The Thunder Rolls

Pardon me for borrowing the lyric Garth.

Weather Report Last night it rolled…Over and over again. Distant thunder, thunder overhead, I think I even heard thunder rolling out from under the bed. It really wasn’t the loud thunder of the other day, but it seemed much more continuous. Then again, maybe I was just dreaming. Anyway the day is starting wet again. At least this day isn’t socked in like yesterday.

The fog was so thick yesterday it reminded me of my first drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Blowing Rock in the spring of 2000. When I hit that road I couldn’t see 30ft in front of me. I want you to know that was a long drive to the next highway down the ‘way. I figured that was the end of my mountain getaway because they were predicting more of the same the next day. Since I only had two free days, it looked like a loss. But the next day dawned clear and sunny, so I made the effort and it’s been love ever since.

Political Truths Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales finally speaks a greater truth. “I acknowledge that mistakes were made here.”

Sadly, the real mistake was made six years ago when the Supreme Court decided to play king maker. Now we all pay for that mistake.

Playing On The ‘Puter – Patti Smith at CBGB’s, New York, NY – 08/11/1979 from Wolfgang’s Vault.

A Quote For Today “We’re all in this together – by ourselves.” Lily Tomlin

The clocks run away from me again…gotta run myself. Later

Looking Back on 2006

I have a lot to be thankful for in this past year.

It was a little over a year ago that I stumbled into the online Floyd County community and met (virtually) Fred, Colleen, Doug and David and all of their friends in Floyd County, Va. It was their examples that led me to start this blog (so, if you want to blame someone for these ramblings…).

It was the year we made our third family trip to the Valle Crucis area. I made my first trip up the creek my ancestors settled over 200 years ago and discovered that the valley is gorgeous. The view from the upper portions of the valley were breathtaking. I think, after spending time with the maps, that we were probably looking at the upper valley from the back porch of the cabin we rented for the week. After two trips to the headwaters of Clark’s Creek, the road to Nettles Knob is beginning to feel like going home. We are still dreaming our mountain dream from the flat coastal plain of Texas.

It was the year we became Grandparents. Who could have foreseen in the ’70’s that we would have ever come so far? Logan was by yesterday, and the boy is getting big. I can’t wait for him to get to the point where he’ll be talking.

It was our first anniversary trip to the shore instead of the hills. That means that at some point I am going to have to make a run northeast away from the coast for a little elevation. We did enjoy the stay on Padre and the view from the balcony overlooking the beach.

This was the year I met many interesting people online. To all of these folks, let me say

Happy New Year

North Carolina Mountain Dreams

The name of this blog comes from my Dream that in the next few years I will have the opportunity to make my way to the Mountains to finish out my life there. The North Carolina comes in because it is where I first discovered the Blue Ridge. I spend my time between trips to the Valle Crucis, North Carolina area dreaming of the next chance I’ll have to walk these mountains of my ancestors. And each return trip home is that much more depressing.

For all of my guests who end up here looking for a blog based in the mountains, all I can say is come back often, one of these days it will be. Until then I’ll live my mountain dream virtually here online.

Since my interests are varied, and I’m still trying to find my voice, expect some experimentation along the way. One of the things that is important to me is photography, so expect to see regular posts with pictures. Sometime they will be from my mountain trips, but, mostly they will be from here in Texas. Texas is home, and therefore that’s what I have the opportunity to shoot…Believe me I would rather be shooting mountain landscapes.

Also, since this is my blog, I may post something totally out of left field (usually). Please, hang in there and we’ll find our way back to the mountains. Right now I’m only three months into the long…long spell between mountain vistas, so, mentally I haven’t started getting too terribly weird…yet. I get regular “fixes” from my blog friends in the mountains of NC and Virginia. I also have subscriptions to both “Blue Ridge Country Magazine” and “Our State” bringing in regular doses of the medicine I need to stay sane.

NC Mountain Fix

I am having a really busy week at work so I’m not doing as much reading and posting as I would like. The mail today also brought a time consuming bit of always appreciated reading pleasure, the October issue of “Our State, North Carolina”. Between “Our State” and “Blue Ridge Magazine” I manage to get a semi regular fix of mountain scenery.

