Friday, November 4, 2011

On the Road Again – in Tennessee and Georgia

There are still many posts to write about New York, Ohio, Paris, etc., not to mention posts about old reminiscences but the weather has been so pleasant, the leaves have such brilliant colors that I am taking a hiatus and writing about this season. (Please click on pictures to enlarge them.)

Even our house, nestled among woods and surrounded mostly by pine trees has several hardwoods with resplendent foliage this year. It seems that the trees are saturated with the autumn light. I love to wander in our forest and look up through the branches to catch flashes of sun turning the leaves cadmium, gold, sienna, crimson, scarlet, maroon against the luminous blue sky – in the front of the house

on the side

in the back

and even among the rest of the woods where there are usually only evergreens and wildflowers (not counting the weeds!)

Click on collage then click on individual pictures

After decades of working with aircraft, I usually look up at the sky when outdoors. There is nothing better to literally lift my spirits than looking through the leaves of a tall tree and seeing the sky. It is an even greater pleasure when shadows from the sun play in a tree covered with leaves of glorious shades of gold, rust or deep red – and then above it I look at the infinite sky - happiness is the word here. This is one of my favorite quotes: “There is a certain feeling of courage and hope when you look in the field of the air. You instinctively look up, not down. You look ahead, not back. You look ahead where the horizons are absolutely limitless. “ (Robert E. “Bob” Gross, Lockheed Chairman/CEO 1932-1961.)

A week ago we took to the road again. This time we drove close to Nashville, Tennessee, to visit our daughter and family and see the new little baby, our third grandson. That day both the pre-school of the 3 years old and the kindergarten of the almost 5 years old had Fall Festivals. We listened to a middle school choir, watched tattoos being placed on little arms, small pumpkins being painted and many other fun activities.

The kindergarten computers were at rest and the teacher was dressed as a mouse. Even the smallest grandson was wearing a costume.

Driving back to Georgia from Tennessee, I normally avoid Chattanooga because of the high mountain climbs followed by steep downhill runs on the Interstate Highway. We usually drive from Tennessee and then stop in the little town of Trenton, Georgia, half way to our home, then continue driving through the Chattahoochee National Forest. There is little traffic and the landscape is lovely. This last time since it was such a sunny day and still early we decided to take a road we had noticed before when we passed through the town of Villanow, Georgia. At the head of this road was a sign - “Georgia Scenic Byway.”

We were not sure where this road would lead us – but were eager to find out. We turned on the little country road and at first went by several houses and then we saw a small cemetery. Around the tombstones were at least 25 wild turkeys. I slowly brought the car to a stop and took my camera to photograph them. They had seen us and were starting to move away.

They silently walked down a hill and I could only take 4 pictures quickly.

We walked toward the small graves which appeared to be old. There were just 4 or 5 graves. One had flowers in front of it but it was hard to read.

Then I saw a new plaque next to it giving the name: “Francyne G. Turner, June 9, 1845 – May 10, 1918.” She had been a 16th child… they had large families then. For this area of Georgia, this is considered old because Walker County, where Villanow is located, was created in 1833. Before that the land belonged to the Cherokee Indian Nation.

We kept on driving and soon enough we were away from all human habitation. We did not see any traffic nor any signs for quite a while. There was what looked like a path, but with grass growing on it, it did not look like many people had walked there.

Then we saw a sign – we were in John’s Mountain Wilderness Management Area, a 24,000 acre reserve (approx. 9,713 hectares.) A board showed all the points of interest.

The road we were driving down is the one on the right hand side on the map below.

It certainly was nice and peaceful - no one around. Being a week day, maybe more visitors come on week-ends. We passed little roads on the side. Some were closed.

We kept on driving for several miles.

A small road looked inviting. We took it slowly as it was quite narrow.

After a mile or so we saw a sign showing the way to “Keown Falls.”

But in front of the parking area was another sign indicating that the deck above the falls was unstable. So we just looked at the trail and decided to come back another time, in the spring maybe.

When we go to Tennessee we can take our cats with us – for other trips we have to board them at the veterinarian. The cats were in the car, so we did not want to walk too far away.

As we were getting back to the main road we heard a loud noise. It was a large logging truck. I had my camera close and was able to snap it as it passed in front of us. My husband said that the driver waved as he went by.

