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Diversion Vortex?!?!
Written By: O.C.fotoguy
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Diversion Vortex?!?!
Diversion Vortex?!?!
Diversion Vortex?!?!
Diversion Vortex?!?!
Diversion Vortex?!?!
Diversion Vortex?!?!

    I decided to overnight north of Birmingham, Ala., so I wouldn’t have to deal with rush hour in the morning on my way driving towards the Walls of Jericho, and found Jim’N Nick BarBQ restaurant across from MegaMart just off U.S. Rt. 65 in Gardenville, Ala., and had a delectable meal. The next day’s forecast I heard on the radio contained the term, Diversion Vortex?!?!  What the H--- is that? Another mystery weather guesser term! Is it a Polar Vortex’s ugly step relation? The forecast caused me to scrap my plans to visit the Walls of Jericho, which is tucked away up a creek in the southern Appalachian Mountains. That’s a holler in West Virginia terms, where I’ve spent a while. The radio guy who gave the forecast also mentioned flash floods, but not as a warning. He said, “there would occur!” That means a tourist dummy should not go wandering around up dirt roads along a creek if they have a lick of sense. I do give myself credit for having a couple grains of sense.
    So, I’ve charted a driving course to where I hope to see carnivorous plants at Green Swamp near Wilmington, N.C. My map doesn’t have topographic features or elevation and I didn’t realize the way was through the Great Smokey Mountains, another place I’m not familiar with a Diversion Vortex threatening. Plus, I’ve stopped several times to see if I’ve a flat tire, because of the vibration I feel while driving. I checked the tires and they looked fine. I concentrated on the front tires as I headed towards Cleveland, N.C. The vibration became too much and I knew I needed to get a mechanic’s help. I spotted a shop near the MegaMart that works on trucks and was there when they opened the next morning. I explained the vibration and they considered my slide-in camper’s weight may’ve caused the wheels to need balancing or a front end alignment. I’d already listened to the engine. It idled quietly without vibrating and I could not see any damage underneath the truck. They put some weights on the front tires, but they basically were OK. Then they checked the rear tires. As the man raised one of the tires to put it on the balancing machine, he said, here’s the culprit. It was obvious- the tread was separating. The nylon/steel bands in the tires interior had broken. The other rear tire was starting to do the same, so replacing the tires at a tune of $300/tire solved the problem. I’m glad where the problem got bad enough to need fixing that someone was available to do it. It could’ve happened way up the holler, in the everglades, or out in the desert. I guess all those washboard rough roads to my nowherelands I’m so fond of took their toll. Moral of that story is “only steel belted ten ply tires go on my truck; no nylon/steel belted 10 ply ones.”  Now I know!
    I felt the vibration as I drove to Vidalia, Arkansas, across the Mississippi River from Natchez, Ms., where I stopped to get tamales at Fat Mama’s, that I remembered from several years ago when Natchez had their Blues Festival in April. I remember the owner was always there.  This time he wasn’t and the tamales weren’t the same. They tasted like deep fried lumps of highly salted and peppered corn meal. Like so many small family run restaurants that I’ve enjoyed across the warm parts of our country in the winter, they have been bought by corporations and the personal uniqueness is gone. A lot has been lost! Natchez, which is located high above the Mississippi, has great views of the River, so I took a walk and enjoyed them.
    Even though a vortex was occurring with torrents of rain where U.S. Rt. 64 that I was driving on cuts through the mountains, there were lots of white water rafting areas on the Ocee River. That’s where the white water events happened when the Olympics were held in Atlanta several years ago.  There were people dressed in parkas waiting to climb into rafts and be launched into the rapids. No thanks, not at 36 degrees; actually I probably would not do it if it was 90 degrees! I’d have loved to have stopped to get some photos of the mountains, gorges, river, and rafters, but I knew I had to drive away from this Vortex.  Next year I’ll give this route another try, check out the Walls of Jericho and the Smokey Mountains views.
    I escaped the vortex and made it to the Green Swamp, but it hadn’t gotten warm enough yet on this fifteenth of April for the Pitcher Plants to bloom, yet. I did see some that were about to bloom though, and dried brown remnants of last Summer’s plants. I look forward to getting back here. Maybe this September, while Ocean City enjoys Bike Week, I’ll be enjoying the meat eater’s action in the silence of the Swamp.
    Here in O.C. I’m ready for Fall’s slower pace, now that Summer is officially over, as DJ Batman says. Half-priced dinners and menus will be starting, prices for ACBs will be going down, there’ll be plenty of warm days, SunFest is just around the corner and there are still lots of crabs to be caught and eaten.
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy more photos @
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