Black Friday Hiking

One of the joys of seeking experiences over stuff is we do not have to join the world in shopping on black Friday. For those that know us well, you know we never did go out on Friday morning for “Black Friday” deals. I usually went into work and wrote performance reviews celebrating a day lacking meetings and emails.

This “black Friday” we took in the local Middle Creek Park in Burlington, Kentucky. We enjoyed the hiking and the stepping away from all of the traffic that exists anywhere near a mall. The venue was quiet and we were part of a small group of hikers; we saw a few others out on the trails. The park has almost nine (8.49) miles of trails.

Middle Creek park sign post

No cell phone reception and watch out during hunting season–which when we looked it up was when we were out. No hunting in the park, just the neighboring area.

The excitement of hiking in the fall is that no insects are out to ruin your day. It was only 50 degrees out so we were wearing long pants. The other benefit is that no prickly bushes were scratching our legs as we hiked up and down the hills. On the other hand, we are noisy as we walk through the leaves that have almost all fallen, scaring away the local wildlife and sometimes obscuring the path.

The trail we hiked was a multi-use trail for horses and people. Horses must use the trail as we saw evidence of their hoof prints and, fortunately, no other evidence. The ground was muddy in places. The hiking up and down the hills was just right. We enjoyed the glimpse of the Ohio River that is afforded at the top of the trail.

Middle Creek park view of Ohio River

View of the Ohio River from the park

One of the retirement benefits is taking off when the weather is nice and visiting local parks. We are sure that many others had the day off.  

 

The lesson learned from this travel is that near or far, a good time is often determined by our own attitude. We set out for an adventure, and even though this one was closer to home, it was a get away from town and any normal routine that we have established in retirement.

Another lesson learned during the last few weeks was emphasizing the importance of family and friends. We have traveled to a few funerals and attended some locally. It is great to get together with the family and remember a life. It is even better at Thanksgiving and other times to get together and just be together. Making memories together is part of the journey; we are looking to continue to celebrate that journey on our travels.

We hiked about 3.5 miles on this adventure.

IMG_2282

Our minimum outdoor bike riding temperature is 55 degrees or a little cooler if the day is warming up. I taught an indoor bike cycle class instead of taking a bike outside.

 

The Enchanted State Park

Our weekend to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio began on Thursday. It is great to get away when everyone else is still working. Keep up the good work if you are among that group…

It was raining when we woke up on Friday morning. And then it rained until about 9:30 in the morning. At that point in time the porch in our cabin was a good place to be, but a hike in the woods sounded better. It was cool and misty when we started out for our hike from Old Man’s Cave parking area. If you have not been to this enchanting part of the park, access is free; it is well worth the trip. The GPS had a little trouble finding the park. As we found out, once we arrived, even a cool, rainy Friday, several people had no trouble finding the location, including us.

At the beginning of our hike, on the way to Old Man’s Cave, we first walked down to the Hocking River. The views looked like we were in a Disney movie and we half expected to find a troll or a gnome coming out from under one of the stone bridges.

After we hiked through the Old Man’s Cave, we took a longer hike out to Cedar Falls. We really enjoyed the quiet on the hike; the water was flowing due to the morning rain and sounded great. We could see the “just past peak” colors peaking out of the hemlock evergreen trees. The hemlock tree has “whispy” leaves and they are not thick. As a result, our views on the hike were better than they could have been if the park had cedar trees instead of hemlocks. We are planning on coming back during the week next year in October to see the colors at their peak. Past peak the colors were really good.

We did make it to cedar falls. Apparently the early settlers mistook (like me) the hemlock for cedar trees. The falls were nice to visit on our hike, and we were glad we hiked the trail. The trail on the way back warned of being strenuous. We now understand that the hike up away from the falls, on the several steps, was tiring and being on the cliffs looking down did show us how high we had climbed. It was not bad; the only part that strained was the initial climb out from the falls.

