Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Picture this: acres and acres of open pasture land. No bluegrass right now, but pasture, none the less. Miles of black fencing. A few farms had white, but for the most part it is black. Less maintenance, and I was told that horses cannot see white. When you are talking horses that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, they likely don't want them hurting themselves if there is anything at all they can do. Not exactly the look that I had in my story books, but less obtrusive. The black blends into the landscape a bit better. Before we leave Lexington to head to Louisville we will go to the race horse museum that is just 15 miles up the road. I went last time I was here, and it is fantastic.
Funny just isn't in the keyboard tonight. I had a great day, but it wasn't funny. We relaxed and talked. We went to the Cracker Barrel for lunch. What a fun place. I did a bit of shopping for the grandkids and the new nephew. Mostly I relaxed with a good friend.
I miss Henry (my corgi) something awful. Playing with Molly really made me realize how badly I miss him.
2G is going to bed. It is 1am here, which is 10pm at home, 12pm in Western KY, 10 pm on the laptop and the GPS. My body can't figure out what the heck is going on. I am now feeling like I could just fall asleep midsen
Monday, September 29, 2008
clearly proved that she was super on the phone, but more "Clark-ish" physically. She simply wouldn't accept that an ethernet cord could do the job. Just because the receptacle for the cord was behind a 6' long chest of drawers with a huge, old and heavy TV atop, and the cord was 6' long (as well), the receptacle was at floor level, the dresser 3.5' high, so that would have one, well, there were actually 2 receptacles, so we could each perch atop the dresser that would likely be stuck halfway into the room, is no reason to dismiss the possibility, for heaven's sake. I left the room for a bit and found her on the phone with corporate when I returned. She unloaded both barrels as I stood in awe.
So, fancy that. Here we sit. Both computers, and operators, will be making the deadlines. The dresser sits squarely against the wall, TV intact, and the only cords attached to the laptops are the charging cords. If that ain't super I don't know what is. I guess one doesn't have to heft three suitcases, a backpack, seventy three bags of "stuff" and two cameras to prove her strength. THAT would be the job of the trusty sidekick, right?
Sunday, September 28, 2008
One the huge up side; today, 9/28, my big sister became a grandmother! A huge southern hug goes out to Corey and Megan and my new great nephew. It is wonderful to be able to share the wonders of being a grandparent with my sister. It is especially great to be in horse country for the big event. A great early birthday present to Dorothy. I now get to find baby gifts from my second favorite state in the nation. I really love it here. I look forward to seeing Ray again, but also kind of dread the emotions that will come to play. I'm glad to have the support of S2. She has been through it all with me. I am eager to share this piece with her as well.
Yep, there are times that we have to settle down a bit and deal with a bit of reality and the emotions that go with it. We visited some battlefields today. It was all so humbling. We were on sacred ground; blood drenched soil that saw a nation come together, and fall apart. Pictures of man's inhumanity to man. It was overwhelming.
So, my friends, we will gather together again tomorrow. Do not expect another serious blog however. This is the only one you will get from me. I can't speak for S2. (We must be up Early, Girl; it would be good to get a Sweet 100 miles in before lunch.) I love the southern drawl, and we both find ourselves slipping in and out of it ourselves. (Yes my dawlins, your momma can't wait to get home, give y'all some shuga, and embarrass the devil outa y'all. Be afraid, be VERY afraid.)
Saturday, September 27, 2008
As for the picture at the right, I'm sure you are wondering...what were we doing in a Harley Motorcycle dealership? Why is such a little tomato acting like it's a big fat beefsteak? Did our little guy lose some of his, uh, juicy gelatinous essence? Locularity, locularity.
I'm thinking that this was taken at the sixth or seventh dealership we've visited. We visit for this reason: My dear friend is caring for my daughter while I'm out alarming the southern population. She and her husband ride Harley's, and her one small request for me while I'm gone is that I feed her dealer pin habit.
