Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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The road leads to many barns

Poppies at one of many rest stops we visited today.


If you’ve been following us on Facebook you’ll know that Katie and I are headed South. Today we completed day 2 of our 3 day adventure. We spent last night in Indianapolis Indiana, and tonight we’re in Huntsville Alabama. It’s supposed to be a 6 hour trip between the two but of course Katie and I stop at every rest stop along the way.

Plus we were driving through barn country.

This was probably pretty once.

Katie enjoys her rest stops and I enjoy my barns. What can I say except that she’s a very patient sheltie-girl. And I try not to get off course for very long or very often. In fact I only allowed myself to get off the freeway twice today when I saw lovely barns dotting the countryside. And I only traveled 3 or 4 miles out of the way each time.

I saw so many beautiful barns that were not in a spot easily found once I exited the freeway, but I always found something else that was (almost) as photogenic as what enticed me off course in the first place.

Saw this one from the freeway and actually found it after we got on the back roads.

It’s hot in the South right now. The car said it was 97 out there this afternoon. Katie, in her crate in the back seat, slept a lot and I tried to keep the car cool for her.

Cow rests in the shade.

But as the day wore on, and about two hours away from our hotel, I noticed the air conditioning was almost negligible. I’m sure she felt nothing cool in the back seat. She seemed lethargic and I began to panic. I rolled the windows down and hoped that the breeze made up for the lack of cool. I began to talk to her loudly and often. I told her we were going to get her dinner soon. She perked up.

Jackpot! A whole bunch of barns in one shot!

I stopped for a minute to give her a long drink of water and feel her tummy. She didn’t feel too warm. Yet. I drove faster and skipped the last rest stop at the Alabama line. I figured we were only 30 minutes from an air conditioned room, and stopping would do nothing but heat us both up even more.

Barn on the back road.

So I sang to her, talked to her, and she watched me, thinking something good was coming. It was. Air conditioning! I even planned on filling the tub with cool water if I had to cool her down. Or looking for a vet if I thought she was in heat stroke.

Working the fields on this hot afternoon.

But she bounced out of the car when we got to the hotel and pulled me, prancing all the way, into the lobby. And then she wanted to play. And eat her supper. And drink a big long drink. And go outside for a walk. And play some more. And go back outside. And get a treat. Or two.

The colors in the barn go so nicely with the colors in the field.

So I guess all my worrying was for nothing.

But tomorrow we’ll be getting up early to drive the last 4 hours to the lake before the afternoon heats up. And next week we’ll be taking the car to a dealer to see what’s up with the air.

It’s always something.

Air conditioning is good mama!


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Pictures for my mom

My mom was an artist, she painted and crafted, and back when we were kids she ran a ceramics store and tried to instill in her students bravery to try new things.

I’ve often thought of her during this trip. I’ll shoot something and automatically think ‘mom will like that one.’ Most of these images don’t make it into a blog, because they’re not part of a story. These are just individual shots, not related to each other, that I liked.

Turns out there’s quite a few.

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You’ll notice there’s not a single shot of Katie-girl, and that’s intentional. She gets plenty of blog time, and though she’s certainly beautiful this time it’s all about other pretty things.

I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them. Though that would be hard to do, because I really really enjoyed being in the moment and capturing these beautiful places and things.

And after all, since mom was right there with me, I guess she’s already seen them. That makes me smile.


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Mama is so confused

Katie here. Geeze. I let mama blog for one day without me dogervising her and she fails! Did you see what she did? She posted a “Wordless Wednesday” while I was napping and it was Tuesday! She doesn’t even know what day it is anymore. Obviously she can not be left alone. Good thing I’m around to straighten everything up.

So here it is Wednesday. No sense doing a wordless post, I mean seriously have you ever heard of a quiet sheltie? I thought not. So I’ll give you a brief update.

The Pigeon River flows through downtown.

The Pigeon River flows through downtown.

We are still stuck in this stupid hotel. I know, I know. I am supposed to be grateful that we are somewhere warm and safe and stuff. But I am bored! I’m tired of hogging all the pillows. I’m tired of hearing weird sounds outside my door and having my mama tell me not to bark. Of course I have to bark! It’s a weird sound mama!

The car fixer place was supposed to have my car all fixed by this morning, but yesterday afternoon mama found out that it won’t be done today either. I don’t know if we’ll ever see my car again. I’m an adventurous kind of girl, but this is getting ridiculous.

Big sign for this park!

Big sign for this park!

Yesterday mama took me to a city park so that I could have some time outside that is away from the hotel. It was an OK park. It was pretty big with tennis courts and softball fields. Lots of jungle gym type stuff for kids to play on too. I wasn’t interested in playing. I was having a pretty good time just sniffing all those smells.

What are those kids doing over there mama?

What are those kids doing over there mama?

There was a bright red train car in the park; I have no idea why, there weren’t any signs explaining it. Mama thought it was interesting and of course I had to sit in front of it. Boring mama!

No one cares mama!

No one cares mama!

We stopped by a river walk on the Pigeon River downtown too. The river was pretty, but a storm was coming in so we didn’t stay long. Not that exciting either.

