Over the 4th of July weekend, Willie and I took a little road trip to the western part of North Carolina and the eastern part of Tennessee.
After an overnight stay in Johnson City, where we stayed at Penny's house (Willie's dad's girlfriend) and heard some great bluegrass music, we drove a little north to Lake Watauga, where Penny has a boat house on the lake.
And although I had my first "Impeach Obama" bumper sticker sighting at the lake, it sure was pretty:
And exciting to sleep on a boat house complete with a toilet incinerator:
We then crossed over the NC border en route to Willie's grandma's mountain house.
Although I had been to the house a few times before, on this particular visit, I attended my very first rodeo.
I still regret not taking my first pony ride.
The cowboys pre-rodeo.
The opening credits of the rodeo came complete with lady cowboy riders, the Confederate flag, and about three different versions of "America the Beautiful."
After saying the Plede of Allegiance and singing the "Star Spangled Banner" ("the greatest song about the greatest country ever born," according to the rodeo MC), the audience stood and bowed their heads for the cowboy prayer. (My head was not bowed, but my mouth was gaping.)
And then it was time for the bareback riding event, where the cowboys attempt to stay on a bucking horse, holding on by just one hand tucked into the rigging (or whatever it's called), long enough to qualify past the buzzer.
Willie and I agreed that the bucking horses reminded us a little of Fonzie when he gets loose from the house.
And then it was time to go back up the mountain...
Visit some old friends...
(This cow would go nicely with my collection of white pets.)
And relax in the round house on Big Pine.
It was sad to leave,
But nothing that a little trip to Waffle House couldn't fix: