Home Away From Home

Climbing the Knob of Pilot Mountain


Up on Pilot Mountain

Today was our day to visit Pilot Mountain – the weather was nice and we were relatively free until we were to meet at David and Jane’s about 5:00 so we packed our lunch and took off.  It actually took us nearly an hour to get there but it was a pleasant ride.  As we entered the State Park we stopped by what I thought was the Visitor’s Center but if it was they certainly weren’t very welcoming.  There was one lady working in there and she must have been doing something extremely important because she never looked up and never stopped.  We went on out and decided we’d find our own way.

The road is winding naturally and we just followed it up to the top.  There is a large parking lot with a nice overlook.   They also have nice bathroom facilities.  We got out of the car and wandered around and eventually climbed the knob of Pilot Mountain.  It’s not a bad climb at all and the view is beautiful.  If we keep climbing mountains we’re going to have to invest in some better hiking shoes!

After our hike we went back to the parking lot and tried to decide if we needed to explore further.  We chatted briefly with a couple from Durham who had been on one of the trails and they discouraged us from trying saying it really wasn’t worth the effort.  We’ll leave it for another day.

We had our picnic lunch in the car at an additional parking lot located further down the mountain and then headed back to the campground to get ready to go to Emma’s recital.

Home Away From Home

Leaving Chimney Rock

After a great nights sleep we woke up about a little after 6:30, had our coffee and “woke up” then pulled everything together to leave. We had hoped to be on the road by 9:00 and wonder of all wonders we pulled out of the campsite about 8:25. Stopped and dropped the trash off and headed to Clemmons. Interestingly enough we realized we were only about 10-12 miles from Fletcher.

This was a really nice campground, probably the quietest we have ever stayed in. Some of that may be due to it being a 55+ park. Also it appeared that some of the units were maybe week-enders who just left their rigs there. Although there were rigs on both sides of us no one stayed in them. Along with the quietness though there was little socialization. When we were out walking Thursday night we saw two couples and yesterday we saw someone walking a dog but other than that it was almost a ghost campground. Jerry said he thought part of that could be caused by the fact that there are so many park models meaning permanent people. Still it was a nice campground centrally located and we would definitely go back again. It had a nice pool but we didn’t take advantage of that.

Weather was sunny when we left but after about an hour it got cloudy which is how I prefer to travel. I can read or work on the computer easily because I can see the screen. I downloaded the camera pics and unless I missed some there are none with the goats. Drat!

Got to Tanglewood about 11:30 and had a very quick check-in. On to site #4. After we set up and had lunch we rode over to David and Jane’s stopping by the pool to see Jane and the kids. After a brief visit I went with Jane and Emma Jane to the dance rehearsal. Unfortunately as the dancers get older they get pushed further down into the program! I had planned to stay only long enough to watch Emma Jane dance and then have Jerry come pick me up. Well, she is in both acts and #17 in both. By the time she finished there were only three numbers left. We finally got back to David and Jane’s about 7 and thank goodness Jane had called David about dinner so he was picking up wings. Joan and Don had arrived about 6:00. We ate and Jerry watched a bit of the pro basketball playoffs and then we headed on to the campground arriving a little after 9:00. All in all it was a pretty long day so I went on to bed. Hopefully I can talk Jerry into going to Mt. Pilot tomorrow. I had planned a visit to Old Salem but it is closed on Mondays.

Home Away From Home

Home of Carl Sandburg

Chimney Rock – Day Three

Wow – were we worn out today? Yesterday was more draining than we realized I guess.  We got up and out a lot earlier today though and headed for Saluda.  It is a nice small town with some stores.  We shopped at Thompson’s Grocery which carries the title of the oldest grocery store in – well, I’ll have to look at the picture to finish that phrase.  We bought some corn on the cob, some onion relish and some starter for vegetable soup.  Don’t know how that will taste but it might come in handy on a cool night.  We walked in and out of several stores and then headed back to Flat Rock to the Carl Sandburg House.

Gypsy sent us on another wild goose chase but we eventually made it.  As soon as we got in the park and found some benches we sat down and ate our sandwiches so Jerry could take the cooler back to the car before we went to the house.  We stopped on the bridge going over and of all things watched the snakes in the river.  Yuk!  There were plenty too!  Jerry even saw a rattlesnake on the way back.

