Home Away From Home

Leaving Fancy Gap and Headed to Asheville, NC

The weather last night was almost perfect, a little cool but great to be sitting outside. Jerry grilled hamburgers and we ate outside at the picnic table. Later some people Jerry had met earlier (while I dealt with the ice cream disaster) came down and shared our ice cream with us. They are David and Kathy from Glouchester, Va. We had a lovely evening just sitting around chatting and smelling the roasting marshmellows from neighboring campers. As usual we all exchanged camping stories! We were outside until 9:30, then came in and shortly off to bed as we have a long day of travel ahead. Interestingly enough Gypsy says we only have 132 miles to go while the RV GPS says 180. We’ll see I guess.

Because the campground (Fancy Gap,Blue Ridge KOA) was so nice and the weather so incredibly beautiful we debated staying another night in Fancy Gap but decided to go on to Fletcher today so it’s off to the Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show watching stunning Saddlebreds and Friesians for a week.

We didn’t leave until 9:30 but Jerry got all of the tanks emptied and flushed out and then we had to put the car on the dolly. I was afraid that would be a little dicey because I didn’t have much room to back up given that we were on a “hill” with a drop off behind me. It took three attempts but nothing dangerous, just had to get the car headed to the ramps straight.

Today has been a good day for traveling as it was a bit overcast at first. Sunny later. Finding gas is proving to be difficult as there are no Pilot or Flying J and after our last fiasco with Hess we’re a little hesitant to pull in just anywhere. We finally pulled off and ended up circling a Hess. Although it was also a trucker Hess the only pump we could access was empty so we got back on I-77 and headed on. Turned off at Hickory and after a couple of u-turns we finally found a Hess that we could get in and out of and gas was $245.9. It was an extremely slow running pump though!

We finally arrived at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher shortly after lunch. Got everything hooked up and then discovered that there is no longer any Internet access “down the hill” where we all are staying so no more updates of our trip. Fancy Gap was so much fun and I’m sure the show will be plus our sweet granddaughter Emma will be joining us on Tuesday! We’ll leave Sunday week and spend a couple of days in Clemmons at Tanglewood Park visiting with our children and then on to Kinston – What a way to end a trip.

Home Away From Home

Last Day in Fancy Gap

It rained again last night and looked a bit dreary when I finally woke up after 7:30 – boy, that shapenote singing wore me out!  The sun eventually came out and we went for our morning walk and it was a great morning for it but the walks are strenuous.  I repeat – I am a flatlander!  I have often read of runner’s describing their legs as feeling like jelly and now I know how that feels.

IMG_3459We ate lunch in the rig and then headed out to Mabry Mill.  This time we took a left!  Although we had directions from the office I programmed the GPS.  Poor Gypsy kept losing the signal and telling us to turn left, or right, on the road.  We went straight to Mabry Mill.  It is a lovely place and definitely a photo opportunity as was evident by the many people and cameras abounding.  The mill itself is beautiful and still in operation making corn meal.  We chatted briefly with a spinner who was making thread out of sheep’s wool.  She made it look so easy but when I asked her how long she’d been doing it she replied 30 years.  That’s why it looked so easy.

After Mabry Mill we drove back along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We approached one lookout and it was so heavily treed that it really wasn’t a lookout but the sign said Pilot Mountain and just as we passed it we both saw the knob of Pilot Mountain.

Our next stop was Groundhog Mountain.  It was just a picnic area with a very pretty vista.  There was some type of two story outlook building on the property and after climbing the narrow staircase you could look in all directions at an exquisite view.

Our next stop was a little cabin on the side of the road.  It had belonged to “Aunt” Orelena Hawks Puckett, a midwife who lived to be 102.  She delivered over 1000 babies and never lost one because of her own negligence.  Sadly enough although she had 24 children none of hers survived infancy.  How sad that a midwife had no children of her own.

