T is arrogant, and dishonest to boot.

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    2. I love when I learn something new. Thank you.

      I have Cherokee in my lineage through the Carolina's. Glad they won something. When the blood entered our family, they were traveling by wagon train when they found a massacred Cherokee camp. All dead...then they heard a baby cry. It was a girl and they took her to the next town. The town people did not want the "savage" and repeatedly told them to knock her in the head. Our family took her and raised her as their own. She was my great grandmother. I noticed on the census Grandpa was always listed as white. Interesting the things in our past. I also have Irish, German, and English which has turned out to be a pretty good mix for me, I think.

      I suspect tomatoes are not the only thing that has been altered.

      Have a very blessed weekend.

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    3. Gail, if you are one sixteenth Cherokee here, you can get medical expenses, educational expenses, and some other things paid by the Tribal Council. They own a couple of casinos and make good money, plus they get a lot of money from the feds, so they live pretty well. The Cherokee here are the ones who hid out from the Army, when Andrew Jackson moved them out to Oklahoma after the Red Stick war.

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  3. Hey Harry,

    ""I have been looking for a better service, but I am limited by the fact that only Verizon and AT&T have any coverage here where I live."

    I've had good service -- customer & otherwise --with Straight Talk; they use Verizon's towers.

    Good to see you and the wife out and about; the pictures are nice. I really need to take my partner out for a tour before she disowns me.

    Take care,

    -Moe

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    1. Moe, I have heard good things about Straight Talk, but did not know they could provide service here. I will certainly call them, as I am fed up with AT&T and their high and mighty ways.

      My wife really wanted to go see her mom. I knew it would be a hellish trip, it's long, it was a hot humid day, and we had to go over some tough mountains. But I could hardly let her drive herself. It's nice to get out but it's nice to get home too!

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  4. The trip looks fun. I loved reading about it.

    We've been busy here. Lots of berry picking. My husband grew strawberries. Then we have a Juneberry bush (it isn't doing well), but well enough to pick berries. We went to Nebraska City last weekend. Isaak got to shoot off his first real gun. He was grinning from ear to ear. Mica was a punk and said, "It's too loud for me." Ha!

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  5. Good for you, Alissa! The boys need to start learning firearms skills early. Mica will get used to it. If he was using ear plugs try picking up a pair of Mouse ears for him, that will solve that.

    We planted blue berries this year, but we aren't getting any berries. I guess it takes awhile. My daughter planted strawberries in a planter on her deck, and berries were growing but she looked out and two big crows were just plucking off the last ones!

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    1. You can't do anything about birds. If slugs get to strawberries, you can put beer in a small plastic throw away cup, and bury the cup mostly in the soil. The slugs love beer. They'll go to it and drown.

      I noticed my work is getting mulberries. My boss doesn't care if I pick them, so I probably will again this year.

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    2. At least the slugs die happy, that's nice than throwing salt on them!

      Mulberries. I don't know if I have ever seen any of those, doesn't ring a bell.

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  6. Love the pictures and descriptions. I love windy mountain roads and the beautiful scenery that accompanies them (usually). We have a lot of that in other parts of Colorado, locally it's just the road up Pikes Peak that usually does a few people in.

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    1. There are a lot of trade off's to living in the mountains, as you know from your own experiences. Winters are a hard time, bitterly cold and often too much snow or ice to move without a four wheel drive. Sometimes, if you live up high like I do, you can't get up or down no matter what you drive. But there are advantages. You can live a very isolated life here if you choose your home place carefully. It really is a beautiful place, very tranquil and serene most of the time. I think out where you are, where there are more long range views, it's probably even more beautiful. I miss that. Here, in summer, I am completely engulfed by the woods at my place.

      I miss the ocean, but I am satisfied with life here.

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  7. Good to know about the break ins at the trail head. One day we may get to hike it. I haven't seen Into the Woods yet but hope to at some point. Years ago my sister in law took us to some party in malibu , close to where she lived at the time. Gary Busey was there and he was pretty toasted.

    That sounds about the cell phone. Verizon has no customer service to speak of either but it's the only company with decent service where we are.

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    1. Sadly, they felt compelled to use a lot of obscene language in the movie, for reasons I can't discern since it added nothing and in my opinion detracted from the overall quality of the film. But it was still fascinating, and funny. If not for the language, I am sure your kids would enjoy it. Especially when the bears invade the campsite, that was hilarious.

