Monday, April 29, 2013

Rain Rain and more Rain!

To say it rained a lot the last few days is a joke. It rained and rained and rained. A little cabin fever was setting in. We did a lot of driving around and eating out and visited a few art galleries.

On the final night of rain we noticed the river lever rising quickly. So did our neighbor, who knocked and said the river might flood and he was hooking up in case he had to drive away quickly.

After that I started monitoring the river on-line. You can see how fast it was rising at one point. Our campground is right on the river and it would have started getting flooded in the yello action band of the graph.  Lucky for us the T-storms broke up that night and the river crested about 1 foot below that level.

As we were leaving one night we saw this Argosy pull in. It is pretty groovy.

Our neighbor who warned us about the river had also pimped his trailer removing a couch and island and replacing them with hand made cabinets with thick chunky solid wood countertops. Pretty nice!
Well at least the rain stopped for my birthday. Both of us did some work this morning about 3 hour or so while the last of the rain dropped down.

Here is a picture just to proved some work took place.  There was also a trip to the Post Office involved.
Once the business we done we got down to some delicious business finally eating at 12 Bones. On two previous trips to Asheville we failed to eat here because they are only open limited hours on weekdays!

My ribs were great! Oddly we ran into someone we know from Boston who was visiting some friends he know in Asheville.  His friends had just moved here about a year ago from Houston and really like it.
After lunch we went to the Asheville Arboretum. It is right near and entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway and nestled in some mountains.

They have a production greenhouse and a big collection of Bonsai both inside and outside.
The formal gardens are really nice. They have a quilt garden where they plant flowers in classic quilt patterns.

A number of the Bonsai were planted up like this one on a flat slab of rock. It looks pretty cool but you must have to water it very often.
More Bonsai!

The water gardens weren't grown in yet but that made it easier to find the very very loud frogs.

We are dinner in the trailer and went out to get dessert for my birthday at the end of which of course we got a little more rain. But it was sunny most of the day so that is good enough.

Tommorow we are off to the Great Smokies Nationa Park for some hiking so hopefully the rain is all done.

We got a nice rainbow out of the rain as well.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Asheville, NC

After a lesurely breakfast we were back on the road to Asheville, NC. It wasn't going to be a long day which is nice.

About 2/3 of the way we stopped at a nice state park for lunch. It was a man made lake and we took a brief walk around before finishing the last 30 miles of driving.

We opted to camp right in town at Wilson's RV park. My brother said we had to stay at Mama Gerties but is seemed to far away.
Wilson's turns out is much nicer than I expected. It is right on the river and is clean and had concrete pads (later this will seem very important!).

We are expecting sad weather so we un-hitch and get setup quickly and jump right on our bikes (Wilson's is on the bike trail too) and head downtown. It isn't a long ride and we are walking around downtown enjoying an Iced Coffee and checking out a few bookstores.  At one we score 4 Agatha Christie books for a total of $2.10 what a bargain.
After our bargain hunt we rode back to the campground and grilled up some sausages for dinner. With the leftover coals and some bits of pieces of wood I found we had a little campfire and enjoyed the last bits of good weather.

From then on it has been raining if not pouring for the last few days. Saturday morning is wasn't too bad and I walked to the farmers market while Will did some work.
Lucky me for me Will came and picked me up and brought me lunch because the heavens opened up and the 2 mile walk would have left me very crankey.

We puttered around the camper the rest of the day watching a little TV and on the internet.

I did a little work as well.
In the evening we hit Bouchon a french restaurante we had eaten in years ago.

It was delicios as always although the prices were a bit higher than last time.

We also went out for some beers after.
It rained and rained and rained some more.. you can see how much water there is. We are really happy to be camped on a concrete slab it helps keep the trailer much cleaner.

Today we are doing some laundry and I am updating the blog.  After we finish the laundry I think a coffee and snack is in order to birghten up the dreary wet day.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Visiting some friends and Will's birthday.

From Salem we had a nice short drive down to High Point, NC. Two friends of ours Paul and Randy live there and it is very close to Lexington NC where a concert Will wants to see is.

We haven't been down to visit for several years so it is good to be back. They have two new dogs Hanna and Maggie who are really cute.

We decided to just camp in their yard which wasn't too hard with their circular driveway although it was tight with the cars parked there.
We went out to a place called Sticks and Stones for Will's birthday it was great a mixture of pizza and BBQ offerings.

The next day we toured Old Salem in Winston-Salem and more importantly stopped at this Airstream Coffee Shop!

Old Salem is full of people dressed in period garb explaining what they did back in their day.

We didn't pay to go in the buildings and hear that stuff but just walked around checking out the buildings.

I thought this building was cool the way main beams protruded and crossed each other at the corners supporting the overhang.

On Thursday we went to a birthday dinner for a friend of our friends at a Taco place called "Crafted" it was AMAZING!

We shared a stuffed Avocado appetizer that was great and something we've never seen before.

After dinner we got some cheesecake for Joe's birthday and we hopped in the car and headed to Lexington for the concert.

The concert was at a Kayak Outfitters which is also a coffee house and bar and a concert venue. It was a small intimate show with only about 40 people there. The main act was Cruz Contreras the singer from the Black Lillies.

They had great beer but by the end of evening I was bushed.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Off to Salem VA

After sitting still in once place for 3 nights we re-hitched the trailer and set out for our next destination. Originally this had been Blacksburg VA but upon looking at the map and guide books we decided not to go there.  Instead we going to overnight at a Walmart and head to see some friends in NC a day early.
We actually decided all this while driving today. On the way we also stopped to visit Appomattox Court House where the South surrendered to the North.  Most of it was reconstructions but it was a nice day and good place to eat lunch.
After lunch we headed towards The Natural Bridge, which at one point Jefferson had purchased because he thought it was such a cool place.

