Burgess Falls State Park

On the advice of a complete stranger, I visited Burgess Falls. The first sign I saw said something about it being a strenuous 3/4 mile hike and appropriate shoes were required. I figured that I’d go as far as possible in my dress and sandals, and that I would turn around when it became too strenuous.

I made it the entire way.

And then the sun created this:

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Trip 2: Cummins Falls State Park

Until about a year ago, Cummins Falls was on private property.  I found the web site online and decided to visit.  I was hoping to present on Nashville State’s campus, so I was wearing a dress and sandals, but the presentation could not be scheduled. Nevertheless, I wanted to see the waterfall.  There were two routes:

I decided to go to the downstream trail, but that was silly because it was actually quite a strenuous route.

So, at the next fork in the trail, I went to the overlook. Here’s what I saw:

It sounded wonderful, but I could not really see it from the “overlook.” At that location, I did meet a man with a Rottweiler puppy that loved me. The man said that I should check out a few other falls:  Burgess Falls and Falls Creek.

Trip 2: Visiting a Foreign Land

The motel had visitors who spoke many languages. That has never bothered me. I don’t yet know Spanish, but people may speak without me becoming paranoid.  There were people from India and the Middle East, and I had no desire to eavesdrop on their conversations.

There were two dining tables at the motel, and so people share. It is polite to at least acknowledge those you sit next to.  This morning, an older woman was seated at the middle of the table, and someone’s things were across from her. I asked if I might sit at the end. She looked at me with surprise and confusion. I said again, “May I sit here?” I could not understand the words of her reply, but she nodded yes. I put down my things and went to get breakfast.

At the counter, an older man was helping a young man with the waffle maker. The man had a southern accent that wasn’t like any I had heard, but he spoke clearly, and I could understand what he was saying. When I turned to put my coffee on the table, I saw that the woman had moved down. I figured she was from another country and found my behavior too aggressive. Lord, I might try to speak with her again.

After I sat down with my scrumptious (sarcasm) breakfast, the man sat opposite the woman. I thought it cute that he had a bride who knew little English. They spoke now and then, but there was no in-depth conversation (you know how older couples get). I wasn’t really paying attention, but then it struck me that he was speaking to her in English, so what was she speaking?

It took great effort for me to finally figure out that she was speaking English, but she had a very different accent. I was immediately taken back to the time when I stopped at a beer tent in Northern Bavaria.  When the music stopped and people started talking, I was lost. There were brief glimpses of German, but otherwise, unrecognizable. I gave up trying to figure out what she was saying. It would take more time than I had. Interesting, though.

Trip 2: From Nashville to Knoxville

As I write this, I am sitting at a rest area off I40 about 122 miles west of Knoxville. It would be nearly ideal here except for the diesel trucks that are running. This is an interesting pit stop because both east- and west-bound travelers go to one rest area on the north. The cicada are loud, and I see that many people travel with their dogs. (Just as an aside, I see his dog and her dog, and I wonder how many couples use their dogs to avoid their spouses.)

Highlights thus far include:

  • Mystery Starbucks in an obnoxious mall in Mt. Juliet. I couldn’t find it. Apparently it was inside somewhere, but this was a long mall. (“Your destination will be on the left”–Where?) I am used to Starbucks being tucked into malls, but there was no external signage. If McDonald’s can have signage above the treetops, Starbucks should have the logo outside, at least.
  • Dumbest driver yet. This young person (female, I believe) passes me on the left. (So far, so good.) The car in front of her moves to the right lane to pass a small truck towing a small black car on a dolly.  The small truck is passing a cement truck. The first car passes on the right and cuts back in. Too late for the 2nd car. She slams on the breaks (road rage, I imagine), and then she tries to cut behind the truck as soon as his rear bumper goes by her. It was close, but she jerked back just in time to avoid hitting the car he was pulling. I do not understand how she could be so unaware since she just was behind the guy.

Added later:  I took some detours and visited two waterfalls.  I then drove through Sparta, TN on my way to Knoxville. I will post information about the two waterfalls separately.

