Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 4 - Our Trip Home

We slept later than the other mornings. It was a cold morning, but this time we had all the clothes to keep us all warm. Nearly everyone had cleared out Sunday, so we pretty much had most of the place to ourselves. So, I was in no rush to leave anytime soon.

Now, if you remember I mentioned that there were only 3 showers stalls. The past 2 mornings I got stuck with the one that had an opening for air, it was cold. The water was luckwarm at best. And in these places the water turns off by itself. This morning I was going to get the good shower and I was not leaving until I did. I got to the bathrooms and I got the good shower, little did I know that this shower actually had HOT water! Woo Hoo!

We ate breakfast and started loading up the truck. Taking everything down may be easier than setting everything up, but getting everything back into a box or bag, that doesn't work well. We swept up our mess, made sure the fire was completely out, loaded the rest up and headed out. Stopped for a quick cup of coffee and we were on the road home.

Eric wanted to stop at Benton Shooters Supply, we aren't out this way much, so why not take a pit stop and look around. I could care less about guns and hunting, but they are boys and they wanted to look. And of course, I had to show them that their old mom still knows how to handle a rifle. Shocked them, but I think it shocked me more!

There was one spot that I wanted to see before going home. Nancy Ward's grave ( I have been in Cleveland for the most of of 20 years, and I have never been there. Nothing special, but her story is interesting. It is a part of the Cherokee history, so stopping to see it and read about it is a good thing for the boys to learn.

This cemetery also hold her son, Cheif Five Killer and his uncle.

And finding that information out was a challenge when I got home.

I wasn't ready to go home just yet. I was really hoping that Chuck would take a right and not a left to go home. And he did just that. I love the Ocoee area and I wanted to check out the Parksville Camping area while we were out that way.

And we did just that. The river road is one of my most favorite spots to explore and to just go for a ride. And going to the dam where the boats take off from is cool. So today we got to see just that.

There were a bunch of rafts getting ready to take off to go down the rapids. They go through the steps that need to be followed, show them how to row and show them all they need to do while on the rapids

While we were waiting for the boats to walk down the ramp, we enjoyed the view of the rafters taking off from the dock

While we were waiting, I turned around in time to see a kayaker come down the falls. I didn't have time to get a picture, but it was cool to see what I saw. That must be one hell of a ride!

And there they go!

This first rapid is called Grumpy's Rapid. I guess I would want to tackle it first than at the end when I am too tired. It is the most dangerous rapid that the rafters face. But it is beautiful.

One day I am going down this river! We owe Eric a gift anyways. When he turned 12 he could have gone rafting, but that year was so dry that the rapids weren't worth taking. The following year, Chuck worked all the time, and this year, we are saving what we can with the new business.

We took a ride a little further down the river and then realized that what we were looking for was in the other direction. We went as far down to the welcome center for the Ocoee river and turned around. But we didn't exactly head home.

We turned to check out Parksville Campsite. We were not impressed with the upkeep of the site or the condition of the site, so that is one that we will not be frequenting. I am thinking more on the lines of Harrison Bay State Park. You can set up camp by the river, not have to worry about the river rising and camp there. That is more my speed. A state campground that has glass on the sites, I am not paying for that.

Instead of heading back down the river road to come home, we took Hwy 30 around the mountain. I knew where it was going to come out at, so I wasn't worried about getting lost. This area in Reliance, gives new meaning to "Paddle faster, I hear banjoes." Parts of Deliverance were filmed in this area. If I had to stop and ask for direction, they would look at me and say "You ain't from around here, are ya?" And even though I may be Jersey in some ways, I do not speak like a Yankee anymore. This neck of the woods is extremely backwards, but they are very happy too. This just goes to show that just 25 miles outside of Cleveland, you can find a totally different world.

We passed an amazing old house or church located right before Hiwassee Outfitters. I looked up just in time to see this

I had to make Chuck turn around so that way I could get pictures of it.

But before I could stop and get any pictures, we had to eat due to the fact that it was alreay 1 and we were hungry. So we pulled into Hiwassee Outfitters, a locally owned campground, got the stuff out of the back and take a bathroom break.

I don't usually describe a bathroom, but in this instance, it is a must. I threw the trash out, and opened the door only to see a large pot with a lid, no handle, so therefore no flushing. Basically don't drop anything down there because there is no retrieving it. So, no water, no flush, just a big hole in the ground where everything went to. Interesting experience! Our own campground bathrooms were way more sophisticated than that! No sink to wash hands either, so glad I carry sanitizer with me.

We stopped to get pictures of this amazing house.
I just love black and white of old houses.

Go up to the front door and so badly wanted to get closer, but I knew that with Chuck with me, that was out of the question. Oh well, I do things like that when he isn't with me.

I am thinking this was more of a church or something else, the top doesn't seem to fit in with a house.

We turned around at this Texaco station. So, on our way back, Eric asked for a picture of the old sign.

Now don't you know that the people looked at me and wonder where did I step out of to take a picture of a sign or they were wondering why was I taking pictures of a sign. But it is a part of our trips out, I take the pictures of the things that seem interesting to me. At the end of Hwy 30, we were right at the spot where we had started our day. Time to head home.

This was our vacation this year. This time was only 4 days, but we are looking forward to camping again this year, maybe more than one time.

I loved camping. I had some experiences I never want to have again, but had experiencs that I am so looking forward to having again.

I am 42, never roasted a marshmallow over a campfire, never ever went swimming in cold, clear mountain spring water, never laid on a bed and looked up at the stars at whatever time of the night.

In my papers that I picked up from the Ranger's Station, there was a map of things to do in this area. It may be a drive, but it will be a good thing to do one day. A drive of a few hours is nice to be able to have time with the family. The boys and I love to explore, so why not make the most of a History Exploration. Growing up and going to school in NJ you only learn about the things in the area, I never learned about anything down here until I moved here. It is about time that I take some time and learn about the area that I now call home.