NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Guess I'll Be the First

A quick peek through the blogs I usually follow this morning doesn't show anyone talking about the Government shutdown.  Considering I follow so many travel blogs I find that interesting.  I'm assuming those of you out west who do all that boondocking on BLM and USFS land have little to be worried about.

Recent polls show that the vast majority of Americans find a shutdown as a negotiation tool to be unacceptable.  My daughter called me this morning and said she had gone to see her doctor before work and her doctor cannot believe how ridiculous the Tea Party Republicans are behaving.  Why are some people so against citizens having reasonable access to healthcare benefits?  They do know that the Supreme Court ruled Obama's Health Care Act constitutional, right?

What's going on in Wisconsin is just as bad.  Walker didn't accept federal funding for Medicaid and so in addition to costing the taxpayers more money, less citizens are going to qualify for Badgercare. Katrina desperately wants to move back over the state line by this time next year so she can vote Walker out of office.

A patient of ours I spoke with yesterday is curious to see if open enrollment will help her.  She is currently self-employed and paying almost $700 month for individual insurance with a $5000 deductible.  Yikes!  Hopefully it will cost much less than that for shoppers.  According to Walker if you make $24,000 and are supporting a family of four you don't need help and can buy your own insurance.  That's less than what my daughter makes to support herself and she can't afford to buy her own insurance so thank goodness she's still eligible to be on our plan. Confused about your health care insurance options?  Maybe this link will help.

Some idiots in Congress think the shutdown will "prove" that we can do just fine with less government.  Oh, by all means, who needs to take care of our National Parks, the Statue of Liberty or the Smithsonian?  Future generations can make do with pictures of what we used to have.

The NPS website is shut down so all my out of country readers can't be linked there to find out about our National Parks, but the Department of the Interior has a copy of a letter from President Obama to government workers regarding the shutdown.  Did you know that the federal government is America's largest employer?  Who needs all those support workers on Capitol Hill or funding for medical research?  I guess the Republicans didn't learn their lesson the last time about how this would affect their party in upcoming elections.  That's a lot of voters affected by this action.

As for us, we're off to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 17 days.  Employees at the park will go from 326 to 47, with services such as campgrounds and visitor centers being closed. We'll be staying in a campground outside the park (thank goodness we have reservations!) but it will be weird not to be able to go into the Visitor Centers. Hopefully we'll still have access to some trailheads because hiking and fall color are what it's all about for us this trip. October is the second busiest tourism month in the area with 1.1 million visitors usually arriving, but perhaps not this year.  Hopefully this will be over quickly, but you never know.

Newfound Gap Road will be open as it traverses the mountains directly through the park, but most other roads including Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and the one through Cades Cove will be closed.

Will our new truck that replaced the Dodge Ram above be driving this road in fall color soon?

Not only is GSMNP affected, but the Foothills Parkway and the Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed as well.  Should make for some interesting detours.  I know others will cancel their plans, affecting the local economy drastically, but we're going no matter what.  I'm hoping everyone in Washington D.C. stops acting like babies and gets to work doing the job they were elected to do so the public service employees affected by this shutdown can get back to work as well.

In the meantime, anyone with knowledge of trails not in GSMNP feel free to give me a heads up!


  1. We have the national health but even then the government is trying to screw us over

  2. Oh, trust me, I'm under no illusion that the current health care act will fix much, but it is a step in the right direction and some aspects are going to help a lot of people who otherwise wouldn't be getting any health care at all.

  3. I'm simply too angry to even comment, but closer to time, I can certainly help you with alternate trails. There are some good ones, but very few that will rival the Smokies trails in October. The statement locally is that even though Newfound Gap road is open, ALL trailheads are closed. I can't imagine that this will still be going on 17 days from now!

  4. We're locked up tighter than a drum at Tamarac NWR also. There is supposed to be no public access to or use of the refuge. While not the Smoky Mountains, visitation usually increases with leaf peepers at this time. There are also many who fish and hunt here now. With only one Law Enforcement guy for the whole region, I'm not sure what will happen. It was sad watching all of the employees leave by noon today. :(

  5. The GOP nutbars who shutdown the government because they want to (but can't) repeal Obamacare obviously didn't read the memo that Obamacare would open and run whether the government shutdown or not.

    With the Affordable Care Act functioning and zero chance of repealing or defunding it, what's their current rational for continuing? Oh....they're nuts??? I guess so.

  6. I bet if congressman were on the list of those on the payroll who would no longer get paid, none of this would have happened. Good point about us out west having a lot of options available for camping but no doubt NFS campgrounds have locked gates now. But yes, the wide open desert is a luxury for us.

  7. Thanks for your comment on my blog and thanks for helping to spread the word of the harm the Republicans are doing to federal workers, our wild places and our wildlife, along with the respect of other countries, and our economy.

  8. Amen sister! I feel the same way. I'm so angry that our congress is acting like a bunch of 2-year olds (especially the Republicans) I say lock them in a room with no food or bathroom access, and don't let the out until they agree on a plan. I'll bet they'd come up with a solution real quick!