We enjoyed finding a suspension bridge on the hike. It was fun for us to take a break and cross it more than once. The path led to Ash Cave, another popular spot in the park. Apparently Ash Cave was the site for public gatherings for years as it has good acoustics.

We enjoyed hiking through the tunnels and over the stone bridges. We found many waterfalls and pretty sites along the way.

 

We enjoyed our during-the-week adventure. We are going to look for more of them in the future. This park did not have a lodge and closed at 5 PM during the week. We were able to get directions from a fellow traveler on how to access our cabin and how to get around. It is always good to ask for help from an expert. We recommend the park as an enchanted trip.

Hocking hills cedar falls

We did not bike this trip. We did hike over 8 miles in the park and could easily have hiked more.

bike in garage

Bikes left in the garage for the weekend

 

Murder Mystery Weekend

Part of the retirement joy is the ability to leave town during the week. We were able to leave for our murder mystery weekend on Thursday and enjoy the best weather day of the week on site. Leaving Friday after work, we would have missed a beautiful (cold) clear Friday as Saturday was cold and rainy.

Lodge welcome sign

Lodge welcome sign on Saturday.

Our visit to Cumberland Falls State Park in Kentucky was great. This picturesque falls is known as the Niagara of the south. Fall colors were happening and the weather on Friday was perfect for hiking. We were able to start just after breakfast, on the trail at 8 AM, hard at work!

The fun part about Cumberland Falls is that it is one of two spots in the world where you can experience a Moonbow. If you have never seen one, a trip to this terrific state park should be in your future. The last time we made it here we stayed in a cabin and hiked the trails by day and saw the Moonbow by night. It is hard to photograph the Moonbow. It is great to experience it. Experiences are what we are looking to accumulate in retirement and not “things.”

Cumberland moonbow sign with Glen

On our Friday hike we noticed the fallen leaves looked like snow cover on the ground. The trees were raining leafs, including giant ones from the big leaf magnolia tree. It was fun to watch the leaves fall across our path.Big Leaf Magnolia on the hike--like snow!

The colors were vibrant in the park.

 

On our hike we saw turtles sunning themselves.

Two turtles on the cumberland river

But, the most interesting sound we heard on the trail was the “talking trees.” On our afternoon hike we stopped, as we generally do, to listen to what is happening around us. We heard a weird sound. Looking around we noticed that one tree had fallen into another and when the wind blew, as it was doing, the trees were trying to pull apart and made a sound. I do not recall hearing that sound before on a hike.

Cumberland Falls with Glen

The reason we went this weekend to Cumberland Falls was that the lodge was hosting a murder mystery dinner. We really enjoyed the interaction and the participation with the cast in solving the mystery. We made a few new friends as well. We are now planning on going with some of our friends to a local showing of a similar production put on by the same company.

One lesson stood out for us. The park was enjoyable for us because the park was purchased and given to the state for all to enjoy.  It made us think about our legacy. We are not heirs to a fortune, yet we can all give back in our own way.

Rainbow at cumberland falls

Other highlight: Late October is a great time to go to the southern part of Kentucky; all the trees were at or near peak. We also learned that the state park has fun with Halloween decorations and the staff got into the spirit with costumes.

Cumberland Lodge enterance

We did not solve the murder mystery, although a few people in the audience had the correct answer. We managed to hike over 9 miles. We do not mountain bike, so, no biking this weekend for us.

bike-in-garage.jpg

Bikes left in the garage for the weekend

Do Retired People Just Play Golf All Day?

Many assumptions are made about life after retirement. I know that I had a few assumptions on what people did or do in retirement. Many think of endless golf games and outside entertainment in Florida.  In retirement I have played two golf games, admittedly, not very well. In comparison, I just played trumpet at my third wedding this year. I am excited to have played at more weddings than golf courses.

Rochester Trumpet Players

Glen and Chris prior to the Rochester, MN wedding

I love the thoughts from Roger Whitney, “Go, go years, slow go years and no go years.” In my retirement we are in the go, go years.  Here is a recap of what we have been up in the last week—from a travel perspective.

