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Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, June 29, 2012

Noticed I’m getting a little testy here

With temps topping out around 107* today, I wasn’t very interested in doing much of anything.  My patience wears very thin when it’s that hot.  The AC machine is as stressed as I feel, as it could only keep things down to 87 most of the day.  It was still 101 when I took a dip in the pool this evening around 7:45.  That settled me down quite a bit.
I guess it’s a good thing that I can talk about yesterday afternoon’s trip, as I don’t want to talk about today. 
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When I finished the post last night, Emma and I were enjoying our lunch at a nice picnic area.  My plan was to take the Balsam Mountain Road on a loop around the southeastern part of the National Park.  I was not aware that this was an unpaved road once you left the picnic area.  As we took a little walk down the road, I was skeptical as to whether or not my little Ford Focus was up to this challenge.  I think it was a 28 mile drive to the town of Cherokee, and my guide said it would take an hour.  It looked pretty lumpy to me, and I had observed quite a few folks turning into the drive, but then backing out.
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As I read further into the auto touring guide that I had purchased, it said that the road was maintained for passenger cars in the summer, so I thought, “What the heck.  I’ll give it a try.”  I’m glad I did, but I wished I had been driving a jeep or truck to be honest about it.  It was mainly a downhill drive in the deep forest of the park, so there were very few opportunities to find scenic views of the Smokies.
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It was too late to observe all the spring wildflowers, but I did find enough blooms along the slow going road to keep me interested.  I’m not sure how anyone could drive this road in an hour.  Granted that I stopped for pictures, but it took me almost three hours to do it.
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There were some places where I could pull over, and I took those opportunities to walk Emma up and down the road.  This certainly was a road less traveled that I had chosen.  I imagine it is much busier on a weekend, but I thought it was wonderful on a Thursday afternoon. 
67 On the way to NC 201248
On the second half of the drive, we followed along a nice creek bed.  The roadway was a lot smoother along this section, and I rolled down my window to enjoy the sound of the rushing water.  It was pretty warm, but at least it wasn’t in triple digits.
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I didn’t see any wild life until I rounded a bend and found this ruffed grouse about to cross the road.  I’ve seen a lot of ruffed grouse in my time, but they’re usually only fleeting glances as the birds explode out of the dense forest in a flurry of wings.  I had a full couple of minutes to enjoy the gorgeous plumage of this bird before it casually strolled back into the forest.  What a treat.
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As I finished the drive on Balsam Mountain Road, I ended up at the back end of the Cherokee Trout Fish Hatchery with no idea which way to turn.  I chose to turn right, which was a mistake.  I eventually turned around here, and took a picture of this sign to show what Dave Watty Rd looks like printed in the Cherokee language. 
Being rather lost, I decided to plug in Jack-in-the-Box so he could direct me home.  Nice idea, but it took forever to gather the satellite  signal because of the mountains and dense forest on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.  Uf-dah!  It eventually directed me down a road with multiple speed bumps.  This can’t be right.  I hailed an elderly couple riding in a golf cart and told them I was lost. 
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With their help, I was able to drive seven more miles to the town of Cherokee, leave the reservation, and eventually make my way home through the driving nightmare of Pigeon Forge.  It had been a long but exciting day of travel for both Emma and I.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

26 comments:

  1. I've never seen a ruffed grouse but indeed his plumage is lovely!!!
    Try to stay calm,cool and hydrated in all that heat. I can handle heat, it's the humidity that kills me.

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  2. To me, Pigeon Forge would be the worst of it.

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  3. Ugh. Pigeon Forge traffic. No wonder you're a little bit testy. You get a free pass on that.

    Sorry that all that heat is roasting you slowly. At least the pool came in handy. Did it feel like a hot tub?

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  4. A few years ago when I was a truck driver I got to take a 48' trailer to Cherokee. Pretty town, interesting road to get there. Thanks for the pretty pictures.

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  5. We got a little lost today too, but it was only about a 1/2 mile. Glad you got home and in the pool! Nothing like a nice swim after a hot drive.

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  6. Too bad it's so hot, not enjoyable weather. Enjoyed your picture of your back country drive. Great shot of the grouse.

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  7. Getting lost in that area could equate to many miles...once you figured out where to go :) The heat on top of that...miserable. Hope tomorrow is better.

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  8. The drives along the gravel roads in the Smokies can be very long and drawn out, but oh so rewarding. I usually say a few bad words whenever we drive to trailheads down one of those roads. To me, the worst one is at the back of Cades Cove.

