Thursday, December 31, 2020

A Pre-Christmas Drive in the Country + Christmas Snow!

OK…so I’m backtracking in my search for blogger material!  What would you expect?  We are in a pandemic, which is growing more serious daily.  We are both past that ‘magic high risk age’ for Covid-19 vulnerability and we have been in lock-down except for grocery runs as necessary, take-out food orders as sanity demands, medical appointments if needed and, fortunately we do go on an occasional drive in the country.

The good news is that we live in a beautiful area and there are hundreds of back roads to explore.  The sights along the way don’t care about Covid-19 and they are just there to be enjoyed…

Laurie took this photo of a lovely sunrise a couple of weeks before Christmas.  For those that know us, it was close to a miracle that we were up in time to see such a sight.  We tend to go to bed late and get up late…

So off we went on a drive through the countryside.  We have rivers, lakes, forests, fields, foothills, rocks and mountains as well as a plethora of local roads with plenty of dead-ends and narrow right of ways.

Much to our surprise, we also have ‘hedgerows’.  While they’re common in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, you don’t often see them in the USA.  Also, in the United Kingdom and Ireland, they are planted right up against the road, making driving on narrow roads a real challenge!

Basically, a hedgerow is a fence formed by closely planting a row of scrubs or bushes…in this case of the evergreen variety.  Note: In the United Kingdom, there are still about 500,000 miles of hedgerow but it is only about half the amount that existed before WWII.

We also have alpacas! (Along with their goat friends) The alpaca, like the llama, vicuna and guanaco, are all species of South American camelid mammals.  Alpacas are considerably smaller than the better known llama but like the llama, they have been domesticated.  Alpacas are bred specifically for their fiber.  It’s used to make fine knitted and woven items. The fiber comes in 16 different colors as classified in the USA.

Did you know that there are more than 53,000 alpacas in the USA?  Tennessee currently has just over 4,000 of them.  New York has the largest population of alpacas with about 26,000.  Other states with large numbers of alpacas include Washington, Colorado, Oregon, California and Pennsylvania.

Along the way, as we crossed US Hwy. 411 near Greenback Tennessee, there was this clever reminder of Christmas, a creative haystack ode to Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. 

We stayed off the main roads much of the way…and in one instance we were rewarded with this old single lane bridge over a creek.  Most roads in East Tennessee are well populated with homes and small farms along the way.  Along this road, we encountered no other vehicles and very few homes.

Loved this big old tree with the Smoky Mountains off in the distance!

Relaxing and bucolic views aren't they?  We're always wondering what sights we'll see around the next turn or over the next hill...

Here we have competing tree photos.  Which one do you like best…Laurie’s or my version?  I’m not telling you which photo belongs to who either!

As we headed back toward our home after about 2 hours of exploration, we drove by one of the upper ends of Tellico Lake with its 357 miles of shoreline.  This picture was taken from a lakeside community just east of US Hwy 411.  Nice views of the distant mountains…

…and so ended our drive in the country.

…and then along came Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I just wanted to share a few photos of a white Christmas in East Tennessee.  The last time we had a white Christmas here was in 2010… Last year we had 2.5 inches of snow in Loudon County all winter.  This year we had that much for Christmas!  It was pretty and we didn’t have to go anywhere.  Actually, when we have even a hint of snow on the roads around here, everything stops and schools close.

On this occasion it did take a couple of days for all the snow to melt.  The high temperature here on New Years Day will be 68F, but it will be raining.  After living in the Chicago area for almost 3 decades, we’ll take rain over a snowstorm any time!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!




Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave and Laurie



  1. Dave, our best wishes to you and Laurie for a Happier New Year. It's always fun to go exploring on back roads and we may be doing more of that soon. We had a lot of fun on our early fall excursions, then some colder weather and even a snowfall came in and then it was the holiday season, amazing how fast it came and went this year. yes, in a pandemic it can be hard to think of what to blog about, but you always have some delicious food posts and I should know NOT to read them when hungry. See you in 2021.

  2. Other than the Korner Store hay bail shot, I couldn't tell where you were in the others. I loved our White Christmas.

  3. Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy 2021, friend David! I safely made it back from Mexico, am quarantining now til Jan14 ... Ali from da lil store next door is supplying me with groceries ... He is of afghan decent ... he say to me: "No problem, Christina, I'll brrrink you grrrocerrries" ... smiles ...Sending love, c.

  4. Great country roads, and I love the alpacas! They make me laugh every time I see them. We've got plenty of snow here and another round of it expected tonight and tomorrow morning. Here's wishing you and Laurie the best in 2021! Happy New Year!

  5. the views are beautiful...lake and snow so amazing...
    aww....alpaca...cute animal.

    Happy healthy new year.