Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween, Everyone! Dixie's Ready For Trick or Treaters. And I'm Finally Blogging About Days 3 And 4 Of Our Trip.

Dixie is so excited. She loooooooves Halloween.
And she loves barking at anyone who
comes to the door.
Here she is at the top of the steps, above the foyer, just waiting and anticipating. I'm finally getting around today to blogging about our trip back to the Outer Banks. This is last Sunday, when we started home. See what you find when you take the back roads?
It's Day 3. Sunday of our trip. And we're on our way back home. Now, if I'd listened to our Garmin after leaving the waterfalls, we would have been ushered to I 40, then to Greensboro and I 85, then to US 64. BOOOOOOORRRRRIIIINNNNNGGGG! Been there. Done that. Hate it. I didn't want to be on a super highway, traveling 70+ MPH. I wanted a scenic route and Mr. Hawthorne wanted a route that went pretty much straight east to the Outer Banks. Leave it up to the navigator of all navigators - MOI. I got out my regular North Carolina road map - the type you get at gas stations that I am totally unable to fold back up properly. I used the road map to get an overview and my bearings and kind of map out the route, but it's impossible to follow because it doesn't have details. Ahhh. The devil is in the details. Then I got out my North Carolina ATLAS, which is very detailed and 1 inch equals 3 miles and a page is about 30 miles, so it really feels like you're getting somewhere fast. I love my atlas. I mapped out our route. We had to backtrack on 64 E to Brevard, the whole time of which I had my nose stuck in the atlas and fold out map, actually impressing myself with my awesome map skillz. We continued on 64 to Hendersonville. Then I mapped out Hwy 74 to Shelby and to Kings Mountain. Picked up 85 there to bypass Kings Mountain, Gastonia, and Charlotte. Picked up the N485 loop or Inner Beltway to go around Charlotte. (Why do they call it an Inner Beltway, when it goes North around the outside of Charlotte?) And rats! Part of 485 is blocked off and I have to program the Garmin to get me to 24/27, which it does, surprisingly, quite efficiently. After Charlotte, our next town was Locust, then Albemarle. We stopped at the Aldi's there to buy my favorite potato chips - Rodeo Bill's or Rodeo Bob's - and some wine. $2.99 a bottle for Winking Owl Cabernet Sauvignon for me and the Chardonnay for Mr. H. (My dear friend, Maxine, introduced me to the Aldi's in Danville and Rodeo B's tater chips and Winking Owl wine.) Mr. Hawthorne wanted to stop in Albemarle for the night. I wanted to keep going. I could look at the big picture and knew where we were. He thought we were much farther along. Plus, it was only 4 PM and who the hell stops at 4 o'clock? I wanted to get at least to Benson and to 95. Three more hours. From Albemarle, we continued on 24/27 through the Uwharrie National Forest, to Troy, Briscoe, Carthage, Cameron, Johnsonville, where we took 27 to the north (24 split off there to the south) to Mason and then to Lillington. And I only wish I could have stopped in both Troy and Carthage to shoot pictures. Beautiful old homes. Impressive architecture. And downtowns. A thing of the past. Somewhere along the route, we passed a pumpkin farm.
I forget where all these pumpkins were,
but Mr. Hawthorne was nice enough to turn around and go back so I could get these photographs. HAPPY HALLOWEEN! From Lillington, it's just a hope, skip, and a jump through Buies Creek and Coats to Benson and I 95, where I knew we could find lodging for the night. And speaking of Lillington, I see from my Feedjit I have a reader from Lillington, so hello to you, Lillingtoner. Perhaps you saw us Sunday afternoon. We were in a white Avalanche. Now, starting sometime before Lillington, Mr. Hawthorne started getting very bitchy. He's tired of driving. I said to pull over, I'd drive. But noooooooo. He's tired of driving and tired of being in a car. Period. And he becomes unpleasant, like a petulant child. He starts whining, "I told you we should've stopped in Albemarle for the night. There's not going to be any place to stay tonight." Rosie: "Well sure, if you want to turn around and drive the 2 hours back to Albemarle, be my guest." And he starts pouting and being disagreeable, fractious, and just plain bitchy. I try to reassure him we're just 10 miles away from I 95 and there will certainly be lodging there, but he ain't hearing nothing. "No, it's Sunday night. There's not gonna be anything." (Huh?) Whine. More whine. Oh, ye of little faith. Finally, we get on 95 and I check the Garmin for accomodations. Ah ha! There's a Holiday Express within miles. We take the exit and end up at a freakin' Holiday Express COA Campground. Not a Holiday Inn Express Motel. I think steam started coming out of Mr. Hawthorne's ears at this point. He has to turn around and go back to 95 and I'm looking at the pitch black driveway he's trying to back into and turn around in and there are two deep gulches on either side. I'm praying that he doesn't back into either gulch because there would be HELL to pay if he did that. Back on 95. Two more miles north, thank you, Jesus, there's a Jameson Inn in Smithfield, NC. I see the signs advertising the Ava Gardner Museum. See here too. Ava grew up in the small farming community of Grabtown, near Smithfield. I wouldn't mind visiting this museum Monday morning, but Mr. Hawthorne is not up to it. Sorry, I digress. Now, this is interesting. Before Mr. Hawthorne got all pissy, he had asked me about dinner for tonight. And I said, "You know what? I wouldn't be averse to a nice sub." And a sub worked for him too. And I've never suggested a sub before. But it worked for me since we had those terrific potato chips. When we pulled into the Jameson Inn, lo and behold, there was a Subway within walking distance of our room. It was meant to be.
The Subway guy started assembling our sub.
After hearing he was going to be on an international food blog, he started posing.
I'm having the works. video
Leaving Subway and going back to our motel room.
My mouth is watering just looking at this.
I jumped on this baby like a monkey on a cupcake or Pauler Deen on buttah or Sandra Lee on a seasoning packet. Or pumpkin pie spice. Or a bottle of vodka.
video I don't know why Mr. Hawthorne took a video of his snoring. The next morning we hit the road to get back home. video Cotton fields. video As always, I had to video the compass as we went over the Mother Ship which lies beneath Alligator River Bridge. We are driving due east. When we finally got home, about 1 PM, I got out all our goodies we'd bought in Cherokee and the Linville Gem Shop. Here's my tiered plant stand. I didn't want to cover up all the pretty with plants just yet, so I put my geodes and quartz crystal on it.
My thunderbird mocs.
And I covered my naugasuede chair in the cow hide.
We had a very nice trip and a lot of fun. Four days. 1255.1 miles. Mr. Hawthorne asked me: "Do you realize that's 6 hours of driving a day." "Yes, I was there. Remember?"