Our next brief stop was at a lovely stone church, Bluemont Presbyterian still in operation.  We took a couple of pics and then headed on to Hillsville for groceries.

Between Hillsville and Fancy Gap there is an absolutely stunningly beautiful home but it is deteriorating.  It had turrets, stained glass windows, leaded glass windows, wonderful dental molding (some of it missing) and a No Trespassing Sign outside.  It is so pretty and makes one wonder how and why such a home would go to ruin.  It could be beautiful and would cost a mint to fix it up but what it would be!

Back to the campground for a lazy afternoon reading and making more ice cream.  I hate to think how much weight I am gaining!  The campground is slowly filling up as we now have neighbors on both sides.  Wonder what’s going on.  So glad we are staying here.  We had earlier seen signs for another campground nearby so we took a spin through there earlier today.  At $28 a night it seemed a bargain but it appeared to be permanent residents as their sewer line was covered with PCP pipe.  Not a tree nor a person in sight – we made the right choice.









Between Hillsville and Fancy Gap there is an absolutely stunningly beautiful home but it is deteriorating.  It had turrets, stained glass windows, leaded glass windows, wonderful dental molding (some of it missing) and a No Trespassing Sign outside.  It is so pretty and makes one wonder how and why such a home would go to ruin.  It could be beautiful but it would cost a mint to fix it up.

Back to the campground for a lazy afternoon reading and making more ice cream.  I hate to think how much weight I am gaining!  The campground is slowly filling up as we now have neighbors on both sides.  Wonder what’s going on.  So glad we are staying here.  We had earlier seen signs for Utt’s Campground so we took a spin through there earlier today.  At $28 a night it seemed a bargain but it appeared to be permanent residents as their sewer line was covered with PCP pipe.  Not a tree nor a person in sight – we made the right choice.

Home Away From Home

Second Day in Fancy Gap

Woke up this morning to pouring down rain so have been trying to decide how to alter our plans. This is such a lovely campground and I had planned to spend the morning walking around but it’s too wet. As I sit here typing I’m looking out of the window enjoying the natural scenery with different birds just hoping from tree limb to tree limb. It is so quiet, peaceful and refreshing, like a dip in a nice pool!

Yesterday I realized that the USB ports and the GPS plug on the rig dashboard were not working so this morning I tried to do a bit of research on why. I posted on our FB Newmar group and someone suggested it might be an inline fuse and although I agreed that it might be a fuse I surely didn’t know anything else. This morning I e-mailed support at Newmar about our problem and was hoping for an e-mail response today. Instead within 30 minutes I got a phone call from a tech who explained where to look for the problem. With a flashlight I got down on the floor in front of the driver’s seat – yes, it was close – located the fuse box (who knew), found the fuse, removed it and gave it to Jerry who determined that it was indeed blown. A trip to an automotive store just got added to the plans. Hope there’s one near here! What great service from Newmar!

By this time the rain had stopped, so we went for our usual morning walk. We are definitely flatlanders not used to climbing these hills! We stopped by the office to get some ideas for touring and Jerry checked to see if they had a 20 amp fuse – they didn’t. We continued our walk but it was a short one, just over 20 minutes.

We left not sure where we were going but decided to take the Blue Ridge Parkway. We actually thought we were headed to Mabry Mill but I think we were to take a left out of the campground and not a right. We eventually ended up at the Blue Ridge Music Center which was first on our agenda anyway. What a neat place. The museum is very interesting and comprehensive. Bluegrass music is performed daily in the breezeway. Today it was Bobby Patterson and Willard Gayheart. They have several CD’s for sale and some outstanding pencil art as well. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to them play a set.

Afterward we left and ended up in Galax where we bought gas, a fuse and had a picnic lunch at Felt’s Park. Set Gypsy to bring us back to the campground only to discover that we were only 14 miles away. The drive back was a lot faster but not nearly as pretty plus we didn’t have that “I don’t know where we are going” feeling!