All of her friends know....going on a trip? Check out the local Harley dealerships. I was so excited about my visit to the Rogersville area that I completely spaced looking for them there...so I missed Kingsport and Knoxville. Here in Nashville I'm back on track, we've found four in Nashville alone. We have found the nicest people in (most of) the dealerships, and the ones that were not so outgoing, well we WERE in there at quitting time.
Even tomatoes are worried when they see out of work gas tanks all over the place. See the downcast little guy? When we visited the gas station we were not happy to see that the gas shortage that plagued us in North Carolina has now reached the big cities of Tennessee. We had no problem finding gas in eastern TN. Unfortunately there are a lot of plastic bags tucked over the gas nozzles of Nashville. We were, in fact, able to fill up eventually, but this isn't funny. I've wondered, what is this all about, anyway? I know, we had a hurricane that ravaged Galveston, but only a very small amount of our gasoline is supplied by the area. The west coast supply seems ok, from what I hear. NC had it bad, TN is getting worse, no idea what Kentucky brings. It is clearly a conspiracy! We rented a Dodge Caliber, and we appreciate it more every time we put 3 or 4 gallons in and know that much is going to get us another 150 miles or so. The car has been getting approximately 36 mpg, not bad, not bad at all. For the most part, we've had the universe taking care of us. We just have to mention that perhaps we should top off the tank when a virtually empty gas station (with gas) appears. And as we pump our gas, we've watched the same stations develop block long lines.
Why the TV remotes in motels all have nearly dead batteries? At our current spot we have good batteries, and, praise the big tomato, wifi! I almost don't want to leave. I'd hate to see 2 grandma confined to an airless, muggy room with only a cigarette cursor to keep her company.
And I know this may be a repeat of 2G's blog, but why do televangelists have such astonishing mullet hairdo's? Is it the higher the hair, the closer to God?
Why did the cable in the Bulls Gap Best Western have FIVE channels carrying ABC programming, three carrying NBC, while the one that should have shown CBS was nothing but snow? Being that we are addicted to our dose of Craig Ferguson, we found this to be almost as aggravating as the fact that they advertise the fact that they have WiFi, and then supply you with only one bar (if you are lucky). I'm not bitter. Really.
Why am I starting to sound like Andy Rooney?
2G has hinted that she may sneak up and apply her bedazzler to my cowboy had whilst I sleep. I don't know what this means, nor do I have a cowboy hat.
Finally, here are a few shots from Nashville today. I must be swift, so that I can outpost 2G who is over there typing up a storm.
They've clearly tried to upgrade the music area, with a beautiful promenade. Better to walk there in broad early daylight, not edging into the evening as we were.
Lucky shot of the Cumberland River, with sun shining on the pedestrian bridge over it.
Somewhere in this seething mass of people is the immortal Ryman Auditorium. The whole Nashville visit was kinda depressing...the air reeked like a 3 day drunk. Sigh.
G2 has already referenced the dead skunk in the middle of the road, but our other songs of the day are:
Rhinestone Cowboy (by Glen Campbell)--brought on by bedazzler threats.
Take the Last Train to Clarkesville (by the Monkees)--Who knew the Monkees had deep roots in Tennessee?
Thank You Miss Rosa (by the Neville Brothers)--driving down Rosa Park Blvd.
Cumberland Blues (Grateful Dead)--The Cumberland River
ST and Tala, call me one way or t'other.