Glen and Friends at the Reds

Glen, Eric, David and Mike: Reds Vs. Cardinals.

Last week I was able to help out a friend who had received a retirement gift of baseball tickets and he and two others joined in at the Reds game. We even got to see a dramatic finish in the 10th inning (for the other team L). What a fun opportunity to stay out late and not worry about being late for the office the next day.

Kim and I went out to the local playhouse for a production of Shakespeare in Love. We really enjoyed the acting and the escape. We also did not worry about when we left or came back home.

 

Last weekend, we hopped on a plane for Rochester, Minnesota, to be a part of the wedding for Karen and Phil. I was pleased to play trumpet for their wedding. Our hosts for the weekend, Chris and Cindy, were also part of the music for the wedding. I really enjoyed our time with Karen and Phil as well as Chris and Cindy.

We did a tour of Rochester, including a visit to the Mayo properties in downtown Rochester as well as a quick visit to the Plummer house.

The area around Rochester (in the summer!) is really nice. Of course they have these things called “sky bridges” that connect the buildings downtown so the residents do not have to go outside in the winter.

We enjoyed the walking as well as the bike ride we did near Silver Lake. Minnesota is the “land of 10,000 lakes” and the county we were in is one of three counties that does not have a natural lake. Interesting trivia for the day.

Geese by the hundreds dwell on the Zumbro’s shoreline where it widens into Silver Lake. The geese are a scenic addition and responsible for the local restaurant’s name where we ate breakfast, the “Canadian Honker.” The food was good and the location was nice. The local story is that the power plant keeps the water in the Rochester part of the Zumbro River warm all year long and the geese never leave.

For fun, Kim and I rode a tandum bike. It was an interesting experience as we bike ride a lot at the same time, just not together on the same bike. I think we are, for now, keeping our individual road bikes.

Rochester Bike for 2

At the start of our ride

A few lessons learned.

Rochester Retirement advice

  • Be helpful. The history of the Mayo Clinic is that it was founded by people that helped out.
  • Be intentional about friends. Our friends Chris and Cindy “Friday with friends” event where they are intentional about getting together with friends each week.
  • Always be yourself, unless you are Batman… We saw this sign at a men’s clothing store in downtown Rochester.

 

Other highlights:

We also spent the prior Friday exploring the bike trails in Aurora, Indiana. We were pleased to find the trails. They are close to the house and provide a nice ride along the Ohio River. It is good to see the scenery from the other side of the river, looking into Kentucky.

There is a new person retiring all the time. Are you next? The gate agent on our flight to Rochester was retiring. As our incoming flight was delayed we had a few minutes to chat. She is off to Peru and then will be looking for some volunteer work.

 

We went to a local farm and enjoyed their fall festival, including a hayride and picking a pumpkin. The spiced cider was not yet ready for us, maybe next week! Happy fall to everyone.

Trip by the numbers:

States visited: Minnesota, Indiana and Ohio. Does a stopover at the airport count as a visit? We did two stopovers in Chicago, so did we visit Illinois? I say, yes we did…Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. We were several nights in Minnesota, had a bike ride in Indiana and a play and a baseball game in Ohio.

Activity statistics:

  • Biking miles: 26, with the addition of Minnesota to our list of states for a bike ride.
  • Hiking/Walking: 7 miles.
  • Trumpet playing at Holy Cross Lutheran Church.

Rochester Bike End

 

The Paths Taken To Boston

Our first path took us to the Boston Metro area for Gary and Jackie’s wedding in Worchester.

