A Very Quick Update

I still have not managed to overcome the image upload issue I have been having. I cleaned up my server (deleted lots of what I hope were unnecessary files), upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, and installed a new theme.

Still, I have issues. Next I will be uninstalling all of the plugins (extra functionality) I have added.

Things may start to look and work much differently.  Just thought I’d give y’all a heads-up.

“I’ll be back.”

I Fixed It, I Think

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to make some changes to overcome an issue I’d been having uploading images.

The fix required me to change some file permissions on my host server. When I did that, I did something wrong and broke my blog. Then things got pretty busy and I simply did not have the time or mental energy to figure out a computer problem.

Today, on a whim, I tried something else.

And it worked! At least I think it did.

My blog can be properly viewed once more. Sadly, I still can’t upload images the way I should be able to.

I will fix that issue next.

Dendermonde, Belgium
Dendermonde, Belgium




Staying Put

Mike and I are home after a lovely week in Belgium. We went to visit Annelies and Yves, who moved into their newly renovated house after a three-year renovation. It’s not completely finished — they are doing most of the work themselves — but it is fabulous.

I didn’t take a bunch of pics of their house to share because there are still a lot of finishing touches needed. I’ll do that on our next visit.

For now, just a few pics. I hope to share more in future posts.

Final Dinner in Belgium
Final Dinner in Belgium (Chinese takeaway!)

The trip was all about visiting with our friends and seeing the new house, so we didn’t do much touristy stuff. And it was actually a really fun visit. We explored the local area a bit, helped do little things around the house, got to meet some of their family, which was awesome, and basically just hung out.

On Saturday morning, I accompanied Annelies to the nearby town of Lokeren, where she had a two-hour band practice followed by a one-hour private music lesson (she plays bass guitar and sings). The music school is on the outskirts of town near a nature preserve called The Molsbroak (Het Moelsbroek on the map), so I roamed around there for a couple of hours and then drove around a bit until she was finished.


I was really surprised to discover a large community of expats from Canada living there.

Canadian Expats

I saw several Great Blue Herons, too.

Great Blue Heron

There were other birds, too, but I have to figure out what they were before I can share more pics.

And here’s a picture captured near the center of their town, Dendermonde, on Friday afternoon.

Dendermonde, Belgium

I’ll share more pics from the trip in future posts. For now, it’s time to get to work.

Fall Picnic at Camp Roosevelt

Hubby Mike and I went for a ride today. For me, it was the first ride in months! It’s been a weird year. I’ve been so busy doing other stuff, I haven’t been able to get out on two wheels much at all. So I REALLY enjoyed it. I even used The Spotwalla tracker just to make sure it still works. Maybe even so I can look back and remember that it even happened.

Rest Break

The leaves are starting to change, mostly at higher elevations, but the last several days have been quite warm. Right now it’s about 86 F (30 C). We leave for vacation on Thursday. We’re heading to Belgium to visit our friends, Annelies and Yves, who JUST moved into a house they’ve been renovating for a couple/few years. It’s supposedly been unseasonably cool there, so I hope that trend continues.

I mapped out a route for us before leaving. A simple loop that would take us to a nice picnic spot. The place I chose was Camp Roosevelt. It’s along one of our favorite putt-putt roads through a piece of the George Washington National Forest near Luray, Virginia. We’d passed the place numerour times, but had never stopped. I had no idea there was a picnic area or that it was the location of the very first Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) site in the nation.

Here are a few images captured during our picnic stop.




Aren’t we fancy? Plates, drink goblets, a little cutting board… there’s also a cheese knife, cutlery, a blanket, salt & pepper shakers, and even cloth napkins.


After we’d eaten, I snagged a few pics of some Fall color to share. The colors are most noticeable at higher elevations and in cooler spots, like creek-side riding through Fort Valley, one of my favorite local geographic oddities.










All in all, it was a lovely day.

What Happened to June?

Holy cow, where’d June go?

