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Travel Dreaming

Today presented us with one of those rare excuses to get out of the house, to stop by the recycling center with our refuse, to fuel our truck for the first time in two months at $1.589/gallon – when’s the last time we saw that price? And especially to pick up our mail. Just getting out of the house feels like an adventure in this era of social distancing, but the mail reminded us of adventures past and future. One piece of mail was The Cahokian Newsletter reminding us of our visit last September to Cahokia, an amazing pre-Columbian urban center near St Louis that at in the 11th Century was a larger city that either London or Paris. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site well worth visiting. Another piece was the AAA Carolinas Go Magazine with an intriguing article entitiled Tell Me a Story about Jonesborough, Tennessee, a location that for a long time we’ve been promising ourselves we’d visit and explore. Hopefully restrictions will ease in the coming weeks and we may once again be free to move about the country.

We’ve Got Cheese!

As we were doing our last grocery shopping prior to our governor’s executive order to Stay at Home, we noticed some Yancey’s Fancy cheese at our local grocery store where we regularly peruse the offerings for an out of the ordinary cheese or two. Then as we started making our way through our stock of food, we saved the Champagne and the Horseradish cheeses for later. Finally last week we pulled them out and served them as an appetizer for Friday night dinner and they were a big hit! Actually it’s not our first encounter with Yancey’s. In 2013, on our first trip with our T@B Clamshell we ventured into New York and in Westfield discovered this line of artisan cheeses crafted in Corfu, New York. Of course we had to get some more and the most logical action would be to order online and have some shipped from the factory. And they’re here. As we excitedly pulled the wedges from the insulated and chilled box, we realized we’d just avoided the situation of “No Cheese” that any Wallace & Gromit fan may recognize as most dreaded. Life is good!

In the Flowering Woods

The two of us are finding many blessings as we heed the statewide Stay at Home Order. We’re slowing down enough to really appreciate the beauty of our Spring flowers. We’ve got Crab Apple, Dogwood and Azalea in bloom right now.

We missed seeing the Redbud blossoms but love the red leaf buds it’s putting out now. And there’s a curious mushroom near the stream of which we’d love to know the genus and species. Soon enough the trees will leaf out and envelope us in curtains of green.

We’re continuing to get creative at planning meals and crafting drinks with just what we have on hand. And we’re delving into this website to find new ways for you to discover some of our blog posts from years past. Be sure to look up at post pinned to the top of our blog page and follow some of the links in the slide carousel.

And know that if you see more blogs come through that suggest that we are on the road, check the dates, they are sure to be from road trips past!

And This Too Shall Pass

Or, Another Benefit of Boondocking

The past four and a half hours have been interesting. At 9AM the power went out. In a house dependent on water pumped from a well, that also means the water supply is out. While our modem was still on UPS we still had internet, so we attempted a call to our electricity supplier but all phone lines were busy. We left a voice mail then proceeded to cook breakfast on our gas range. After breakfast we decided to drive the five miles to the nearest convenience store. We wanted to pick up a couple of gallons of drinking water but even more than that we wanted to see if we could find a fallen tree or other indication of the source of the outage. At the store the cashier said she’d learned that the outage was widespread and that it was at a “box” belonging to the power generating company from which our supplier buys our electricity. That they were working on it was reassuring but Steve’s professional instincts kicked in. He figured that if a substation transformer had blown, that the outage would last at least a few hours but possibly days. We decided to prepare for the “days” possibility. We moved our Honda eu2000i generator from the bed of the truck to under the kitchen window, moved the refrigerator out a few inches, threaded an extension cord through the window and plugged the refrigerator into it. Then we ran the refrigerator on generator for an hour and a half. Meanwhile we brought the stovetop coffee maker and filters in from the T@B. We also retrieved our Rugged Geek RG2000 from the truck to use to charge devices. We started talking about how we’d spend the evening, perhaps out on the deck until after dark, or retreating to the T@B if we needed lights. We couldn’t get in touch with our neighbors because phones are internet and are electricity dependent in our mountainside neighborhood. When we were happy with the status of our refrigerator, we loaded the Honda back into the truck and were preparing to head up the mountain to see if our neighbors needed an electric boost when the power came back on. Hooray! We’re back in touch with the neighbors and with them agree that it’s nice to be back to “normal”. Somehow we trusted that “This too shall pass.” But the two of us are grateful to have had the opportunity to do a run through and now to evaluate how we can prepare even better for the next time. So grateful for our boondocking equipment and knowhow.

What a Friday!

