Monday, September 26, 2016

The Iron Skillet Restaurant, Bryson City, North Carolina

     It is been my custom for many years now, to eat breakfast at a local restaurant and spend several hours writing. When I'm in a large urban area, I usually look for a Denny's. The food there is relatively inexpensive and they generally do not mind if I occupy a booth for a couple of hours in the morning. When I'm in more rural areas I look for a nice friendly local restaurant. Here in Western North Carolina, in Bryson City I have found a place to write at the Iron Skillet. 

It is a little cafe in a small commercial strip in downtown. The food is good and the waitstaff have come to tolerate my presence. If you're ever passing through the area I would suggest stopping by for a burger. You may find me in the back room pounding away on the keyboard.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Road to No Where, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Bryson City North Carolina

Just outside of Bryson City North Carolina is a road locally known as the Road to Nowhere. It is officially named Lake Shore Drive and is located on the southern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Originally the road was supposed to give access to portions of the National Park that were cut off by the creation of Lake Fontana. When the National Park was created, the Federal Government required local residents to pack up and leave. The problem was that people had been living in the area for hundreds of years and their loved ones were buried in cemeteries throughout the Park. As part of the compensation offered to the residents to move was access to their family cemeteries. The road was never completed as promised and terminates at a long tunnel. Now it is referred to as the Road to Nowhere.

Lake Shore Drive hugs the side of the mountain, pulling in and out as the river valley falls away into Lake Fontana.  After 10 to 15 minutes you come the end of the road. On the other side of the tunnel is a trail head. The Road's right of way continues along a flat trail. There are other paths branching off this main trail. The area popular with locals and visitors alike and is used by both horses and bike riders. The trail is perfect for an easy short excursion into the National Park. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Millie Wolfe Fischer, Writer

     A swap meet or flea market is located not to far from where I am staying and I enjoy the hunt for the undiscovered treasures that I occasionally find.  I was walking down the rows of tables and came upon a truly unique treasure.  Not completely undiscovered, but unknown to me.  I met Millie Wolfe Fischer.  

     She was sitting behind a table with displays of her arts and crafts and in one corner, a collection of pamphlets.  Millie is more than anything else a writer.  She had a dozen or more of her books for sale.  I struck up a conversation and we spoke for some time about writing.  Millie has been writing all her life.  From when she was a very small girl and has continued without pause until now.   I shared with her that I can not help myself, I have to write.  I also have had the affliction my entire life.  She says she writes for herself, not for the reader.  She did not actually say so, but I got the feeling that she wanted to put her stories down on paper so that there would be something to remember when she was gone. Maybe this motivation has come to her lately as she is up there in years. 

     We talked a little about poetry and how when we were both young, we tried to express ourselves in verse.  She did a better job than I did and has several books of poetry to her credit.  Now her writing is about remembrances.  Vignettes of her childhood, family, and a simpler time of life.  I purchased a books or two and she did me the honor of giving me her autograph.  Millie will never be famous or even widely read, but that is of no concern to her.  For me, she is a kindred spirits and I am very happy to have had the pleasure of meeting her. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Deep Creek Loop Trail, Smokey Mountains National Park, Bryon City NC

     I am currently hanging out in Western North Carolina and I am very near the Smokey Mountains National Park.  It is the most visited National Park in the country.  One of the first hiking trails built in this park was the Deep Creek Trail.  I decided to do the loop.  This involves hiking up Deep Creek Trail for a little over a mile and then taking a trail over a ridge to an adjacent valley and following  the Indian Creek Trail back to Deep Creek.  It is about four and a half miles all together.  There are three waterfall along the trail and Deep Creek is a very popular tubing site.  There is a National Park campground at the trail head and several private campground just outside the park.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Pyle National Locomotive Light And Other Mysteries

 I did it again, I went and bought something at a flea market that I have no idea exactly what it was for.  It is a light fixture made by Pyle National.  This company did a lot of work  in the Railroad industry.  They made both signal lights and head lights.
 I went on the internet and tried to look up the fixture.  I did a patent search and it seems that Pyle was making this kind of light from the early 1900s.   The patent applications are not an exact match.   
 The bump out with the company name is not present in any of  the patent drawing that I found.  But the general shape is there and the way the item was mounted was described.  
 I always try and find any number I can on the item,  This thing has a plaque with the number 12-D-1111.  I search that number without results.  Cast into the body of the beast is the number 1281 A.  Again nothing.
 The plaque say Pyle National Chicago and has Type 12-D-1111 on it.  No date made or patent number.  I could try and determine when the patent numbers were required to be put on the product and maybe get closer to a date.
Half of the fun I get out of treasure hunting at flea markets is the discovering information on the items I buy.  I will put a little more time into the search and maybe someone who reads this post will let me know the story behind this light.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Living Where Green Is A Naturally Occurring Color

I was born in North Carolina.  I spent the first 13 years of my life in the State and then moved to the West Coast.  The majority of the West is arid and where I lived was no exception.  Various shades of brown are interrupted by occasional spots of green.  In order to support the population, the government created huge water projects, importing water from as much as five hundred miles away.  If the green was not watered regularly it would revert to the natural color of the area, brown.  I spent thirty years in that environment and during my entire stay, I would say that one day I want to live in a place where green was a naturally occurring color.  

I have returned to North Carolina and I am currently visiting the western part of the State.  Green is definitely a naturally occurring color here.  I like to get up in the morning and go somewhere to get a some breakfast and write a little or surf the web.  I have found a place near where I am staying.  Where I like to sit has a view of a river and lots of green.  Plus you can get a good breakfast for under five dollars.  Can it get any better than that? 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Pandora' Box or Working on my Land Cruiser

     I own a 1967 Toyota Landcruiser.  Like any thing old, it needs constant up keep. A couple of weeks ago I broke down about thirty miles from home.  I had it towed back and the next day ($80) and set about finding the problem.  After a little looking I discovered that the problem was in the distributor.  I replaced everything I could in the distributor and it seemed to be okay.  ($55). Then two days ago it died again.  I had it towed back ($50) and again something in the distributor was wrong.    I decided to replace the distributor.  ($129). While I was replacing the distributor I notice that fuel pump was leaking and replaced that.  ($18).  Turns out the new fuel pump is bad so I return it and reinstall another.  While I am replacing the fuel pump, I accidentally punch a hole in the radiator. ($351). I get it all back together and try to start the beast.  I had put the distributor in backwards and it caused the muffler to blow up. ($90).  I don't even want to add it up.  

This is a picture of the muffler after I took it out.  As you can see it has a big hole in it.  Working on an old car is a little like opening Pandora's Box.  The last thing to come out of Pandora's Box was hope.  Well, I hope I never go through that again.