Monday, December 18, 2023

If Your ever in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Do This

 The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is filled with breathtaking natural beauty and diverse attractions. Here are ten must-see attractions within the park:

  1. Clingmans Dome: The highest point in the park offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. A short hike leads to an observation tower offering stunning vistas.

  2. Cades Cove:
    This valley is rich in history and wildlife. Visitors can drive the 11-mile loop road, spotting wildlife like deer and black bears, and explore historic cabins and churches.

  3. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: A scenic drive featuring lush forests, waterfalls, and historic buildings. It's particularly beautiful during the fall when the foliage turns vibrant colors.

  4. Chimney Tops:
    A challenging hike to a pair of unique rock formations that offer fantastic views. It's a popular trail but requires some stamina.

  5. Newfound Gap: A major viewpoint situated on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. It offers stunning vistas and is a great starting point for various hikes.

  6. Alum Cave Trail:
    Known for its geological features, this trail leads to Alum Cave Bluffs, offering incredible views. The trail is diverse, passing through forests and along cliffs.

  7. Laurel Falls: A family-friendly trail leading to a
    picturesque 80-foot waterfall. The paved path makes it accessible to visitors of different abilities.

  8. Rainbow Falls:
    This moderate hike leads to a beautiful 80-foot waterfall, which, on sunny days, often creates rainbows in its mist.

  9. Abrams Falls: A rewarding hike culminating in a powerful 20-foot waterfall. The hike is moderately challenging and showcases the park's diverse ecosystem.

  10. Elkmont Historic District:
    Rich in history, this area was once a thriving community. Visitors can explore abandoned homes and buildings, providing insight into early 20th-century life in the Smokies.

Each of these attractions offers a unique perspective on the beauty and diversity of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, whether through scenic views, historical insights, or encounters with the park's rich wildlife.

Video of If you Ever are In the Great Smoky Mountain Park

Monday, December 11, 2023

If You Are Ever In Yellowstone National Park, Do This


Yellowstone National Park is a wonderland of natural beauty and geothermal wonders. Here are ten of its top attractions:

Old Faithful Geyser: One of the park's most famous features, Old
Faithful erupts approximately every 90 minutes, shooting water high into the air.

Grand Prismatic Spring
: Known for its vibrant colors, this hot spring is one of the largest in the world. The rainbow-like hues are caused by different types of bacteria thriving in the varying temperatures.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: Carved by the Yellowstone River, this canyon features stunning waterfalls like the Lower Falls and offers breathtaking views and hiking trails.

Mammoth Hot Springs
: These terraces of travertine are formed by hot water flowing through limestone, creating beautiful and intricate formations.

Yellowstone Lake: The largest high-elevation lake in North America offers picturesque views, fishing opportunities, and a chance to spot wildlife along its shores.

Hayden Valley: A prime spot for wildlife viewing, particularly for spotting bison, elk, grizzly bears, and wolves.

Norris Geyser Basin: The hottest and most dynamic thermal area in Yellowstone, featuring colorful hot springs, geysers, and geothermal activity.

Mount Washburn
: A popular hiking destination offering panoramic views of the park and a chance to see bighorn sheep and other wildlife.

Lamar Valley: Known as the 

"Serengeti of North America," this valley is another fantastic spot for wildlife watching, especially for wolves and grizzlies.

Tower Fall: A picturesque waterfall in the northern part of the park accessible via a short hike.

These attractions showcase just a fraction of the natural beauty and diverse ecosystems found within Yellowstone National Park. Each offers a unique experience, from geothermal wonders to wildlife sightings and stunning landscapes.

Monday, November 13, 2023

RV Camping Log and Journal Available on Amazon

I recently put together a logbook and journal for RVer.  The reason I created this book was because I found myself trying to remember details of a campground I stayed out a number of years ago.    I did a little research and put together a format for the book.  Each entry consists of two pages.  The first has the details of the campground.



At the top of the form is a box for the campground name, date, and travel information.  There is also a place to record the weather.  The campground information boxes come next.  Items like the address, cost and amenities can be recorded here.  This section allows you to rate the services provided and list various attributes of the campground. 

In my travels across the country, I have met so many wonderful people.  Having a place to record when, where and how we met is important to me.


The next section provides space to record who was camping with you, what you did, the people you met and what you would like to do if you stayed at the campground again.