The road was narrow and curvy and unless I could find a spot to stop the car I did not want to take pictures from the road afraid another fast moving logging truck would flatten our little car.

But I was able to stop several times to admire the picturesque surroundings.

There was an opening on the road and a parking area. A panel indicated that this was John’s Creek. We stopped to take a look (there were no other car anywhere.)

John’s Creek was not very large and slow moving among the rocks.

Going back on the little road we remarked on how isolated this area was ... apart from logging trucks (but we only saw 2.)

We kept driving down the road for at least another 15 miles or more (25 kms)

until we reached a large house, which was a “spiritual retreat” then some organic farms and finally several houses. Soon we were back on Interstate 75. This had been a 3 hours detour – but quite worth it! We enjoyed it so much that we decided to take other little trips to look at the bright autumn colors, very soon.


Kay L. Davies said...

Thank you for taking us on your ever-so-beautiful detour with you. Many people are in such a hurry, it is easy to find yourselves the only visitors once summer is over.
The autumn colors are glorious!

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Cloudia said...

magical journey! thanks for taking us along!

Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

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Rosaria Williams said...

Ah, you are adventurous to take such a long detour. It was all worth it! Thanks.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

This was Sooo GREAT! I loved so many things you showed us---those Wild Turkeys....That pathway that had quite a bit of grass---BEAUTIFUL! The Leaves...Oh My!
I understand why you love taking these trips---so much beauty is every where....!!!!

I DO look forward to those New York posts---and forgive me for not calling you. I am still not 100%....Just NOT feeling as good as I need to. My throat is still quite uncomfortable....So, I'm not talking a whole lot.

French Girl in Seattle said...

Merci Vagabonde. I have enjoyed taking this trip with you, your hubby and the cats ;-) I lived in Georgia for a year when I was a college student and I still remember the fall foliage. It was glorious. This reminded me I have not been back for several years and need to plan a trip soon! Take care, Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

claude said...

Bonjour Vagabonde !
Tes photos d'automne sont magnifiques. Quelle belle promenade vous avez faite !
L'automne avançant dans le temps, malheureusement les couleurs vont passer et tout va devenir gris, et il va faire froid.
Ici l'automne est doux mais je crains que le froid arrive, et je n'aime pas ça du tout, mais pas du tout.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Lovely area isn't it. You've captured it beautifully, the color of the fall leaves, the slow and windy roads, the friendly waves of strangers, and of course the inevitable log trucks. We love our mountain home surrounded in most directions by National Forests not far from where you were. Chattanooga is our closest "city".

Wanda..... said...

Loved the views of your treetops and your trip down unknown country roads. That's one of my favorite childhood memories, just going out for long drives with my parents here in Ohio and in the Smoky Mts. of Virginia and Tennessee. How nice it was for you to have the world to yourself, so to speak! John’s Creek was lovely and all the side roads and paths enticing!

DJan said...

I love that quote, it speaks to me. I always look up at the sky, which often holds birds flying by here in the Pacific Northwest. Your pictures are wonderful and filled with the colors of the season. Nice detour, filled with lots of adventure (even including the logging trucks). :-)

snowwhite said...

Oh, you took such a lovely detour! What I like the best in autumn is to see glowing autumn leaves. You show me so many photos of them! Now I’m bathed in autumn colors looking at your photos.
Say hello to your cute superman.
Best wishes,

Fennie said...

I hadn't appreciated, until I read your posts, quite how large and varied Georgia really is. Also how beautiful and cared for.

A sixteenth child must have been tough on the Mum (and I suppose there might have been more). But just think of having to feed them all through the winter - but of course there would be the wild turkeys.

We are thinking of having a Thanksgiving Party this year. Any tips?

mermaid gallery said...

Georgia looks I have some idea of what it is like....

Diane said...

What a great post. Those autumn colours are quite something. 16 children, can you imagine!!!! Diane

CrazyCris said...

Beautiful! This time of the year I really miss the Fall colours, so thank you for sharing them with us! :o)

Pat said...

What an interesting trip and a beautiful selection of photos.
We used to sing a song at Sunday School:
'I think that I shall never see,
A poem lovely as a tree.'
Certainly true of that neck of the woods.

Ann said...

thanks so much for taking me on this trip with you!! i had a lovely time. the beauty of the roads..the trees,the leaves..gorgeous!!