    On the other hand, we can get out and hike in the backcountry. That's a great blessing many can't enjoy and I'm grateful those gravels roads give others the opportunity to experience the backcountry of the Smokies. It's a special place, as you saw.

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  9. Love the Ruffled Grouse photo. I don't think I've ever seen one. Sorry it's so hot. We've never tried our our a/c's in those kinds of temps.

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  10. I'm with you, this heat is making me mighty cranky!!

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  11. Yeah, well, I can relate. Heat index 105 here yesterday with more of the same today and tomorrow. Hey, we based ourselves in Cherokee while in the area after hearing that the Pigeon Forge side was more touristy and congested. Enjoyed the heck out of Happy Holiday RV Village. It was quiet, peaceful, beautiful and easy in/out to the Smokies and Blue Ridge Parkway. Beautiful area, isn't it? Definitely on our list of places we would return. Stay cool!

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  12. Whew that is hot! Please be sure to drink plenty of water.

    Sure did love the photograph of the ruffed grouse. What a cool bird.

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  13. The Road Less Traveled--how beautiful.

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  14. What a wonderful drive!! When we went thru Pigeon Forge it took 3 hours!! I was SO frustrated to be stuck in such horrid traffic!!

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  15. Ruffled Grouse...hmmmm...I think I'm gonna steal that bird's name for myself...I am totally a "Ruffled Grouse" in this heat!! Wish I had his gorgeous feathers to wear like a boa...

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  16. Some of those cross-mountain back roads have remains of old homesteads. There's one where an old apple orchard still thrives. At the right time of the year, you can forage for morel mushrooms!

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  17. butterbean carpenterJune 30, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Howdy Judy & Emma,
    Thank you, Judy for the pics of Emma; I was afraid you'd lost her... A Ford can take anything; THEY'RE BUILT FORD TOUGH!!! You got to see the REAL back country and not the tail-lights ahead of you!! YAHOSIE WOOZIE!!! There is a guidebook by a local man from that area that takes you through without the traffic tie-ups... My friend's g-pa had a grinding-mill in Pittman Center and says the cows walked down the middle of the roads then; in the 1940s.. Glad y'all had a good, HOT, day trip; I enjoyed it!!!

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  18. That area plucks my heartstrings. Have you seen Mingo Falls? It's been 25 years for me, but they must have been nice to stick in my memory.

    I love your header pic, too.

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  19. In the early 1970's I lived in a little town just off the Blue Ridge Parkway called Balsalm. I lived there for 2 years and I also took that same road wayyyyy back then and it wasn't very road worthy then, especially for my old 1963 Ford Falcon! LOL Cherokee was a pretty much primitive town back then too! Geri

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  20. Question... now that you don't have the word verification thingee... do you get a lot of spammers???

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  21. Hi Judy, thankyou so much for posting these beautiful pictures! I am counting the days until my PA plates and title get back for my rv. (Then I have to get it inspected as well) Some of these pictures brought tears to my eyes for the beauty they reminded me is out there. And yes it is beautiful here in PA, but I NEED to get out and away for a while anyway. The heat will come and go I'm sure but don't let it get the best of you. I have some of those kerchiefs (women's accessory dept - W*M) and soak them down with cold water, wring some out , and place around my neck and upper back. Sure cools you off and keeps ypu cool for a while. I learned this while working in a weather-stripping factory in KY in 104* temps. Does the trick!

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  22. All's well that ends well...except for PF of course!

    But the road less traveled surely trumped all else!?! It was certainly beautiful looking!

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  23. When we were at Cades Cove I looked at the map and saw that different road leading down. Of course, just had to try it. OH MY! What an experience. Fortunately it was one-way. Did that stop me from attempting other back roads? Not a chance. I bet it is the same with you.

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  24. Nice drive you had there ... even with getting lost at the end. I totally understand about feeling out of sorts when the temps are high ... A lovely 70F year-round would be lovely as far as I'm concerned.

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  25. You're even hotter than we are. We've been in the mid 90s for a week with more of the same forecast for this entire week, and haven't had any rain in about a month. Our air is working mighty hard. I sure hope it doesn't break down. Our inside temp gets to between 83 and 85. That's the best our unit can do, but at least it keeps the humidity out of the RV. Our next RV will have two air units! Stay cool!!

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  26. PHEW! Reading this made me all woozy.

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