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My Wallet Went Bye Bye - Oh My!

It is evening of the same day of my last post, Sunday, October 6, 2019.

On October 4th I was up and out of the Motel 6 before the sun was up.  On the road, driving, driving, driving.  I was on I75 which will take me through Atlanta.  I have experienced the parking lot that is the Atlanta Interstate.  I have heard horror stories. 

I stopped at a wayside somewhere along the way.  I don't know if I was still on I75 when I stopped.  It had a short little hiking trail up to an overlook. 

I studied the map and I decided to by-pass Atlanta.  But instead of going West, I chose to go on East side.  Which goes over the smokey mountains.

Some of the highways I take are lovely.  After passing Dollywood.  I go to an Anytime Fitness in Sevierville.  I don't work out long because I am feeling so tired from all the driving.  Next door is an Aldi's.  I am hoping to camp and cook a healthy meal tonight.  I shop for some veggies to make my favorite dish.  As I am leaving the store I see a few chairs in the shade.  I plop down into one to make a call and check email or Facebook and the map again.

Then I went to my car.  I decided I needed to get ice for the cooler.  I saw a gas station right there, but I decided to stop a few miles up the road instead to create another driving break.

The traffic in Sevierville was bumper to bumper, three lanes each way, with many traffic lights that left us waiting and waiting.   Google maps finally turned me off onto a road with less traffic.  I sighed and right away saw a gas station, so I pulled in to get the ice. 

I looked in all the obvious places for my wallet.  I then check in-obvious places.  Then I check the places I have put it before again just to make sure.  Panic starts to set in.

It is hot, the sun is beating down.  I start to worry that I won't be able to re-trace my steps.  How can I get back to Anytime Fitness?  Where was I? 

Of course when you panic your brain stops working. 

I took a breath, looked around for some shade, and took my phone to the shade.  Then I remembered I had my wallet at Aldi's.  So I must have left it by the chairs or dropped it in the parking lot.

I studied the map and created a back-roads route back to the Aldi's which went a lot faster with a lot less traffic.  I might have enjoyed it if I wasn't panicking about my lost wallet with my credit card, bank card, and ID in it.

When I got back to the area I went in all the shops where someone might have turned in the wallet.  Someone, was it a Sister on the Fly or Sylvia Halpern or my friend Bill Delouche that told me to take pictures of my ID and my credit cards and important papers front and back in case they are lost.  They also told me to stash some cash in a different location.

I used the pictures for the information to call the credit card company and the bank.  The bank was confirming that my last charge was at Subway.  I said, "No."

There it was, proof that someone had picked up my wallet and was not turning it in to authorities but was taking the cash and the cards and was up-to-no-good.

I spotted the Subway next to the gas station nearby.  After I got off the phone with the bank I ran over there and asked the clerks.  The person had made two separate charges of $10 or less.  They obviously had done this before and knew that over a certain amount they would be required to sign or give a pin number. 

I had about $130 in cash in my secret stash.  I had been digging into it all trip and using cash for a lot of stuff. 

Can I get home on $130? I wondered. 

For some people, no sweat.  Smokey Mountains to Inverness, FL is a long day, but do-able.  But I was tired and stressed.

I started driving.  Up the beautiful winding roads into the Smokey Mountains.  I had so much enjoyed the drive on the way up to Wisconsin.  Now I was unable to enjoy it much. 

I stopped at a tourist information place.  I was relieved.  Someone there can tell me where to get a camp site while heading south.  One with electricity so I can cook my supper.  

I learned that none of the campgrounds in the park have electricity (except enough to run a C-Pap machine).

He circled some campgrounds on the other side of the park.  I was worried that they would be full by the time I got there.  It was a Friday night during the start of fall color season.

There were a lot of cars on the road through the mountains and in the visitor center parking lot.

 I messaged Debra Alford and told her that I might need her help.  I told her my wallet was gone.  She Face-timed me right away.  She said if I needed her charge card for something like a motel room or whatever, to just call her.  Thank you, Debra.  I was so shaken I was almost in tears. 

Breath.  Just Breath.

I got in the line of cars, motorcycles, and sports cars heading through the Smokey Mountains.  I tried to chill and enjoy the lovely sites.  And I did enjoy them, but not a lot.  I just wanted to get to a campground and rest and eat.  I had not eaten yet and it was already three o'clock.

 I drove into the first campground.  They were fully booked.  She told me there was tent camping sites available at Deep Creek.  They don't take reservations.  It is first come first serve.

As I was leaving the campground I passed a line of parked cars next to a field.  Elk!  There was one bull with huge antlers and his harem.  It reminded me of the tourists all gathering to take pictures in other national parks.  The Elk didn't seem to be bothered by all the attention.

 Google maps was taking me to Deep Creek.  It turned me down a very narrow road, that turned to gravel with pot-holes.  I thought of campers pulling trailers and realized this might be a tents only kind of campground.

 As I arrived I realized that Google had directed me the back route and that a longer, smoother route for trailers was available. 

 I found a spot where I could put my chair and sit by the creek.  It was lovely and quiet and away from the crowds.  There were other families camping in their tents nearby, but not too close.  And the sound of the brook muffled all other sounds.

No electricity to cook the dinner I was looking forward to.  I had bought a bag of salad.  I ate that instead.  It was good I didn't have electric.  I couldn't work.  My leg was giving me problems so I couldn't walk.  I could sit.  Just sit by the creek.  Read a bit.  And sit.

No bugs buzzing, no rain, the camp site was only $21 and the registration machine took cash.  It's all good, I thought.  It would be better with a beer or bottle of wine, I thought. 

Maybe I will just stay another night.  Not drive for a day.  But then I remembered I don't have electricity to make coffee.  And I want to get home before my money gives out.

I think this was one of the best camp sites of my whole trip.


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