Page two has the next section of the logbook.  It is a place for making notes and journaling about the adventures you went on while at the campground. 



Final the last section of the book provides a place to doodle, post pictures, draw maps or any other thing that help you preserve the memory of the adventure and experiences from you stay in the campground. 

You can find the book on Amazon:  here's a link


Sunday, November 5, 2023

Clingmans Dome: A Natural Wonder in North Carolina



North Carolina is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, and one of the most iconic natural landmarks in the state is Clingmans Dome. Located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, this remarkable peak offers visitors an opportunity to connect with nature and immerse themselves in the stunning beauty of the region. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at Clingmans Dome, its unique features, and why it's a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates the great outdoors.

The Basics of Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome, situated on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, is the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the entire Appalachian Trail. With an elevation of 6,643 feet (2,025 meters), this iconic mountain serves as the centerpiece of the park, offering unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness.

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower

One of the standout features of Clingmans Dome is the observation tower perched at its summit. This tower is not only a remarkable architectural structure but also a perfect vantage point for taking in the natural beauty that surrounds it. The tower is constructed from concrete and steel, and it stands at an impressive 54 feet tall. To reach the tower, visitors must take a steep, half-mile paved trail from the parking area. Once at the top, the rewards are worth the effort, as you'll be treated to a 360-degree view that stretches for miles in every direction.

The Views

The breathtaking views from Clingmans Dome Observation Tower are what make this destination truly remarkable. On a clear day, you can see for up to 100 miles, making it one of the most extensive vistas in the eastern United States. The layered ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains stretch as far as the eye can see, creating a seemingly endless sea of rolling peaks and valleys. As the seasons change, the landscape transforms, with vibrant fall foliage and lush greenery in the summer.

Clingmans Dome's Unique Ecosystem

Beyond its incredible views, Clingmans Dome is also home to a unique and fragile ecosystem. The high elevation and cool, moist conditions make it a haven for various plant and animal species. Visitors can spot diverse flora and fauna, including spruce-fir forests, wildflowers, and black bears. To preserve this delicate environment, the National Park Service has implemented various conservation efforts, including the preservation of the native red spruce trees that thrive in the area.

Visiting Tips

When planning a trip to Clingmans Dome, here are some important tips to ensure a memorable experience:

1.        Timing: Visit during the late spring, summer, or early fall for the best weather and visibility.

2.        Hiking: The half-mile trail to the observation tower is steep, so be prepared for some exertion.     Dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.

3.        Altitude: The high elevation can lead to cooler temperatures, even in the summer, so bring layers to stay comfortable.

4.        Hours: The Clingmans Dome Road is typically open from April to late November. Check the National Park Service website for current operating hours.

5.        Wildlife: Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife in the area, but always maintain a safe distance and follow park guidelines.


Clingmans Dome in North Carolina is a natural wonder that stands as a testament to the stunning beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a hiker, or simply someone seeking awe-inspiring vistas, this destination is a must-visit. With its unparalleled views, unique ecosystem, and remarkable observation tower, Clingmans Dome offers an experience that will leave a lasting impression on anyone fortunate enough to explore this remarkable corner of North Carolina. Plan your trip, and prepare to be amazed by the grandeur of the Great Smoky Mountains from the top of Clingmans Dome.

Friday, November 3, 2023

I Am a Member of Team 4104


I own a 1960 GMC PD-4104.  It is a retired Greyhound bus that was converted into a motorhome in the 1970’s.  I purchased the bus fifteen years ago and I have travel with the bus all across the US.  It is my understanding that there are less than 1000 of these buses still on the road.

Being a fan, naturally I want to express my love of this vehicle with branded clothing and merchandise.  I want a t-shirt.  The protentional market for merchandise for this bus is limited by the number of survivors.  I decided to make my own. 

I created a t-shirt and a few other items.  I put these items up on eBay and Etsy for any other 4104 enthusiast to purchase if they so desired.  The problem is how to let others know that there is a product that is available on the internet that they may want.  I could advertise.  The problem is that the potential market is so small and most of the advertising reached people who have no interest in this vehicle.

I am a member of a Facebook group that is focused on the PD-4104.  There are seven thousand members of this group.  The problem is that people will overwhelm a group with for sale items if you don’t have any rules about posting things for sale.  I would do paid ads for the group but as of the writing of this post, this in not possible. 