However, we left the motel on a quest. Harley pins. On the way, with ever faithful, but occasionally wrong, Lee, my Aussie voiced GPS we discussed many things. Look, in the road! Can it be? I believe it's so. It's a dead skunk in the middle of the road! yep, a dead skunk, in the middle of the road, and it's stinkin' to high heaven. (My sister, and her dogs, can vouch that tomato juice will kill (snicker) the smell of skunk.). Had we trusted Lee in the beginning, we would not have tried to find the Harley shop that was at the airport; not NEAR the airport, but actually AT the airport. You see, we were using the yellow pages instead of Lee's search function. He said three shops, but the phone book said seven. I am thinking that one of the rental car companies may rent cycles as well, but we will never know. I doubt we could find a Budget Rent-A-Hog pin. I digress. (With all the road kill I suspect on a moonlit night like tonight we could find a dead bullfrog.) We are driving through an area of town that is all facades. BEE-YOU-TEA-FULL entry ways, with stone and wrought iron fences and elaborate sign decorate "the projects." Slum type older apartment or condos made to look nicer from the road. Strangely sad. I'm thinking that this is a lot like the bedazzler. That weird pliers contraption that will allow one to put plastic "jewels" along the seams and pockets of pants. Flashy, but the shape underneath is still the same. However, if you add a nice cowboy hat to the mix it takes the eye back away and totally confuses the whole issue. Ka-peeeesh??
Talking about confusing: there is a bank here just outside of town. We drove by too fast to get a picture so you will just have to believe us. It is called "The 5th 3rd Bank." What the heck can that mean? We pondered this for a few minutes (as long as our attention span allowed). The answer that made the most sense came from S2: They tried four other times to get permits and funding for their third bank before finally achieving success. Really; does anything else make any better sense? Even stranger, it appeared to be in business despite the sad state of the economy, so they must really be on to something. However, there will be a definite problem with the next bank. Would that be the "1st 4th Bank"? Or could it be that there were just five 3rd Banks so it would be the "6th 3rd Bank"? Would that make it the "2nd Bank" since six thirds is really two? I think we must include Uncle Peter on this, S2. He will know, the tomato told me so.
Occasionally the Kingston side of me peeks out from inside and quivers and quakes. I haven't figured out if it is the reality that we are halfway through our trip or if I dread my time back in reality. I will never be the same, that is for sure, and I will never be able to go down the produce aisle without smiling all the way from my toes. (I am sooo glad that no one recognizes my truck!)
I think it is time to go to sleep. I'm not completely sure because my computer and GPS are still on Pacific time, the car is on Charlotte time, and the clock in the motel room is on a time in between the two. It would sure be nice if there were a big sign on the road at the time change. It could include a pull over spot so that we could change our watches, GPS, computer, timers, call the kids and let THEM know, ect (I know it is supposed to be etc, but I am in Nashville, and things are spelled different and I am trying hard to fit in.) So perhaps that turn out at the time change should be a lane, as folks with a lot of gadgets, and kids to call, may be there a spell. Whatever the clock says, my time here is over for now.
Breakfast was interesting. At the Best Westerns you get a free continental breakfast. It really is pretty good, and usually is in a kitchen type area off the lobby. When we checked in at some late hour, well, not quite as late as we thought because at some point we hit a time change, the manager gave us a "meal ticket." That was after he changed our room numbers a couple of times. First change was when we hobbled into the lobby. I was in my traditional travel wear, shorts and t-shirt. He saw the "leg." I look at it and see "sporty, more active, paralympics." He apparently had a different reaction. He immediately said, "I assume you want first floor..." Then we bantered about the lousy internet at the last stay (where Sandoz left them with the impression that we were travel writers; which of course we are, since we are traveling and blogging) and he sent us to a very specific room, which I take to be right next to the router.