Pierre BOYER said...

Marvelous colors...


Kay said...

Thanks for taking us on this fabulous trip. You really got to see some gorgeous fall colors. I got to see them through your camera lens and didn't have to use any gas. How great is that?

Kenza said...

Merci Vagadonde pour ce billet flamboyant! J'aime particulièrement l'automne, c'est ma saison préférée!
Je te souhaite un très beau dimanche

Thérèse said...

Quel bel automne dans votre region! Quels jolis detours avec des indications qui nous decrivent bien l'ambiance et le lieu.
Une belle balade!

RennyBA said...

Just here to say hello and thanks for all your support :-)

Frances said...

Ahhh Vagabonde, I do share your love of looking upward to the sky, particularly when it's framed by trees! I always feel my spirits lift.

How wonderful that you all followed your instincts and took a new path home. All those photos do show so much natural, undisturbed beauty.

I loved your photos of the retreating wild turkeys. Apparently these birds are becoming way too plentiful up here in certain Staten Island neighborhoods. They are actually resting in trees on folks' lawns. I read about this on The New York Times website, and perhaps you will be able to see the article. It's very amusing to read, but not so amusing for those neighborhoods!

The trees around your own home, turkey-free, are gorgeous.


Anonymous said...

This type of wandering is the best part of travel. Discovery of places which no one else seems to know about is one of my favorite things to do. Adventures are rare these days. Thanks for sharing.

Ginnie said...

Those "little" detours between A and B are the ones you never forget, Vagabonde. It's funny that we do them all the time here in the Netherlands. I just need to make sure we do them when we're back in the States! You're showing me places all the time I've never heard of...not far from where I used to live (sigh).

Ruth said...

Having more time to take byways is why I look forward to retirement. But, you had to work for a while first to hear that great quote by the CEO of Lockheed.

Remember the TV program "Gilligan's Island" and that "three-hour tour"? :-)

This was all very beautiful. I can almost smell the clear autumn air in the woods.

And who is this John of all the John's this and that?

Unknown said...

Really great fall photos! Thanks for sharing!

Arti said...

What beautiful foliage and trees. I know we're thousands of miles apart, but some of the photos remind me of our fall here (Sept/Oct). We've our first snow a couple of days ago, so this kind of colors is all but gone for another year. Love to see and hear more of your travels in still warm Nov. weather.

kyh said...

beautiful autumn leaves! the wild turkeys are definitely a surprising sight. i never expect them to look so slim! i thought all turkeys will look more or less the same, hah!

Jeanie said...

Oh, I just love it when you take us on your travels! That color is gorgeous. I'm surprised we are still enjoying trees in their autumn splendor here, though color is spotty. It's a gift, though -- generally we are down to branches by late October.

Your holiday in Tennessee looked delightful and I simply adore how you take scenic ways and stop along the way to fully experience the journey. And by the way, your cat is absolutely beautiful!

My verification word is "motorse" which reminds me that when we motor, we see much more!

Vagabonde said...

Thanks to you all for having followed me in my detour in the wilderness area of north Georgia. This year the fall colors are so vibrant that it is hard not to take numerous photographs. I appreciate all your kind comments.

Merci à vous tous pour m'avoir suivi dans mon détour dans la région sauvage du nord de la Géorgie. Cette année, les couleurs d'automne sont si éclatantes qu'il est difficile de ne pas prendre de nombreuses photographies. J'apprécie tous vos aimables commentaires.

bayou said...

That is so wonderful and breath taking, much too much to get it in in one small moment. I shall come back and dive into this wonderful scene again and again. Georgia must be a little gem worthwhile to visit. Merci, Vagabonde.

Emm said...

Gosh, you live in a stunning country! I just love your fall photos. The contrast of the yellow, green and orange leaves with the blue sky in your fourth photo is especially lovely.

It looks like this is a magical time for children with all of the harvest and Halloween fun!

Isn't that creek just beautiful? Forests and steams are my favourite places.

✿France✿ said...

je viens te dire bonjour et je vais te dire aussi merci pour cette balade nature
J'adore les arbres et tes couleurs font du bien ce matin
ICI tout est bien gris
Je ne connais pas cette région je la trouve très belle et c'est un changement pour moi
Je te souhaite une belle journée

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