Happy Halloween!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!!!!
I don't know where I shot this. Somewhere on the way home from our trip.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 3 - Whitewater Falls.

After visiting Toxaway Falls, we headed west again to Whitewater Falls, our last destination on our trip. Whitewater Falls is part of the Whitewater River in the Jocassee Gorge area of North Carolina, near the South Carolina border, and is tucked away in the Nantahala National Forest. On US 64 West, we traveled to Sapphire and turned onto NC 281, going south about eight miles to the entrance of Whitewater Falls.
We parked and followed the paved walkway (about 1/4 mile) to the upper overlook. Enjoy the views along the way.
This is Lake Jocassee, South Carolina, as viewed from Whitewater Falls, North Carolina.
Here are Whitewater Falls from the upper level. This is the highest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains, falling 411 feet.
Check out this picture of the Whitewater Falls, taken on October 10. Four inches of rain makes quite a difference.
We went down to the lower overlook, at the bottom of 154 steps.
These are the only full views of the falls from the two overlooks, however some people venture off the trail for better views. Hiking off-trail is strongly discouraged by park rangers as the area surrounding the falls is treacherous. Tragically, several people have fallen to their deaths or suffered serious injuries. Whitewater Falls claims more lives than any other waterfalls in the state. I have a hard time understanding stupidity.
I overheard one gentleman saying, "There's just a whole lot of scenery here." Yup. There is.
video video video video
Upon leaving Whitewater Falls, I looked at the clock and it was around 1:30 PM. I turned to Mr. Hawthorne, "You know, if we'd gone on the Great Pumpkin Patch Fiasco on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad we'd just be getting back to Bryson City right about now." Although, on the plus side, we would have our individual pumpkins.