I'm now on vacation! I spent most of yesterday driving, and by doing so I managed to miss all the bad weather. I got out of the Dallas area before the morning rain hit and had only about a five-minute patch of needing windshield wipers along the way. I had a few spots of mist while driving down major roads, and then I got off onto the scenic route through the mountains, where the mist came a little lower to ground level.
And then I hit one of the higher mountain scenic routes, up in the mountains instead of winding around the base, and there the mist got a little more intense. Like this, where it looks like the mountain is on fire between the fall colors in the trees and the strategically placed wisps of mist.
It got a lot more intense from there, where the fog was really dense. I was navigating by the stripes on the road, and all I could see were the trees right beside the road. It was rather eerie and beautiful, and iTunes cooperated by providing just the right soundtrack. Loreena McKennitt's "Dante's Prayer," the one that starts with the Russian choir, is just the thing for driving through dense fog.
And then the fog cleared a bit as I got to the other side, and it was almost sunny.
I want to make that drive again in better weather because it was gorgeous. There were a few spots where hiking trails crossed the road, so I need to look into hiking venues there. The problem is that there don't seem to be too many places to stay anywhere nearby.
I had lunch at a cute little restaurant in a restored passenger train car (amazing fried chicken, the house specialty) and made it to the state park where I'm staying right at check in. I'd just unloaded my car when the afternoon storm hit. We got some wind, lots of rain, and some spectacular lightning (especially so seen from the top of a mountain). Now it's cool and clear. This is the view from my room's porch, where I had breakfast.
And now it's time to hit the hiking trails. There's a tour of the nearby caves this afternoon that I plan to take. Otherwise, I'm just enjoying the peace. It's weird not to hear any road noise at all. I live on a major street, so it's just a part of the background, but I'm so far removed from anything other than the drive up to the lodge that I can't hear anything -- and I think I had the entire lodge to myself last night, unless someone else got in after I got the car unloaded. Mine was the only car in the lot.
(The wi-fi is slow, so I did "web-sized" versions of the photos)