Sunday, July 15, 2012

EARLY MORNING BIKE RIDE

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE
For some unknown reason I rolled out of bed at 4:30 AM this morning.  Needless to say there wasn't much going on.  Even the dogs remained on their pillows or on the bed snoring and breathing heavy in sleep.  I went downstairs and made a pot of coffee and sat in my favorite rocker on the front porch and enjoyed more than a few cups of the strong brew.  I left the door open in case shade wanted to join me.  I can do nothing that she isn't aware of and, there she mysteriously sat next to and on the left side of the rocker.  My left hand fell softly on her head.  I wasn't motivated to start anything productive at all.  My mind was telling me not to waste time and get moving while my derriere refused to take action on any suggestions.   Chestnut hound ambled out onto the porch and sat down on the top step.  She glanced lazily at me and stared out into the dark.  The sky contained many dark clouds that were hi lighted by the slowly rising sun.  It didn't seem likely that rain would appear anytime soon.  A soft whining to my rear indicated that Happy was present and wanting to sit on my lap.  "Come on lil girl."
All my girls were here with me and it was a peaceful time.


I decided to get the bike out and take a ride North along Cherokee Lake to the town of Rutledge and follow 11W toward Knoxville.  11W runs parallel to a long lines of tall mountains in that direction and I wanted to try to find a road that would cross over them.  I noted that I had the hi way all to myself.  I followed not one vehicle all the way up the Lake Shore Drive bordering Cherokee Lake clear to Rutledge.  I turned left onto 11W and motored along about 40 mph taking in the sights.  Its amazing what one can see when driving at a moderate speed.  All of a sudden I saw a beautiful old farm house on the right side of the road.  I did a turn-around and went back.  It was located on a road that might go over the mountain.  Joppa Road.  I never heard of it.  
The old house sat alone in a field.  For some reason it has resisted the rot of time and refused to lie down in ruin.  It has struggled on through the years patiently waiting for someone to realize its historical value and apply the much needed repairs it requires to carry on.  Like many old people it simply waits to be noticed and cared for.  And, like many old people it will probably go un-noticed until it can not stand against time any longer and eventually collapse.  


As I continued on the Joppa Road I kept watch for old buildings of interest and there were a few.  There was always some sort of modern junk or old cars and trucks obstructing clear views of the structures.  I drove on past them.
The road continued up the mountain and was beautiful.  The curves were many and the scenery interesting.  
The bike has not traveled over 45 miles per hour since I left home and I still have not had to follow any vehicles.  On this road, the speedometer needle has not passed 30 miles per hour.  The bike is capable of rolling down this piece of asphalt at 50 miles per hour but, its not about speed this morning.  Its about peace of mind and just going nowhere in particular.  I sat back on the seat and gently held onto the handlebar grips and simply ambled down the road carefree and uncaring about anything.  In actuality - I was lost.
Eventually the curvy mountain road descended down the other side of the mountain and joined Route 25 E North and South.  I knew where I was.  I headed South.  There is a very pretty overlook on that route that overlooks Cherokee Lake.  Its been years since I stopped there and I would rectify that situation in about half an hour.
The overlook is dedicated to war veterans as you'll soon see.  I was about to meet a real war hero in about ten minutes after I took this picture.
An old man and his wife walked over to me and the gentleman said hello and asked if I was a veteran.  I replied that I was.  He wore a T shirt with WWII Veteran on the back of it.  He volunteered that he was a World War II veteran and had seen action throughout the entire war.  He had been in the siege of Bastogne and lost 5 close friends at the battle for France.  He came on shore on Omaha Beach at Normandy where every soul was blown out of a landing craft and killed.  All except him.  He lived to walk into Germany and see Old Glory planted firmly on top of a municipal building located in some town whose name he has long forgotten.  
By the way, "my name's David."

"Sir - my name's Gary."

"Thanks for your service Gary."

"Sir - I appreciate that and thank you for yours."

He said he and his wife stop at this overlook when they pass through this way.  He indicated that the beauty of the place is appropriate for honoring veterans and to hide the horrors of the past. 

I said, "I gotta get going.  Great to meet you sir.

"Same here, he said.  Would you believe I'm 94 years old?  I never thought I would see age 20 at one time."

"You certainly don't look a day over 70 David.  Gotta go.  I'll look you up in ten more years."

I got on the bike and he waved as I pulled away.
Cherokee Lake looks pretty from up here at this overlook.  David and his wife turned and stared down at the view.  I can only imagine the thoughts that were going on in that man's head.
How could anyone live through that entire slaughter house of a war and still maintain his sanity? A slight quiver was noted in his voice at one point.   See ya, old man!
I rolled down off the mountain and cut across Lake Shore Drive.  I wanted to stop at one of the coves where we put out the Christmas trees as habitat.
We staked out over 500 Christmas trees where that water way is now.  The channel was nothing more than a narrow twenty foot wide ditch when we installed the trees as fish habitat.
The lake is receding even now and a few trees can be seen at the surface in the next shot.  They're just sticking out of the water a little bit.
I had an urge to be home.  I just wanted to be with my girls and enjoy their company.  I was hungry too and had some hot dogs in the fridge.

There is something about the look on a dog's face when you're trying to eat a hot dog.  I sat on the porch and prepared to chomp down on and enjoy one of two hot dogs.  Then I looked to my right.
I thought I would act like I didn't see her and turned my head to the left.


How can I ignore those beautiful faces?  OK - I would eat one hot dog.  I divided my last hot dog in two and shared.  Happy took hers and laid down to slowly devour it.  Shade took her half with a lightning quick movement and it appeared she never even moved her mouth or head.  The hot dog piece just magically disappeared from my fingers and I felt or saw nothing.  Amazing girl!

I really want a canoe ride but its useless around here.  I'll work on that situation soon.  See ya.