Like folks all over the world, we’re finding ways of coping with what we hope just an interlude of confinement with a combination of high tech and low tech modifications of how we do things. Late this morning we did a yoga class with about 14 thousand others. The teacher was in her own living room live streaming and we were in our own living room following her lead for half an hour! Shortly after that on our doorstep we found the new Levi’s that we’d ordered from Levi.com less than 48 hours earlier! That actually may become our new norm. We both were able to purchase exactly the model, size, and color of blue jeans that we wanted, no compromise. And particularly sweet for us (since we get our mail a forty minute drive away) this package was delivered FedEx straight to our house. We finished the day having drinks and dinner at our neighbor’s house a half mile up the mountain. They are also isolating and are fastidious in their habits so that’s the one in-person social outlet that we’re allowing ourselves these days. We finished off the evening learning the Dominos game of Mexican Train from them. So grateful for excellent video streaming opportunities, doorstep delivery of online purchases, and excellent friends on our mountainside!

More Shelter in Our Place

Don’t know if Spring is here or if we’re just having unseasonably warm weather, but it’s lovely outside. That prompted us into the annual ritual of setting up canopies on our deck and bringing the cushions, pillows, and deck rugs out of storage. We now have expanded space in which to do our own social distancing. Yes, that’s what’s happening. We’re sheltering at Tween Creeks. According to our usual pattern we’re here in the mountain house at this time of year anyway, working on digital projects, with occasional shorter trips planned. And in fact we feel fortunate to be in this particular place if we need to self-isolate. We did have reservations for a trip that involved visiting all three of our offspring next month. We’d drive to Ohio, visit family there, take Amtrak’s Lakeshore Limited to Boston, visit family there, and fly back to Ohio for a dance recital before driving to Indiana for one more family visit. But that’s all postponed indefinitely. We’ve cancelled all reservations. Amtrak and American Airlines have issued us travel vouchers for a full refund but AirBnB and Hilton one upped the transportation companies. Both lodging organizations are issuing a full refund to the credit card used to make the reservation! For now we’re celebrating the fact that we’ve got the opportunity to visit via video chat, text, email, and phone to stay in touch with those we care about, extra time for digital projects and streaming history documentaries, and that we’ve got three acres around our house making it easy to stay six feet away from others. Hoping you are staying happy and healthy and optimistic that we’ll all get through this stronger for the experience!

Blog Enhancements

Just thought we ought to alert our loyal subscribers that we are working on our blog more or less in a behind the scenes manner. We’re planning on uploading some back dated posts, mostly from recent days and months but occasionally from long ago. For instance, we just decided to split a post from 2008 that was about both Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks. This means that if you receive an email with a “new” post, it might actually be from days or years past!

With nearly 2500 posts we wanted to make it easier to find information about specific places. You might have noticed that we’ve added “Our Travels” and “T@B Talk” to our Menu. “Our Travels” features a clickable state by state US map that takes you to posts about each of the 49 states we have visited.

It also features links to American Revolution, Civil War, and Presidential Historic Sites – indexed to individual presidents, to National Parks, and to our Road Trips.

Among other things we are adding video links to our national parks posts and plan to incorporate a clickable US regional map to help sort the more than eighty federal parks we’ve visited. We’re also looking to further refine “T@B Talk”, the section of our site that addresses tips and tricks to enhance life in a nüCamp teardrop trailer.

We hope you enjoy exploring some of our newer features! And remember, we truly enjoy your comments and welcome suggestions that would improve our website!

Friday Evening in Sylva

It’s become our tradition. On Friday evenings the two of us head into Sylva on our weekly date. Our first stop is The Cut Cocktail Lounge to enjoy a special creation by Jesse, our favorite bartender. This evening he crafted a Black Walnut Manhattan for Steve and a Fernet Negroni for Karen. We rated them both off the chart! Wow! From there we head to one of the close by restaurants. Guadalupe Cafe was our choice recently but tonight found us at Lulu’s on Main sharing one of tonight’s specials, a Ribeye with an incredible Mushroom Gravy. Since we’ve been putting in long days digitizing our paper files and organizing our digital files, it’s been fun to reward ourselves each Friday evening.

Downtown Asheville

With lots of rain in the area, possibilities of traffic snarls and the knowledge of road construction near the theater, we left home with plenty of time to spare and arrived at least and hour before showtime. That gave us a chance to wander a bit of downtown Asheville, NC and scope out spots we’d like to frequent the next time we come hang out here for a couple of days. Now we’re headed to NC Stage and their world premier stage production of Jeeves Saves the Day.