Sunday, May 31, 2009

Charlotte NC - Last day

We're still in the Charlotte area. The humidity has dropped, it's much more tolerable than it has been. Isn't this a lovely picture? My brother took this at the beach awhile ago. Very nice.

This is another one of his photos from the Anne Close Springs greenway, where Jim and I went yesterday morning for some much needed exercise.

The water was really flat early, it's a cute little lake.

Is this horse heaven or what? Grass, water, salt lick. What else do we need.

It's been raining a lot, the creek in the green way was running pretty good.

We crossed the creek instead of going through, on this swinging bridge.

The goats were on the goat stand. They are used to being fed, if you stand there long enough they'll all come up looking for a hand out.

Tomorrow, which is Monday, we're off to Chapel Hill for a couple of days. We're going to have dinner Monday night with friends from the Wake Forest area, Jim gets to visit the periodontist on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday we go BACK to Statesville for MORE warranty tweaks on the RV. Arrrrrrrrgh. It's always something.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Charlotte NC - Still Raining

Terrible weather continues to come up from Florida. Every single afternoon we're getting torrential downpours. Make it stop!!!!!!!!!!!!
We're feeding the squirrels in the KOA deer corn. Laurence bought a 50 pound bag of it for his squirrels. This guy was really cute. He ran up the tree to escape a beating, and then suspended himself by his back feet to eat in peace, upside down.

Now he is on point because I am stalking him with the camera.

So, other than feeding the woodland creatures, not too much is happening here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Charlotte NC - Memorial Day

I am Swamp Thing. No really, I feel like moss is growing between my toes, my face glistens with excess dewiness and I am dank. The humidity here is just staggering. Last night's NASCAR race was rained out, it was dumping pigs and chickens again. We felt bad for tent central. It's not raining today, but there are equal parts water and oxygen in the air. Dry skin is not longer a problem for us.
This is our teeny tiny filing box. It struck me the other day how different things are when I was putting service receipts for the truck in it. We used to have a two drawer filing cabinet that was just stuffed with receipts, warranties, and all the rest of the documents associated with modern living. All gone. We now fit in a teeny tiny filing box.

Here is Jim, washing the truck in front of my brother's house. The famed Carolina blue skies have not been in evidence since we arrived.

More on the NASCAR and camping phenomenon. This is what people like to do here. They bring their travel trailers out, deploy the awnings in case it rains, and plug in the flat screen TV. These guys have been parked in front of that TV watching race coverage all day. They have their racing signal flags on the awning support, and yes, that is a Confederate flag on the far right. Truly I am not in touch with this segment of American culture.

Today, camp is breaking up, and they're all going home. It's a good day to not be traveling. Enjoy your Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Charlotte NC - Race Week

Greetings race fans! This weekend is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca Cola 600 at beautiful Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Hotels within a 50 mile radius are full. RV parks are in full on gouging mode for the weekend. These people came in last night, they are tent central.

This is down town Charlotte. Despite the economy and the downturn in the bank industry, they are still building like crazy.

The downtown core of Charlotte is closed for what they call Speed Street. It's a street fair dedicated to NASCAR. This is the giant sound stage where they have bands at night. They were playing recorded music and this guy was just rocking out.

Here he is, getting down with the beat.

One of the entrances to Speed Street.

We were somewhat surprised to see Hamburger Helper vans.

This is a Car of Tomorrow. NASCAR has moved away from the old stock car racing to essentially one-design racing. Everybody gets the same car. Look at the headlights, they aren't real. The car has been draped in a huge decal like the ones you see on city buses. That's how you tell the cars apart. They're small cars.

Inside of the car.

One of the many bars.

It's a mohawk bug!

There were many scantily clad young women handing out stuff.

The weiner mobile.

There was a huge food court, where there was nothing good for you to eat.

These are hand dipped corn dogs.

This is a true delicacy.

So, we're in Charlotte for awhile, spending some time with my sibling.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Monday, it must be Asheville NC

We're in Asheville. The weather is beautiful, but chilly. It's supposed to go down to 39 tonight. It could be a 3 dog night. We were in Nashville last night at the Two Rivers RV park, which was very nice. There's a lot of stuff to see and do in Tennessee. We're going to go back and sight see. The Two Rivers park was good, if you stay there, ask for slot number 414.
Today we're in the Asheville Bear Creek park which is also very nice. If you go here, ask for a back in up the hill from the office, on the left side; not that these are easy slots to get in to. The road is narrow, and the slots are short, so if one comes in at a bad angle, one has very little runway with which to correct the problem. This can lead to hissing at one's spouse over the walkie-talkies. This, in turn, can require one spouse to apologize to the other (perfect) spouse. But we're in here, and we have 75 cable channels. I am in heaven.
Tomorrow we'll be in Charlotte. Hopefully we'll get some pictures of all the Nascar craziness so you can see.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

If it's Saturday it must be Little Rock

We were in Oklahoma City last night. It was raining pigs and chickens. The radar images were pretty impressive. We had thunder, lightening and buckets of rain. This picture is from the tv coverage of the storms. It's very unnerving to hear this statement, "so far there are no tornadoes." The implication being that there might be.

