How wonderful it was to come back from a visit to Charlotte, N.C., only to be greeted by sleet as we were unloading our car. To make matters much worse, when we arose the next morning, there was nearly an inch of snow on our yard. How surprised I was to not find one single Dandelion blooming anywhere on our property. The day before, we were sitting in the Great American Ball Park watching the Cincinnati Reds beat up on the Tampa Bay Rays. As we were leaving the parking garage, the temperature was around 86 degrees and the local weathermen were talking about snow coming into town on Monday or Tuesday.
This had been our second trip to the beautiful state of North Carolina to visit my sister and brother in-law. They always make us feel right at home while visiting them. Within a few short steps of our bedroom, or a few turns on my wheelchair, I could find myself basking in a pool filled with 45 to 50 degree water. Yes, even though the weather was beautiful and the daytime temperatures were at or surpassing 70 degrees, the pool water had not yet caught up with the air temperature. After about three days of swimming in the cold water, I opted to take advantage of their hot tub, which had been set to around 80 degrees or so. Besides having a fantastic time visiting with family, there were also two of the most lovable Basset hounds you could ever meet. They are brother and sister, and kept me well entertained the entire time we were there.
Besides getting a manicure and pedicure (yes, I do enjoy such things), we also had a great time riding through the Smoky Mountains. My brother in-law, Jim, took us on a winding, hang-on-to-your-seat belt drive along a two-lane highway that afforded us many spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Many of the trees had not yet begun to show their green leaves, but that gave us a more detailed look into the forested mountainsides, where we hoped to catch a glimpse of a black bear or some other mountain wildlife. Mostly we saw wild turkeys and the occasional roadkill on our travels. As it neared lunchtime, we made a quick stop at a local winery and then found ourselves dining in a quaint little eatery. We spent hours exploring the hills and hollers of western North Carolina, and did not arrive back to Charlotte until late in the evening. Like most vacations, our time seemed to fly by way too quickly. Before I knew it, we were once again on the road, heading toward central Indiana. But first we were going to make a stop in Cincinnati for a couple of days.