North Carolina

Horse Camp!

Today we got lots of new neighbors…9 big horse trailer/campers! With lots of big dogs running around loose. Roxie is having a ball telling them what’s what. Here are the folks next door. They’ve got nice living quarters in the front part, with a slide-out.


These are their horses. There are big posts in the ground all over the place here, so they can run ropes between them and tether the horses.


And these horses are right across the road from us. Their owners have very strong southern accents, talk really loud and play their radio quite loud. Oh joy.


Some of them came yesterday, and they all had nice big campfires, with no fire rings or anything to contain them. This in an area already inundated with wildfires, with no rain in sight….what are they thinking??!

The wildfires make me so sad; some of these areas are where I used to whitewater kayak….here’s a photo taken at Nantahala Outdoor Center, where they set backfires to try and save the buildings. That was a gorgeous area to paddle….now it’s going to be very ugly for years to come. There’s also the Pinnacle Mt. fire which is only 35% contained, with windier conditions coming tomorrow. This one might result in our having to cancel our gathering on the 27th if they don’t get it under control; right now the air quality at our campground is RED. Not very conducive to outdoor fun. So far the air here is clear.


Last night I tried to start up my new heater before going to bed and imagine my surprise when a little flame came up OUTSIDE the heater, at the gas connection elbow! Yikes! I blew it out like a birthday candle; luckily that worked. And then I shut it down. My first thought was “Oh God no, don’t make me set off that fire extinguisher in here again!!” But all is well. I tightened the connections (though it didn’t feel like anything moved) and started the heater. The fire stayed where it was supposed to be, no more roaming around!  It does make me nervous though; I won’t use it while I’m sleeping.

I have been walking! Since I’ve been here I’ve been taking the horse trail for abotu 1/4 mile each day, and yesterday I went twice, for a total of .7 miles! That’s way more than I’ve walked in a very long time.  I hope I can keep it up, though today I didn’t go very far because my knee hurt. I’ll let it rest and give it a go again tomorrow.


North Carolina

Fun With Fire Extinguishers

ACK! I pulled out a plastic bin from under the bed and my fire extinguisher sent a big blast of super-fine powder into my FACE!  The extinguisher was laying down and Roxie dish was in front of it, I guess I put pressure on the trigger by pulling out the bin. I didn’t notice that the safety pin thing had fallen out! I scooped up Roxie and dashed out the door, leaving it open. Huge clouds of yellow dust kept billowing out as I was gagging and choking. (Roxie seemed unaffected though she did have some yellow hair) A bit later I went back in and turned on the roof fan to suck some of it out but there’s this fine yellow dust EVERYWHERE.  What a mess! And all that from only a 1 second blast. So today turned out to be a cleaning day.

The hair on the side of my head was all yellow too and even though I rinsed it with water a couple times, it’s still sticky. It did, however, give it a LOT Of body! I believe I could effortlessly brush my hair to stand straight up and it would stay that way. However that look doesn’t seem to be “me”.

We have moved to a nice meadow site in the Uwharrie National Forest. The camper is facing the full sun all day long on the door side and I couldn’t put up my little canopy because the poles are buried in the back of the car somewhere behind the back seat. With the sun so low in the sky, I’m not sure the canopy would help that much anyway.  We are under an oak tree that is dropping acorns on us though…sounds like hail! Luckily they are very small.


That black “thing” is a shade cloth I’ve rigged up over Roxie’s exercise pen.

There’s a nice trail through the woods for horses so Roxie and I hiked a little bit of it. My knee is feeling MUCH better so we were able to go about 1/8 mile before it even got a twinge of pain. We turned around then and came back but I am pretty sure I could have gone farther. I’m going to try and do this every day, maybe it will strangthen my knee. Frankly I tend to not do anything because I am terrified that I’ll hurt it again.  I was thrilled to be able to do that 1/4 mile!!

A Walk In The Woods

When I first got here, I had good Verizon cell service but only 1 bar of 4G wifi service on my ATT Unite hotspot. I need 2 bars in order to do anything. Then I remembered the little antenna I bought on ebay for $17. I was really disappointed when it arrived because it’s only about a foot tall! It has a magnetic base which is kind of a problem in an aluminum camper, but I just propped it up as high as I could and lo and behold, it boosted it just enough to be able to work!! Yippee!

