Off The Beaten Path . . . . . . . .
My US "Road Trip" - Need a break? I know I do. The pace of work these days makes it hard to find time to relax. When I get it, I take it and totally disconnect. So here's my plan for a "road trip" once I get a break at the conclusion of my current work project. (June 2012)*
Starting Point (Home) Augusta, GA
Day 1 - Little Rock (Clinton Presidential Library) / Memphis
Day 2 - Tulsa (Dinning & Drinking with Family)
Day 3 - Route 66 (Tulsa to Oklahoma City) / Amarillo / Roswell
Day 4 - White Sands National Monument
Day 5 - Tucson (Dinning & Drinking with Family)
Day 6 & 7 - Phoenix (Dinning & Drinking with Army Buddies & Family)
Day 8 - Monument Valley
Day 9 & 10 - Four Corners / Mesa Verde National Park
Day 11 - Canyonland National Park / Trail of the Ancients
Day 12 & 13 - Arches National Park
Day 14 - Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole, WY & Grand Teton National Park
Day 15 & 16 - Grand Teton National Park
Day 17-19 - Yellowstone National Park
Day 20 - To Helena, MT
Day 21 - To Devil's Tower National Park
Day 22 & 23 - Devil's Tower
Day 24 - To Denver
Day 25 - Denver (Dinning & Drinking with Freinds)
Day 26 - To Colorado Springs / Ghost Towns of Colorado / Junction City Kansas
Day 27 - Carbondale, IL / Giant City / Pagliais Pizza / Southern Illinois University
Day 28 - Home
**Routes & Destinations subject to change depending on work schedule.
The Blue Ridge Parkway "Adventure" - October 2011
I broke camp before dark so I could get onto the Blue Ridge Parkway to take photos with the morning mist. This was the last photo taken before things went downhill. What you may not have noticed in the previous photo, the truck was running, the cell phone was on the charger, and the doors were locked. So, I had to find a big rock and decide which window would be the easiest to replace. So I had to bash in the back window and climb in to unlock the doors. Overall, a very nice drive. Up above 3000 feet or so, the windblown trees were iced over. There was a little "wind" affect snow in the grass but the roads were clear. Very little visibility though. I was getting my "mist" pictures. Nice fall colors. This, however, is the $100 photo. I pulled off the road to get the previous photo. Initially got stuck in a hole left over from when they removed a guardrail. I backed out of the hole just fine. Got out to take my picture. Turned back around to find the truck had rolled into the "ditch". If not for the bushes, it might have kept going. I could not pull out and the truck wanted to slide sideways and I feared it might rollover. So I call the Blue Ridge Parkway dispatch for a tow truck. An hour and $100 later it took him less than a couple of minutes to winch me back onto the road. And all of this before 10 a.m. The rest of the day was uneventful. I finished up the Blue Ridge Parkway at Linville Falls, Burke County, NC. Supposedly, the "England" side of the family had settled in this area before moving to KY.
The Chattahoochee National Forest - Need a nice cool place to hide from the rat-race of Atlanta, Augusta, and other metro-Georgia traffic jams? Then I suggest heading to the mountains and not the coastal beaches. Several online resources and outdoor magazines have recently recommended area within the Chattahoochee National forest located in northern Georgia. There are many campsites in the area to suite your level of adventure from primative, semi-primative (showers), and full featured. There are many privately owned campsites as well as those listed with the US Forest Service. Be aware that the US Forest service has outsourced the management of its campsites as consessions. Desoto Falls Recreational Area is a semi-primative campsite with running water, tent-pads, and hot showers. Though the Desoto Falls themselves are not overly impressive, the short hikes up to them are mild enough for beginners and young children. The upside is that the campsite puts you in the center of the mountain action. There are several access points to the Appalachian Trail minutes away. Just above the campground on Blood Mountain at Neel's Gap you have the only place on the Appalachian Trail where the trail goes through a man-made structure. Originally built as a lodge it is now a hiking/outdoor store. Yes, as a friend of mine put it, it is the only souvenir shop on the Appalachian Trail. Between the shop (Mountain Crossings) and the Desoto Falls Recreation Area you will find the Blood Mountain Cabins and Country Store.