Tennessee Road Trip Day 2 – EEK! A MOUSE!

Bill's Blog

I’ll get to the mouse (mice?) in a minute. First, and of highest importance, I have to again thank all of you who sent birthday cards to my mother for her 100th birthday back in July. She has kept all of them and was reading through them and showing them to us again today. You really made her day…er, I mean year! She has some taped up on the sides of the doors at the retirement home. We haven’t counted them, but there are hundreds.

One nice thing about the internet is that it’s not limited like our TV signal. The internet goes everywhere and I was pleasantly surprised to see cards from all over Michigan and from many other states (Florida, California, Arizona, Idaho, Georgia, Texas, Indiana…wow).

We started the day with the motel breakfast in Georgetown KY. I usually don’t eat much for breakfast…coffee…an apple, maybe a little oatmeal. However, it’s hard to resist pigging out when all that food is out there. I started healthy with some juice, a yogurt and some oatmeal…then some corn flakes…a couple spoonfuls of scrambled eggs…sausage (just one patty), more oatmeal.

I talked to the couple that were managers of the hotel. They were immigrants from India and said they still aren’t used to cold, winter weather. They said they came up to Holland, Michigan on vacation a couple of Octobers ago and really enjoyed the trip.

This is a very green tree outside out motel room in central KY (on Dec. 6). It’s got kind of waxy leaves and was triangular in shape. My first guess was an ornamental pear tree. That may not be right (calling Rick Vuyst…) A lot of ornamental pears have been planted in urban areas. They have nice white blossoms in spring and remain green into at least mid-fall, longer than most deciduous trees. Here’s a close up:

Close-up of green tree in Georgetown KY on 12/6/19

We had frost in the AM, which melted off quickly as the sun rose.

View from the top of a hill at the Tennessee Welcome Station

What a day! Clear all day, relatively warm – as we pulled into Oak Ridge, our car thermometer peaked at 62. Winds were less than 5 mph. The above pic. is from a hill you could climb at the Tennessee Welcome Rest Area. It was quite a steep climb. I figured if I went up and down the hill about 400 times I could burn off the calories I ate at breakfast. Lots of trucks on the road (economy is truckin’ along right now).

I love car thermometers! You can really see how the temperature can vary over short distances on a day with sun and light winds. You start in the valley at the Welcome Center…then rise up to drive along a high ridge. My car thermometer said 57 when I left the rest area…then dropped to 53 at the top of the ridge (it gets colder as you go up)…then back to 58 as we went down the mountain to the delightful little town of Stinking Creek.

Pansies planted at the Retirement Center

Throughout the south in urban areas, you see pansies (sub-zero pansies). They are quite hearty and can take a lot of cold. These are pansies growing in front of my mother’s Retirement Center. Nice to see these in December.

In the evening, we ate dinner at the retirement home. One of the two elevators is broken and needless to say, the other one better keep working until the parts arrive on Monday to fix it. We then watched a PBS special on Tommy Emmanuel – IMHO the best guitar player ever!

Last thing…my mother still owns her old condo here in Oak Ridge. Since she moved into the retirement home – we haven’t been in a real hurry to sell it. It’s an appreciating item and the monthly assessments here are a third of what we paid for her condo in Illinois when she lived there. We all stay here in the condo when we come down and mom comes over here about once a week with my sister.

Well, I’m starting on the computer in the evening and “EEK!” from Gayle…there was a mouse in the pantry. Where are the cats when you really need them! I told her to close the pantry door and we sealed it up. We’ll come up with a plan in the morning. We looked around and found mouse droppings in every room. It’s been quiet now for the last few hours, no mouse activity. Tomorrow should be an interesting day…I’ll update in the evening.

Also: The annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolled through Detroit. Note – the video is by a guy appropriately named “Rudolph”.

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