Anyway, back to breakfast. We went down to the lobby and asked if we were too late for breakfast. We were told that we needed to go to the restaurant across the parking lot. You are all thinking "Waffle House" are you not? (For the west coasters, there is a chain of restaurants that are actually called "Waffle House.") Wrong...we were to go to "El Arroyo." I'm thinking that I am really not up for a Mexican breakfast in Nashville, whatever that could be. We were ushered to a little back room where there was the usual set up of danish, bagels, cereal dispensers and waffle maker. However this time there were two hot server dishes; one with scrambled eggs and one with sausage patties. I thought, eggs! Cool! I should have just slowly walked away. Most of the eggs were encrusted to the bottom and sides of the tub. Then the piped music began. Sandoz said that we "sure weren't going to eat here" which 2grandma took to mean that we certainly weren't going to go back and pay real dollars, and I agreed. The area was pretty nasty as far as cleanliness. I put my crusty eggs on the booth in the middle and prepared to sit. Thank goodness my writing partner set me straight...and good for the restaurant that we are "travel" writers, not food critics!! We carried our styrofoam plates back to our room, which likely further frustrated the poor cleaning folks. And then, as I began to eat, it happened. Any eater outer's fear: the dreaded hair cooked into the eggs! I know, this is no Bizarre Food entry, but sometimes a teeny tiny thing like a hair can set a person off. It isn't like I was searching for a place off in a faraway land that can fix the perfect hair (I'm talking in food, Sandoz, settle yourself down), it was something that I just am not ready for first thing in the morning. The plastic encased Danish suddenly looked a lot better than the eggs. (Note to self: stay with packaged foods when going for the free stuff.) Eggs are now in the garbage, which is still sitting here; where are the maids when you need them?
We are slowly preparing for another day in tomatoville. Dollywood? Music City? Grand Ole Opry? A stage show in which we can enjoy the Beefsteak? That is for US to decide, and you poor readers to wade through on another entry. Until then, keep on smiling, my little stupice.
Friday, September 26, 2008
So, we drove to West Virginia for some groceries and just to say we had been there. Then it was back to TN.
At the gift shop at Blowing Rock I bought Sandoz some Kudzu jelly. Indeed, the viney plant that is the scourge of the south can be made into relish and jelly. it just goes to prove that if you add enough sugar and flavorings you can make food from anything. Those NC folk are pretty smart. Unfortunately the Kudzu must be as well as it is overtaking the south.
Did you know that there are drive-thru windows at the Subway sandwich shops in TN? I'm not sure if they have tomotoes as neither one of us added them to our sandwiches. I sure wish I could find the ketchup packet that I had saved...
OK, Tennessee, home of Art of Art's Finer Homes, where gas is no longer rationed, and "where you can play with a pig or eat good food" at the Cowboy's Trading Post. Yup, and home of the kindfolk. Those kinfolk have mighty fancy parking lots. Even the fancy bronze signage must have cost a few good pigs and even the added cow with the names of them big city architects and contractors all listed on that Fune-er-real plaque. (How's about a nice spray of funeral lillies, or a silver urn?)
I look forward to today and research in rogersville. Close to 90% of the folk who reside there are kinfolk of dear Sandoz on her mama's side. (I really need more ammo or I will be forever dubbed "fire hose.") Oh, oh. sigh.
Disclaimer: they MAY be related. She has no memory of ever having a house with wheels safely tucked away under the skirting. She also has a definite aversion to cajun food. She also can spell, nope I don't mean the kid that means "set a spell" even though the two look the same. (OK, she was REALLY tired that night that her fingers had dyslexia.) I think a blood test is indicated...what say y'all?
As an added addendum to last night's blogging that I had to write on the word processor and today take down to the "business center" to type as I had no signal in the room OR the lobby for my laptop. It is not pleasant to sit in a closet with no ventilation, and type on a computer that has a cigarette as the mouse cursor!! I am going to see if I can figure out a way to change said cursor to something equally clever. Perhaps I can find a tomato!!
Grandma2 signing off and getting out of this stuffy cell so's I can breathe!!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
So I have been charged with the telling of the tale of the rogue Montana driver, lol. Let's back up just a little bit. Nancy and I went to Emerald Hollow Mine, in order to mine for, you guessed it, emeralds. The red N Carolina clay is incredibly tenacious stuff, gets into everything, sticks to everything, and gives your skin a nice glow. (Note to Elena, nope, it's not emeralds). We headed out of there through Iredell County, a place that really gave me a rush of pleasure to drive through, because my Scott ancestors owned land there. I wished I had brought copies of the land deeds so that I could see the actual places, but since I didn't know we would be there, sigh.
