Thursday, September 3, 2009

Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, VA

Had to share the photo below of our oldest grandson, Rylee. He caught this fish in his Froggy and Pops' pond at their place south of Carlsbad, NM. Froggy and Pops are Angie's Mom and Dad, Linda and Billy. I just love the expression on Rylee's face! Casey said he fought the fish for at least five minutes. The whole time he was reeling him in he was saying "Hold on there big boy!!".

Hey there! We’re back...
We are now camping at Look Rock Campground on the west side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We have been here almost a week and plan to stay through the Labor Day weekend if not longer. It is great here, nice and cool, 70s during the day and low 60s at night. We haven’t really explored the national park yet. Will add photos of it when we do.
Since our last update... We found a great campground on the north eastern end of Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park called Matthews Arm (photos below). There were no hookups but we managed quite nicely with our generator (we used it a few hours each day to keep our trailer batteries charged up) and two five gallon water jugs. We spent five nights there and really enjoyed the stay. After that we ended up in Eden, North Carolina where we spent one night. It got up to 92 degrees with almost that much humidity. We decided to head west to the mountains where it would be cooler. We had talked about going to the east coast - NC, SC and GA - but changed our minds. Maybe next time we’ll go directly there in the fall. We stayed two nights at an RV park in Cherokee, NC, very nice park staff but too many people in Cherokee. We drove through the Smoky N.P. and ended up here at Look Rock campground. The other campgrounds in the park that were more centrally located were all reserved for the Labor Day holiday. We actually like this place very well as we are practically the only ones here during the week.

Another great view from the parkway.

Mabry Mill, one of our favorite places on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The last time we were here was the summer of 1988 with Casey and my (BJ’s) Mom and Dad. At that time, and until 1992, the mill was still working, grinding cornmeal and flour. That didn’t keep me from buying a few bags of cornmeal even though it was ground off-site.
Donnie and I took a break and had some great peach cobbler at the mill restaurant. He said it was as good as the blackberry cobbler he had there 21 years ago!

Inside the mill.

A view of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. Wish we could have stayed longer but it was very warm and humid. Think we are seeing a pattern here? The south in August!!

I feel a history lesson coming on...This is the old armory where John Brown attempted a slave rebellion in 1859. He and 21 men tried to seize 100,000 rifles and pistols on this site which was the U.S. Armory and Arsenal. The skirmish which lasted only 36 hours ended with Brown’s arrest and execution for treason six weeks later.

The date over the train tunnel is 1931. We walked along a elevated wooden walkway right next to the tracks. Great views of the rivers.

Harpers Ferry train depot.

One day we went up to Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. A quaint old town founded in 1751 on a site where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet. The narrow brick streets and beautiful old buildings are very well preserved.

A cabin that was moved to a visitor’s center on the drive. I walked into it and had to duck my head as the ceiling rafters were pretty low. The park interpreter, an older gentleman who had been chopping wood when we walked up, told me a few things about the folks who might have inhabited the cabin. It was an interesting “village” including the cabin, barn, spring house, and hog pen.

One of the views from many overlooks on the Skyline Drive.

We had a visitor daily, sometimes several times a day. One of these photos was taken right behind our trailer. The young bear loved the wild blackberries and wasn’t very shy about eating them next to us. The park host told us on July 4th a big female bear made herself at home on one of the food laden picnic tables. He showed us photos of her sitting on one of the benches chowing down on someone’s lunch. Needless to say she had to be relocated.

Our campsite at Matthews Arm on Skyline Drive. It was a pretty place, not very crowded even on weekends. Most of the other campers were from the Washington, DC area. There were quite a few bugs, mostly gnats, that came and went. Of course, we decided not to bring our nice screened shelter. Ha!

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