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After we left Stone Mountain, making plans to stay for several days next year so we could see the laser show again and maybe do the zip line and the climbing maze, we drove to Franklin, North Carolina, in the mountains of the west side of the state.

Cate and Rich, whom we met on our Alaska trip live there. Rich was still visiting in FL, but we took Cate out to dinner at Fatz and then visited with her, Sadie the dog, who also went to AK with us and Buff the cat.

Next day, we visited an old Navy friend of Ken's and his wife, Ed and Liz. Spent some time at their new home and then they took us to 2 of the new and burgeoning strip mall casinos which are cropping up all over this part of N.C. They said they go every night!!! These little storefront casinos are financed and fixed out by various companies, like franchises. No noisy machines, they give you $5 0r $10 to play with in addition to what money you give them to put on the machine and they have soft drinks and snacks gratis. I lost $20 at the first and won $26 at the second. It was fun.

The next day, we went to a Tea Party luncheon with Cate and Rich, who are heavily into politics, Republican style. A man who's running for Congress was the guest speaker and he was quite interesting to listen to. I don't subscribe to everything the Tea Partyers say, but it was worth giving a hearing to.

We had dinner at C & R's house. Rich is 88, grows most of his food in his garden and preserves it all. His vegetables are delicious! They make just about everything they eat except their meat and their ice cream!  That night, they took us for a tour of a local B&B run by neighbors of theirs. What a gorgeous house; used to be the schoolhouse in 1887. The bell tower is still there, with the trough inside which once had a stream running through it in which the children would place their lunch tins to keep the food cold.

Next day, Ken and I walked the town of Franklin, which is very picturesque. Since N.C. is so mountainous, we were up hill and down dale. One street even had a staircase to take us down to the next level of the sidewalk. That night, we bundled up and went to watch C & R's great-grandson play a sandlot baseball game. Took blankets to sit on the metal bleachers with!

Next morning, after leaving C & R for another year, we went to the Cherokee Casino, in the town of Cherokee, where the Eastern band of Cherokee still live, those who were not driven West on the Trail of Tears. I actually came away $51 ahead! Then we went back to Franklin and walked the Riverwalk along the Little Tennessee River. There I saw the first of many Royal Empress trees, which grow wild all along the highways.

We've gone a little further north in N.C. today, to Statesville, a halfway point between our next visit in Cary, N.C. I don't think it will be as cold tonight; it was right around 32 degrees the last few nights and we had winter clothes on again. Today, I was back in shorts. :D

Pics for tonight......
                                  In the Stone Mountain campground....
3 Grackles enjoying the garden
Yellow Flags in the garden
Our view of Stone Mountain Lake
Driving in Georgia, there were a lot of little tolls like this for the side roads. Weird!
Part of the Great Smokey Mts. in N.C.
This is a popular grocery store in the South!
Our N.C. campground; it's not Kudzu, but it might as well be!
Anyone need some ground cover?
                                                           A fellow by the Tartan Museum in Franklin.
A gorgeous tree in one of the Franklin town parks
Another parkMonument to Franklin men who fought in Civil War

These were spinning and shining all around Franklin. Looked really pretty as the sun hit them.
Had lunch in a 50's style diner. That's a 55 or so Chevy.
All of the refuse bins in town were painted by all different artists. I love things like this!
One of the Royal Emperor Trees; they grow 18 feet a year on average and grow from Mexico to Canada.
These are seen on many heavily-trucked roads; never seen one used, though, thank goodness.
They can be sand, gravel, or textured dirt, as this one was. They are a lot longer than this pic makes them look.
Clumps of these Dogwoods were planted along the highway for a long way as we drove.
This is where Batman and Robin hang out when they're in N.C.
                                                                                                       I include this pic taken in a rest area, because I've never seen a machine like this before. Everything in it was $1.25. You pressed a button to make the whole circular inside rotate. When it reached the slot  that had what you wanted to buy, you pressed a button to stop it, inserted your money and slid open the slot that it was in. What made it so special was what it sold; everything was refrigerated and it offered YooHoo drink, V8 tomato juice, fresh oranges, yogurt, blueberry muffins, PB&J sandwiches where the pb&j was enclosed in a crimped circle of white bread, and what I thought was the most astounding, small cans of Beanie Weenies. (If you have to ask, you've never had them). Of the MANY rest stops we've made over the years, this was a brand new happening. Very reminiscent of the old Horn and Hardarts, which I have actually eaten in MANY years ago!

There is no t.v. here, but I have my books. I tried to slog through "The Scarlet Letter" on my Nook, but I couldn't stand it. Now I'm re-reading a Stephen King one, "Cell".

Signing off until next time! Say Good Night, Gracie!

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I really love "traveling" with you all!

Hugs, Hare

So do I, but the tea party terrify me.

What bothers me about them is that they don't always research all their facts before they espouse them. Some things are blatently wrong. They mean well, but like all single-minded people, they wear blinders.

Wish it were possible to pick you up and put you in the bed under the t.v. :D

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