Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Wayah Bald Lookout Tower

When we were riding around yesterday we went up to the top of the campground where the sites are for sale and we saw another Canyon Star so since we weren’t doing anything this morning Jerry and I decided to walk up there and perhaps visit with the owners.

Luckily the lady of the house was doing some gardening so we spoke with her and she immediately invited us up to have a seat. Her husband came out and while Jerry and he visited she took me inside to see their coach. Theirs is a 3914 and what I really thought I wanted when we bought the 3953 because I liked the idea of an L shaped sofa and it had more counter space in the kitchen. I’m so glad I got to see it because I know for sure now I really like the 3953 better and it fits our needs wonderfully. They absolutely did not want another ½ bath and I absolutely did plus our bedroom feels larger than theirs. They only have 3 slides and we have four so that does make a difference.

Jan and Jim having returned from having breakfast out called and I told them where we were so they drove up and we all visited for a while and then we took off for Wayah Bald, part of the Nantahala National Forest. The last part of the road going up is another typical mountain road but is graveled. I kept telling Jim to “Go left” as I could see where we’d be if he went too far to the right. I think both he and Jerry got tired of the two backseat drivers they had. When we reached the top of the mountain there was a parking lot and bathroom facilities.

The Lookout Tower
The Lookout Tower
It was just a short walk to the three story stone observation tower where you could absolutely see for miles. The elevation is 5,342 feet and it is situated on the Appalachian Trail. In fact we saw a young man who was hiking the trail. He had already been about 100 miles. Jerry walked down the trail about 50 feet. Now he can say he’s hiked part of the Appalachian Trail.

We came back to the campground and Jerry took a nap while I cross stitched and watch the preliminaries of the Derby. Quite frankly I think the horse race gets lost in the theatrics of the television station. Just tell me about the horses and the horse people affiliated with them please! Dinner was scheduled for 6:30 so we went on up to the club house where they have a large television so I did get to see the race.

There was a meeting of the Peach State Travelers after dinner and up for discussion was the possibility of a webpage. Guess who got put on the committee to investigate that. I guess it can be done from North Carolina. After the meeting we visited with several of the members and they really are a nice group of people. I wish we would be able to attend more meetings but I’m afraid that distance will prohibit that.

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Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Dry Falls and a Visit to Highlands, NC

What a fun day with friends from Georgia. As usual we started the day slowly trying to decide where to go and what to do. Finally a bit after 11:00 we left and our first stop was a Care Free Resort that Jim wanted to see. It really was a strange arrangement as there were several fifth wheels parked under sheds and there is no way they could be moved out. Hope they don’t change their minds and want a newer unit. Also, there were no cars and nowhere to park a car. Strange!

IMG_1892Our next stop was Dry Falls so named because supposedly you can walk under them and not get wet. We took the steps down to the falls and Jerry and I headed under them. You don’t get extremely wet but there is a mist constantly blowing. We took a few pictures and then I went back out and took pictures of Jan and Jim. We couldn’t find Jerry so I went back in to find him and he had found a rocky ledge and had laid down there just watching the lovely falls. Jim is a pastor so Jerry told him he was “hiding in the cleft of the rock”. We hiked back up and headed toward Highlands.

Jan and I enjoying the falls.
Jan and I enjoying the Dry Falls.
On the way to Highlands we passed Bridal Veil Falls, a place I had earlier wanted to visit. I’m glad we didn’t get to do it because it’s just a slight fall over the ledge. I think that at one time you could drive under it but that was not possible today. It was just water running off of a mountain, not really a water fall. I understand that it has been very dry up here, not much rain so perhaps that accounts for the lack of spill.

When we reached Highlands we just walked around and in and out of the various shops. It appears to be a small town full of shops, a lot of clothing boutiques.