THANKS to all who are using my Amazon Associates link!  Especially whoever bought the nice NIkon P900 camera recently…wow, 83x optical zoom?!  I want one!   (


Curtis Creek CG, Old Fort, NC

We are now camped at Curtis Creek Campground in the Pisgah National Forest. We’ve been here a week and have another week to go.  This is in the First Forest, the very first tract of national forest land purchased under the Weeks Act in 1911.  It’s tucked into a fold of the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 5 miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway on a very twisty-turny one lane dirt road with lots of extreme switchbacks and straight up one side, straight down on the other!  It’s a little nerve-wracking not knowing when you might meet another vehicle……then someone has to back up til they get to a little place where it’s wide enough for 2 cars to pass. Yikes.   There’s also easy access from I-40 in Old Fort though, and it’s only 6 miles to town that way. The campground proper has about 10 sites, mostly for smallish campers. They’ve got picnic tables, fire pits, 2 lantern poles, tent pads, nice vault toilets(not stinky) & water spigots.  All for $5 a night, or only $2.50 with the Geezer Pass! It’s unusual that there are also 5 or 6 roadside sites that are outside the actual campground, with huge grassy areas for tents. No electricity, of course.  The camp hosts are very nice and keep the place immaculate!.


Some of the other campsites here:


Curtis Creek is a noisy little stream about 50′ from my site, and there are steps down to a viewing platform.



Until he weekend, there was just one other camper besides us, but it filled up on the weekend.  Leaf-Peepers, I think, since it’s that time of year. I was surprised at how many tent camper there were, considering the weather….it’s been gorgeous in the daytime, around 70 and sunny….but cold at night, in the 30’s and one night all the way down to 32.  I’m managing to keep warm enough with my little 1500 btu Coleman SportCat propane heater. I have a small battery-operated fan behind it to blow the heat towards the bed, and that’s working quite well.

I got here last Sunday and was informed that Monday morning was the start of black powder bear hunting season!  It seems really strange that they’d allow bear hunting inside a bear preserve, but I guess they issue a certain number of permits. They said there could be dogs running through here in pursuit of bears.  Yikes! Well, how many black powder bear hunters could there be?  LOTS, as it turns out!  It sure seems very UN-sporting, the way they hunt.  They turn their dogs loose wearing tracking collars and then drive up & down the roads trying to figure out where they are.  I am not sure how they know when a bear has been treed, maybe when the signals don’t move for awhile?  Then they go in and shoot the poor bear.  They are based about halfway between here and the Parkway and every morning around 7:30 they all drive by in their pickup trucks with cages built in the back for the dogs.  The dogs have their heads and tongues lolling out between the slats, baying at anything they see, silly things.  So far I have not seen them carrying out any bears, and I’m glad.

The other day I made some really amazing gingerbread sourdough pancakes! I always add a little mashed banana to my pancakes, I’ve discovered it makes them really tender. In my Pancakes for One recipe, ¼ banana is just enough to give it the texture without adding discernable banana flavor.  Of course if I’m making banana-blueberry or banana-pecan pancakes, then I add more banana.  For the gingerbread pancakes, I added a little molasses, some pumpkin pie spice and ginger.  Mmmmm!

And the next day I made cherry-cheese stuffed french toast.  I added some cherry jelly to cream cheese and mixed it up really good. Then I cut a thick slice of bread and carefully sliced a slot through the center, and knifed in as much of the cherry-cheese stuff as I could; soaked it in beaten egg and milk and grilled it.  I also put the leftover cherry-cheese stuff on top when it was done.  Whip Hop, that’s something I’ll be having again for sure!  I do love my breakfasts……

I tried making pizza on my Weber Q grill the other day, it was not a success.  I couldn’t keep the bottom crust from getting too brown while giving the top part enough time to bake.  I placed the store-bought pizza right on the grill; maybe next time I’ll buy some of those disposable foil pizza pans and double or triple them to insulate the bottom crust.  It wasn’t BAD, but it wasn’t great.  Once I work out the methodology, I’ll be making my own pizzas.  It’s just a lot cheaper to buy pre-made pizzas if I’m not sure they’re going to turn out!

Before I left Asheville I was invited to a terrific  house concert by a Kansas group called En Power and Light….man & wife and his brother. Their songs have stuck in my mind and it’s kind of neat that I can still picture them performing them as I listen on the CD player in the car.

One of the views from the Blue Ridge Parkway: