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» Tuesday, November 04, 2008Alternate Routes
I opened all the blinds I could this morning as we were dressing and packing in an effort to see as much of the view as we could before we had to leave, since the entire chalet is surrounded with trees changing color. We were up at eight and eating breakfast by nine; loaded the dishwasher, piled all the dirty towels and facecloths in one place in the bathroom, tossed the trash, loaded the car and seated the fids, and were off. I took an MPEG movie of the drive down (so we will never forget that winding road!) and also the main street of Gatlinburg.
We decided to go home via the route I had thought we had to use to get here: up to I-40 and then south on I-75, so we once again drove through Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, then through a route 66 to get to I-40. This turned us on to a street lined with supermarkets and ordinary stores, but then diverted into more touristy, but plain places, including two more Christmas stores, a two-story knife store with a knife museum, women's clothing, and other shops.
Just before we reached I-40, a Russell Stover discount store came up on our left. I needed to use their bathroom, but on the way out I found a box of dark-chocolate covered maple cream "Buzzard Eggs." I haven't finished last year's box that James found for me at Christmas (if I have one as a treat every two weeks that's a lot), but decided to restock. James also went in to use the bathroom as well as to check out their selection of sugar-free candies, as the Russell Stover stores have a lot more varieties than Walmart or Kroger.
Once on I-40, we weren't far from Knoxville, and each of us wanted to make a stop. In James' case, it was a small hobby shop he had found listed online. Alas, it was very small and mostly radio control things. The notable thing about it was that it also had needlework supplies. I didn't bother going in since James said it was nothing I couldn't find at Michaels. I always look for unique things, like band samplers.
I wanted to go to A.C. Moore. There is no Moore craft store in the Atlanta area, and we used to drive once or twice a year to the store in Chattanooga, once in the early fall and once before Christmas. The Chattanooga store closed some time ago. I thought we could go to the next closest store, in Columbus, GA. Well, that closed as well! The next closest store was Greenville, SC. It might be possible to go there if we were going to combine a trip to Commerce for shoes. Well...the Greenville store has closed, too, and the closest store is now Knoxville! Damned if I'm going to make a special trip to Knoxville to go to A.C. Moore!but since we were going past it already, I wanted to take the opportunity to stop there, since they do have unique items.
I just purchased small things, mostly winter themed, including a new winter flag which was on sale. Most of what I bought were these small themed wooden pieces that you attach to other items in a decorative fashion. I bought several Hallowe'en themed ones as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas. I skipped anything that I could buy at Michaels or JoAnn, so I was only in the Christmas area, the stand where the wooden embellishments were, and the few aisles of autumn/Hallowe'en things.
This was the last of our shopping stops. By this time it was a little after one and we were ready for lunch. We stopped at a Wendy's about two exits away from Moore. Ten minutes later we were on I-75 south and heading for the rest area where we could sit and have a leisurely lunch and Miss Wil could have a nice walk and the plain hamburger we bought for her.
So much for that! The rest area was closed; not just the facilities building, but the whole darn rest area. Since we knew Willow must be very thirsty by now, we exited at the next opportunity, which turned out to be a dead motel and a convenience store selling gasoline. We parked in the shade of the building and I tended Willow while James went in to use the facilities and bought us a couple of ice cream sandwiches to "pay" for the use of their area. Willow used the facilities as well, had some water, and enjoyed her hamburger; we enjoyed ours as well, even though they were rather cold by then!
James had been driving since we left the chalet, so I drove the rest of the way home from this "lunch" stop. We were still finding some lovely trees although I noticed that the moment we crossed the line from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge and then to Sevierville, the trees had muted...instead of spectacular color, they were more dark gold and russet and burgundy; perhaps it's a soil thing. So the occasional eye-popping trees were all the more noticeable, especially one row of trees that began at pale yellow, the next being gold, then orange, and the last one brilliant red-orange. Even more delightful would be the occasional bright orange or red tree peeping from between green pines. And of course since by the time we reached north Georgia it was late afternoon, the trees were enhanced with late afternoon sun.
We managed to survive Tuesday rush hour since we were going against traffic and arrived home around five. It was in the mid-70s and we almost immediately threw open all the windows and turned on the fans. As is our habit, we immediately unpacked, started the laundry, put things away, then had supper, although it will probably be days before all our new purchases will be placed where they belong. Along with the new books I bought at the Book Warehouse, my order from Hamilton Books had arrived: I had purchased a gift for James and one for his mother, as well as a really inexpensive cross-stitch book ($3!) and a book about the Pilgrims and "the myth of Thanksgiving."
So Willow has her "box" back, Schuyler has her "real TV," and we are watching What's My Line? as well as the two Hallowe'en-themed episodes of I've Got a Secret that we missed.