Since it was way past lunch time we headed toward The Dillard House located in Dillard, Ga. I didn’t realize that we were so close to the Georgia state line but it didn’t take us long to get there. The food is served family style and it is incredible. We had country style steak and gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli and cheese, creamed corn (tasted like it came right out of the cornfield), green beans, slaw with cheese topping, fried chicken, onion rings, fish bites and I think there were several sorts of bread but I never tried that. For dessert we had strawberry cobbler on cake with ice cream. Oh my – we ended up with three servings so after Jan and I ate ours we split the other one. If you’re ever in Dillard be sure to visit this restaurant. Not only is the food good but the restaurant itself is lovely plus it has a gift shop.

We rode on into Franklin and walked around some of the shops downtown. Tomorrow is “Airing Quilts” Day and there are already some quilts being shown.

When we got back to the campground we went to see Jan and Jim’s RV since we had never been in. I really like the way it is set up. Jerry and Jim worked on their awning and by that time it was time to go up to the clubhouse for dinner. None of us were hungry but we made a halfhearted attempt.

There were games after dinner and they were fun. Then I attempted to learn how to play Jokers and Pegs. That is a very fun game but there is a lot of strategy involved and I don’t think it’s an easily learned game. My team won but with little help from me as I really didn’t quite know what I was doing.
A walk back to the coach and bedtime after a full day!

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Another Wild Ride

Another traveling day headed toward Franklin, NC for the Peach State Travelers Chapter Meeting. Gary at Riverbend RV Resort told us that he would have our tow dolly ready when we were ready so we elected to leave around 11:00. We pulled out of our site at 10:41 and headed to the office where we met Gary and Carol, our camp hosts. Jerry hooked up the tow dolly and Gary headed up the road to assist us in getting out on the highway. Before he left though he handed me an envelope and said it was for us. Jerry pulled on out and I followed him as we had decided to put the car on the dolly at the fire station just down the road. We quickly accomplished that and pulled out of the fire station at 11:00. Oh, the envelope held a picture of our coach nestled in our site and a note from Gary and Carol. We’ve probably been in over 50 campgrounds during the last two years and this is first time we’ve ever received anything like this. Kudos to Riverbend RV Resort in Lake Toxaway!

The road to Cashiers while not the worst mountain road we’ve been on was still curvy, windy, and up and down. I think at one point it had an 8% grade. It was only 13 miles to Cashiers but it took us 30 minutes to get there!

We left Cashiers thinking the rest would be smooth sailing. Not so! From Cashiers to Sylva was again typical mountainous road with a long 8% grade. Although the Canyon Star seemed to strain a bit with the grade it handled it beautifully. Guess there is no need for a diesel in the future. Once we got through Sylva we were on an easy four lane highway and not very far from Franklin.

We arrived at our new campground The Great Outdoors RV Resort just in time as there at least four pulling in behind us. Jan and I had been texting and we had hoped to get next to them but actually are about two spaces down. They met us when we got to our site and as Jerry and Jim discussed the leveling and the outside jobs Jan and I were warm inside while I did my hard job – pressing the auto level button!

Despite it being May it is cold and windy with temperatures in the high 40”s. Although we’ve had rain it has tapered off a bit.

Tonight was dinner in the club house. We had Mexican nachos ad apple quesadillas and it was very good. The apple quesadillas were super! Dinner tonight gave us a chance to meet some of the other PST and that was fun. After dinner Jim, Jan and I chatted with an older couple who have traveled for 23 years hitting every state and most of Canada. They had some interesting stories to tell. Jerry played a couple of games with some others. It was a fun night despite the cold and occasional rain.

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Dupont State Forest

Triple Falls
Triple Falls
We headed out this morning to go to a nearby falls that had been recommended by the campground. After riding around for about 45 minutes we decided that we obviously couldn’t find it so we headed on to Connestee Falls, a place that I had on the agenda for yesterday but we had run out of time – and energy.