We got back on the interstate and immediately got into a massive (by NC standards anyway)(and ours too, since I was meeting one of MY online friends for dinner) traffic jam. We were all being funneled into one lane, but the left lane was left empty for what looked like miles, and cars were jumping out and trying to make a bit of headway. A guy (it had to be a guy) in a greyhound sized bus pulling a red SUV took it upon himself to make sure than no one got ahead of HIM. He swung his rig out to straddle both lanes, and when a car rashly tried to slip past him he more over more and forced him onto the median. Clods of dirt and hunks of grass flying, the interloper made it. RV guy then began blowing his horn. As more cars attempted to pass, he pulled over into the passing lane again to block them, whereupon someone said, fine, and slipped into the right hand lane and gunned it around. More wild air horn blowing, and believe me, we could imagine the birds that were being flung around. That guy made matters worse, but pulling in directly in from of RV guy, and staying there. When yet another car tried to get in the passing lane, RV guy began weaving back and forth over the whole expanse of the highway, whipping his SUV around like the tail of a whip. I swear we saw a couple of tires leave the pavement briefly. Scary! We made a note of the license plate and we'll post it for all later, since the notepad is out in the car.
Let's just say that we felt extremely fortunate to have only witnessed the madness and not participated directly. We were also very happy to get out of the car and hang out with my online buddy Thea for dinner. My straight shooting friend Nancy and I were so delighted to spend time with you, Thea! So good to finally meet you in person.
And that's all folks, the Blue Ridge Mountains beckon....photos will have to wait.
It is very strange to hear the "accents" but turn on the news and hear that the reporters have none!! Also the commercials, even for local auto dealerships are spoken with only the California "twang." I sometimes strike up a conversation, not hard as EVERYONE is so very friendly, just to hear them talk. It has been a very long time since I was called, darlin' or honey. I miss my parents!!
When Sandoz checks in here, y'all ask her about Montany. I will leave that story for her to tell.
I hear that ketchup is made from tomatoes? They must not have many here, as I am finding lots of mustard, mayo and relish...I hear they make relish and jam from kudzu (probably spelling it wrong), I wonder if we will see the demise of that precious red fruit/vegetable. While it is not my favorite, it can be useful for a few things, and that viney intruder substitute is, well, green...
Later, y'all. Pictures in a bit.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Of course, it doesn't help me get this blog written when Nancy keeps interrupting to read out the latest updates in PETA's campaign to get Ben and Jerry's to start making ice cream out of human breast milk. Bleah, bleah, ack and retch. Ludicrous~
Or it could be the margarita at Tequila's (a word which starts with the same letter as Tomato) which I thought did not (the margarita that is) affect me all that much. We only wish would could have posted the first of the tomato pictures tonight, but alas once again. Last night it was discovered taht I had no power cable, thus little battery life, thus further, no way to down load the photos from the camera. Imagine, if you will, a hand poised against the elegant backdrop of the inside skin of an MD80, the word Tomato written across the palm. Lovely Lisa-created bracelets on wrist (note the DSQ, there will be testing later). It's a poser, a quandary, it's downright mysterious. Tomatoes can hold their secrets with unmatched strenght and facility. More than that I cannot say.
So I decided to see if my gear would fit in Nancy's computer. Um, it might have, if I had put it together properly, but alas, it was late and I was feeling much as I do right now, that is to say, not quite right, fighting sleep and frustrated. This morning I found the power cable, but had in the meantime destroyed the dohickey that allows me to transfer images from my camera chip thingie to puter. I'm hoping that I can buy another at the dreaded Walmart (forgive me for my sins, I plan to enter), while Nancy sits in the gas line.
We're taking our new tomato hostage with us tomorrow, bwa ha ha ha. And I'm taking pictures. Mabye one day you'll see them, as well as some from the flight (gorgeous sunset), and today.
Well ok! I'm obviously too tired and it's too late for more tonight. But I'd like to say how much I enjoyed this day that has more than made up for the stresses of air flight and more to the point, the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, and the Thrifty car rental. We mined for gemstones and found some beauties, we saw the gorgeous blue ridge mountains, had dinner in a great restaurant run by people who truly know the meaning of treating their patrons like family (Tequila's), and we ahve our plans firmed up for the next two days. Thea, can't wait to see you :)
Night all. Morning cometh too soon.
