Saturday, October 10, 2009


We all know the old saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Our full timing life in Penny the Pace is no exception. When I posted my blog last week I failed to mention that October 3rd was the fifth anniversary of the day we sold our house and moved into Penny full time. Neither Phil nor I have looked back and have had no regrets. So, to our readers who wonder how long we can keep up this lifestyle, our response continues to be, “as long as we can.” We have barely scratched the surface of places to go and things to see in our wonderful country so we encourage you to … stay tuned!

After our wonderful family reunion last weekend, I needed a day to recover. I LOVE nothing more than spending time with my family but my stamina for that sort of excitement lessens with each passing year. In the middle of the afternoon the next day we finally went looking for a place to have “linner” and taking the advice of our “Carmen” Garmin GPS, we wandered for miles in the vicinity of the Raccoon Valley Escapees RV Park near Heiskell, TN without success. Three of the local restaurants near by listed under “food” were no longer in business so we ended up at our old standby, Cracker Barrel for a delicious meal.

Yes, the place was busy and noisy (it was Sunday and late in the day because we had spent a couple hours trying to find a smaller, local eatery) but we were seated promptly and our waitperson was efficient and the food was excellent (as usual). It seems to get more difficult all the time to find a good place to eat off the beaten path and that is frustrating. We often wonder if an update or a newer GPS would help (ours was purchased going on three years ago) then talk ourselves out of it each time. Then happily destiny intervened the next day on Monday. Before we went to Wal*Mart to do some shopping we stumbled across a tiny little place in a strip mall called “Sami’s Café on the outskirts of Knoxville where Phil had the best restaurant created Rueben sandwich he had tasted in years! My home cooked bowl of chili was better than most and since it is pretty hard to screw up a grilled cheese sandwich my “linner” was also pretty good. They serve breakfast and lunch only and there were people waiting to be seated the whole time we were there.

Movie Review: Tuesday afternoon we went to see “The Informant” starring a pudgy Matt Damon. He must have had a munching good time gaining all that weight for this role and it was not the sort of movie we expected. Loosely based on a true story, the offbeat comedy also had some serious moments and kept us guessing about the main character’s good sense and objectives. However, there was a dark side as well, dealing with habitual lying and ulterior motives but the ending was a bit of a surprise and somewhat disappointing. It started out as a white knight, whistleblower, and cheer on the good guy type story and ended with an unexpected turn of events. Our advice: wait for the DVD.

On Wednesday we drove back to visit with my cousins Dick and Doris and took them out to dinner. It was our small way of saying “thank you” for their hospitality and hard work putting together and making the family reunion happen. We had a wonderful meal at lakeside on the deck of a charming restaurant near their home and spent many delightful hours getting to know each other. The next morning, Dick had an appointment to go into the hospital for hip replacement surgery. We haven’t heard how he is doing but I am going on the premise that “no news is good news.”

Now, I have an admission to make. Somehow, someway, all of our photos taken at the famous Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC this past Thursday were accidentally deleted from our camera. All our pictures were taken outside and we didn’t have a lot of them because no photography was allowed indoors so even though we were there for several hours … we can’t prove it! :) Click on the link and take a look at this magnificent “castle”—the largest private home (250 rooms) in America. Being there and touring this gloriously restored home from the basement to the fourth floor is awe inspiring in every direction and I can happily mark off another item from my “bucket list.”

Tomorrow, we are driving north to pay another visit to my cousin, Lee aka “Sissy” and her husband, Warner who live near Jamestown, TN. You might remember we were there a few months ago and since she couldn’t make it to the family reunion, we are taking her a CD copy of the photos taken that day and say goodbye before we turn our trusty Penny the Pace south for the winter early next week.

Pictures are few this week … hopefully, we will have better luck next week!

Thanks for stopping by,
Until next time …


  1. Sorry you couldn't find a nice local restaurant! We have absolutely stopped going to Cracker Barrel. Yes their food is always tasty and dependable, but it's so the SAME everywhere. You guys and we can agree to disagree about where to eat, but we can still be friends otherwise!

    Did you see our blog about Sparky's in Hatch, NM? Or Rodney's in Willcox, AZ? Rodney's was a strange place, but the food was good, and it was THE place to eat at the Rex Allen Days festival.

  2. Anonymous1:36 PM

    This is a test

  3. OH GASP!!! I've been the Biltmore! We were there in the spring with the Azalea's were in full bloom and I think at that time we were allowed limited photography inside. I would have Loved to have seen photo's :) It's been many years. One of my favorite city's in the US the visit.

  4. OK - who deleted the photos???

  5. I accidentally deleted this comment so am copy and pasting in it for Kathy:

    "Sounds like you managed to get a lot of family time in before going to warmer weather. The book is at a standstill. I hate to admit it, but the whole "anonymous" tirade got me down. Now that they are gone you would think I could snap back, but they keep coming back. I don't want to block any comments or moderate them. This is an exercise in putting my writing (flaws and all) out there. I guess my skin is not as thick as I had thought it to be.

    On a brighter note, my other blog (Letters To Gavin) has sparked the interest of a publisher. I will be working on it more as soon as our big Halloween party is over. Maybe my snarky attitude is more acceptable out of the mouth of a dog! As Wall-E grows he is becoming a very sweet natured dog. Unfortunately, he is still quite homely.....

    Have a good trip south and drive safe!"

  6. Jerry and Suzy,
    We ate lunch at Rodney's just to say we did. I had a hot dog and Phil had a hamburger. As the only customers in the big "dining room" next door we were left alone after the food was delivered. A bit spooky. Food was okay. I can imagine he does a booming business during Rex Allen Days.

  7. Anonymous1:57 PM

    I've always wanted to go to the Biltmore Estate - and Ashville in general. "Someday" when we do our big trip it will be a must-see!

  8. Hi, I just discovered your blog, we move out of our house next week and will start out in our motorhome looking for a new place to live and to set up my ceramic studio. I look forward to hearing about your adventures. I'll be chronicaling ours on my blog