Reading the Editors Page brought back the passing of Hugh Morton this June 1st. I think it was my very first solitary trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway and the crossing of the Linn Cove Viaduct for the first time that set my love of Grandfather Mountain. To this day I get that same thrill every time I round that bend and see the mountain.

Anyway, I want to get on with my reading, so I am going to stick another shot from Sunday here and leave you all for the evening…

Photo of The Day


Windmill in Brazoria Wildlife Refuge
Brazoria County, Texas

Lunch time musing

I was setting here going thru my blogroll and trying to figure out how I ended up getting involved with all of these folks. I remember originally doing a Google search on “Blue Ridge Mountains” and ending up at Marie’s Blue Ridge Blog. Her photos kept me coming back for a good while before I expanded my blog list (a bit of history is in order I guess, I have had a website for about 10 years now and I’ve been reading blogs since the early years of Scripting News and Radio. I was reading Ev and Megnut before Google got involved in blogs, so I am not totally in the dark about these things called blogs).
Anyway, on with the thread, once I had been reading (mostly enjoying the photos) Marie for a while I started perusing her links. That led to Fred First and Goose Creek in Fragments From Floyd and the whole Floyd County Blog Gang (Loose Leaf Notes, Blue Ridge Muse, and Ripples) which became a community I enjoyed visiting. Thanks to Fred , Colleen, Doug and David for letting me stop by to visit.
It was thru this core that my Blogroll has expanded. When I am online with time to kill, I will start running through some sites link list to see if they have anyone I haven’t read who says something that resonates with me. My blog’s links (now a real Blogroll because they really do make it easy to keep your links up without a lot of programming) do not follow any type of pattern. I tend to read widely and be attracted to sites that are very diverse, so you never know what you might run into on my Blogroll.
What started this thought perking today was that while I was reading Cedar Press Hill, there was Fred. When reading comments on Fred’s site, there was Judith Polakoff. It seems like I run into Pablo from Roundrock Journal all over the place.
And round and round it goes.

Autumn – Sunset


For the first time this year I could stand out and watch the sun set without wiping my brow or my lens…I love it. Too bad it wont last. The rain blew through this morning but the clouds are still hanging on. It is clearing to the west or the photo above wouldn’t have happened. The weather folks are predicting a low in the 60’s (I know it’ll be 69 but let a guy dream will ya…). I think it may be time to follow John Scalzi’s lead and cut back on the political blogs…They are eating up way to much time and they just piss me off.

It’s good to see Marie Freeman posting again. I need a semi regular visual fix from Valle Crucis, NC, the semi annual vacations are never long enough.

I am really enjoying my new Nikon D80. So far I haven’t found anything to complain about…Catch ya down the road.

“Success goes to those who tell their story to the marketplace”

I was reading in Ripples this morning where David was discussing a conference on Sustainable Development held in Abingdon, Va. The following quote really jumped of the screen at me…

Ripples: post-corporate adventures: Sustainable Economic Development for Southwest Virginia?: “Governor Kaine emphasized this point near the end of his speech. ‘Success goes to those who tell their story to the marketplace.’ In a sense, that was the underlying theme of the entire conference, telling the story about the regions assets in a way that would attract tourists and investment.”

That says it all about the organizations and businesses that have managed to involve me to the point of being a walking evangelist for them. It was the story that first brought me to try them, it was the reality of their living the story that keeps me going back, and it’s the belief in the philosophy that created the story that I seem to connect with.

One of the very first “stories” that brought me to the area of the Blue Ridge Mountains we now call ours, was the story of the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis. I stumbled on their website and read the history long before I planned that family trip to North Carolina. It was their story that set the location for our first visit. And it was the daily stops to sit on the porch and sip a ginger beer that helped make the stay a success.

