Sunday, October 21, 2012

Autumn in the Smokies -- welcome back

Over night, every night, another tree explodes with color midst the Blue Ridge Mountains. This morning, we woke up to a gorgeous crepe myrtle that's now all orange. Just a couple of weeks ago, it was so pink you wanted to eat it.

Here they come: dogwoods, sourwoods and maple are already turning color. Reds, whites, yellows, oranges. Ahh. Deep colors. How much longer will they hang? Depends on the wind that shimmers through the trees.

Yesterday, we went to a crafts show in the next burgh across the holler. At a show last weekend, the Mystery Woman spied a little carved bear she wanted but we hesitated and it was gone. The artist promised more. So we drove on two-lane mountain road that was overflowing with bicycle riders. With no shoulders, it was  too dangerous for my tastes. And too steep.

We stopped to buy firewood from a roadside pickup truck entrepreneur and a guy on a motorcycle stopped to complain (through a British accent) about the number of bikers. And -- lord, god -- did we stumble upon some mighty fine BBQ at the Green River.

This year, the acorns dropped all at once. Our street was covered. A sign, locals say, that there is some heavy winter a'coming.

Bring it on. We’ve got firewood, fleece, a warm dog – and each other.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You never forget how to ride a bike--BS

Today, I decided to get the bike out after letting it hibernate for nearly three years. This being the mountains, there are hills in our neighborhood. Every street is a hill. A mini-mountain. After 100 yards, my legs began to squeal. The brakes squealed, too.

In the old days, I rode 10 miles every day with ease. My best was 70 miles in one day. Not today. Today, I managed only 10 blocks. The Mystery Woman said she could hear the squeals as I rounded every corner. Mine or the bike’s she didn’t say.

Riding a bike is a great way to see the neighborhood -- from the ground up. Several times, I almost lost it. Wobbly. Once, as I rounded a corner, a woman on the sidewalk ran for cover. She left the sidewalk and headed straight for a stranger's porch. At flank speed.

When I finally made it to our home turf, my legs were tuckered. I could barely climb the three steps up the porch where the Mystery Woman was in tears from laughing so hard.

Tomorrow, we’ve going to start over. I think we’ll pack a lunch and ride to the corner.

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