      Busey has a long history of trouble with booze, women and the police but he seems a jovial , easy going fellow and a good actor.

      Cell phones here have little value. If you break down on the road, you just have to walk until you find a spot where you can get a signal. At my place I have to walk up behind the barn, through the woods a short way, and climb up on some granite boulders to get a strong signal.

      I've lived here a very long time now, and the trail heads used to perfectly safe. In the last ten years or so, that has changed dramatically, as the demographics of North Georgia have changed.

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    2. I didn't see the movie "A Walk In The Woods", but I believe the actor playing Bryson's character was Robert Redford, not Gary Busey. But I definitely see the resemblence between the two now.

      The writer of the book (Bryson) is extremely funny and I recommend the book if you haven't read it lately. I liked the book he wrote about Australia (A Sunburnt Country ?), he mixes in lots of historical facts with the events as he travels.

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    3. I said Gary Busey but I meant Nick Nolte. I am not really good with actors names. Nolte played the old buddy from Bryson's youth. I saw a copy of "A Walk in the Woods" in the book section of our grocery store when the movie came out, but didn't buy it. I should. I certainly want to read his book about Australia, which I had not heard of until now. I appreciate the correction and the heads up about the book.

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    4. Actually, I'm embarrassed to say I was wrong - I thought you were mixing up Robert Redford and Gary Busey above. Totally my fault.

      Nolte - Busey. They do sound similar, don't they ? :^)

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    5. I can't keep them straight. Now that I know what Nick Nolte looks like, I am wondering what Gary Busey looks like! Two people with the same face in my mind.

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  8. What a beautiful area!

    I can hardly wait until we get settled in Colorado so I can post some pictures like these.

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    1. I look at the pictures on Matt's blog, and envy him those long range views of high mountains you can get in that part of the country. I know you will be a lot more at ease and less stressed when you get set up out there.

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    2. Two things jump out at me every time we go there....

      NO graffiti that I've seen,
      and
      NO garbage/trash blowing along the side of the road.

      The winters in the Fort Collins area are fairly mild, at least according to our daughter-in-law's parents.

      From following the NWS over the last several years, and comparing it to where I grew up in Illinois, winters in that part of Colorado appear to be quite tolerable compared to what I grew up with.

      I'll miss the ocean, and all my friends, but getting out of Kommiefornia will be quite a relief!

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    3. We didn't use to have trash here. Then they built the four lane road coming up into the mountains, and now we have housebreaking, drugs, murder and garbage blowing across the road. The first day the four lane was open, four black guys from Atlanta drove up here, knocked down the door of the only pharmacy in town, and looted it of drugs. When I moved here, I thought it was impossible that the place would ever be opened up and made easily accessible because the terrain was so rough. I was wrong. When you pick your place, make REALLY sure it's going to stay remote. Best advice I can give you!

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    4. Understood, but I doubt if the wife would go for something that "remote"!

      We'll lots of well-armed relatives and friends in the immediate area, and most of the riff-raff prefers the Denver metro area, about 70 miles South, so that helps a bit.

      And all of the yuppies are flocking South of Fort Collins to Loveland and further South, so that helps a bit, too.

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    5. It's got it's drawbacks, especially if you have any medical problems. But I do like being left alone up here.

      Max found himself a nice place out there in the mountains. I think there are more people near him than I could handle, but it doesn't seen to be an irritant from his perspective. He seems pretty happy with his cabin. I hope you can find something that suits both you and the wife.

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  9. I love seeing other areas of our country. I've been through Georgia, but only the west/east freeway through Atlanta, and that was many years ago. Your mountains are beautiful, but I'm not sure I would want to drive the roads you describe. I admit to being a craven coward flatlander. :)

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    1. If you stay on the newer roads, the grade is not so bad. But I tend to avoid those and use the old roads that were converted from wagon roads to paved roads in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Some of those are dangerous. That road that goes by Neal's Gap is sprinkled from the top all the way down the mountain with wooden crosses. Those mark where people have been killed in accidents over the years. The state puts them up as a warning, and then some are very elaborate and ornate, families did those to commemorate where their family members died. The custom here is that you can't refuse to let people put up a cross even if someone gets killed in your front yard. Walmart had to go along with the tradition after a woman and all her young children were killed trying to pull out into traffic there on the four lane. Now there's a big wooden cross taller than a man and an inscription, and Walmart maintains it.