Of course we are in the mountains so everything is up hill.  Although I am not as sore as I thought I would be today my calves still hurt some when going up and down.  Fortunately there were no steps, just hills.  Our first stop was the goat barn.  Mrs. Sandburg raised goats in Michigan and very happily relocated them to North Carolina having upwards of 200-300.  She won many prizes with them and was the first president of the American Goat Association.  There are only 15 there now and they keep that number constant each year.  They really were quite cute and very friendly.  I was amazed that we could rub them and pat them.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter a thorough hand washing we went up to the house.  Although there was a walking tour of all of the buildings on the property we elected not to participate in that.  Perhaps another day!  We went through the tour of the house which has had many of the furnishings and books removed, archived and stored.  The house was built in 1938 and there has not been any work on it since then.  They are not planning to change the structure at all but will shore up the floors and hopefully be opened fully in a couple of years however it will not close at any time even with no furniture.  The guide said she had no idea what she would talk while it was empty of furniture.

We walked on back to the car and then decided to stop in Flat Rock since they were having a festival of some sort.  We were able to park at the post office right across the street so it was easy to get there.  It was an ice cream festival and they were selling ice cream and doing face painting.  There was a good band playing and lots of people there but no local vendors plying their wares.  We were only there a few minutes and then headed out.

Our next stop was Bloomfield’s, a nice store with a lot of everything!  We ended up buying two corn holders, should have gotten two more.  I also found two small lotus bowls.

We came on back to the coach as we wanted to be back in plenty of time to watch the Belmont.  We put out chairs and settled down to read.  Jerry turned the outside TV on and then a gentleman stopped by and we chatted for a good while. By that time the Dereby pre-show had started so Jerry came on in and I stayed outside to watch it however the glare was so bad I gave up and came inside.  I got in the recliner and took a short nap and then we watched history being made as American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.  What a thrill that must be for all.

We cooked dinner then, beef stroganoff and corn on the cob.  I was hoping to walk after dinner but just before we finished eating it began to sprinkle and it only got harder so no walk today.  Unfortunately the awning is out and so are the chairs although they are under the awning – if it doesn’t close!  Looks like an early night which will be good since I didn’t sleep well last night ending up on the sofa wrapped up in a blanket!

Home Away From Home

491 Steps – Oh My!

What a day! Jerry must have been really tired because he didn’t wake up until I woke him up a bit after 8:30.  I had gotten up about 7:00 and could not get the coffee going so by 8:30 I needed a cup!  Come to find out he had put the coffee in but got interrupted and forgot to put the water in.  No wonder I couldn’t get it to work!  About 9:00 I got a phone call from Janet about the July 4th party so after we talked a while Jerry and I finally got ready to go.  By that time it was nearly 11:00, a late start for us.  We decided not to take lunch but instead find some on the way.  We took a winding road to the town of Chimney Rock.  Gypsy tried to send us a very alternate way reminding us of our excursion into the Virginia countryside last year but we were a bit smarter this year so we turned around, reset the GPS and then were on our way.  It is a pretty drive with apple orchards dotting the countryside although none are opened yet.

Lunch at River Walk Cafe
Lunch at River Walk Cafe
When we got to Chimney Rock we just wandered around the town going in and out of shops.  We always try to find some small trinket to remind us of our trip so we were sort of looking for that.  We decided to eat at River Walk restaurant and we ate outside where we could look down on the river and the river walk.  Our plans were to come back later and walk the river walk.  Little did we know!  The meal was absolutely delicious.  We both had hamburgers and we agreed that they were even better than Back Water Jack’s!  I had onion rings and I don’t think I’ve ever ordered onion rings in a restaurant that tasted like Mom had cooked them.  Boy, that brought back memories. They were definitely not frozen out of a bag.

We headed on to Chimney Rock State Park where we were informed that the elevator was not working but we could climb up to the rock.  That was not a problem since we had planned to do that anyway.  Again, little did we know.  There are 491 stair steps to reach the top with platforms placed at various intervals – thank goodness for those.  I wasn’t sure I would make it but we plodded on and indeed we did get to the top.  

No Words Needed!
No Words Needed!
As we were beginning the climb it looked like it might rain and indeed it did.  Luckily I had on my rain coat but Jerry got a bit wet.  Unfortunately because of the rain the view was a bit obscured.  There is a lounge and gift shop at the top and I think Jerry would have bought a shirt with “I made it to the top of Chimney Rock” but he had left his wallet in the car so we had no money.  Believe it or not climbing down 491 steps isn’t easy either although it is easier than going up.

We stopped and went into a small cave.  It was only opened for a short distance due to White Nose Syndrome (Bats).  That’s the second time within a month that I’ve heard of White Nose Syndrome – guess what you hear depends on where you are and what you’re doing.  We then decided to head on to Hickory Nut Falls Trail, described as a moderate hike.  Apparently state parks and federal parks define moderate differently because we went on a moderate hike at Mammoth Cave with no problem but I honestly didn’t think I’d make it on this one.  The grease from the onion rings was sitting heavily on my stomach and it was hot and I was tired!  It’s only 1.5 miles but doing it right on the heels of climbing Chimney Rock was a bit much.  We did it though and saw the beautiful falls.  Tiny butterflies were flying around and one landed on Jerry’s shoulder.  I was able to get the camera out of his pocket and snap a pic of it.  I found out as we were walking that the camera on my phone has died and we had left Jerry’s good camera at home so all we had was my little Samsung.  It’s not too bad!

Going back was downhill but even at that it was a tough walk.  We ended up in the parking lot only to realize that it was a level below where our car was so we continued walking.  Although I was thirsty and needed to go to the bathroom when I saw the rocking chairs I immediately took a seat.  Relief!  Jerry went in the gift shop and bought a t-shirt.  Earlier when we arrived John Mason was playing a hammered mandolin, an instrument I had never seen before.  The songs were beautiful so I looked at some of his CD’s but decided against buying anything.

On the way back to the campground we stopped at Ingles Grocery and bought burger for dinner planning to prepare beef stroganoff.  When we got back Jerry kept saying he couldn’t stay awake. He finally got on the bed and slept until after 8:30.  Needless to say we didn’t have dinner.  He heated up some Brunswick stew for him but I wasn’t hungry so I went on to bed.  It never occurred to me that I would have difficulty sleeping but I did.  I drifted off about 10 and then woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I finally ended up on the sofa.

It was a very tiring and exhausting day but it was a great day!

Home Away From Home

On the Way to Chimney Rock

Our plans were to be on the road by 8:00 this morning since I needed to stop by South Point Mall on the way to Concord. When I got up at 5:45 Jerry had already been up about 15 minutes and I was pretty sure we’d be away earlier than anticipated. We actually left at 7:55 so I guess we were a bit early but not what I had anticipated.

Our first stop was at Sam’s in Goldsboro. This may be becoming a pattern as it seems we have done this several times in the past. On the road again and then a brief stop to get gas at Hess west of Goldsboro. The diesel and unleaded were the same price at $2.59 – wow! We stopped at South Point for about an hour and then were on our way to Concord. We stopped at a Love’s outside of Concord to see if possibly they had a 760 LTE Garmin and to get a bite to eat at McDonald’s.

We arrived at Tom Johnson’s about 1:30 and Jerry said he hoped to be away by 3:00. I thought surely we’d be away much sooner than that but as usual I was mistaken again. We met with Jeff Phillips and he went over the repairs that had been done and everything seemed to check out. After that Jerry wanted to meet with Ray, the service administrator to ask about the $700 that we had paid to Camping World for the fuse repair. Ray promised he’d get right on it and we should hear from him in a couple of days. We’ll see!

We finally pulled out at 3:05 and after going about 20 miles Jerry suddenly noticed that there was a chip in the windshield. He called Jeff and after determining that the chip was not there when we took it in in May he said he’d get back with us. I had not been able to get the fridge to come on so I asked Jeff about that and he talked me through turning the inverter on. Had we known how to do that in May we may not have had a problem with the refrigerator. Learned two things today – that and the motor has to be turned off in order to put the slide out. Of course the brake has to be on as well. RVing for us is a ongoing learning experience. If we could only retain what we learn!

4:10 and 55 miles from Lakewood RV Resort. Looks like spaghetti for dinner.

lakewood rv resortArrived at Lakewood RV Resort at 5:30. We had called ahead since it was going to be after 5:00 when we arrived and they told me that the pertinent information would be on the board outside of the office. We also had a question about the address as the webpage had said it was on Timmie Road and the GPS said Ballenger Road. Actually they’re the same, just a name change. The old Garmin brought us straight here.

Upon arrival I went up to the office and located the information and we drove on to site 278. Setup seemed to be easy and done quickly. Leveling was easy as we’re on level grouund. It’s graveled but nice. As Jerry was setting up I quickly swept the floor and tried to tidy up things. It’s been a while since we used the coach! I opened all of the windows hoping that we wouldn’t have to use the AC but everything quickly heated up as we brought in all of the things from the car. While Jerry was loading the car on the dolly at Tom Johnson’s I had brought in what I could from the car but we still had the very full baskets and the cooler.

We finally gave in and turned the AC on and the coach cooled off very quickly. Defrosted the spaghetti sauce and cooked the noodles. After dinner we took a brief walk around the park. There are not a lot of RV’s here and even those here don’t look like anyone is staying in them. I’m wondering if some are week-end retreats and more people may arrive tomorrow evening. As we walked around we saw a small bunny who was not afraid of people at all. He stayed right where he was as we passed by.

Just as we were coming in it began to sprinkle. Hopefully tomorrow will be as sunny as it was when we got here today. Climbing Chimney Rock in the rain doesn’t excite me a great deal!