Da Bears

We will explain our encounters with Da Bears, but first we must tell you about our fabulous weekend with our friends Sue & Buzz Rittenberg in Marietta, Georgia.  We arrived at the Rittenberg’s home late Friday afternoon.  We quickly made ourselves at home and enjoyed true southern hospitality, sweet tea and snacks on their screened in porch.   Fourteen years ago the Rittenbergs moved to San Ramon with their twin daughters Ali and Lexie. The girls played soccer with Emily and we all became instant friends. Unfortunately, Lexus had other plans for Buzz and they were relocated to the Atlanta area after only 2 years. Sue and I stayed in touch over the years, so there was no question that our trip would include a stop in Marietta.  Dinner was at Pure Taqueria, their favorite Mexican restaurant in Roswell.  We enjoyed a pitcher of margaritas, guacamole, and chips as we caught up on each others lives.

Saturday began with a delicious home cooked breakfast and then we were off to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.  Kennesaw was one of the key battles in Sherman’s Atlanta campaign.  We checked out the information in the visitor’s center and then climbed the 1800 foot mountain (about 1.2 miles).  Here are the views of downtown Atlanta and midtown Atlanta.

Our strenuous hike was rewarded with a perfectly yummy lunch of chicken salad and pita bread topped with hummus and marinated tomatoes, and of course sweet tea.

After lunch, Sue and I were on a shopping mission to find me a hat or fascinator that I could wear to the Kentucky Derby next weekend.  Yes, Bob and I will be attending the 140th Kentucky Derby. You’ll have to read our blog next week to see what I bought.

We met back up with the boys and Buzz took us for a spin in the car to tour all the hot spots around the Atlanta area.  Our favorite stop was visiting their daughter, Lexie and her husband Nick at their new home (followers will remember we visited Lexie’s twin Ali in Asheville, NC).

Lexie, Nick, and their dog Bailey

Lexie, Nick, and their dog Bailey

We finished off the day with the perfect dinner, sitting outdoors in midtown Atlanta at Empire State South.  We enjoyed a mildly warm evening, no humidity, and a light breeze. For our foodie followers, we dined on charcuterie, halibut, and pork loin.  

Dinner with Buzz and Sue

Dinner with Buzz and Sue


Pork Loin & Halibut

Pork Loin & Halibut

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough taking pictures of dessert before it was devoured, but we had crispy peanut butter bon bons and chocolate ice cream sandwiches.

Lexie & Nick joined us for another home cooked brunch on Sunday morning before we had to sadly say our goodbyes and load up the “old home” and be on our way.  It was wonderful seeing Lexie and getting to know Nick.  They are a lovely couple and we hope to see them again soon.  Thank you to Sue and Buzz for your generous hospitality.  The weekend went way too fast and we look forward to future travels together.

We are now in Gatlinburg, Tennessee waiting for a few thunderstorms to pass through. Today was nice so we took advantage and drove through the Smokey Mountain National Park to it’s highest point, Clingman’s Dome (6643′).  The views from the top were spectacular and…….smokey.

Clingman's Dome

Clingman’s Dome / Smokey Mountains

And it turns out that the Appalachian Trail runs directly through Clingman’s Dome, so we “hiked” a mile of the A.T. back to the parking lot (only 2179 miles to go).


Appalachian Trail

All the views were great but the best sights were Da Bears!  The park is known for it’s 1500 Black bears and we were lucky enough to run into a couple of them on our tour.  Click the links below for our brief bear videos.



Weather permitting we plan to hike more tomorrow and Wednesday before leaving for Louisville.

Old Home on the Smokey Mountain Range Rover

Old Home on the Smokey Mountain Range Rover












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3 Responses to Da Bears

  1. Shiera says:

    I am just loving your adventures. I would like to point out that the focus of your adventure is always food! I have a great idea for a book–Eating across America! I’ll help you publish it. You’ll make millions! All is well here. Busy photography season and putting together my own road trip with Allen in June heading north for hiking in Yellowstone, Glacier, and Canada. Hugs from Mia!

  2. The Smokies and the A.T. look amazing, and your condo looks like a pretty nice place to wait out the weather too — Glad you’re away from the tornado zone!! Looking forward to seeing Robin’s headpiece!

  3. susanv1986 says:

    We had a fabulous time with you both–filling up on conversation, food and sweet tea. It went by so quickly, and we would have loved another 4 weeks with you. As we said, you’ve given all of your good friends and family a picture of how a year traveling with your best friend looks. DELIGHTFUL.

    Save travels as you head into Chicago for a month-long settling in.

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