During the planning for that trip, I first read the story of Grandfather Mountain and the love of one man for a “place” and the transformation that love brought to a mountain over the life of the man…which is why the recent death of a man I hadn’t ever met was like losing a member of the family. May you rest peacefully on the mountain, Hugh Morton.

And it was the story behind the rescue of the Orchard at Altapass (and speaking of serendipity, as I started writing this paragraph Bill Carson’s “Story of Altapass” popped up on my computers MP3 player) that led me to make the trip to visit that institution on the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway, where Bill piled me into his vehicle to run down the road to visit the graves of the McKinney’s who first settled there.

It isn’t just the stories though that makes these places special, it’s the people involved in living the stories today. And to all of you who are involved with these groups, I want to say thanks for being so very neighborly…It’s what keeps us coming back and keeps our “North Carolina Mountain Dreams” alive.

p.s. Just as an explanation of what makes the fact that Bill Carson’s “Story of Altapass” playing at the exact time I was typing the paragraph about the Orchard such a coincidence, my MP3 player is set to shuffle and has a playlist that contains over 5000 pieces.

Blue Ridge blog

Blue Ridge blog: “Hugh Morton passed away yesterday. Mr. Morton is a famous North Carolinian who championed the preservation of the Tarheel State’s scenic beauty through his photography . It helped that he owned a mountain as grand as Grandfather. “

I never had the privilege of meeting Mr. Morton, but, he was one of the people in North Carolina that first inspired my interest in the Valle Crucis ~ Linville area. When I first started planning our first family trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains there were two areas I was looking at. Northwestern North Carolina I had visited alone in 2000, the other was the Ashville area. As I started investigating areas for the trip I stumbled onto the website of the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis. The story behind the store intrigued me and led me to do more research on the area. That led me to Grandfather Mountain, and the story of the Mountain, the family and the man inspired me. One of the primary sites on our agenda that year was going to be Grandfather Mountain, unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate and it took three tries to get a chance to visit Mr. Morton’s Mountain. From then on one or more of Hugh Morton’s photos graced the desktop of my computer, and for the longest time the Grandfather Mountain Screensaver ran on my computers…

Our plans for this year are centered around the Highland Games. We planned the trip to be in Valle Crucis on the weekend after the 4th just to be able to attend. And for this, again my thanks go to Mr. Morton for his allowing this event to be held on “his mountain”. I intend to spend some time in silence, thanking the man himself for what he has held in trust for all of us.

And sometime in the future, I hope to attend the photographers weekend myself and learn from the spirit of the mountain…

Hugh Morton
Rest peacefully on the mountain.

Blue Ridge Parkway south from Floyd County

 Another shot from the parkway in 2004. The family had not yet learned what Dad with a new camera was like…It didn’t take long for them to figure it out. We stopped more places than they cared to stop so I could try for a few new shots. All of these were taken with a film camera not digital, and scanned when developed to make jpgs. Posted by Picasa

The Drive from Floyd, June 2004

 Two years ago we spent a week in Watauga County, south of Valle Crucis on Nettles Knob. On of the day trips we took up to Mabry’s Mill. On the drive back we took the Parkway the whole way, stopping along the way as things caught our interest. This was one of those stops. I look forward to the return trip this year. Now that I know more of the area and it citizens, the trip will mean more.

I spent most of the day yesterday hooking up our new DSL to our home network kludge we live with. Replacing the old dial-up has been on the “to-do” list for a while and ATT finally made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I wasn’t able to get online till late (after a nice long session with Chris at ATT/Yahoo High Speed Internet…Thanks Chris). Today the whole family has been pushing the limits trying to stream different media at once. So far there have only been a few dropped streams…Life is good.

As I sit here, wireless and online for the first time since we found ourselves with a home network, writing my blog and listening to WNCW’s “Goin’ Across The Mountain”, I can almost feel the mountain breeze a blowin’. From the streaming radio though it sounds like the breeze is more of a storm in southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee and western South Carolina…

I want to thank those of you who have stopped by and left comments, the kind words of encouragement are appreciated. I am still trying to get a handle on what I feel it is I am being drawn to do on this site, so bear with me if you would.

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