Friday, January 18, 2013


It has been raining hard four straight days and nights in a row and turned to snow yesterday at noon and kept that up until around 9PM.  About four inches of wet snow  was laying on the ground when it stopped.  Then the temperatures dropped to twenty two degrees and that was the setting I walked out the door and into this morning at 5AM.  I needed to get up to Beech Creek so, off I went.  Thank goodness that new truck is four wheel drive or I wouldn't have left this place.  The 68 mile drive up to the river was dicey prior daylight.  The drive, for the most part, is along forests and meadows with dairy and beef farms bordering both sides of the road.  Fog covered the roads at that early hour and I was fortunate to see the two cows standing alongside the country road that leads to the boat ramp at Beech Creek.  Tunnel Road, the access road, was almost impassable.  A two wheel drive vehicle would not be able to negotiate that mess.  All the rain that fell froze solid on the road surface and then the snow covered it with four inches or more of white.  I stepped out of the truck to get a picture and couldn't even stand up without leaning against the truck door.  
Above:  Tunnel Road that leads to the Beech Creek boat ramp and bridge.  The dark areas of road are a half inch of ice.  Below:  Fog was dense during the dark hours but, vision improved with the light of day.
Even with four wheel drive I had to drive on the side of the road to get purchase with the tires.  I should have turned around and gone home right here.  But, you know me.
I crept down the steep hill that leads to the motor bridge and the tiny boat ramps and parking lots that sit at both ends of the bridge.  Beech Creek turned into a flooded river.  That tiny creek was carrying an awful lot of water.
Above:  That's the old railroad bridge I always paddle the canoe or drive the Gheenoe under.  I would guess the water is about ten or twelve feet higher than normal right now.  If you'll remember - Beech Creek is only half the width of the water way you see above and below.  It's definitely at flood stage.
Above:  A view up stream of Beech Creek and below is the motor bridge over Beech Creek.  That water is 12' above normal easy.  That sign in the photo below is the TWRA Regulations sign that sits right beside the boat ramp.

 The shot above is of the parking lot for the boat ramp across the bridge. (on the other side of the tree) Yep - its under water.
The shot above is the ramp on the entrance to the bridge on the river side.  And the water you see to the right (appears to be a puddle) is the parking lot.  The boat ramp is to the left of the sign pole (black post) to the left side of the picture.
The only spot to fit a vehicle was where I parked my truck.
I stayed long enough to take a few pictures to prove I was here and promptly left.  There won't be anyone using these access boat ramps for awhile.

I slowly worked my way back over the country roads and onto 11E.  11E runs all the way to the Interstate 81 entrance ramp at the Morristown exit.  I rolled onto the entrance ramp and rounded the corner before hitting the interstate and came to a cautious, although rapid, halt.  A trailer truck was sitting cross ways on the ramp blocking ingress to the interstate.  He must have done his little trick just before I got there as there was not a police presence at the scene.  I turned around and exited the way I came which was back down the entrance ramp.  Whew!  I would have to take the long way home I guess.  None of this is a big deal for a Pennsylvania driver but,  the weather caused East Tennessee to shut down.  Folks simply are not equipped to handle this kind of weather.  I thought the morning was fun.  The four wheel drive works wonderfully on the truck and so did the heater.  What more could a guy ask for?