Now we are in North Little Rock at kind of a yucky KOA. There are too many trees and it was built before RVs got large. We were hoping not to have to take the truck off the trailer tonight, but alas, alack the site is not long enough to stay on. There are two begging squirrels here. One is missing an ear, he comes up to the door first. Since he is so pitiful he gets food, then his accomplice beats him up and takes the food, so a second hunk of food is provided, and both squirrels are very well fed.

So, we continue on our way east and to ever increasing humidity.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


We're in Albuquerque. Actually, we're a little bit east and up in the mountains at the Turquoise Trail RV Park. There are prairie dogs here. They were also at Mesa Verde, but I never got a good picture. Is this cute or what?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cortez CO - Leaving

Today we went to the Anasazi Cultural Museum. It was constructed to hold the artifacts unearthed during the building of the McPhee reservoir. It is a really good museum. If you come to this area to see the parks, go here first.
This is an overlook behind the museum. This is the reservoir.

Tonight we went out to dinner at a local restaurant. It was good! We saw these touring bikes out front. Does this look like fun?

Kim ordered the beer sampler. It was a lot of beer.

Tomorrow we're heading east. Posting may be sporadic depending on whether we've seen anything interesting and the goodness of the internet. So, we'll be on the move for a bit.

Cortez CO - Mesa Verde

Sunday, 5/10, was Mesa Verde day. It was phenomenal. If you have not been, you should go.

It is a fairly long drive up some fairly long and steep hills to get into the park where the ruins are. We saw these guys riding on the way in. The older guy in the white jersey was just kicking butt and taking names. However, we saw them on the way out of the park, and he was off the back.

Knife Edge Mountain.

Dead tree. Since the 1970's, about 40% of the park has been burned in one fire or another.

We started at the visitor's center. They are really well done and worth going into for a sense of perspective on the history of the area. The mesa area has had people here since about 1 ad. Ruins go back to about 500 ad. They were right thinking people in that they were matrilineal. Property and inheritance went through the female line, until the Spanish came.

Navajo jewelry.

We started with ruins on the flat part of the mesa. The Ancestral Puebloans (AP) built here first, as at Hovenweep. They started in pit houses, and then graduated to above ground structures. They shaped the stones out of sandstone since it was soft enough to work.

This is a kiva, where they had ceremonial functions.

Sometime around 1200, the APs migrated off the mesa tops and into the cliff dwellings. This is one of the largest, Cliff Palace.

One climbs ladders to access it.

It's amazing. How did they do this much building in such a difficult place to reach?

Another kiva. They're ingenious. On the right side of the photo, in shadow, is an air shaft. When in use, there would have been a roof on the kiva, with a fire burning in the large pit. Air came through the shaft, hit the bench looking device and was deflected around the periphery of the kiva, so the fire was not blown out. The smaller hole in front of the fire pit is the sipapu. It's the entrance into the spirit world.

When one leaves, there are more ladders.

There are about 6,000 archeological sites in Mesa Verde. There are cliff dwellings everywhere.

See the vertical holes in about the middle of the next picture? Those are hand and foot holes. They would get a ladder to the bottom of the holes and then pull themselves up to the upper houses. Everyday they did this. They farmed the tops of the mesas, so they had to go to work. Life expectancy was about 30 for women and 40 for men. Emphysema was a leading cause of death due to inhaling particulate matter from the fires. Arthritis in was a problem from climbing, hauling things and working really hard just to stay alive. Many children did not make it to puberty.

Then it was on to Spruce Tree house.

This ruin has been stabilized so that it can withstand visitors in larger numbers. The ladder sticking out of the floor marks the location of a kiva. The roof has been put back on so people can see how it looked. The wall behind with the T shaped windows are living areas.

Ladder going into the kiva.

This is a kiva jar in the museum at Mesa Verde. The card said it was the finest example of the AP pottery in the collection. It's perfectly shaped and the painting is just beautiful.

The APs were on the mesas from about 500 to 1300 a.d. They had a good stay in that area.