Wedding--Ready to toast and dance

Wedding–Ready to toast and dance

  • The wedding and reception were held at Tuckerman Hall in Worchester.
  • Kim and I enjoyed lunch prior to the afternoon wedding on Grove Street at the Fix Burger Bar. They had a great selection on the menu, and I had the Bison burger—very tasty. The resturants in the area were converted manufacturing centers. It appeared to be a happening place.
  • The Bride and Groom own a part interest in a horse and asked me to
  • I performed on the trumpet the call to post prior to the bride entering. The assembled all laughed, which was a good thing! It was fun and of course it was listed in the program and no one knew what it meant.
  • On Sunday I also played trumpet at our church home in Massachusetts with the praise band. It was fun, and the musicians are very talented.

After the wedding weekend, it was time to visit with some of the people we missed seeing at the wedding. We would like to have seen more of the good people we know in New England but time was against us visiting everyone. We plan to come back and hope to see you on our next trip if we missed you this time around!

Our second path involved food and friends:

  • My goal was to eat seafood and this party had lobster, clams and mussels. Labor Day clam bake—great food!
    • I enjoyed the eating at the party.
    • We even took home a home-grown pumpkin from our friend’s pumpkin patch!

Enjoying a clam bake with friends on a beautiful sunny day, fresh lobster is really a good time!

Dinner near Boston Harbor—again great seafood and more friends. Having dinner on Boston Harbor in the summer is a good time.

  • Dinner in Marlborough, MA, our former home town in the Boston area. Good friends and good food.
  • Lunches with friends around the metro Boston area as well!

Our third path in the Boston area was some local adventures.

When we lived near Wachusett Mountain State Reservation, we hiked this mountain each Father’s Day. We went up on Labor Day and were surprised at the number of bike riders going up the mountain.

Having lived in Marlborough, MA, and played in a band for the Assabet River Rail Trail opening, we just had to hike along the Assabet River Rail Trail. The City provides bike rentals on the trail but we just hiked along.

  • We visited the Lowell National Historic Park and enjoyed our visit. This is the only National Park that I am aware of that gives out ear plugs as you go in to visit the exhibit. Yes, the textile machinery was loud and fascinating. Key hint to the visit—parking in Lowell (and Boston…) is tricky, we were told, and I am passing on to you that you can park for free behind the visitor’s center (see map) and have your parking validated.

To obtain a real sense of American history, a trip to Boston is a must. Having lived in the Boston area for several years and abiding by the philosophy to always be a tourist in your home town, we have seen many of the attractions in Boston and surrounding areas. We have walked the Freedom Trail more than once, taken the duck tour and have been to Fenway Park and other local sporting venues. We recommend all of these.

We were planning a bike ride downtown, but unfortunately it was raining on the day we had planned to ride so we traveled home, stopping at Cooperstown on the way. The Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF) was our last path on the way back home.

  • We were able to spend four hours (not enough time) to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. My first idea was to see the Basketball, Baseball, Football and Rock & Roll Halls, but we settled on one for several hours. We had a great time and do not regret the choice.
  • Mid-September is the start of the off-season for visits, so we had no issues parking.
  • This was our first time at the Baseball HOF in almost 20 years. We were impressed with the use of video and interaction with the staff and the visitors.
  • We relived several exciting moments of baseball history and will plan to come back sooner than 20 years.

A few lessons learned.

  • People wanted to kidnap Kim to ensure we would move back to the area. We know that we need to visit more often—my last visit was a few years ago and Kim had not been back for over 9 years.
  • One couple we ate dinner with shared that as they visit areas with friends and family, they spend the night in their friends’ and family’s houses. Sharing a meal is not enough time to get past general “Facebook” updates, but it is a great place to start.
  • We need intentionality around visiting and catching up with friends and family. Local retired friends shared that going out is one way to keep active and to continue encouraging others.

Other highlights:

The trees are already turning colors and the colors look good. We missed all of the trees!

Trees Turning

Trees Turning on the road to Cooperstown.

We drove to Worchester (near Boston) around Lake Erie and through New York on Route 90, or as we say, the Mass Pike.

  • All new this year is the absence of toll boths on the Pike; they use the New York EZ pass, or will bill your licence plate.
  • You do receive a discount by signing up in advance in Massachuttes.
  • New York still has the EZ pass lanes as well as cash lanes.