Stop with the pictures mama!

Stop with the pictures mama!

Once we got back to the hotel and mama found out that we won’t get the car today she got all bummed out. I decided to be a very good girl and not bark so much at the rain. It was hard. But I can be good if I try.

Storm blowing in.

Storm blowing in.

I understand that sometimes mama just needs a break.

Winds fluff me up.

Winds fluff me up.


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Progress. Of sorts.

I’m giving Katie-girl a couple of days off from blogging. She’s exhausted from all that work and is taking a well deserved break. She requests not to be disturbed.

Quit bugging me mama!

Quit bugging me mama!

Some of you are wondering what’s happening with our car which broke down in the mountains of East Tennessee and was towed to a dealership on Saturday afternoon. Katie handled the stress of all that pretty well, though she did throw up in the front passenger seat (which thankfully I had covered by a sheet prior to setting her up there.) while we were waiting on the side of the freeway. I felt like throwing up too, but I had to be the responsible adult.

The upshot is that parts have been ordered and they will begin working on the car tomorrow. They might get done tomorrow late, but most probably won’t be finished till sometime Wednesday.

I’m good with that.

Though it would be nice to be on the road tomorrow, I know we were really lucky that the car quit right next to an exit that has a dealership. And that we got a really nice tow truck operator that took me and the car to that dealership, then took me up the road to a hotel that allows dogs, and waited until he knew I had a room before he left. And I’m lucky that people at the dealership put us ahead of others and began working on it this morning, and then helped me get a rental car, and actually carried stuff from my car to the rental car so that I have enough dog food for Katie during this extended stay.

After we got all that squared away Katie and I took a little tourist trip into the Smokey Mountain National Park, and from there into Gatlinburg. The guy at the dealership recommended we explore Gatlinburg, saying there were lots of places for us to walk. Katie was getting stir crazy hanging out in the hotel room, and we’d already explored the hotel parking lot in minute detail, so I was game for heading out for a mini adventure.

I noted on my Garmin that the Smokey Visitor Center was up the road about 20 miles, so I put that into the system and headed north. After about 30 minutes we arrived at what I presumed would be a national park visitor center. But no. It was the visitor center for a baseball team named the Tennessee Smokies. Right.

Not the Smokey Mountains.  Nope.

Not the Smokey Mountains. Nope.

So I tried again, typing in Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge, figuring I’d get closer. That got me to the Pigeon Forge airport. No pictures as Katie was beginning to huff at me. And time was getting away from us.

I tried a third time, being more particular and typed in Gatlinburg town. That worked! And along the way we traveled into the Smokey Mountain National Park, which is more of what I was really looking for. The stress in my shoulders loosened up as we entered the woods, driving along a rock rubble filled stream.

Then a sign said we could go to the national park via a Gatlinburg bypass! I was on it! Up the mountain we drove, winding around and around. I was noticing the bright green grass, thinking that Tennessee is way ahead of Michigan in terms of spring. It was so pretty, all that bright green.

Spring time green!

Spring time green!

And then I realized it was fresh growth because the forest was totally burned! The trees were black, standing in all that green. Just about when I was realizing that we came upon a scenic overlook. Of course we stopped.

And way down below was the village of Gatlinburg, surrounded by charred mountains that were rapidly renewing themselves. It was beautiful in a sad sort of way.

Beautiful and sad all at the same time.

Beautiful and sad all at the same time.

We continued up the mountain, then down the other side to a visitor center inside the park. I ran inside to get a map and saw that Cades Cove was another 25 miles into the park. I would have loved to go there, but it was already 3, and the 25 miles was on a little squiggly road which I knew would take a very long time. I didn’t want to be out there in the dark. I hope to go back and visit sometime.

Can't get enough of views like this.

Can’t get enough of views like this.

I drove a bit more, looking for a trail where Katie and I could walk a little bit. There was one not too far away, with a place to pull over. I got her out of the car, she huffing at me because all this driving was no adventure in her eyes. We started down the trail and immediately came across this sign.

What do you mean I can't go down this trail?

What do you mean I can’t go down this trail?

Notice one of the “NOT ALLOWED” things are pets. Sigh. We got back in the car. Katie gave me the stink eye. So I figured we’d go into Gatlinburg after all and walk around there.

What a zoo. The town is blocks of restaurants and curio shops. You know what I mean. The kind of place you might want to walk if you weren’t a dog. She stood up in the front seat and watched it all go by, fairly interested and if there had been a free place to park I might have walked a block or so, but I didn’t want to pay for parking when we’d only be there for a few minutes. There’s no way she’d have that much fun on concrete.

See the little house down there?

See the little house down there?

So we headed back to the hotel. She says this was an epic fail adventure. But I liked the view from the top of the mountain. And I really liked not being in the hotel room for a few hours. She’s zonked out now, so there must have been a bit of adventure in there somewhere for her too.

Hey mama!  They made the bed while we were gone!

Hey mama! They made the bed while we were gone!

I hope our next post is all about us back on the road. I’m ready to move on. Katie is too.

Mama!  Did the fire burn down the rest of this fence?

Mama! Did the fire burn down the rest of this fence?