(Sandoz slides into dreamland)
Monday, September 22, 2008
We are going to unwind and catch a bit of Late Night TV, after I email around for a cord for the Sandoz laptop. It can't be that hard to find, right?? (I am beginning to wonder what it is that I forgot....I am sure there is something.
Pictures to follow; in the morning.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I hear you, 2Grandma, I really do. I'm crushed under a pile of 'to do' lists, although I'm making headway. Have written what amounts to a short story's worth of stuff for Ramona's care while I am gone. She keeps coming to me and lamenting the fact that I am going. "I don't want you to go, Mom. I want to go, too". Here is what I am going to miss (even though she has a cell phone and will probably call me several times a day).
Now, I know you showed me how to place photos here and there in my post, but I don't see that option here on this page where I type at this moment. I'm sure I'll figure it out, you did! In the best of all worlds the next photo will end up after this sentence, har har, so likely. Ramona's dad has a swan...ah, the wonders of click and drag! I have to laugh when something is that easy, and I've endowed it with such a steep learning curve.
I'll get back to my lukewarm coffee (no, I really like it that way!) and my list. I'm really doing very well. I figure we really don't need all that much for this trip, just our MAPS (haven't seen that before on either of our lists, ha ha ha), and electronic necessities.
One other thing I will miss is the transition of my deck garden into fall. I fully expect many things to have died back, or at the very least, quit blooming. We didn't have much of a summer this year. Except for a few days here and there, it was more like fall the whole time. Last week, however, we had a full week of gorgeous weather, and the result of those glorious days is this monarda, finally in full bloom. I hope there are some blooms left when I return home...
I planted this for the hummingbirds, and here it is almost too cold for them.
Back to the tyranny of the list...
Saturday, September 20, 2008
It's my turn to figure out the photo posting, and already I see that there is just nothing to it. We two grandmas spent a day at Mt. St. Helens a couple of months ago, or maybe just a month? We have been heading out occasionally on weekends, test runs for the big vacation that starts on Monday. We have half a dozen day trip destinations in mind, but on this day, a movie called "The Road" (starring Viggo Mortensen) was rumored to be filming . Not really a hard decision!
Whatever pointed us in that direction, we did the right thing when we followed. As we drove into the park, we saw a tiny sign with a helicopter on it. Hmmmm. Wonder what heli rides cost. We parked, and as we climbed out of the parking lot, this is what we beheld. As we stared, blown away, we heard the fateful announcement...there were two seats left for the next tour of crater. The universe had spoken.
If only I could figure out how to post photos AFTER blocks of type, and not just at the start. 2Grandma? Any thoughts?
After 25 years, the trip is on! Have I packed? nope. Cleaned house? uh-uh. Done laundry? check. Made lists? absolutely...for the past two months I have been making lists. Can I find them all? uhhhhh, sigh, nope. But I can always make more.
Today is take the pup to the boarding place, day. It makes me sad, especially since it is raining. I hope the weather is decent so he can romp with the others in the great outdoors. My plan for the day was to spend it playing with Henry. So here I sit, as I have been since 7am...with the dog barking for attention. Once he is dropped off I will be the cleaning machine. Why bother until he is gone, right?
I am getting really excited now. It is a bit hard to believe this is real. Please, God, let there be some roller coaster places open...
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
This is the official kick off to the 2Grandmas travel blog. Beat ya to it, Nancy! Maybe we will have to choose nom de plumes instead of our real 'noms', heh heh. I pick Sandoz :) Old handle from my hippie days, and even though there will be no return to some of the excesses, it's a road trip!
Today I finally return home from one solid week of work (you think I kid, but I do not), to make all the final plans, and packing, and general surge in excitement. Note to self, must figure out how to post photos...
Far out, man!