Trip by the numbers:

  • Driving: 2,233 miles.
  • Hiking/Walking 10.2 miles.
Marlborough Bikes

Marlborough Bikes

 

San Francisco and No Cable Car Ride?

It is true; we went to San Francisco and did not ride the cable cars once. We have been several times to the city and did not feel the need to ride on them this particular trip.

  • It is one of the highlights for newcomers to the city and I have always enjoyed the ride.
  • We did see them several times and riding would have been easier than walking, like we did, up Hyde Street on the way to walk Lombard Street (a 31% grade up 269 feet from the beginning).

This was our first experience using Air B&B and we enjoyed it. Our millennial kids all asked who was the millennial as they have not used the service. Just trying to pave the way…

The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” The coolest thing Mark Twain never said according to my research. Of course it was in the 60s (15-20 C) while we were in the city. Going north to wine country and south to Silicon Valley was much warmer. We did spend most of our time in San Francisco where I wore my Michigan State University hoodie around the city and received several positive comments, even one positive comment from an Ohio State fan, with the lone exception of one U of M fan…

The point of the travel was to see our youngest son who works in Silicon Valley and we were successful. We also learned from our prior trips out here that too much Mom and Dad was bad, so we planned this year’s travel accordingly and had some great tours on our own.

  • AT&T Park to see a San Francisco Giant’s baseball game: one stadium visited since retirement
  • Muir Woods tour
  • Bike ride and tour of Napa Valley, completing biking in our eighth state since retirement
  • Self-guided walking tour of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Park and Bridge

The views from AT&T Park were great and the game was exciting—this last place team had almost every seat sold for a three-day series with the Cubs.

 

  • We saw an incredible inside the park home run and enjoyed all of the new food options not yet served by the Reds.
  • Our favorite was the Helmet Nachos
  • Although we did not try them, Churros was an interesting new (for us) item sold in the ball park and elsewhere in San Francisco.
  • It was Metallica night at the ballpark, and we got to rock the national anthem as well as Take Me Out to the Ballgame. All of the songs that night were Metallica songs.

If you have not seen how tall a redwood tree can get, you should definitely visit Muir Woods National Monument.

  • We had a tour walking into the park from Mount Tamalpais State Park above the Muir Woods Park with a connecting hike into Muir Woods.
  • It was enjoyable to hike from the canopy of the redwood forest on down.
  • Keith, our tour guide, did well leading our group on the hike and was very knowledgeable about the area and all things San Francisco.
  • One of the highlights was the ferry boat ride back from Sausalito to the Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco.

Last year when we visited San Francisco, we said we would visit Muir Woods (check) and wine country. We signed up and enjoyed a half day bike tour of Napa Valley. Two wineries were plenty for me to handle; we kept the bikes for an afternoon ride along the Napa Valley paved bike path.

  • I really enjoyed the wine and the whole area.
  • We noticed a distinct culture that has grown up in the Napa Valley. The atmosphere was just different in a good way.
  • We met several people on the tour with us who spent the night and it sounded like a good idea, especially after one or two tastings.

In 2015, I biked over the Golden Gate Bridge from Pier 39. This year, I did not want to bike. We noticed that this year the Golden Gate Bridge opened the west side of the bridge for biking only and we walked on the east side (with best views of San Francisco) across the Golden Gate Bridge (1.7 miles one way) as a part of our walking tour.

 

We wanted a walking tour of San Francisco and we took a self-guided (or misguided!) walking tour of about 20 miles.

Our walking tour began with the Haight-Ashbury district as San Francisco is celebrating 50 years since the “summer of love” from June through August, so we made it in timeJ.

