#5TF: Great Outdoors

Five Thought Friday Challenge:  Week 8 – August 12 – 18, 2017

If you happen to be in the path of Monday’s eclipse then you’ve no doubt noticed the rampant commercialization of this rare astronomical phenomenon. We found out firsthand when we went in search of the special viewing glasses that are needed to watch the event. We read on Facebook that Walmart had the glasses for $1 so one evening we made our way over to pick up a few pairs, only to find that yes indeed, Walmart does have Eclipse glasses. They have both shot glasses and drinking glasses (along with koozies, t-shirts, and hats) but no viewing glasses. In fact, our town of 35,734 people has somehow managed to scoop up every single pair of free or cheap eclipse viewing glasses offered by the public library, Chamber of Commerce, various businesses, and yes, even Walmart. And not always for their own use, mind you. Today, I listed an old cell phone on OfferUp and saw a few folks selling ISO Eclipse glasses for a mere $10 per pair.

Our local paper has warned that we should not go out this weekend and especially on Monday if we can help it. They want to make sure all the tourists who are supposed to flock here for the “Gallatin Eclipse Encounter” have plenty of places to park and as little traffic as possible during their stay. We have lots to offer them too – a Sip ‘N Stroll of the downtown area, a Bluegrass Jam, and an all-day party in the park. I’d love to know what the economic impact of this 2 minute 40 second event will be for our city and how we’ll use that money to better our community (hint, hint politicians…though I doubt you’ll ever see this post anyway).

Now onward and upward to better things…

One thing I really enjoyed this week was car camping in Ocoee, TN and waterwater rafting the next day. (And by car camping, I mean we literally slept in the car!) You can read all about our fun adventure here: Our High Country Adventure

I am grateful that we made it out of Deliverance country alive. Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad. But winding our way up a gravel one-lane switchback road sure made for a very scary experience and arriving at the end of it to find ourselves hiking down a narrow ledge alongside some strange (and very chatty) folks in flip-flops didn’t help matters much either. I am not sure how they made it down at all. We had on our best hiking shoes and we stumbled more than a few times ourselves.

Angie says that she’s grateful that we did not have to go to the grocery store before or during this trip and that the entire weekend only cost us $44, including the rafting trip.

I need to let go of the notion that we’re ever going to be able to walk outside our house without getting eaten alive by some sort of bug. We won our battle against the mosquitoes by using a combo of creamy baby lotion and citronella spray but the chiggers at our campsite outnumbered us 1,000 to 1. Poor Angie got the worst of it. Almost a week later and she still looks like she has the measles.

We made progress on our hiking/walking goal, adding 12 miles to our tally during our 2-day outing. We also canned 3 more quarts of tomatoes and made great strides in meal-prep this week. We spent Monday afternoon chopping and prepping ingredients for a veggie soup that we shared with my Mom and Ticky on Tuesday and a squash lasagna that lasted for 2 dinners. The few hours of effort we put in that day more than paid off during the week when we had meals ready to go after a long day of mowing or playing outside with the little one. I think this coming week, we may do a pot of beans and rice and have variations of Latin American dishes for the week (like tacos, arroz con pollo, and veggie quesadillas).

The funniest thing that happened this week is really too embarrassing to be shared. Let’s just say, our campsite was a long way from the potty and sometimes your hear really strange noises when you’re attempting to pee in the woods at night (like owls or perhaps your partner laughing at you for some still unknown reason). Thank goodness I restocked the wet wipes in our car!

A close runner up to this incident was probably the look on our faces when we realized we were headed straight uphill on a gravel road in a car with a 1.4 L 4 cylinder engine. To put that in perspective, the Jeep Wrangler that passed us about a mile before the “terrifying switchback” probably had an engine 3 times that size and it was still having a hard time pulling the hill. After what seemed like forever, we somehow managed to make it to the top – to the main road – the road that we could have taken to get to our destination instead…if only our GPS wasn’t possessed by demons!

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