Monday, August 09, 2010

Our last day in Harriman.

On Thursday, the days routine began with yet another drive out to the little house on the lake. Once again, we were late getting up and out. I think this was the latest we'd ever been. I'm surprised they didn't lock the door and leave without us.

The plan for the day was to head up the mountain range shadowing the valley that Paul and Judy live in.

Denise and I were gonna get a close-up look at Buzzards Bluff, an amazing look-out providing a panoramic view of the whole area. I've seen lots of pictures from up there, but I'd never been there myself. We were also planning to head over to Paul and Judy's in-laws for a party and some shooting. It was gonna be a fun day.

The morning started out dry, but as we drove out and headed up the mountain, the clouds began to drift in. The drive up there was a blast, even though it's become overgrown and rough. Paul's big Ford truck was just the ticket.

The view from up there is stunning. I wish to God that we had mountain's and views like this where we live in Texas. Well, we do. You've just got to move down to Big Bend to see them.

You can see the rain clouds rollin' in here. And you can see, from all the spray paint, that he local kids love to come up to the bluff and leave their mark. It's too bad they can't just enjoy the beauty of the scene and leave it the way they found it.

Like I said, the views from Buzzard's Bluff are amazing. In the past, hang gliders launched themselves from the bluff to land in a field below. One can easily see, standing up there and looking down, how cool that experience would have been.

As we got ready to drive back down the mountain, the heavens opened up and it began to pour down.

Once again, Paul's big truck got us through it easily. Along the way, Paul drove us by the old house he'd built with his first wife. It was nice, but we didn't need to bust in on those folks.

In stead, after comin' down off the mountain, Paul drove us out to the Rocky Top General Store.

It turned out to be a cool spot, filled with everything one would imagine a country general store to have.

Most notably for me, they had a collection of Case pocket knives that I could pick through. I'd bought one little pocket knife at the Smokey Mountain Knife Works, but that place is so huge, you can get lost in there. It's hard to take it all in. The knife case there at Rockey Top was another thing entirely. I was able to focus on each knife and ended up deciding to take a few home.

The little dude on the left is the one I got from SMKW. It's just a little blade, and a pair of scissors, with a lanyard ring on one end. The rest, from left to right, you have a Peanut, a Lock blade Trapper, a Trapper, and a Texas Jack. The Crown bag came from Paul. It was just what I needed to hold my possibles. He always takes good care of me.

After leaving the store, the rain REALLY started to come down. Paul drove us out past Clifty Creek, showing us the entrance to the Pepper box, one of his favorite spots in the world. I've seen pictures of the place before, but it wasn't the right time to go out there.

You can see the water falling in sheets off the road above us here. It was amazing, and didn't bode well for the afternoons plans.

We were headin' out to Steve and Terri's place, where we were gonna get together with some of Paul and Judy's family and shoot guns.

Well, the rain beat the hell out of the shooting plans. And the idea that if we didn't shoot, we wouldn't have to clean them later. Yep, we sat on our lazy asses, but we had a great time anyway. The guys congregated in one room...

And the women gathered in the kitchen. We all had a wonderful time, grazing on the wonderful food (including Steve's chili) and solving all the worlds problems. Then, and I can't remember why, Terri started checking everyone's blood pressure.

I'm not sure why we went there. I just know that Paul ended up with the lowest numbers, and I ended up with the highest. Times change. There was a time when these folks used to pass around entirely different items at their parties. Too bad I missed out on all that.

After leaving Steve and Terri's place, Paul and Judy took us up another hill, to get another view of the town. This time it was from the Harriman cemetery.

Again, I've seen pictures from this place too. Like many old cemeteries, it's a beautiful place, with a dark, brooding feel to it. Every old headstone screams out about the history of the place and the people who built this community.

Even with all the kudzu, draped out over the land, choking off the natural vegetation, it's a beautiful view.

After that, it was back to the house on the water, and a relaxing time in Paul and Judy's living room. As we sat there, Denise was subtly giving me a signal that she wanted to go. She'd been wanting to go to Lowe's for a while, to check and see if she could find some nice big Hostas. She loves them, having had many of them around here old house in Kentucky.

She wants to put some in the ground back home, but all she'd ever been able to find back home were small, anemic looking things. But here in Tennessee, at the Tanger mall and a few other places, the Hostas were huge, so she wanted to head over to Lowe's and see what they had to offer.

Before I got the signal though, Paul's mother arrived at the house. It was great to see her again, and I was surprised to find that she remembered me from a few years earlier when we'd been originally introduced. One of the things Paul and I have in common is the fact that our moms are about the same age, and still goin' strong.

After a while, Denise and I got up and announced that we needed to head out. We had a chore to do. I think it was a surprise to Paul's mother. I hope we didn't hurt her feelings, but we did have stuff to do. In retrospect, we should have headed over to do our shopping right after getting back from the party, but there you go.

We drove over to Lowe's and sure enough, Dense was able to find her Hostas. After that, we drove a little way over to the Gondolier and picked up a few take-out pizzas, to surprise folks with. By the time we made it back the the house, Paul's mom had gone. I was sorry to see that, but we'll see her again. Anyway, we shared the pizza, and enjoyed some more drinks, and had a great time that evening.

After the pizza and the fun, we hugged and parted again, making plans for one last breakfast in the morning before Denise and I drove on to Kentucky.

What can I say that haven't already said. It was another great visit. I've been comin' here each summer since 2007, and somehow, Paul and Judy keep finding fun, new things to show me. And Denise and I keep havin' a wonderful time there with them. It's always great to come. I look forward to it all year, and I'm always sad to leave. These folks are like family. Hell, I'm closer to Paul and Judy than I am to most of my own family. So, it's always fun, but also kind'a sad to meet Paul there at the Cracker Barrel, for that last breakfast.

It's traditional that we always have breakfast at the Cracker Barrel the morning I leave Harriman. They have a nice one right near the hotel where we always stay. So, the next post with pick up there, and take us all the way to Kentucky, where Dense and I spent the last week of our trip. Until then, cheers.


Mushy said...

Well, that was nice! Glad you came.

FHB said...

It was my pleasure dude.