After we got back I got back down on the floor in front of the driver’s seat beneath the steering wheel – Imagine! Since it was so very difficult to see even with the aid of a flashlight I blindly inserted the fuse only to discover that the USB port and the GPS plug still didn’t work. Jerry firmly believed that the fuse was blown so he got down there and realized that I had inserted the fuse in the wrong place. I told him exactly where to put it but I had been unable to reach it and didn’t realize it. Now everything is working!

We hung around the rig for a while and then headed out to Floyd, VA for the shapenote singing. Floyd is a very small town and upon arriving Jerry just looked at me with that “what have you gotten us into now” look. Our first stop was Floyd’s Country Store. We wandered around a bit and Jerry bought a hat with “Made in 1948” on it and took his first selfie! He sent it to the kids and they couldn’t believe he’d taken the picture himself.

We continued to walk around the town, in and out of stores. It’s a bit hippie with a lot of tie dye! We went in a hardware store that probably had anything anyone would need. Though the store wasn’t very large it certainly had a lot of varied merchandise.
We finally made it back to Floyd Country Store where we had dinner. I had a spinach salad and a slice of quiche and Jerry had a grilled cheese with bacon sandwich and tomato soup. It all was quite good especially being in a country store.

Around 5:30 people began arriving for the shapenote singing. Shapenote singing is absolutely fascinating. Quoting from the Floyd Country Store webpage “Shapenote is a unique singing tradition, dating back to early America. Singers sit in four voice parts facing each other, forming a “hollow square.” Unaccompanied, they sing hymns and anthems in a style that is often loud and raw. It is a participatory practice, not framed as performance. The term “shape note” comes from the notation; the notes are written with different shapes- triangle, square, diamond as well as circle.” Singers use the syllables fa, la, sol, ti. It was quite interesting but I didn’t feel that I could participate as it was way out of my comfort zone. Jerry kept urging me to try it and I kept coming up with excuses but after he called me “chicken” several times I jumped up and joined the group. I definitely have not been musically challenged like that in a long time! We sang for over two hours and though I’m quite sure I was la, la-ing when I should have been fa, fa-ing, no one complained, criticized or judged. It was a very eclectic and friendly group and the leader was quite good – and patient! After two hours a very tired Gale headed back to the campground for a good night’s sleep!

Home Away From Home

Touring Historic Charlottesville, Va

I woke up early, about 6:30 and could smell the coffee so I got on up and enjoyed the quiet time.  Jerry slept late for him so I was afraid he’d either had a bad night or a headache.  Fortunately he had neither.  Because he drank a lot of tea last night since he had a lot of pepper with his dinner he was up and down all night going to the bathroom.  In between he slept well though.

We got showered and dressed and packed our little bad of goodies for the day.  Jerry had put a couple of bottles of water in the freezer last night hoping to use them in the cooler today to keep our drinks cool.  We packed the cooler with water, gator aid and lemonade plus added some nabs and chips.  Honestly we felt that would be enough for the day.  We decided that if we found that we were hungry today we’d pack sandwiches for tomorrow.  We probably will!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOur first excursion was to Ash-Lawn Highland, home of President James Monroe.  It was a simple house with lovely grounds.  The tour guide was very informative and able to answer all questions presented to him.  The lady working in the gift shop was very nice and we even talked about her visit to Oak Island, home of the best seafood!  We had a picture taken in front of a tree that was at least 250 years old and it was huge.  I can’t imagine how many people it would take to encircle it.  Very definitely the biggest tree I’ve ever seen!  The mountain views were so pretty except for the towers that really took away from the beauty.