It would be nice if I could develop a niche market for my items.  I need to rehab my bus and generating a little income could help in that effort.  There is little protentional for making money with such a limited market.   But every little bit helps. 

The Items are in my Etsy store.  The link is as follows:  


Thursday, October 5, 2023

Lost in the Music: Finding No Hope in the Words and Music of "If I Can Dream"


Music possesses the remarkable ability to speak for the soul in ways that words alone cannot fathom. It transcends linguistic boundaries, tapping into the deepest recesses of human emotions.

In 1971, I was seventeen and passionately in love for the first time.  Elton John’s ‘Your Song” played on the radio and became the voice of my heart, expressing joy, sorrow, love, and longing.   A year later it was “American Woman” by the Guess Who, an anthem that resonate my innermost feelings.

Lyrics weave stories and emotions, providing solace when words fail. A single note can evoke memories, conjuring forgotten moments, and igniting passions buried within.

The “Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel kept me company during my sad times and was counter balanced by “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.”

Whether it's the melancholic strains of a ballad or the exuberant beats of an anthem, a song resonates with our innermost feelings, offering a refuge for the soul to share its most profound thoughts and emotions with the world.

Lately it’s been “American Tune” by Paul Simon.  Like Paul says in this song “I’m just weary to my bones.” “When I think of the road we’re traveling on, I wonder what’s gone wrong.”  America has lost its way and if you can’t see it, I can promise you that there are no words that I could use to make you see.   

Over the years when I have felt like all is lost. I have turned to “If I Can Dream” by Elvis.  “There must be lights burning brighter somewhere.  If I can dream of a warmer sun . . . why won’t that sun appear?”  If the beaconing candle is still there, it is flickering and almost extinguished.

What a long strange trip it’s been.

Music and Emotions, Songs and Emotions, The Power of Lyrics, Emotional Impact of Music

Music as a Refuge, Songs and Memories, Paul Simon "American Tune"

Elvis "If I Can Dream", Reflecting on America, Lost in the Music

Soulful Music, Music and Innermost Feelings, Music and the Human Experience

Nostalgic Songs, Music and Expressing Emotions, Melancholic Ballads

Anthem Songs, Finding Hope in Music, Music and Societal Reflection

Music and Personal Journey

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Wages Verses Free Campsite in Compensation for Workamping

I recently saw a job post in a Workamping Facebook group for a volunteer for Roland State park in Alabama. I went to their web page is it states that monthly rates are $525. This is the rate that the general public pays to rent a site for a month.

The post was announcing that the park was seeking a workamper. They are offering a free "?" FHUsite in exchange for 32 hours of work per week. Here's the math. 32 x $7.25 state minimum wage equals $232 per week. There are 4.3 weeks in a month so that's 4.3 x 232 = $997. You are exchanging $997 in wages for a site they sell for $525. Workampers deserve better.

This is a bargained for exchange. This is not Volunteering.  There is a reason there are minimum wage laws. This employer is disguising work to avoid paying the legal minimum wage. This effects everyone who wants to pursue the workamping lifestyle. It has been said that if you don't like it don't workamp. The price of admission to what I call work wander repeat should not be poverty. Fortunately they can't send workamping jobs to Mexico or China where the prevailing wage is one forth what it is here.

One could argue that the after taxes net is about equal.  In other words, if paid $7.25 per hour, you would not net much more than $525.  

A person who works for $7.25 per hour for 32 hours a week does not pay any federal income tax. Probably no state income tax either. They would pay social security tax. The SS tax is 6.5 percent or about $18 a week.  There are a few other minor taxes.  The net per month is much higher that $525.

You need 30 quarters of work in your lifetime to qualify for social security, The more money you pay in the more you get when you retire. When you "volunteer" you can not collect unemployment insurance if you can't get another job after the season. Who is going to pay if you get injured on the job? Do volunteers get workman comp benefits? What about long term disability benefits. I've workamped for fifteen years and occasionally I drew unemployment. There is no real upside to giving away your time.

The only possible rational for this kind of bargaining is resume building.  If you have never workamped and want to get into the lifestyle, gaining experience by donating your time might be a reasonable thing to do.  

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