Friday, July 03, 2009

Blog Neglect

It's not like there's nothing to blog about, because we've been busy and stuff ...


We had a great one! The first day, we drove through Kentucky and Tennessee on the way to Cherokee, NC and got a chance to stop in Whitwell, TN. "What's in Whitwell?" I hear you asking. Whitwell is the home of the Children's Holocaust Memorial, made famous in the documentary "Paper Clips," which you should see if you haven't. We'd been planning to get there and see it and it was right on the way to Chattanooga, so that was a bonus we hadn't counted on. We weren't able to go inside the tiny German rail transport car that houses the 11 million paper clips, but we did get pictures of it. Standing in front of it, it's still impossible to truly imagine hundreds of human beings inside it.

Less inspiring was the Grand Ol' Opry in Nashville. Who knew it was now a shopping mall attraction attached to Opryland? Ye Gods, we hope to never pass through that wasteland again. Whoever the Gaylords are, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Chattanooga, however, is a beautiful city, and the gorgeous countryside and pristine whitewater rivers of eastern Tennessee scrubbed the nastiness of Nashville from our brains. Then it was a long, slow, winding drive up the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in a blinding rainstorm to get to our "free" room at Harrah's Cherokee, for which we gladly traded a hundred bucks of penny slot play. I tried to make use of all the amenities the room had to offer, but the jacuzzi tub shot me in the head and made a lake out of the bathroom, so I just stole WiFi from some other hotel that doesn't charge for it instead.

Day two we were on to Charleston and a great room at the historic Mills House Hotel downtown. We walked miles looking at the gorgeosity that is Charleston, walked the Battery, peeked in all the gardens, took lots of pictures and found a brew pub to sample the cuisine and the local beer. I picked up a copy of the New Testament in Gullah and we bought a coffee table book with before and after pictures of the places we'd just been looking at in Charleston, then returned to our hotel to sit in the courtyard and enjoy the fountain. The next morning we visited the Old Slave Market museum before heading for the beaches of North Carolina.

Day three and four were spent enjoying Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington, NC. We romped in the surf, visited the North Carolina Aquarium, took the car ferry across the Cape Fear River and toured the USS North Carolina, which is very huge and very hot and very impressive in an "oh. my. god. I can't believe they lived like this" kind of way.

We ate at another brew pub and I had the best dinner I can recall having in a long time ... shrimp and grits, Charleston style. Indescribably tasty and just spicy enough! Ev proclaimed the pale ale "excellent!" The beach was relaxing and wonderful and we got sore calf muscles from all the beach walking and shell collecting. Ev almost caught a crab (the kind you eat) and lost her favorite banjo pick out of her pocket ... so, some good and some not-so-good, but the sum total was that we've decided we have to retire to the beach. We'll be needing donations, so get those in the mail right away, won't you?

Day five we were back on the road to Cherokee for the return trip and our second free hotel night. This time we had a lot of fun spending hours taking back our original hundred dollars, thankyouverymuch, and didn't spend it at the god-awful racist tourist traps all over town.

Day six we went up and over the Smokies on the way home, and I experienced something close to religious ecstasy. It brought tears to my eyes. Maybe it's the prettiest place I've ever seen, but probably it's just the prettiest place I've seen recently. At any rate, it's damned pretty. Coming out of the mountains into Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Dollywood will snap you right out of it, though. We had considered Gatlinburg as a vacation destination at one time. We're very much over it.

Please feel free to enjoy the rest of our vacation snapshots here, if you're so inclined.


We arrived home and found that Katie had done a great job taking care of the compound and all the critters alive and well, except that Pickle had acquired a brown recluse bite on her little head which had swelled to magnificent proportions, requiring a trip to the vet for antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Once her head finished draining she went back for her hysterectomy, from which she's recovering nicely. I don't think she'll require the ten weeks off work that Ev's co-worker required for the same surgery, which is a shame, because I would totally have taken FMLA to help her convalesce if necessary. I'm that kind of good dog mother! We also discovered that we have a new flat tuxedo porch kitten who had been living (just barely) in the woods. We're fattening her up and hoping to keep her an outside cat. We shall see when the weather turns cold. She loves us, loves the dogs and loves the poultry ... and tries mightily to come inside when we open the door. Not very feral for a feral cat.

The turkeys are still friendly and have learned how to fly the coop, so they spend a good part of their day wandering the yard eating bugs and weeds, but the ducks are insane and hate us now. A week with only minimal human interaction has made them feral. They run and hide in the dome if we even step out on the deck, and they go completely insane and trample each other when we attend to their feed, water and straw needs. Ungrateful little fluffy-headed bitchez!

In sad news, we lost another Rouen. We're down to the last two now, and I can't bear the idea of losing them all, so we've confined them to the pen with the other ducks. They aren't happy about it, but I'm hoping they'll bond with the others and get attached to the new flock. The upside is that they aren't hiding their eggs in Al's burn pile anymore, so we can eat them again. (Al has been intently watching and waiting for them to hatch, even after we explained that there's no male duck. He says, "I'm going to give them another week." Good luck with that ...)

Okay, that's all the news from Nowhere. Over and under.


Tim said...

Great Pics! The trip sounded most excellent! Next trek has to be Philadelphia!

Kwach said...

The next trek will definitely take us to your neck of the woods ... October 12th in Washington, DC! I wanna kiss yer cynical face.

: )

FlippyO said...

My mom sent some of those paperclips.