Tuesday, March 16

Leaving Delray

Thomas Edison with a couple of friends

For our final dinner in Delray Tim fixed us giant grilled shrimp and Florida Stone crabs. It was a great meal to end our vacation on the East Coast of Florida. Thursday morning we said goodbye, dropped off a geocoin that we had previously picked up in Arizona and headed across Alligator Alley under cloudy skies for John & Daphne's in Fort Myers. The sky cleared by the time we arrived and they took us to the Thomas Edison - Henry Ford`museum. Edison bought property in Fort Myers for his winter home in 1895. He came here for winter relaxation with his family and to conduct botany studies. Henry Ford, who had been employed by Edison for 2 years before he started building cars also bought a piece of property next to Edison's. Edison did the planning for the property from the artesian wells for the swimming pool to the landscaping and home and lab designs.

We enjoyed our brief stay with John & Daphne, having a nice dinner and some evening conversation.

Daphne, Joe and Ellen, Emma, John and Cricket

Then Friday we were bound for Georgia under threatening skies. The clouds opened up and we had some torrential rainfall to the other side of Tampa. When Ellen checked in to our Motel in Tifton , GA she heard stories of lots of cars off the road both North and South of us. Rt. 75 North from Fort Myers to the Florida Border was very interesting. Lot's of terrain changes. However in Georgia Rt. 75 becomes a billboard infested road. I-hop, sex, land deals, you name it and it is advertised. Interesting move from fireworks to sex. We are hoping that as we get further in the billboards will disappear.
We left Tifton Georgia heading for the Great Smoky National Forest. As we were heading north I noticed that my gps was telling me that I was going about 2 mph less than what was being shown on my car speedometer. I guess that we haven't gone as far as we thought or my mileage isn't quite as good. The billboards continued to plague us on our trip north until after Gainesville. Where the terrain also changed and we were able to see the mountains we were heading for. We stopped at Tallulah Gorge for pictures and a break. The Great Walenda crossed the gorge on a wire in 1970, 6 years later he died in Puerto Rico attempting another high wire crossing. In Dillard we saw our first snow on the way north and we were still in Georgia.As we drove up through the Great Smoky National Park, the temperature began to drop and the rain turned to snow. We were not in a blizzard but the snow was definitely coming down and the visibility was very poor.

At the top of Newfound Gap, one foot in TN, One foot in NC

We are hoping that this storm is going to clear tomorrow so we can get some hiking in. After coming down from the ridge we entered Gatlinburg to a horrendous traffic jam. We found out that we had just missed the Santa Claus parade and traffic was backed up from one end of the town to the other. Found a place to stay and are hoping for a better day Sunday.

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