Next we headed to Monticello, home of President Thomas Jefferson.  It was quite a contrast to the home of Monroe, nothing simple about that place.  It was a home of change apparently as Jefferson would change his plans whenever he saw something he wanted to add.  It is very palatial as are the grounds.  We wandered around there for a couple of hours.  There were also some huge trees there and interestingly enough they had large branches sprouting in different directions.  Some of them looked like they’d been tied in a knot.  Jefferson wanted to be remembered for three things:  the Declaration of Independence, author of the Virginia religious freedom and the founder of the University of Virginia.  Afterward we trekked back to the car and thankfully Jerry knew where it was.  We ate our chips and drank our drinks and decided for sure to have sandwiches on Monday!

The next spot to visit was Michie’s Tavern.  We didn’t want to eat but we did visit the shops.  The General Store had a lot of interesting doodads and also a beer and wine tasting.  The lady in charge of that was very informative and suggested some other places we might want to visit.  Most of them were wineries though and as Jerry doesn’t drink and I drink only a little and moscato at that we probably won’t visit many of them.  She said moscato hadn’t made it to Virginia yet!

As we were done with the tours of the day we decided to visit nearby Carter Mountain Orchard.  It is at the top of a very high mountain.  Glad we weren’t in the motor home and I suggested Jerry not run off the road as it was a sheer drop-off – wow!  They had several different kinds of apples and peaches plus a general store with pretty expensive jellies, etc.  We went in the wine shop and I tasted two of the wines, one with peach flavoring and one with chocolate flavoring.  I’d rather eat the peach and/or chocolate!  We did buy four apples which looked like the good old green sour apples from home.  They were a little tart but that’s all.

Our next trip was to the Barboursville Winery.  Barboursville is only about 16 miles from Charlottesville but it’s a pretty long winding road, pretty scenery though.  On the way there Gypsy took us right through Charlottesville.  The sign pointed toward Historic Charlottesville.  Yeah – it was historic all right – not exactly the sites on the tourist trail.  We made it to the winery and instead of a tour they just had a tasting which neither of us wanted and only wine things for sale in the shop.  We only stayed a few minutes and then went to the Barboursville ruins just down the road. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt’s a ruin indeed.  The house burned on Christmas Day about 100 years ago and it has just continued to “ruin” since then.  Being the only car in the parking lot should have been a dead give away.  There is a chain around the house so all one can do is walk around three sides of the house.  Oh well.

Decided it was time to call it a day so we came back to the motor home and immediately started in on dinner.  I fixed stewed potatoes and peas and we heated up the pork chops.  Tomorrow we’ll finish the veggies!  I had hoped for a walk but it began to sprinkle so I spent most of the evening talking to Mary Ann.  Bed about 10!  Ready for Day Three!

Home Away From Home

On the Way to Fancy Gap

On the road again – in the rain!  Last night when I asked Jerry what time we’d be leaving this morning he was very vague and said when we got up and got it together.  I also asked if we were going to walk and again he was pretty vague.  I got up about 6:15, got coffee and  started up the computer.  I like to check the bank statement just before we leave to make sure all is OK and all bills paid, etc. I was waiting for Jerry to mention walking when suddenly I heard the shower.  Then I knew we were goiong to up and out shortly.  It’s amazing that we packed nearly everything yesterday plus had the car on the dolly and it still took up until nearly 8:00 to pull out, then we had to stop for gas at Hess.   I’m surely glad we did do everything yesterday as it started to sprinkle as we wewre making the last two trips to the coach and then by the time we got out of the Briary it was pouring!  By Goldsboro it was harsh lightning and thundering.

I really think California should hire us because we could probably end the drought.  We haven’t taken many trips when it didn’t rain continuously and often.  Oh well – might get some good rest.

Almost  10:00 and we’re bypassing Raleigh and the sun is shinning!   Yea!

