After enjoying my time experiencing my private Blue Grass concert and following the quilt trail in north central Tennessee, I headed east a ways to spend about a month at the Escapees Park. Raccoon Valley SKP park is just north of Knoxville.
My main reason for staying there was its proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What a marvelous park this is. It was everything I had hoped for. It was also the place where I fulfilled a lifetime dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Granted, my hip was beginning to give me problems, and I was only able to walk a short portion of it. In my heart, that didn’t matter. It was just one of those experiences that brought tears to my eyes as I limped along. It’s hard to explain how this short walk sang to my inner most being. The memory chokes me up now as I write this.
Later in the month, I zipped up to Dyer, Indiana, in my car for a short stay to celebrate my daughter Robyn’s retirement party after 20 years serving our country in the US Army. It was one of those rare times when I was able to have all three of my kids together, and three out of my five grands too. Hoo-ah!, Robyn Kay! All three of my kids are veterans, and I’m very proud of that fact. Actually, Andy is still serving in the National Guard.
In July, Emma and I moved up to Jenny Wiley State Resort Park to spend a week or so camping with my sister Pam, and BIL Stan. Pam was very interested in the Hatfield/McCoy feud, so we enjoyed investigating areas where it occurred. I’m not a big country western fan, but the highlight for me was the real adventure of visiting the childhood home of Loretta Lynn in Butcher Holler. I’ll never forget how we finally ended up there.
Eventually, I made it to Alligator River NWR in North Carolina for my three month stint of volunteering there and at Pea Island NWR on the Outer Banks. The best part of my time there was the bears and other critters.
Some of those ‘other critters’ included a visit from my friend Jack and meeting more fellow bloggers. The Roanoke Island play, lighthouses, and seafood rounded out my time there. I began using a cane to get around, and began planning for a hip replacement.
About the middle of October, I headed out on my journey south. I learned about raising cotton, whirly-gigs, and Pearl’s Garden. As I hooked up briefly with my friends on the road, I was once again thankful for such a nice cyber community out here.
Toward the end of October, I got settled in at Okefenokee NWR in Folkston, GA. I’ll be here until the middle of April. That’s the longest commitment I’ve made so far during my time on the road, but it will also include time off for that hip replacement. Once again, you can see that fellow bloggers and volunteers play an important part in my life. It’s a life I love, and I hope I’ve got a few more years to go…
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy