June 23 Fancy Gap to Buchanan

Today was a travel day. We left the cute Fancy Gap Cabins and Campground and headed northeast. Fancy Gap Campground was pretty nice with full hookups, wifi, good scenery and great satellite reception. Unfortunately, the RV spots are pretty tight and can be challenging to back into, particularly by the backing handicapped, like me. The ground is steep near the RV spaces and many a spare tire dragged in the gravel as some folks departed.
The drive to our next destination was fairly mundane because we used the Interstate system for almost the whole trip. We took I-77 to I-81, exiting the freeway near the town of Buchanan. We then took some skinny back roads to Middle Creek Campground. It was a nice drive but an abundance of the trees shading the roads we took haven’t been trimmed in a while and we did a lot of dodging of low overhanging limbs and roadside brush. We put a new downspout on the trailer’s rear right corner at Fancy Gap and we were hoping it would remain in place for more than one day.
When we finally got to Middle Creek, we were only moderately disappointed. We were assigned a space that was only partially occupied by a dentally-challenged hillbilly and his spherical date and, although the camp staff directed the shit kicker to move his stuff into one space, they didn’t hang around to see if he would comply. When I attempted to communicate with the idiot, he became argumentative and it was easier for us to just let him encroach into our space. It rained cats and dogs later in the day and I hope he and his hideous mate spent a nice, wet evening in his tent. There are no sewer hookups at the sites and the dump station is inaccessible for everyone except circus contortionists.
The camp staff doesn’t do much of a job maintaining order here. There are loud dirt bikes doing wheelies on the road in front of our space. Nobody conforms to the 5 mph park speed limit, choosing to do about 30 instead. I hope nobody gets squished. The quiet hours of 10:00 PM to 8:00 AM are anything but quiet with strange noises being heard throughout the night.

June 22 Maintenance day

We got a slow start this morning, maybe because we knew we would be spending the day on maintenance. We did some caulking work on the trailer, I fiddled around with the truck some and I dumped the waste tanks.
When we returned from our drive yesterday, we noted there was a large tree limb squatting on our trailer roof. Peggy got up on the ladder and broomed the limb off the roof. The strange thing about the limb was that it fell onto our roof when we were in Lenoir, NC, a few days ago but managed to remain there despite us pulling the trailer around about a thousand corners and up 2000 feet in elevation. Weird.

June 21 Blue Ridge & Galax

We slid out onto the Blue Ridge Parkway again today, this time going south. We started out at Fancy Gap Cabins and Campground where we are currently set up and headed for the North Carolina border. There are tons of flowers along the roads and the rhododendrons are in bloom. Our first stop was at the Blue Ridge Music Center where I had an emergency loaf pinch and Peggy picked up some CDs of local hillbilly music. I felt much better but I haven’t heard the music yet.
A few miles further south, we turned off on a side road and headed for the town of Galax which I seem to remember as a planet in the old Superman comics. It turned out to be a nice, small city with some gorgeous architecture, particularly the residential construction. There is also quite a bit of Americana and yard art strewn about the area. We even found a Borg. We also passed a house called the J. Sidna Allen house which was the home of a early 20th Century lunatic who shot off a cop’s finger and then was involved in a massive shootout at the courthouse when he did not agree with the length of his sentence. Four people were killed, nineteen wounded. Bullet holes can still be found in the walls of the courthouse. J.Sidna escaped for a while but he and his son were ultimately electrocuted for being bad. The local historical society got possession of the house recently and promptly built a foundation beneath it since the house was originally built directly on the dirt.
We returned pretty early in the day to replace one of our trailer downspouts and, as usual, I substantially underestimated the amount of time it would take to finish all the work. We finished up around 7:30, just in time to notice the other rear corner of our trailer needed to have some work done on it before it got ugly. I suspect we will finish the work tomorrow but, considering my recent labor estimates, don’t bet on it.
To see today’s pix, click here

June 20 Back on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Huzzah! Today we returned to the Blue Ridge Parkway for some exploration in Virginia. We both enjoy the great views and nice drive available on this great highway. It seems to be my favorite road to drive in America.
We pretty effectively covered the North Carolina portion of the Parkway when we passed through this part of the world in 2015. This time, it is our intent to finish up the Virginia portion when we get to the Shenandoah Valley in a week or two.
Our first foray was to initially travel a bit south until we got to the North Carolina border where we turned around and started north. Before we were done today, we had traveled as far north as a place called Smart View. We passed a grist mill at Mabree’s Mill which apparently does something with grist. I am not really sure what grist is but if I stop at the mill I can probably find out.
As hoped, the road is great to drive since the maximum speed limit is 45 mph and the scenery alongside the road is breathtaking. We spotted bluebirds and turkeys, deer and butterflies in abundance. The roadside flowers are showing a riot of color. The views from the frequent overlooks into North Carolina are magnificent. Views into Virginia ain’t bad, either.
We turned around at Smart View which is at about milepost 155. We are camped at milepost 202 so, including our little southbound portion, we covered about 120 miles today, all of it spectacular. This great road is truly an American treasure.
We got a few pictures. Click here

June 19 Lenoir SC to Fancy Gap VA

Today was a travel day so we quickly folded our tents and beat it out of Green Mountain Park and its cramped RV space layout, ridiculously expensive wifi and early morning army of riding mowers and gas-powered line trimmers that descend from parts unknown to cut the tiny fraction of space occupied by lawn. It was certainly buzzing around there this morning.
We jumped onto pretty, mostly one lane each way rural roads eastbound through North Carolina until we got to I-77 where we headed north toward the border. We passed Mount Airy, alleged Mayberry of TV fame, again. The last time we came by this area was during our southbound trip from Tennessee a couple weeks back.
Right past Mount Airy, we crossed into Virginia and immediately started to climb up to the Blue Ridge. There is a six or seven mile stretch where we encountered semis creeping along in the slow lane but our F-250 seemed to have plenty of power because we passed almost all of them despite pulling a six ton trailer behind us. At the top of the hill, we turned off I-77 and drove a circuitous course until finding the Fancy Gap Motel and RV Park directly on the Blue Ridge Parkway where we pulled in and set up. It is cooler and the humidity is lower here, keeping us from being fricasseed during set up. We will go for a drive on the Parkway tomorrow. We have seen all of the Parkway in North Carolina but none of it in Virginia and, since I consider this the best road for scenery in the U.S., I can hardly wait.
The sunset is superb here. Click here

June 18 Lenoir and Green Mountain Park

We spent today recuperating from the last 12 days of being with other adults and having to be nice. In my dotage, I have found that I am actually quite a prick when presented with anything different than my daily rituals like Irish Cream in my morning coffee, dissing or ignoring anyone else’s concepts other than those of my beloved spouse, going wherever I want on my schedule, not doing anything anybody else wants me to do (other than Peggy), being close to restrooms almost all the time and having my comfortable chair in which I recline. I have really turned into an anti-social butthead but I don’t particularly care. Crotchety is my middle name when outsiders present me with anything new or different. I am bad. I have many character flaws and personality disorders which suit me fine.
Our agenda for today is to dump the waste tanks, take the garbage from the trailer to the dumpster and to drive into town to get fuel so we can continue our explorations tomorrow. Ambitious, eh?

June 17 Greer SC to Lenoir NC

Today was another travel day and we were now headed, hopefully, in a direction that will eventually result in our being camped in an environment where normal humans are not barbecued by torrid temperatures and numbing humidity. Happily for us, we have spent most of the last couple days in Gary’s and D’Ann’s spacious but, more importantly, air conditioned house so we were able to substantially dodge the miserable environmental conditions.
Gary and D’Ann have fed and entertained us for the last few days and we have little to complain about. I did have some cauliflower ricey stuff that I thought had the consistency and flavor of chunky nothing but, otherwise, the Paleo food D’Ann provided was very tasty and we are delighted to have been wined and dined in royal fashion. Unfortunately, I was stupid when I thought I should go to South Carolina in the summer without making provision for power adequate to run our trailer’s air conditioning because it got pretty toasty in the trailer during the day and did not cool off much at night. There was some sweaty slumber.
Today’s drive took us exclusively on rural roads and it was quite beautiful along the way. Not long after leaving Greer, we crossed back into North Carolina where we drove on some more rural roads before arriving in the town of Lenoir, which the locals pronounce as “Lenore.” We pulled into the Green Mountain Park Resort which is a Thousand Trails facility so we get to stay for free. The park is located in the bottom of a skinny canyon and the spaces are tiny but they have nice decks, full hookups and plenty of shade which, along with our moving away from the equator, should help alleviate the miserable temperatures. As it turned out, we arrived when it was 92 degrees outside and my theory about moving north to avoid horrible temperatures may be in tatters. We do have a 50 amp electric connection and our air conditioning works very well so sleeping might be a bit better tonight than it has been the last few days.
Peg snapped a few shots along the way and you can see them if you click here

June 14 Out to the lake house

Today Gary and D’Ann took us to a small lake house they have recently purchased near a body of water called Lake Secession. They now own a nice little structure on the lake shore and, to make things better, they also have a nice dock right in front of the house where their pontoon boat is parked. Fortunately for us western types that are unaccustomed to frying temperatures and almost aquatic humidity, the lake house has an ample air conditioning system, keeping us from shriveling up like a scab on a barbecue. It also has a great porch overlooking the lake. Tough life, this.
On the way back to Greer from the lake, we stopped in a town named Anderson where we dined in a place called J Peters which served up great food. I can attest to the fact they serve great shrimp and I didn’t hear any complaints from anybody else. After filling up, we headed back to Greer where we were introduced to a serial called Justified on the internet. It is about a Federal Marshal in Kentucky and the folks portrayed in the show remind us a lot of the folks in this part of America.
Some photos of the area can be seen by clicking here

June 13 Denver NC to Greer SC

Today was a travel day so we pulled up stakes and left Denver, N.C. Due to the unique nature of my scheduling prowess, we traveled in a generally southwest direction further south despite the vicious and torrid temperatures in North Carolina. Maybe it will be cooler further south, a concept that is counter-intuitive for all but the most idiotic of us.
The first half of the trip was on narrow rural roads but eventually we got to I-85 which was lined with K-rail and delineater cones for almost the entire distance across South Carolina. The installation of these traffic aids resulted in skinny, terrifying lanes that snaked through a lengthy passage lined with a complete lack of construction being carried out by nobody visible.
Eventually we got to Greer, S.C., pulling in at Gary’s and D’Ann’s house, home of the person with an abundance of apostrophes in the possessive and her husband. Gary and D’Ann are old friends we met more than 30 years ago when Peggy and D’Ann worked in the same office and Gary was a grunt in the Navy whose job was to vaporize incoming aircraft with a Phalanx system. They greeted us at the door and let us back the Barbarian Invader into the driveway for a few days. Not long after the greetings were completed, we started into some nice lounging and sampling from their good liquor supply.
Gary and D’Ann are currently adhering to something called the Paleo diet. I found out about my first foray into the Paleo world by eating some terrific beef stew that forced me to return to the trough for seconds. If all the food will be like this, maybe I’ll try out Paleo to reduce some of my considerable bulk.
There’s a couple pix you can see if you click here

June 12 Last full day in Denver

Today was, unfortunately, our last full day in Denver, N.C. Our hostess, Ruth, has been terrific allowing us to use her house, cooking for us, taking us out many times on her boat on Lake Normal and providing excellent advice on shopping for our needed supplies and local stuff. She was also gracious enough to provide lodging for my sister, Julie, who flew in from CA to hang out for a few days. In addition, Ruth’s son, Cully, popped in from D.C. for a few days to be our designated driver allowing us to continue our unfettered drinking, edibles consumption and generation of smoke clouds that followed the boat around Lake Normal.
She joined us for a shopping expedition today around Lake Normal, directing us ignorant types on how to find the stores we wanted to visit locally before our departure tomorrow. I was foiled on getting new shoes but Ruth got us to a Bed, Bath and Beyond so Peggy could get sheets and also took us to Savory and Spice Shop in Huntersville which is the best spice store we have ever visited.
We completed our circle of the lake, took Ruth back to her great house along Lake Normal and returned early to our trailer so I could have big fun dumping the waste tanks and prepping for departure tomorrow. Other than weather us wimpy types would choose to avoid, our stay in the Denver area has been delightful. Maybe we should schedule our visits to this area in the spring or fall so we don’t shrivel up like spiders on a hot skillet.
There’s pictures. Click here