After hiking to see so much Connestee Falls was a welcomed change but a little disappointing too. Although the falls are beautiful they can be viewed only at a distance. We parked in the park and walked about 50 yards on a walkway and there they were. In years past you could access the bottom of the falls but due to injuries the paths have now been blocked off. I guess we’ve gotten to used to climbing and hiking this week!

We headed next to Brevard and upon entering the town we saw the Visitor’s Center so we stopped there. They were a fount of information and suggested that we go to Dupont State Forest where we could visit several falls plus enjoy a nice hike. Wouldn’t you know we went right past Connestee Falls on the way to Dupont? Everything is so beautiful though and riding through the countryside is so nice, not touristy at all, just the mountains in all of their splendor.

Dupont State Forest was only about a 20 minute ride and obviously a very popular place as there were already lots of people there. After talking with a ranger and getting some direction we decided to enjoy our picnic lunch before heading off on our walk/hike! She suggested we take our walking sticks and I was glad we did. We ended up walking about four miles today!

High Falls
High Falls
First we saw the High Falls and they are lovely but further on down the walking path are the beautiful Triple Falls and I think perhaps the prettiest falls we have seen. We went down to the base and sat on the rocks for a while. There were several people coming and going plus there were two fishermen trying their luck. I never saw them bring anything in though. It was so nice there we could have spent the afternoon but in the backs of our mind we knew we had to climb those steps back up. It was a beautiful day but a little cool but it didn’t take long for us to warm up as we walked back up all of those steps.

We took a little detour on the way back to see the Covered Bridge and then finished the .06 mile walk back to the car. We drove to Hooker Falls and then called it a day.IMG_4050

We headed back to Brevard, stopped by Pisgah Visitor’s Center to pick up a magnet and then went by the grocery store.

After we returned to the campground we went down to the Happy Hour where we huddled around the fire as the temperature has really dropped. In fact it’s supposed to get down to 38 degrees tonight. Hey, it’s May!

Home Away From Home

Looking Glass Falls and Cradle of Forestry

We spent most of the morning trying to decide what to do! Our original plan had been to go to Murphy to the Fields of the Wood Bible Park but after realizing that it would take over two hours to get there and over two back meaning we’d be in the car for nearly five hours we scraped that idea.
We finally headed into Brevard looking for Looking Glass Falls. We went right by the turn off and after eventually putting it in the GPS went right to the Pisgah Forest where Looking Glass Falls and others are located. Our first stop was the Visitor’s Center where we got information on what we wanted to see.

IMG_1071Next we stopped at Looking Glass Falls, a very easily accessible attraction. In fact you don’t even have to get out of the car to see the falls but of course we elected to and then walked down to the base of the falls. Although the water was quite cold we saw some people in the stream walking around and playing in it like it was a hot springs.

Our next stop was the Sliding Rock, a waterfall so named because during the summer people by the throngs slide down the cascade of rocks to the very cold pool below. I can’t even imagine doing that. There were only two people today brave enough to even consider it and after walking all the way to the top they apparently changed their minds and walked back down. According to one woman we talked to she said she walked around in the water and her feet were very quickly numb.

Ranger's House
Ranger’s House
Next we went up to the Cradle of Forestry. Although we didn’t know it, Tuesdays are free admission so we didn’t have to pay although it certainly would have been worth it as it is an amazing place. First we ate lunch at a lovely picnic area next to one of the old ranger houses. The picnic tables were put there to stay! They are the heaviest and biggest tables I’ve seen in a picnic area. Jerry put a couple of item on the table so it could get some perspective on the size when he took a picture of one.