We were lucky enough to park next to the bus, although we didn't get to see any Cat Circus tricks, and they were gone by the time we toured the Bridge.
The Natural Bridge is a tourist trap.. it was kind of expensive to get in. It has a enourmous gift show and from the looks of the buildings and stairways must be mobbed with people during the tourist months.

First we checked out the Butterfly enclosure which is included in your ticket. It was small but packed with butterflies. Although we've seen a ton of butterflies outside anyway.

There are so many inside you have to be careful not to step on or crush any. And the have a cool display of butterflies coming out of their cocoons in various stages of their life.

From the visitor center a sign informs you that there 137 steps dowe to the trail below the bridge and you can hit a button to get a bus to take you down. We risk the walk!

The Bridge is actually pretty cool, we walk the entire nature trail which also takes you to see a recreated indian encampment, a lost river and a small salt-petre mine.

There are also caverns here but that was extra and having recently been to Luray we didn't bother seeing them.

One fun part of the bridge is that is actually a bridge and the highway runs right over it. On our way out toward Salem, VA where we have decided to stop for the night we drive right over it, you can see in the picture below.  It would be cool if you could get a picture taken of your car going over the bridge.
In Salem we quickly find the Walmart we are going to stay at and proceed to do our grocery shopping.

After shopping we had dinner. We got a little lazy and purchased a 5$ roast chicken at Walmart so we just had to cook up some veggies and eat!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hiking Time!

After a hearty breakfast of eggs with jalepenos and cheese with sausage we drove back to the Skyline Drive to do a 6.5 mile hike to some waterfalls.

It was a pretty nice day for a hike, not too warm not too cold and with plenty of sun.

The monarchs were out everywhere!
The hike seemed backwards because on Skyline Drive you are already at the top of the mountain. So you hike down to things then back up to the road.

This was the first of the 3 waterfalls.

This is actually the 3rd waterfall where we ate lunch after about 4 miles of hiking.

It was a nice spot for lunch and we were hungry!
We spotted this device attached to a tree. I think maybe the bigfoot hunting show might be in the area hunting the Sasquatch!  We didn't see him.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

In and around Charlottesville, VA

On our way to Charlottesville VA we stopped at Luray Caverns.  I had been here as a kid so we took the tour of the caves.

As with most caves the tours are little lacking in actual science (except the one we took in a National Park it was good).  Instead showing you rocks that look like Snoopy or bacon etc.
Still I like caves. Above is a cool picture where a underground lake reflects the cieling of the cave it actually came out better in the picture than I expected.

Another interesting feature of the cave is an Stalagpipe Organ. An organ that plays music by hitting various Stalatites throughout the cave with little solenoid actuated rubber hammers. It sounds pretty cool.

We left the cave and had lunch and some fudge before jumping onto to Skyline Drive for the next portion of the trip.

Skyline drive is really pretty, it is nice to be here before it gets totaly crowded with tourists.  As we got higher up the mountains the leaves were less and less out.

We stopped and did a short but scrambling hike up to two viewpoints.

Eventually we got to our KOA in Charlottesville. It wasn't a "real" KOA like the ones that have water slides and tons of kids, it was a nice little campground with lots of trees.

The next day we toured Monticello Thomas Jefferson's home and plantation. It was really nice. He was a big of dork and there are few interesting inventions of his around the house, for example a double glass door where when you start to close one the other door magically closes too. Sure this doesn't sound that special but it was back then.

We also spent some time walking around the downtown pedestrian arcade which is a lot like Burlington VT altough a little bigger and swankier. We also went to visit the University of Virgina which was design by Jefferson taking a tour of the part of the college which he designed.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A quck stop in Winchester VA

We stopped at a truck stop to get some gas and eat some lunch. This magazine chronicals all the must have's for decorating the cab of your big rig.

It wasn't an exciting place to stop but we walked the perimeter of the truck stop and the other truck stop next to it, just to stretch out legs.

Being in the NY, NJ PA area the roads as still pretty busy, we look forward to getting farther out there.
Lovely place for a walk isnt it.

Our desitination for the day was Winchester VA. We got there and drove to the local Camping World store to pickup a few things we needed.  It was pouring and I mean pouring rain.  Right next store was a "Gander Mountain" outdoor store so we checked that out too.

With just a one night stay we weren't going to bother with a campground and instead were opting for a Walmart parking lot.
Before heading to the Walmart we parked in the parking lot of a Taphouse Movie theater and made our first in-trailer dinner, after which we went to Oblivion which was pretty but blah.

After that we finally made our way to the local Walmart and called it a night.
There is nothing like starting the day at Walmart!

It was a very quiet Walmart camping wise and there were a few other RVs parked there with us.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Another adventure begins

After such a long trip last summer to Alaska we thought we would do a shorter trip this spring. With both of us working part time we plan on working a bit on the road and travel at the same time.  Yet to be seen if we can pull that off.

With the trailer pulled into the driveway just a week prior to our departure time we filled her back up with all the stuff we had cleaned out earlier.

Amazingly we backed it into the driveway without much problem on a quiet sunday morning.
From Malden we just drive about 210 miles to my parents house in New City, NY. After a little mishap almost not being able to make a loop through the neighboring dentists office we managed to get around the parking lot and pull up onto the lawn where would spend the night.

It is always fun to see the trailer parked in front of the house, for some reason it looks really big on the lawn!

My parents took us out for some delicious Sushi and we just hungout checking out my mom's new kitchen.
This bike was my brother's when he was in high school. It wasn't a great bike or anything, but it has been hanging in my dad's garage for I think 30+ years now!

We joked about this at some point on the Alaska trip so I figured I'd take a picture.