  • We also walked to Alamo Square Park to view the Painted Ladies, a wonderful row of colorful houses.
  • Walked through Golden Gate Park and saw the bison, funny for us as we have a herd of bison close to our house as well.
  • Walked to the beach near Golden Gate Park.
  • Walked through the Presidio on our way to and from the bridge and enjoyed the nature trails and homes in the park. We also took advantage at mile 19+ of the shuttle service throughout the Presidio to visit the Main Post and catch our train back to our Air B&B.

 

A few lessons learned.

  • We had a fun tour guide, Mike, on our bike tour. He said he had been retired for three days and went back to work. He lives in town and he and his wife walk to work. He only works part time and loves the job and the opportunity to stay active.
  • A good guided tour is worth the money. Our self-guided tour was fun, but we could have learned a lot more, and been a little less tired if we hired a local guide.

Other highlights:  Played disc golf in Silicon Valley and Golden Gate Park. Only problem at the Golden Gate Park—they were “closed” to house the Outside Lands music festival at the park. The group Metallica played at the Outside Lands as one of the headline groups.

Visit to Stanford University—a wonderful campus on Palo Alto. We sat and had ice cream and watched some of the new orientation students. We also visited the University of California Berkeley. It was interesting to see the college campus at Berkeley after having visited the Haight-Ashbury streets and the “summer of love” promotions.

Trip by the numbers:

States visited (number in total…) 1 California, flew direct

Activity statistics:

  • Biking miles: 22miles.
  • Hiking/Walking 40 miles.
SF Bike Tour End Pic Napa Valley

Biking in wine country–fun!

Just back from Oxford, Miami University…The one in Ohio…we drove and rode our bikes. We even spent the night in a dorm room!

Our local bike MS ride was a fun event for us this weekend. We had the opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues, share a few meals and laughs and, oh yeah, ride on a bunch of hills!

It was great weather and we appreciate your support. No injuries this year—the ride was a big success.

If you missed the opportunity to donate and would like to donate please click here for Glen’s page.

See you on the road.

MS on the ride End

Typical views along the ride.

Rest and Relaxation

We spent a few days away from all of the travel excitement and spent a day around our cabin in Bryant, Alabama. We had great views from Grant Summit Cabins overlooking the Tennessee River valley. It was very relaxing and we needed to slow down!

We played games, read books and mostly enjoyed the view from the cabin. The hot tub was a nice relaxing option in the evening. We also cooked and just stayed put.

We did have to drive down to Nickajack as we could see this dam from our cabin. The dam is 81 feet high and stretches 3,767 feet across the Tennessee River. It was a defining feature of the landscape. We drove in on the southern side and enjoyed our close-up views of the dam.

Our other fun drive was to stand in three states at the same time! We heard that a marker was nearby and it was possible. We had fun finding the spot and standing in three states.

I met up with a college friend from the University of Houston. We took several accounting classes together and went to several football and basketball games. Mike retired at the end of 2015.

He talked about

glen-and-mike-w.jpg

I learned a lot from Mike!

  • slowing down and the difference it has made
  • being an extra on a few TV shows and loving it; no, he is not taking up acting
  • keeping busy and going out to lunch with his wife and enjoying visiting downtown Franklin
  • learning to relax when his wife takes a while in the store–I could learn a lot from Mike!

Other highlights:

We visited the home of the Dave Ramsey radio show and had our picture taken with the host. It was a fun experience, especially as I have taught the Financial Peace University class several times. If you have not taken the class, you should take the opportunity to check it out.

We played disc golf in Brentwood, Tennessee, at Crockett Park and had a good time. The course was open and fun to play. It was fortunate for us to meet up with a local who showed us most of the course. We also discovered a bike path that ran through the area and we are looking forward to riding that in the future. Our bike journey was cut off as it was raining when we could go for a ride.

 

Bike parking only Downtown Columbia

Bike parking –no bike ride on this part of the journey.

Water and Water Falls

North Carolina

After our travels to the Biltmore, we needed to get some fresh air. We hiked, or walked, up the stairs to the top, and them some more at Chimney Rock. We walked the 500 steps up to the top. We also took the additional 330 steps from Chimney Rock to Exclamation Point, the highest point in the park. Of course we had to hike to see the Hickory Nut Falls as well, since it is in the same park.