Next we went into the Cradle of Forestry museum. After a brief introduction from one of the rangers we watched a movie that told of the beginning of the School of Forestry that was originally there. This was the first school of forestry although eventually universities such as Yale began a program but in this program there was a morning of classwork and then an afternoon of field world. The course lasted 18 months and there were a series of classes taught by various instructors. A student could enter at any time of the year as long as a new course was beginning.IMG_4030

There are three different paths and/or tours and we went on a guided tour of the Biltmore Campus. Only Jerry and I were on the tour and the guide was extremely knowledgeable. The tour is a mile long and along the way we saw the one room school house with the straightest, most uncomfortable benches (can’t imagine spending a morning there), the general store, the blacksmith shop and various ranger homes. Near the end of the tour we saw a large garden that is planted each spring. We really would have liked to stay longer but it was nearing 5:00 and they were closing. Perhaps another time.

We returned to the campground and went up to the Happy Hour for just a little while. We sat around the fireplace and visited with new friends and then came back to the coach and had dinner.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Leaving Trail’s End

Sunday was a day of rest for us. I think we packed too much in in three days and we were just exhausted. Although the weather forecast called for rain it was a pretty day. Sunday afternoon we rode into downtown Waynesville and walked around some in and out of some pretty interesting stores.

Downtown Waynesville
Downtown Waynesville

After a quick run to the grocery store we headed back to the campground. I sat outside and read for a while as Jerry worked on the awning. Our next door neighbors, Becky and John came over and we chatted for a while. They are from Manning, SC and leave the fifth wheel at Trail’s End and come up when they can. Jerry noticed that they have a bird’s nest in the front hitch. We watched the birds flying in with worms obviously feeding little ones. John said he had planned to move the nest but just couldn’t do it with the little ones there.

Monday was moving and traveling day. We hated to leave Trail’s End because we felt that we had made some new friends there but that’s part of RVing I guess. Hopefully we’ll see them again perhaps when we are in Asheville for the horse show in July. Peggy called about 10:00 and said we could stay as long as we wanted as no one was coming into our site today but by then we were nearly packed up plus we had done most of what we had planned to do. Before we left I walked down and told her good-bye. I don’t know that we’ll make it back to Maggie Valley any time soon but I guess there’s always a chance.

We left about 10:00 and had a very easy ride. In fact I told Jerry that I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and the roads to narrow – and they did. I asked him if he heard a plop when the shoe fell! The last 12 miles to River Bend were curvy and winding but that wasn’t the interesting part.
We knew the RV Park was three turns past the post office but we still just passed it. Jerry stopped right there in the road and we tried to figure out what to do. There was nowhere to turn around so he told me I needed to get out and help steer him as he backed – yep, a 40’ Class A towing. While I was getting out I called the campground and they were unable to help me. Finally the guy said “Lady, what state are you in?” “North Carolina”, “Well, I’m in Tennessee”. Oops, wrong Riverbend. Then I called the right one and they said there was nowhere ahead of us to turn around SO Jerry began backing up with the tow still on. Occasionally he would yell at me to watch out for an approaching car. What he didn’t know was I couldn’t see around the bend so I couldn’t see any cars approaching. We finally got backed down enough to turn in. I hopped in and we drove on into the campground. Whew!

Gary and Carol checked us in. It’s a Passport park so our charge is only $17.50 a night. Gary led us down to the site and we got set up.

We decided to have shrimp for dinner so we of course had to make another grocery store run. The closest grocery was in Cashiers so off we went.
Instead of stopping in Cashiers though we rode on to Highlands. Highlands appears to be a real upscale town with a lot of shops and boutiques. We didn’t stop though, just headed back to Cashiers. Gary had told us about a hardware store that he thought we’d like so we stopped in there. Zollars is a hardware/gift shop, little bit of everything.

After we returned I sat outside and read for a while and then I heard the bell ring indicating Happy Hour. We headed on up to the gazebo where they had a circle of chairs around the fire place.

Sitting around the fireplace chatting
Sitting around the fireplace chatting
We met two other couples and we all sat and chatted for a while. As we were leaving Gary congratulated everyone for staying an hour and a half and not discussing politics or religion. Then he added that he liked Fox news! Smart guy!

We came on back to the coach and had a wonderful shrimp dinner. Now for a quiet and restful night.