Clingman’s Dome

If you ever find yourself in the Great Smoky Mountains, be sure to stop by Clingman’s Dome. At an elevation of over 6,600 feet, it is the highest point in the national park and the highest point along the Appalachian Trail.

The observation tower was built in 1959 and resembles a concrete spaceship landed on top of a mountain. Odd as it seems, it provides a panoramic view of the area. On a clear day, you can see about a hundred miles.

So they say.

Sadly, I have been a few times but never had much of a view from the tower, thanks to air pollution. The highlight for me at this part of the park is the access to the Appalachian Trail.

It’s a nice section and the whole experience is a pleasant reminder that it’s better to get down on the trail where you’re close to nature than to stand on a man made pedestal of concrete and look at it.

Beautiful view, isn’t it?

If you go, there is ample parking and the trail to the observation tower is paved but it is rather steep. Consequently, it isn’t handicap accessible and if you have any kind of health or mobility problems, be sure to take it slow and rest if needed.

The road to this area of the park is scenic and offers some pull offs but it is closed during winter months.

Thinking about visiting the Great Smoky Mountains? It’s an interesting place as it offers plenty of room to get out and enjoy nature alone. There’s also a lot of trails and overlooks overpopulated with people and lots of tourist traps in the form of dinner theaters, shopping and museums.

Dolly Parton, the unofficial patron saint of Appalachia has her Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. Plus, Paula Deen, the patron saint of Butter has a nice restaurant there too. It has been a few years since my last trip down but I may trot out some of those stories if anyone is interested.

Grand Explorations

This little gem from Grand Central Station popped up while perusing pictures recently. It reminded me of a grand time in New York City several years ago.

Oh, how I long to go back! Actually, I long to go almost anywhere but I’ll have to settle for memories right now.

I have some thoughts on a few day trips and maybe some long weekends for the spring. Adventures will continue to be hampered this year but I’m sure I can manage to do some safe exploring anyway.

Barteldes Seeds in Denver

Some people look for pretty flowers and beautiful works of art. I seek out the side door with its exposed brick, hand painted advertising and weird shadows playing off the fire escape.

Here’s one of many weirdo things I photographed with my phone in downtown Denver last year. I need to go through my camera pictures because there are some good ones to share but I just haven’t gotten around it. Perhaps this No Spend Month will provide time to do this.

Meanwhile, isn’t this an interesting building?

It’s the Barteldes Seed Lofts and Condos. I couldn’t resist looking up their website which provided far more historic perspective than I expected. In fact, their home page explains that the five story building was constructed at the turn of the 20th century to support 600 pounds of seed per square foot, a necessity for this wholesale facility.

It was transformed into office and residential loft space in 1987.

It’s high end and there are no vacancies so I guess I won’t be moving in anytime soon. It’s just as well. Even at 600 pounds per square foot, the building might not support my book and LP collections!

The proximity to Union Station would make getting around easy but the closeness to Tattered Cover Book Store wouldn’t help with the book collecting problem! These are two of my favorites stops in this neighborhood so I hope you will read these stories too.

Beyond The Horizon

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Desert sunrise, Arches National Park, 2018

The Suitcase

This turquoise suitcase came from a TJ Maxx in Salt Lake City a few years ago. As usual, I had overdone it on the souvenirs and needed something bigger to haul everything home on the return trip.

The personal item I had carried out was quite small and I found this little number was the exact maximum dimensions for my airline’s personal item allowance.

I settled on this one because it’s roomy and a different color. It would be easy to recognize in a sea of black luggage.

No one would have a suitcase like this one, right?

Right.

So I toted it back to the hotel, packed up my stuff, and happily attached this fun luggage tag to my new bag.

At the airport the next morning, I waited patiently for my bag to come down the security conveyor belt.

The first thing I noticed as I pulled it off the belt was that my cute tag had somehow come off.

The next thing I noticed was a young woman screaming at me in broken English and Spanish to let go of her grandmother’s bag.

Yes, friends. Out of all the airports in all the world, the people in line next to me had the same suitcase.

I was still clutching the bag, protecting my possessions from this screaming lunatic when I saw my bag roll by on the belt.

And yes, the tag was intact.

I swear it all happened in slow motion.

Of course, I was mortified as I let go of the stranger’s suitcase and held up my own for the other family to see. I wasn’t a thief, I said, babbling about TJ Maxx and the pretty turquoise. We just had identical suitcases!

They were not at all impressed, edging away from me to put on their shoes, still shooting dirty looks at the weirdo who tried to abscond with grandma’s worldly possessions.

I laugh about it now.

Never again will I ever enter a TSA line without this memory flaring up and causing me to study the luggage of those around me.

Snooze

This place is on the list for my next trip to Denver. It’s a breakfast joint and they’re committed to locally sourced and delicious food as well as to recycling about ninety percent of their waste.

Plus one percent of their sales go back to the community.

If the food is half as good as their philosophies, there’s much to look forward to. They even have vegan and vegetarian options as well as some French toast that looks divine. The creativity and consideration toward non-carnivores found in small chains like this place makes dining out fun for people like me.

Want to learn more? Visit their website!

Are you in the area? I would love a review! Meanwhile, I’m just gonna enjoy this fabulous sign!