We stopped for about an hour at Southpointe and did a little shopping.  I left Jerry in the rig trying to locate the knocking that we kept hearing.  I went in and just as I was finishing Jerry walked in the store.  He had bought an ice cream freezer at Sear but said he’d go wander around Sears some more until I was done.  I completed my shopping and sent him a text that I was done.  I didn’t hear from him so I walked toward Sears hoping I’d meet him on the way.  I didn’t.  Finally after another text and call I went on to the coach.  I had something to drink and then called again.  By this time I was getting a bit nervous wondering if something had happened.  I finally decided to try to find him.  Just as I was walking across the parking lot pondering having the mall make an announement for him I saw him walking out of Sears.  Whew!  He had the sound turned off on his phone and never saw my texts or heard my calls.  He was wondering what I was doing!  Glad to see my sweet husband.

We left SouthPointe about 11:30 planning to eat lunch at a rest area a bit further down however neither of us was hungry so we kept going.  It was an easy drive until… we got to Mt. Airy and had 14 miles to Fancy Gap.  It was a curvy road probably about  6 grade.  Since it was so curvy he could never get any speed going so the rig went in overdrive A LOT!  We made it though!

KOA Fancy Gap/Blue Ridge is just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and seems to be a great campground.  Staff in the office were very nice and escorted us to our site, #54.  Leveling was interesting – it’s difficult on gravel in the mountains but we finally took it off of auto and did it ourselves.

While the coach was cooling down we jumped in the car and rode off to find some peaches for ice cream.  When we came back Jerry was crashing so he took a 20 minute nap and then we went swimming in the campground pool.  It’s been a long time since I swam in a pool and it was great.  I told Jerry that we needed one at the river!  Right!  It would be nice!

After we went swimming we came by, ate chips and dip at the picnic table and then took showers.  Then reading outside in the lounge chair.  The weather is perfect.  It’s nice and cool, not too cool though and just perfect for being outside.

The day wound down with our usual first night dinner, spaghetti and after dinner walk was canceled due to rain –  not unusual.  I got ready for head but heard Jerry puttering around in the kitchen.  He was making peach ice cream.  Yummy delicious.  I knew I shouldn’t eat any that close to bedtime but no way was I missing that.  It didn’t bother me a bit.  I slept like a lamb and only woke up a couple of times to hear the rain gently falling on the roof.  Since our Newmar insulation is very good we rarely hear rain falling so instead of the gentle rain I heard it must have been raining pretty hard.  No matter – it didn’t bother me.

Home Away From Home

Planning for Fancy Gap

Planning a trip for us is a very time consuming endeavor but oh how I learn!  We’re leaving Monday for a few days in Fancy Gap, Virginia and I have already learned so much about the area.  I knew it was just off the Blue Ridge Parkway but did not know about the interest and availability of blue grass music.  On tap for one evening is a visit at Floyd’s County Store for dinner and Shapenote Singing.  Although I am a musician of sorts I have never heard of Shapenote Singing so I’m looking forward to hearing that.  We’ll also visit the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax for Mid-Day Music from noon until 4:00.  Quite frankly I never thought I’d enjoy bluegrass but after hearing it while we were in Cedar Key, Florida I knew the harmony was calling me.  As Pat Conroy so aptly put it, “Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers” so we’re off to add some memories to that quiet chamber.

Home Away From Home

To Blog or Not to Blog!

When my husband and I started RVing about a year and a half ago I kept a very detailed daily journal of our travels mainly to help me remember each and every trip.  Quite frankly no one ever read it but me because I never shared it.  Sometime this spring I was introduced to a site where I could log our travels and I started transferring my entries to that site but quickly realized that my posts were indeed personal accounts of our days and were not just what we had done and seen and how we got there which was the purpose of that site.  In other words, the site was not created for journaling as I was doing it.  In seeking another venue I became reacquainted with Word Press and decided that blogging more aptly fit my end desire which is to share with family and friends while we are on the road.

As we plan our travels I refer to blogs written by other RVers to help me determine if we want to visit certain places.  Since their blogs often include places not found by googling “What to Do in …” we frequently visit places that we would otherwise have missed.  Hopefully I am not being optimistic in hoping that my blog will not only refresh my memory but may indeed help other RVers traveling down the road.