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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Best of the Bonsai

Last Saturday was my first bonsai show since rejoining the club.  No, I didn't have anything to enter this year... but I'll have something at least for the novice class by next July!  Instead, Himself and I worked the show... which basically meant making sure no one was touching the trees and answering what questions we could.

There was a nice display for a club only show.

The tree on the right is a 300-ish year old black pine.

Nice set up.

Isn't this root-over-rock cool?

Love that twisty trunk on this pine.

Beautiful cascade.  That's what I am aiming for with one of my trees.

This one is a burning bush!  What a cool specimen.

Close up of one of the accent plants (kusamono).

This specimen was a 'love it or hate it'.  It is a crepe myrtle.

I love it and am now giving 'the eye' to a myrtle in my yard that isn't doing much...

Planted in a rock!  Wow.

The rock next to it is an accent piece called Seiseki.  I tease Himself that is Japanese for "cool rock".

Looks like a turtle...

...but it is really a trilobite fossil!

Great composition!

A viewing stone.  It is supposed to bring to mind an island in the ocean.

"Cool Stone"

Since this WAS a show, of course there are winners...

Best exhibit.

Best deciduous. (Bald cypress)

Best evergreen.

Best in Show and Viewers Choice award.  (Trident Maple)

Look at that wonderful root area!

Ever wonder how those larger trees are toted around?  With a little red wagon!

During the show, John worked on a Rocky Mountain juniper.

Here's the process from start to finish (for now finish).

Big difference, eh?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Tale of a Tail...

Well... she finally managed her revenge...

Eliza Doolittle, our Garman GPS (so named because we have the English accent turned on AND for reason you'll soon understand) has gotten her 'evens' for all the times she has had to "recalculate".

I had a route programmed in after we left the Blue Ridge Parkway that would take us down the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway for a bit, then turn off to head over to Tellico Plains, TN so we could enjoy a BIT of curvy mountain roads.

And as you saw from Sunday and Monday's photos, the drive was beautiful.

But then we started seeing signs like this...

...and this...

I was really getting confused because I didn't remember the curvy roads I planned for being THIS curvy.

And then I saw it...

We were on The Dragon!!

And the only way out was to go right on down "The Tail of the Dragon".  

That stupid GPS reprogrammed itself.  Really!  When I checked the route, it was a new one over the one I had put in.

Oh. My. Goodness.

The Dragon...

Yes, it is that bad!

Which is why it is THE hot spot drive for motorcycle and sports car nuts.  In those 11 miles there are no intersecting roads or driveways.  We're talking Bucket List sort of drive folks.  And it wasn't on MY bucket list...

The Dragon gets someone every single weekend... sometimes the 'bite' is little and sometimes the bite is fatal.

Yes, it's that bad.

Don't believe me?  Here's a few photos from other sources.

Curves and hills and lumps and wiggles.  However, the tarmac is as close to perfect as I've seen on a roadway.

This is a 'curve'.

Car clubs come every weekend for an outing.  One guy said he'd seen 44 Ferrari in one day.

Plus every sort of motorcycle known to mankind... too many driven by questionable riders...


(Killboy dot com is a photo company that sets up on the pull outs and shots photos that you can purchase from their web site.  Unfortunately we went along about 20 minutes after they quit or I would have had a photo of us.  They also are often the ones who call 911 and are the first responders to the accidents.  It takes 40 minutes to an hour for medical response to get to the accidents.)

The dude only broke his arm.

Serious question here.  WHY do motorcyclists ride the center line??  There is absolutely no margin for error... as the above shows.

This one broke a few more things, but survived.

Now here is the unbelievable part.  This road was open to semi trucks until Jan 2016.  That is insane!

So I guess I can write in on my Bucket List "drive The Dragon", and check it off at the same time.  Then I'll head over to the "Tail of the Dragon" web site and order my T shirt!

Been there...done that!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Fontana Dam on the Little Tennessee River

As I said yesterday, I knew that cold, cold water had to be coming from a dam.  The trout fisherman we spoke to told us how to get over there.

Fontana Dam
(Since there were excellent information boards, I'm going to let them do the explaining.)

I didn't realize that the TVA system went so far into Kentucky and Mississippi.

You could almost feel the static from the electricity.

Fontana Dam has a very different kind of spillway.  See those two tunnels...

Wow!!  I would love to be there when the spillway is opened!!

Below is a video of the gates being opened.  Watch for about 1:30 minutes, then jump up to 3:30 minutes.  Amazing!