Since we biked through the Biltmore Estate, Kim thought it would be fun to kayak the French Broad River. It was a great time kayaking for over 2 hours on a bright sunny day. We saw the Biltmore (hard to miss that house!) and the path we had biked on the day before. It was a great day for a float, and I believe the tops of our feet are still sunburnt.

Finishing our travels in North Carolina and on advice from a former coworker, we made plans the next day to hike in DuPont National Forest to see three separate waterfalls better than the one we saw at Chimney Rock, which was pretty cool at over 400 feet up! The Forest trails were well-marked. Several mountain bikers rode nearby. This is a little known gem with over 80 miles of hiking available. We could have hiked another mile to see another falls as well. This is a park to check out. Of course we laughed at the way they prevent climbing on the rocks—check out the sign on the yellow post.

Next stop South Carolina.

Our first stop in South Carolina was the fun city of Greenville. We enjoyed riding Greenville’s Swamp Rabbit River trail. We would have ridden longer if it had been cooler. The temperature for the ride was over 95 degrees. We did meet a local store owner in downtown Greenville at the Pedal Chic bike store. The staff was helpful and we found a great parking spot and starting location for our ride.

We also rode on the Ft. Jackson Army base. It was interesting riding on a road that encircles live firing. The range was in full use as we went around it. The roads and hills were good and the path well marked.

It was also hot when we rode, so we did only one loop. Ft Jax Bike Enter restricted areaThe sign says share the road and the brown side says restricted access—this is how you get to the firing ranges. Follow the rules!

We visited the University of South Carolina as well as Clemson University. Yes, I got to play a few rounds of disc golf in South Carolina as well. I am glad my son knew the course layout in Columbia near his house.

Grand Central Flying Discs

The course near Clemson in Central called Grand Central Station; it was well marked and fun to play.

Georgia

As a child my family often drove from Michigan to Florida on I-75 to visit grandparents. We always saw signs on the road for “See Rock City” and Ruby Falls. We made a stop at Lookout Mountain and visited Rock City in Georgia. The tour was good and cool walking through the rocks. Quite an enjoyable place to visit and worth the stop. We are not sure we saw all seven states from lover’s leap although we sure tried. We did visit all of them except for Virginia.

Tennessee.

Ruby Falls in Tennessee is on Lookout Mountain near Rock City. Two fun attractions near each other. We did not make the time to see the military park on Lookout Mountain and it would make a good stop for our next time through. The cave tour was fun and the falls were grand. We also enjoyed the cool cave and were surprised to see that we were about the only ones that dressed for the travels.

A few lessons learned.

While visiting Rock City we met a lady who lived her whole life near Rock City. She was working in the fudge shop (yes, it was good!). She enjoyed Rock City as a child, with her children and her grandchildren. She loves Rock City and encourages all to come. She has been a retired nurse for several years and enjoys hearing other people’s stories, especially first time visitors. She was sharp and loved to share her story with others. I learned that if you have a special place, it is fun in retirement to work (part time) at that special place.

The military retirement must be good, and it should be for those who serve. We ran into several military retirees who live in and around Ft. Jackson. We thank all who serve or who have served for their service.

Too many touristy adventures can be too much. We needed a few days’ rest. Next stop, Alabama.

Other highlights: Walking around downtown Columbia and a big rainstorm! We enjoyed dinner and were happy to be inside. Downtown Columbia, SC, was a happening place.

Trip by the numbers:

States visited: North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

Activity statistics:

  • Biking miles: 33 miles, 2 rides, longest 21 miles.
  • Hiking/Walking 14.7 miles, 7 separate walks, longest 4.1 miles in DuPont.
  • Kayak, 7 miles on the French Broad River.
Ft Jax tank and bike

At least this one was not firing as we rode by!

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