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  10. We are pretty much on opposite ends of the AT. I've hiked good sections of the northern end. Never had any vandalism leaving my car at trail heads in these parts. Except for that one time a porcupine ate one of the rubber pads on my bumper.

    I've driven up and down Mt. Washington on the auto road a few times. Taking time to let the brakes cool is a must. Great trip on a motorcycle.

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    1. We didn't have any vandalism here either, until the big agricultural companies brought in thousands of hispanics to break a strike in the chicken processing plants. That changed a lot of things.

      Letting the brakes cool on steep grades is a must. Those who don't, learn their folly too late.

      We have literally hundreds of motorcycles up here in the summer, it's a great place to ride.

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  11. Thanks for sharing your latest adventure and the pictures and history of your beautiful area. It is just gorgeous. I love the mountains and it was always my dream to live in the mountains. Unfortunately, it is only a dream. I am glad that you and your wife are getting out and doing some traveling. Jana

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    1. Jana, you never know. You might make it into the mountains some day. I am not sure where you are in the "life span" but if you are near retirement, that would be a good opportunity. If you are debt free, you can live very well here without vast funds at your disposal. Glad you liked the post. I don't make trips like that anymore unless I have to!

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  12. Thank you for the tour! What amazing country you drove over and up and down. Glad you made it safely.

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    1. It was a long trip. I took the camera because I hoped I could get some good photos to show people the area. I don't have much of a camera but it does ok , just not as well as some of the really nice ones people have.

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  13. thanks for the movie clips. When men were MEN!!! Gives me goosebumps!

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    1. There is a world of difference between men then, and those poor fools who waited like sheep to be shot down in Orlando. I can't completely explain it myself. However, one reason I quit teaching was that the kids were taught not to defend themselves if attacked, and not to make any decisions at all on their own. Always go to someone in authority. I couldn't be part of that.

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  14. Hey Harry,

    Interesting story of that 'wagon road' you took. I really like roads like that.

    West of San Antonio, Texas are a few small towns and taking a right turn off interstate 10 onto a narrow two lane road you will find a very steep drop off into a deep draw. There is a sign at the bottom of the draw that says 'First Coffee Draw" and after climbing to the top and another 50 yard drive is another extremely steep drop off and at the bottom of it on the side of the road is anther sign "Second Coffee Draw" both draws will wake you up alright.

    On politics.

    I heard that Sanders was offered the V.P. position and told Obama that he would take it if Debbie Wasserman Shultz was fired. Obama declined and so Sanders declined the V.P. offer.

    If Sanders runs as a third party candidate. That will surly derail Hillary's chances of making it.

    I think Sanders is nuts of course but I respect his integrity for hating the establishment democrat's so much that he would not work for them.

    any way you look at it of course this country is done like a turkey in the oven after a few hours.

    One more thing.....

    The movie 'Bengazi" was very, very good. I strongly recommend it.


    this is all conjecture of course.

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    1. If Saunders looks like making an independent run, he'll have a "heart attack" or a "car accident." It wouldn't be the first time somebody who got in the Clinton's way conveniently died.

      I plan to see that Bengazi movie, maybe tonight. It's on pay per view.

      I like living in rough terrain. It's one of the things that has saved me from having neighbors, although it hasn't protected the county at large.

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  15. That's a shame about the phone, car break ins are common in St Louis, one reason I don't go to the city. The police tell everyone to make sure not to leave anything of any value in the car, even loose change. Otherwise, your area is very pretty although the roads sound scary.

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    1. The roads are dangerous if you don't know how to drive on them. I learned pretty quickly when I got here, but not without a couple of hair raising mistakes. The worst I ever made was to drive around a "road closed" sign on a mountain road. There had been heavy icing, but I thought I could just cruise on over in my four wheel drive. Turned out I couldn't.

      I begin to wonder if anywhere is even remotely safe, honestly.

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  16. Harry those are some stunning views along your route, one day I've go to go to your neck of the woods, looks unspoilt and full of history. Not sure about those roads mind, if they can burn out brakes that doesn't sound fun.

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    1. Kirsty, the roads up here in the mountains can be dangerous, especially in winter. I tend to use the back roads, which get little maintenance and are very winding and twisty. At least there's never a dull moment!

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