From PDX to ATL

At the Portland airport, I spent a long time in CC McKenzie, but I didn’t buy any clothes. There was a silk top that I loved, but they didn’t have it in my size. Several clearance items caught my attention, but they were more attractive on the rack. Shoes were on sale, but fortunately, the colors were not what I was wanting. There were adorable sandals in silver that I nearly bought, but they were rather expensive.

Since they changed my flight at the Eugene airport, I was assigned an aisle seat for the 4+ hour trip (so much for my vigilance to check repeatedly for my window seat assignment). I looked at the seating chart, and there were several middle seats available, so I knew the flight wasn’t full. Next to me was a large couple with a 7-week old baby. On the other side of me was a woman with a slightly older baby in a baby seat.

I should mention that there are 2 small dogs in carriers on this flight. On the packed flight from EUG to PDX, a tall, lanky young man had a large service dog. The dog was crammed in on top of his owner’s feet. They tried to fit a large crew member next to the man, and it was painful to watch. I am not sure where they moved the crew member, but they did. I know it’s a short flight but a big dog should not be squished in under the seat.

On my current flight, my row must have looked quite uncomfortable because the attendant asked me if I wanted to move. The baby to the right was crying, and the man to my far left needed at least 1.5 seats. I didn’t want to seem rude (like I hated babies), so I told the woman to my left that I would move to give them more room. She was quite happy. They wanted to put me in an aisle seat, but the two back rows were completely empty. Yup! I had a window seat with no one next to me.

According to the attendant, pets in carriers must remain there throughout the flight. Service dogs, on the other hand, may be on leashes based on those I have seen. The little dog in the row in front of me continues to whine, and the dog’s owner ignores it. (I’m reading Temple Grandin’s book Animal Make Us Human, and I wonder what she’d say about this.)

Because it’s the first of the month, Alaska Airline’s menu changed. They heated pulled pork sandwiches, and the aroma made my stomach growl. Being in the last row, I figured they would run out of semi-decent food, which nearly always happens when I want to purchase something. She told me they still had sandwiches, and she grabbed mine right from the oven. Yum! Maybe the best airline food I’ve ever eaten (or maybe I was hungry).

Feet up. Little chatter, babies crying, or whining dogs. Lots of reading and relaxing. It was hazy outside. I could barely see the Rockies, and what I did see lacked snow. I suspect the haze could come from forest fires, but I am not up on that. When we were about 30 minutes west of Atlanta, it seemed like overcast (well, there were clouds beneath us). When we landed, it was raining. Hot, but raining.

Photos are posted on Shutterfly.

Gotta love flying

Right now, I am sitting in the Portland International Airport drinking my Starbucks and eating a banana. When I woke up 4 hours ago, Portland was not on my schedule. I am thankful that my son heeded my request to take me to the airport earlier than he wanted because my scheduled flight out of Seattle is delayed, and I would not have made my connection in Atlanta.

At PDX at 7am

As it is, I am flying in an hour later to Atlanta, but I should make my connecting flight. After the snafus last time, I tried to find an itinerary with some flexibility for late arrivals. We shall see, of course.

Traveling from Jackson, TN to Somerset, KY

I was up and on my way by 7am. The first challenge was to put fuel in my rental vehicle. I managed fairly well. Thank heavens there was no one to observe. I am used to that black plastic thing around the nozzle that sucks up to the car. Well, in reality, I am used to someone else pumping my gas because in Oregon, it is illegal to pump your own gas.  In all the states where I recall pumping gas, that black sheath had to be placed properly for the gas to be dispensed. This was just a regular nozzle. It worked.

Next, I stopped by Union University for hugs before heading off to Milan, Paris, Dover, and Clarksville.

Driving in Tennessee

My thoughts on the trip are as follows:

  • Milan, TN is definitely not as exciting as Milan, Italy, and that is probably when they pronounce it differently.
  • Paris, TN was fun, and I enjoyed it more than my last trip to Paris, France. (My next trip to France will be much better.)
  • Dover, TN was smaller than I liked, and I think there were several things there that could have interested me, but I didn’t have time for hiking and exploring.
  • Clarksville, TN was huge and a disappointment. It seemed to go on forever, and I couldn’t even find a place to park downtown to grab a cub of coffee.

When I crossed into Kentucky, I felt eerily at home. I enjoyed the drive to Somerset. The one thing that I noticed was lots of trees, rocks, and butterflies.