Thursday, November 29, 2018

Gaylord Palms - A Christmas Story

We took Mom to experience Ice 2018, "A Christmas Story" at the Gaylord Palms Hotel.  The Ice is controlled within a 9-degree winter wonderland.   They provide you with a full-length parka to keep you somewhat warm during your visit. Kathy and Mom brought a scarf, gloves, and earmuffs. 

A Christmas Story is set in the 1940s. Ralphie's dad drove a 1937 Oldsmobile Six.  The ice, 36 truckloads start to arrive in September from Ohio.  The Ice sculptors start preparing the ice for each of the exhibits. 

The car is licensed in Holmon, Indiana where the movie takes place.  

Meticulous records are kept each year to create the exact colors needed for the displays.   

More than two million pounds of ice is used to create all the displays.

The ultimate triple dog dare you at the school's flagpole. 

The Old Man's major award, the lamp with the leg and stocking. 

To give you an idea of the size and scope of the attraction, it boasts 1,500 fluorescent tubing lights frozen within three different types of ice: clear glass-like crystal ice; white snow-pack-like ice, and colored ice.

During your walking tour, you are literally surrounded by ice sculptures depicting characters and scenes from the holiday season crafted into a series of themed areas.

The shaped, cut, illuminated, and often colored ice takes over a large portion of the resort's convention center.

Ralphie still looking for the BB gun under the Christmas tree. 

 An ice tunnel, decorated with a reef along the route.  

This winter-season event features literally tons of ice sculptures that have been hand-carved by artists from Harbin, China.

Chop Suey Palace where dinner was finally served.  

Next to me in the blackness, lay my oiled blue steel beauty. The greatest Christmas gift I had ever received or ever would receive. Gradually I drifted off to sleep, pranging ducks on the wing and getting off spectacular hip shots.  

The ICE! experience concludes with a separate area dedicated to a traditional Nativity created with crystal clear ice.

Mom and Kathy, a little-chilled praying to an ice angel for some warmer weather. 

All bundled up and ready for the ready for the walkthrough!

Here’s is a video of the entire walkthrough of ice! 2018. Enjoy a virtual tour with nearly no one in the building at the time!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Mt. Mitchell, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina Trike Ride

We decided that on our way down to Florida, we would stop and do a couple of trike rides in the Carolina's.  We are planning to add on to our home so that Kathy's Mom can spend time with us during the winter,  We stayed at Jaymar RV Park in Hendersonville NC. It looked like a typical mobile home park but we were pleasantly surprised by the length of our RV site.  We had plenty of room in front and at the rear of our motorhome. 

 Here is the photo of the route to the top of Mt Mitchell.   Mount Mitchell’s dramatic summit is the highest point east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet and was the inspiration for one of the nation’s first state parks. 

We stopped at Lake Lure which is along our route to Mt Mitchell.  The lake is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Its beach is a popular attraction for both locals and tourists.   

 The  Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other: a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. We stopped at the Haw Valley Overlook.  

The Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park, near Waynesboro, VA (Milepost 0) with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, NC (Milepost 469) Although we drove only a small portion of the route during our 2-day stay. The parkway views are                                                                               awesome! 

Here is a short one minute plus video of our ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway to include driving through one of the many tunnels along the route.  We are traveling about 40 mph.  Recommend you turn off your volume. The only noise is from our Harley exhaust. 

At one of the overlooks, artists were painting the mountains surrounding the parkway.  You cannot be in a hurry when you drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The road is curvy, hilly, and narrow, and you can find slow-moving vehicles and bicycles along the road.

Here's Kathy at 6,578 feet elevation.  Mt. Mitchell State Park is only accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway by taking NC 128 at Milepost 355.4 to the summit.

We arrive at the parking and are headed to the observation deck with 360-degree views of the summit.   This plaque is dedicated to Elisha Mitchell, Scientist, and Professor who died in his attempt to prove this mountain was the highest elevation in the eastern U.S.

The observation deck is beyond the Mt Mitchell sign   In good weather, visitors standing on this platform can see more than 80 miles.

The U.S. surveyor mark verifying this is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. 

The gravesite of Elisha Mitchell.  

Views from the top of the mountain.  

                   Always watch the weather to ensure you get a good day for viewing. 

       On a clear day, the Charlotte skyline is visible from the summit of Mount Mitchell.