Friday, February 11, 2011


click on photos to enlarge
Ahhh;  four days off in a row.  Can't beat it!  I had to go back into the store this morning to take care of some customer concerns that couldn't be handled last night.  A young, newly wed couple bought a Harley Davidson Motorcycle from me and needed to have some purchase issues addressed.  They are both really super, young folks and it's a privilege to work with them to make an important dream reality for them.  I didn't get to the woods until three PM this afternoon.
This Winter has been a very cold one for these parts and has affected my ability to be on the water.  There comes a time when one must act responsibly and use prudence when extreme cold, frigid water, camping and a canoe are all part of the outdoor adventuring equasion.  Winter can be fun in a canoe but, I'm all alone out there and anything can happen even when the trip is well planned.  Besides the common sense aspect of outdoor adventuring in the Winter;  it's just plain too cold to have fun camping out of a canoe.  Two or three days of cold is not a problem but, it's been month after cold month.  I'm over Winter.
The dogs haven't been out in seven days.  Oh;  they have a huge yard but it's not the same.  It was too late in the afternoon to dig out the canoe and the motorcycle is tucked away snug in the shed.  I will get Douglas, Shade and happy and head down to the forest at Tellico Lake.  The temperature was around 40 degrees which I find perfect for walking and, the sun was bright.  I left the big camera home as I didn't expect to see wildlife this day.  I carried the Canon Elph.  I love that little camera.
I love the light in the late afternoon.  It's soft light and it's qualities don't last long.  I'm not on any photographic mission today;  just out for a walk with my dog friends.  I usually can find something worthy of photographing, however.

The dogs, as usual, are having the time of their lives.  An outing to them is like a trip to the Riviera for a human.  Inactivity for a dog, especially a hunting breed, is torture.  Both Douglas (golden retriever) and Shade (black lab) are powerful, big dogs and need to have room to run and seek.  I do my best to provide time for them to do so.

Often times, as I walk on a trail, Douglas and Shade lope through the woods beside, and thirty yards away from me.  They run almost side by side, Douglas usually two or three feet in front of Shade.  My creative mind sometimes pretends they are wolves running for the simple joy of running.  They do look striking when they run together.  They are a large part of why I spend so much time in the forests and on the lakes.  But, I do have a creative mind and it is enjoyable for me to envision myself with them three hundred years ago roaming the land.  I think I was born too late.
This Winter is really hanging on.  I've become bored over the past couple months.  I'm not much of a detailed planner so I don't sit and prepare canoe or motorcycle trips.  I react sporadically to my desires to be in the forests or on the water.  I think that is because I am surrounded by forests and lakes.  Planning isn't really necessary.  When I lived in Pennsylvania, everything required a plan that related to an outdoor experience.  There was always a long drive involved to get to a lake or to a forest that "appeared" isolated from people.  Here in Tennessee I can be in a wilderness areas in fifteen minutes.  My favorite lake, Calderwood Lake, is only a half hour drive away.  I fear I've become spoiled.
To the left is a really big fresh water clam shell.  Unusual!    I have addressed the boredom problem by making certain all the equipment necessary for the adventure season is in top notch shape.  Three days ago I dragged the Mistral canoe into the habitat room to inspect and prepare it for the long camping trips it will see this Summer.  That canoe has white ash trim all over it and I hand rubbed four coats of tung oil into the wood to protect it from the elements.   A new buoyancy bag was added to the bow end of her as the original was defective from day one.  Many canoe's, mine included, have plastic bladders covered with tough nylon that are inflatable.  These bags are fitted into each end of the boat as a precaution for upsetting.  A 17 1/2 foot canoe is a fairly large vessel to handle when it's full of water and the buoyancy bags will insure that it stays on the surface well away from Davy Jone's locker.  The air bags are yellow and can be seen in the bottom photo.
To the right are deer footprints on the bottom of the lake.  The deer, it seem, actually travel along the coast line staying in the water.  I back tracked these prints for about a hundred yards and they never touched dry land.  I wonder if the deer are actually using this technique, staying in the water, to maintain safety.  Probably not.  Animals don't work through thought processes.  They move instinctively and react to the situation at hand.  But still;  they stayed in the water.  The tracks come out of the water where the brush is thick.  They are creative creatures.  There is also an enduro motorcycle parked in the shed that is capable of running on dirt or gravel roads forever.  It is also an excellent highway motorcycle.  I have plans to escape on it to some fairly unique places this Summer..  It is well tuned and ready to go.  All I need is the time.  Time is another issue that I'm getting excited about.  Below is a fire pit.  Someone has camped here on the lakes bottom where the water has receded due to water draw down by the dam.  I still don't like to see fire pits.
This little walk today is only about a mile and a half.  Recently I've developed a sciatic nerve problem that is causing me some discomfort.  I know what is causing the pain and it has never been a problem until just a couple weeks ago.  I am glad to report that it is only a problem when I stand after sitting in a chair.  Even then the pain lasts only about ten seconds in my right leg and instantly disappears after that time frame.  I can lift a canoe over my head and so far, walk as long as I desire.  I did notice some discomfort this afternoon, however in my right leg on this little outing.  It figures.  Just when a fella gets close to retirement;  everything falls apart.  I'll deal with it.  The Gheenoe is below:
 I had some time immediately after work today to remove the tarp from the Gheenoe and give her a good washing.  The batteries are charged and she's ready to launch.  I did notice the tires on the trailer are getting bald so that will be a bit of maintenance I'll have to handle shortly.  So, the adventure equipment is all in working order.  All I need is time;  and that is going to be available this Summer.
 OK;  I like vines.
So, I laid back in the leaves and tipped my hat over my eyes and started to think about retirement.  It's only 40 degrees but it seems like a heat wave compared to the past month or two.  But, you heard right.  I will be retiring in March sometime.  I'll still work at the Harley dealership (Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson) on a part time basis as long as they will allow me to.  I really like that dealership and I feel I've contributed a lot to it's success.  It's difficult to leave a place that you've given a piece of yourself to.   Leaving my position there is not something I'm really joyful about.  It has been and still is a great experience.  But, nothing lasts forever and there comes a time when a person should look to his or her own progression in life.  I know I'm on the downhill slide of this life and I, like everyone else, want to have more time to just live.  Just live!  That's why I've made the decision to simply spend more time with---well, myself for myself.  I really want to keep my fingers in the business though.  I love motorcycles and I've never known a better dealership than Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson.  Never.  It's a great place to work in!  But, the wilderness is also a great place and I've only touched the outer fringe of it here in Tennessee.  There is so much to see and do out there.
 The bottom line is I will have more time to write, investigate, camp and photograph the wildlife that surrounds all of us,  I hope you stay in touch with this blog.  I promise you a better year this year than any of the previous ones since I started this blog.   Stay tuned in please.  I appreciate your visits to my writing place.   Until next time;  please be kind to a dog.  They are all innocent and pure.  Every one of them.
Shade's print: