Saturday, June 18, 2011

CHILHOWEE LAKE ACCESS, PRETTY SCENES, BAD ROAD AND KUDZU ATTACK

Chilhowee Lake has been closed ever since the tornado struck the area last month knocking down one of five towers that carries heavy power lines from the dam's power generators across the mountains.  The tower and associated wires laid in the lake all this time.  I rode the bike down today to check if progress was made clearing the debris out of the lake.  I want to paddle Abrams Creek in the worse way and look one more time for otter.  As luck would have it;  the fallen tower and power lines were cleared from the lake and the boat ramp was open.  Hooray!  The spot where I launch my canoes was also open.  Huge trees blocked the ingress to Abrams Creek.  It required a lot of chain saw work to clear those trees.
Canoe Put-In
The mountain side is still a mess and probably will remain so.
I found out what I wanted to know and the sky looked like it was going to drop a lot of rain.  I prepared to jump on the bike when I noticed huge air bubbles on the surface of the water on Abrams Creek Channel.  There was a flag on a buoy just past the bridge.  Terrorists! 

Just kidding about the terrorists.  The flag indicates underwater divers.  I hung around to see who it was but the rain was moving in fast.  I'll bring the canoe down tomorrow morning very early if it isn't raining.


My friend Bob and I took a motorcycle ride to North East of here on Tuesday.  The ride took us to a town called Del Rio.  We selected a very out of the way road from Del Rio over the mountain to civilization.  The name of the road is Bull Mountain Road.  She was a doosey!  We drove up and down hills and around curves for about ten miles when all of a sudden the pavement turned to gravel.  That normally is fine but, the gravel was about six inches deep.  The front bike tires wanted to push through the gravel instead of roll on it.  What a mess! 
I kept my wheels right on the extreme edge of the road where the gravel tended to be not as deep.  I still had a difficult time holding the bike on course.  It was tricky business.  My machine is inclined to work well on dirt, gravel or paved roads.  Bob's Ducati, however,  is more of a strictly road bike in design.  To make things worse his machine wore street tires on both ends of the bike.  That Ducati with those tires wanted to push against the gravel instead of roll over it.  Bob had a horrible time of it.  Our only hope was that we would hit hard pavement ahead.
I know the pictures don't show the depth of the gravel but I assure you it was touch and go getting those machines over it.  The brown on the corner is where trucks have pushed that area clear of the gravel.  But look toward the left side of the picture.  That is indicative of how the gravel laid on the flat, straight parts of the road.
What a mess!
Fortunately we hit hard pavement just around that corner above.  Two miles of black top and it turned to gravel again for about a mile and back to black top for the rest of the ride.  We just had to take it slow on the gravel.  I have not seen roads covered with that depth of grave previous to this ride.  I don't know what the idea is about it.  Who cares?  We'll ride it again in a few months when its paved.
Just before we hit the gravel portion of this road, we passed an interesting sight.  Bob kept going but I just had to stop and get a couple pictures of a really neat barn----covered in kudzu.  Check this out:
It looked like a snug, pretty little barn down in that low part of the hillside.  It was pretty as a picture.  The closer I got, the more menacing it became in appearance.
It's still a pretty scene.
Kudzu is a despicable plant that chokes out and covers all other plant life, killing it.  The native grasses suffer greatly due to it's insidious onslaught.   It is tough to control let alone kill.
I believe the stuff came from Japan or some oriental country.  My information is here say and I can't state fact on the results from casual discussion.  It is beautiful in it's appearance;  a blanket of rich green spreading unbroken across meadows and even up into the bows of trees.  The downside is that it kills everything it attach├ęs itself to.  The term suffocation comes to mind.  Wonder why all the negative insects and plants in this country come from Japan. 
I thought it would be interesting to show you the pictures of a building being covered by a plant.  Humm;  maybe I could plant it in my future yard.  No more grass to MOW.
The rain came and went and came again.  I took Douglas, Shade and Happy to the old state park for a couple hours.  The sky was black and we risked getting very wet but, what the heck.  It's only water.  The dogs loved the coolness of the meadows and the wet grass.  "Shade;  what are you doing?  Oh, no!  Shade;  get out of there.  Oh Great Scott.  What a mess!"
Look closely where she is laying.  She simply jumped up in the air and plopped down on her stomach in the quagmire. 
Great Caesars Ghost!  "Shade;  get up out of there and act like the noble breed you are.  You aren't a pig.  Shade!  Oh;  what's the use.  She's having fun.  It will wash off in the lake."
That's the day and a bit more.  I hope the entry was at least a little bit interesting.  Tomorrow, weather permitting, I will paddle up Abrams Creek in search of the illusive otter.  If it's raining I'll take the Gheenoe.  See you tomorrow I hope.  Stay safe.