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Friday, May 26

Smoky Mountains & Little Bears


I'm no longer in the land of snowflakes.  The Seattle area disappeared in the rearview many days ago.   It has now been over a month since my last blog post and almost three since I left Tacoma....the days, sites, tradeshows and miles are beginning to blur.  I'm  having a hard time remembering where I've been and where I have to be next. Only certainty is that I've done a little over 9500 miles since leaving Tacoma and have had a great time.  I keep telling myself to keep a detailed written travel journal but I never get around to it.  This blog ends up being my journal and I've relived my travels numerous times over the past couple of years by going back over some of the posts.  Luckily, Tiffany reminds me where to be and on what date in regards to the work portion of the trip.  As long as I show up as scheduled, I can roam about anywhere in between.  It's the "in-between" that keeps me out here.  Work related, I've been to Collinsville Illinois, Akron Ohio, Novi Michigan, and Syracuse New York, since my last post.   Some areas have been better than others since the last blog post but the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia and The Upper Peninsula in Michigan certainly stand out.  I'm currently in the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York where I've been for the past two nights.   Camping has been good as the place is deserted but that is expected to change come this Memorial Day Weekend. I've been boondock camping and have found plenty of it here so I should be able to avoid the crowds this weekend by steering clear of the campgrounds.  Locals tell me that you never can tell about Memorial Day Weekend up here.  May be crowded, or not, dependent on the weather and the black fly situation.  My guess is that the area will be a deserted wasteland as the friggin black flies will carry you away if you don't keep moving.  Went out exploring on the mountain bike two nights ago and thank god I didn't have a flat.  If I had of, I don't think I'd be alive to write this post. No question... I would have abandoned the stinking bike and sprinted back to the camper! I came across a lady today while out hiking that was covered in some kind of mosquito net outfit.  Pants, shirt, gloves, and headgear.....nothing was exposed.  She also smelled like she'd been soaking for days in a 50 gallon drum of  deet. Stated she lives to hike but has a severe reaction to any kind of bug bite.  Personally, I think she picked the wrong hobby but I guess as long as they keep producing deet and netting....what the hell.  I'm sitting there breathing in the damn things, trying to defend myself against the constant onslaught, while she was kicked back enjoying the day reeking of deet.    Not sure what she does out there if mother nature calls and she has to go see a man about a horse.  Maybe she had a diaper on? The mere thought of performing that act amongst those millions of biting hordes will make a grown man cry.   The bugs will be really bad in one area, but drive a mile an all is well.  Water everywhere here with the river and lakes so not sure why they'll be bad in one area and not the next.  I'm seriously thinking about getting a head net and will be ensuring I take care of business before leaving the camper. Without a net, you ingest a few every other breath.  This is not the place for a mouth breather. Of course, I've got a head net back in Tacoma....a lot of good it's doing me back there. 

To date, a highlight of this road trip has been the week I camped in Cades Cove located in the Smoky Mountains National Park.  I had been to the Smoky National Park numerous times over the years but this trip topped them all. It's a photographers dream spot.  Wildlife, fauna, and vistas.  I was lucky enough to meet and hang out with some talented photographers visiting the area.  All really nice people with a passion for wildlife photography. On a couple of these days we were able to photograph and observe a sow and her four cubs.  I took way too many pictures of the cubs and should get them all sorted within the next twenty years or so.  I need to familiarize myself with the delete button.  My first time of ever seeing four cubs with a sow.  I've seen up to three with a sow but never four.  Much more exciting shooting pictures of Grizzlies in Alaska but observing these cubs interact/nurse with the sow, and romp around with each other ranks right up there.  Weather wasn't the greatest, but the subject matter and hanging out with like minded people more than made up for the wet skies.







Deer, turkeys, bobcats, hawks, eagles can all be found here, but the bears are the prize.






Petey enjoying a nice wade one afternoon after a long walk.

A quiet spot next to an old cemetery Petey and I would go to midday.  Little reading, possible
napping, sorting pictures and a long walk for  Petey before the late evening routine of trying to locate more bears.

 Old Church in the Cove.

Spent a few hours at this great swimming hole.

Petey helping with the navigation duties.

Next post.....Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.





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