Seriously. I haven’t posted for an entire month. I knew it had been a little while, but a month!?! So much for trying to stay on track!

For the first three weeks of June, work was crazy-busy. This past week has allowed me to do a bit of catch-up at the office. I have thoroughly enjoyed logging off at a decent hour. Last night was the “latest” night of the week, I didn’t log off until 6:00 p.m. Now, I can do a little personal catch-up.

I haven’t been riding much. We had a bit of a heat wave for most of June, too. But that’s okay. I’ve been doing other stuff. And I have some exciting times on the horizon. Having fun stuff in the near future to look forward to is great medicine for me. Especially when that fun stuff enjoys fun with friends, a beautiful beach, a boat, and back-to-back long weekends. A bit further off is a very happy life event for one of our kids, more travel, multiple beaches, great food, and more new stuff to see. And, at the tail-end of the current plan, is a trip to Europe for which I FINALLY bought tickets (airfare had been insanely high for months).

I’m headed to North Carolina this afternoon. Hubby is staying home with the bitches. The next week or so is sort of a blank slate. Or, more accurately, a multiple choice list of options, most of which involve fun and relaxation. MAYBE I’ll even have time to craft a blog post or two.



It’s Only Natural

It was supposed to be raining when I woke up in Maggie Valley. When I’d decided to hunker down for the day, to sit-out the storm, I had visions of sleeping late, enjoying a long leisurely meal or two, and just, you know, hanging out.

So why is it that my first thought upon seeing dry pavement was, “I can ride today after all.” Maybe it’s a sickness.

Since I was close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), and I had yet to make it to Clingman’s Dome — highest point in GSMNP — I figured that would be a good destination. Once it did start raining, I told myself, I’d be close to shelter.

It didn’t take long at all — 20 minutes? — for me to reach the park entrance, which is near the southern terminus of the BRP. Unfortunately, when I did, I was greeted by a sign proclaiming US-441 to be closed. The Oconaluftee Visitors Center is just inside the park entrance, so I went in to find out exactly where the closure began, hoping I could reach the summit. But it was not to be.

“Actually,” one of the rangers manning the desk told me, “the Tennessee side of the park is currently being evacuated.” What?!?

The weather on the Tennessee side of the park was much worse. There were reports of trees down all over the place, falling on people and cars.

So I headed back toward Maggie Valley. I couldn’t resist stopping for some pics along the way, figuring I might as well make the most of my outing while the weather held. Here are some snapshots I judged to be worthy of sharing. Many are grainy because it was so overcast.


It was interesting to see the difference in the foliage at lower and higher elevations. I hadn’t expected to see so many bare trees. You’ll see the change as I move from lower points near the end of the Parkway, up and into the mountains.





Mountain Laurel
Mountain Laurel


Mountain Laurel
Mountain Laurel


Natural Heart
Natural Hearts


Still pretty green, right?


Looking a bit browner.






Teeny Tiny Little Blossoms


Green at lower elevations.


The hilltops were still mostly brown.


Odd name for a tunnel.


You can see the sky getting grayer.


Pretty little yellow flowers.


Moss and lichen-covered trees.


Moss and lichen-covered trees.


Not much green at all.


Tiny purple flower.





If nothing else, I got to see some pretty cool clouds moving in. It was getting colder, too.

Menacing Clouds


Menacing Clouds


It sure looked like I was about to get rained on.


Cool Clouds


Hints of Pink


Roadside Cascade


Same cascade.

Temps were in the upper 40s by the time I decided to head back to my motel. So that was my morning.

Final note… this post has been in the works for a week. I caught a stupid head cold/upper respiratory think that’s had me coughing/hacking/gagging and blowing my nose for a week. As an extra bonus, each day ended with a pounding headache, too. Last night’s was so bad, I thought maybe I was dying. Needless to say, we didn’t do any riding over the long, holiday weekend. Maybe this coming weekend I’ll feel better.