Sunday, August 31, 2008

Getting to Harriman.

The drive down through Virginia seemed to take FOREVER. We stopped a few times for gas and to pee, but mostly we kept on going, trying to get to Harriman at a decent hour. If there's one thing we didn't manage to do on this trip it's getting to our destinations by the times we thought we would. Too many plans and too little time to get them done in.

If we'd stopped on the way out of Pennsylvania to look at the Gettysburg battlefield, like we'd originally planned, there's no tellin how late we would've been. We just need to ether take an extra week off for road trip, or spend less time with each one of these folks we love. Nether option is acceptable, so we'll just have to keep passing up sights and plan to see stuff in future trips. We ended up getting to Williamsport a few yours later than I though we would, and the same thing happened in the drive to Harriman.

Last year it took me about nine hours to make the same drive, but with a stop for breakfast and a few stops at Wal Mart, etc., and it turned into about 12 hours. We got there by about 8:30, I think, and then we had to clean up and get purdy, and then we drove over to Mushy and Judy's place. Takes about ten or fifteen minutes or so to get there from the hotel, and I remembered the directions. Easy, like I'd driven it a million times. When we got there Mushy came out to greet us and I introduced my woman.

It was great to get back to that house. It's like home. We exchanged bear hugs and I introduced Denise to my buddy Mushy (not his real name) and his lovely wife Judy (her real name). We piled into his big King Ranch pickup and headed off to Oak Ridge. Mushy'd planned to take us there to eat pizza at Big Eds.

He drove me around Oak Ridge last year, showin' me around his old stompin' grounds. We'd driven by Big Ed's Pizza but we didn't stop. For whatever reason, whether it was from being tired or whatever, I didn't take the camera with me. Left it in the car. So I'm stelin' shots like the one above from one of Mushy's old posts.

I don't think he took too many pictures that night ether. This shot of their pizza was it, I think. Ours was good too, I wanna tell ya. The thing is, as we walked in I realized they were playin' Jimi Hindrix in the place, loud, I was in bliss. Back in Tennessee, back in the bosom of my family here, and chillin' with good tunes, good pizza and good beer. Best thing... This year I could share it all with my woman.

We closed the place down and then headed back to Mushy's place, but stayed only briefly. It'd been a long day and we had a hiking trip planned for the next morning. Mushy picked me up at the hotel at about 8:15 or 8:30 and we headed off to meet his brother-in-law Ron at a Cracker Barrel for breakfast. After that we all drove on in Mushy's truck up into the Smokey Mountains to a trail near Cade's Cove called the Middle Prong Trail.

When we got there we changed into our hiking shoes, tossed our camel back canteens over our backs (Ron used water bottles in a fanny pack) and headed out on a 4 mile round trip walk in the woods.

It was a nice steady incline, and a nice path most of the way.

The scenery was beautiful, and I tried to take as many shots of it all as I could.

One of the sights we passed is the place where Mushy took a dive into the creek last May.

The temperatures were just right, perfect for us to enjoy the trip without my hiking pardners getting into too much trouble. At one point I lit up a nice cigar for the walk. Mushy looked around saying something about smelling smoke, then couldn't believe I was smoking while hiking.

It was hilarious. I mean, it wasn't like we were through hiking the AT. It was a very fun, relaxing time.

Beautiful scenery and wonderful company.

After the hike we drove back to town and joined all of our ladies at the Smokey Mountain Brewery for a late lunch.

(OK, stealin' pictures again here). Mushy's wife Judy (center), her sister Neena (Ron's wife, in blue on the left) and Denise (in yellow next to me... But you know that), had all been terrorizing the shoppers while we fellas hiked.

It was a great day all around. After the meal Ron and Nina headed off home and the rest of us went back to Mushy and Judy's place. He and I enjoyed cigars and drinks on their porch for a few hours while Judy and Denise watched the Olympics on TV.

That porch is a wonderful place. I'd been looking forward to getting back out there for a year. Mushy pipes in endless music from a party file on his computer so that you can drink and smoke and enjoy great tunes forever. Ya just gotta get up to pee and get more beer. Meanwhile the bugs in the back yard make all sorts of noises and the bats chirp. It's great!

That lasted till about 11 or 11:30, when we adjourned till the next morning, when Denise and I had plans to go canoing on a local river with Ron. More about all or that later.


Mushy said...

Ah man, you brought it all back...even made me taste that pizza again.

Makes me wish another year of my life away, just to get back out there again. However, it's too damn hot out there these came at the right time!

Christina LMT said...

I love the picture of the stream (and the pizza, too, of course!)
Looks like you all had a blast, and that's what makes all the driving worth it.

Chuck said...

Wow, beautiful pics! And for once I'm not referring to the food, but that pizza looks damn good! Beautiful scenery up there in the Smokies. I love Cade's Cove too. Sure wish I could have made it up to hang with y'all.

david mcmahon said...

You guys, you guys, you went to Big Ed's WITHOUT me?

Suldog said...

You know, between your postings and Mushy's, I'm really very jealous of the friends and family you get to enjoy on a regular basis. Nice. Very nice!

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Mushy - Yea, me too. But the thing is, the older I get, the faster time flies. Next thing we know we'll be out there again. Can't wait.

Christina - Very true. Well worth it.

Chuck - Dude, we missed ya. It would have been cool! There's always next year.

Dave - Dude, tell us when you're comin' and we'll all do it again. We really don't need much of an excuse.

Sully - You hit it right on the head pal. These folks are like family, and it just gets better every trip. I feel like I'm a very lucky guy right now.