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» Saturday, May 10, 2014Heads in the Clouds
Sorry to say didn't sleep as well as I wanted to this morning. Hotels have this aggravating habit of topping their beds today not with a spread on top of a blanket on top of the sheet, but a duvet cover with a heavy duvet in it. No light blankets at all. Very warm, and glad I brought my own pillow!
We all had breakfast in the conference room, but my breakfast was a bit heavy on starches since there was no meat but country sausage and I can't eat that. So cereal and toast with butter and oatmeal had to suffice. Sadly, the skim milk was going bad, so I ate my frosted flakes plain.
We had to leave soon after breakfast because the hobby shop in Blue Ridge closes at two on Saturday. Now, the last time we went to Blue Ridge we had to turn around at the summit of the Richard B. Russell Scenic Parkway because something was wrong on the road. It took us forever to get there. Today was better, although part of the route was obscured with fog. This is a twisty-turny switchback road and at one point driving directly into the low clouds was a bit spooky! We did stop at the summit and I took a few pictures at the overlook, but most of the view was obscured by low clouds. A pity, because now that "spring has sprung" the landscape is the most beautiful combination of what can only be described as "a million shades of green," from the mint pale of the newest of leaves to the nearly black pine green. The landscape is at the most stunning against the dark clouds of the rain that's been falling since yesterday afternoon at about five, and everything was wet and bright and shining.
Twilight managed the curves with the usual PT Cruiser nimbleness, and we rolled into Blairsville and then hung a left on 515, which goes west to Blue Ridge on four lanes. I had some things we could have listened to, but I was too tense through the switchbacks and then said the heck with it.
Anyway, took a stroll through Family Dollar next door while James was in Free Time Hobbies, and then went to rest my eyes in the car. When he got out it was after one and a bit peckish; we tried going "downtown," which is an arrangement of 19th century buildings on either side of the railroad tracks, which have been turned into little boutique shops, gift shops, and cafes. Didn't see anything tempting and couldn't find any parking spaces anyway, so went to Zaxby's on the main road before heading back. Since the switchbacks had been a bit daunting, we tried the alternate route, which was...more switchbacks. In fact, so many more switchbacks. One not only switched back, but almost touched itself in doing so. James was driving and he finally had to stop at a country store to fortify himself with a diet Pepsi.
Oh, yeah, and two ice cream sandwiches.
The rest of the ride was thankfully anticlimactic.
We stopped at the White County animal shelter before returning to the hotel. They had some cute puppies, too, four that were part dachshund and part boxer, and another litter that was supposed to be a terrier mix type. I do mean mixed: one was a black shorthair, one brown-spotted white fuzzy, and one a Leonberger type brown and black with long hair. The little black one was quite cute, but--work. I have to go into work all the time the week after, and then we'd have to dump the puppy at the vet because we couldn't take an untrained dog to Timegate. It wouldn't be fair.
But it was really cute...
Back at the hotel, we found some folks in the jacuzzi, and others talking in the conference room, so we set ourselves down and chatted too, and watched the endless NFL draft on in the background (I can't believe there's television coverage devoted to this; can't they just publish a list?). About six we all got ready for dinner, then went to Bodensee, the German restaurant just down the road. We had a biiiiiiiig group there celebrating Aaron Lawson's sixteenth birthday--he's been counting down on Facebook--at two long tables. Great dinner as always; their dishes are always outstanding. I had pork loin and James had beef stroganoff. Ironically, we had individual dinners instead of sharing the sampler because we always have leftovers. We still have leftovers. James is going to mix his with his eggs tomorrow morning.
Now it's back at the hotel. We have one group playing video games together, a big group playing Cards Against Humanity (again), some folks playing on their tablets, and others just having conversations. It's nice being with friends-that-are-family.