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American Walkabout


Stormy Tennessee

It rained on my drive from Charlotte, NC through the Smokey Mountains and into Tennessee. It was a theme that seemed to follow me through the state. I arrived at Fall Creek Falls in the early afternoon and by then the sun was beating down and it was toasty as I explored the campgrounds. I have nothing negative to say about their setup, and my campsite was ideal giving me a gorgeous view of the forest. When I went to sleep (my first night camping alone), the heavens let loose. Thunder and lightning woke me up repeatedly throughout the night. The wind and rain were intense. I prayed for my safety. Amazingly everything in my tent stayed dry, nice job Hubba Hubba tent from L.L. Bean.!

I spent the next morning with some rigorous hiking to the falls and around the area. The main trails there are pretty short and I opted not to explore the longer trails. I was pretty tired from driving and the lack of sleep was taking its toll. I’m learning that the hard part for me isn’t to press on and get more miles in, but its hard for me to let my body chill when I need rest. I am threatened by guilt of all that I am not getting done. If I let myself, I could run on a hamster wheel to the end of my days with piles of projects completed beside me. But life isn’t all about finishing a check list. All those lists will never be finished. This trip isn’t about filling a list of everything I have done and seen. Its about being open to the opportunities of growth. And growth means stretching. I have definitely felt some stretching so far.

After a couple of beautiful days exploring Fall Creek Falls, I headed on to a little farm I found on hipcamp called Stillwater Farm. Its about 1.5 hours east of Memphis. If you happen to be in the area, I highly recommend it! Its a super sweet farm with sheep, donkeys, chickens, quail, horses and cows. Valeria is an outstanding host eager to share all about her farm, and help in any way she can. And get this, she is from Titusville! It’s a small world indeed!

I enjoyed some much needed yoga with a backdrop of horses grazing in the field and then a shower in her quaint bath house. While I was toweling off with her plush towels that made me feel like a spoiled queen, I heard the wind picking up outside. I quickly dressed and left all my stuff and ran to up-stake my tent. Valeria rode over in her golf cart to help. We moved my tent under the pole barn as the dark clouds rolled in angrily. The wind was so strong that she had to hold my tent in place while I staked it down, and then she hurried off to seek shelter. That storm was crazy, and it seriously scared me, but nothing bad happened. I opted to skip making dinner that night and just ate the last of my pasta salad out of the ziplock bag and drank a hoppy beer while I sat in the dark. It was a low moment, but it didn’t get me down. Two of the farm dogs came out for their nightly jaunt. They played heartily giving me a good laugh.

The next day I packed up in the summer heat and headed west to Arkansas. The windy country roads were a pure delight! Its what driving across the country is all about.

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  • Valeria Pitoni - June 27, 2019 reply

    It was an absolute joy to host you, my new Florida friend! Wish you could have stayed longer and enjoyed some better weather, but, hey, maybe next time? You are ALWAYS welcome here at the farm!

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