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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Christmas

It seems these Christmas entries are getting closer and closer together. Wasn't it just a few months ago I re-posted a picture of the lights on the trees? Here in the south, except for the recent freak storm, they don't usually get much snow. Temp's in the 50's lured me out into the winter sunshine for my first area bike ride today. Great to be enjoying fresh air and outdoor activities.

I just want to wish any readers a very Blessed Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year. Thanks for your continued interest.

Dunbar Cave

After spending almost two weeks unpacking and getting organized, I contacted a local hiking group and joined them for a short jaunt through the woods near Dunbar Cave. I liked the area so much, I returned the next day- with a camera. This tree was growing on rocks, against a rock wall. "Between a rock and a hard place."

There's quite a history of this geological site. In the 1930's, big bands and musicians from the Gran' Ole' Opry used to perform on the stone steps, and dances were held on the wide open area which was actually built above the cave entrance. There is also a balcony overlooking the dance floor, where ladies reportedly had tea.

Over 8 miles of mapped passageways extend under the wooded cover. Guided tours are not available during the winter months so the bat population can hibernate undisturbed. I took this shot of the cave entrance through the barred gates. A vacant concession stand appeared to be walled with sections of stalactites and/or stalagmites, possibly rescued after vandals destroyed some of the property. On closer inspection, I noticed fossil conglomerates (with embedded sea sponges) and fossilized groups of coral-like creatures.

This red and white rock really caught my eye after I had the pictures made up. Click on it for a larger view. If anyone ever says, "You can't get blood from a stone," show them this sample. Unusual, to say the least.

At the upper level near the bandstand is an alcove. These steps emerged from a rock wall, and descended into a small grotto filled with water. "Stairway to Nowhere".

And for my next adventure...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Moving Experience

Just over two weeks ago, I drove a loaded "22-foot" (that's just the back part!) diesel moving van over 300 miles across state to my new location. It's a long story, filled with all the sordid details we normally omit when someone asks, "So, how ARE you?"

After some time on the main highway, I no longer felt the size of the truck, I just focused on keeping the windshield centered in the lane. It was kind of like I imagine a video game might be. Almost an automatic action.

Until we pulled off the highway for supper. In the dark and drizzle. And I tried to back the truck into a parking space at an angle. And didn't see the cute yellow VW bug that had been situated at the very back of the parking lot to keep from being hit. Crunch. I felt just awful about knocking out it's lights. When I read "Fellowship of Police" on the license plate, I thought to myself, "Sister, if you're gonna' mess up, do it good!"

Two points of consolation later: a friend reminded me that professional truck drivers spend many training hours learning to back up their rigs, and, two unrelated people mentioned that with the size (and engine noise level) of the truck I was driving, I could have run over the little car without even knowing it.

Fortunately I had signed up for maximum insurance coverage before the adventure. Phew! And now I know for certain sure, I'm not interested in being a truck driver for hire.