Sunday, July 27, 2008

Festivals and Fun

On Saturday, the 12th, we went to the Maggie Valley Summer Arts and Crafts Festival. It was fun to see all the different crafts people had to sell. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed walking through the various tents.

Our friends, Ken & Stacy, arrived on the 14th. It’s been fun to see them again. We had dinner together that evening and then a fish fry together for lunch the next day. (We do enjoy our food on the road.)

At last report, we were going back to Marion to get our air conditioning fixed. We did that on the 16th, or so we thought. After returning to Creekwood and getting set up, the A/C started doing exactly the same thing. Apparently they had tightened something and thought it was fixed. Now they have ordered a new part which is scheduled to be installed on Tuesday, 7/29. Hopefully that will be the end of it. I’ll let you know.

On the following Saturday, we went to Waynesville to enjoy the Folkmoot parade. We were surprised at finding a parking space so easily, but didn’t get too excited. We had lunch and then met up with our friends to sit and enjoy. Oops! It was held on Friday! Were our faces red!!!!! Stacy had commented on it earlier in the week and referred to it being on Saturday. I checked that morning and it said the 18th and I just didn’t connect that it was already the 19th. Well, we had a good lunch out anyway. (Duh.)

So Sunday, Julian and I took a drive down to Franklin, NC. Our friends had told us about an RV park there that they had liked so we wanted to look into it. Besides, we just needed to get out and explore. The park turned out to be no big deal. So we just drove around and then had a very good lunch at Cody’s. We came back through Cherokee and tried to stop at the casino. Unfortunately there wasn’t a parking space to be had in the building and we figured it was probably pretty busy on a Sunday anyway. So we headed on home.

Yes, we have been to the casino… three times so far. We have not spent as much as we had budgeted, so we almost feel like winners. If you can bring money home, that’s a good thing!

Last Monday, our neighbors, Larry and Barb, arrived here at Creekwood. They have been all the way out to Washington state, on the road since May. They’ll be here for two weeks.

On Thursday, the four of us took the dogs and went up to Hot Springs, about 35 miles north of here. These are mountain roads, very winding, and it took over an hour to get there. But the scenery was fabulous.

We went to Murray Branch to do a little fishing. Julian and I had been there two years ago and had really enjoyed it. Since then, the Forestry Service has moved out and the park upkeep has suffered somewhat. But it was still a beautiful place to spend a day.

Here’s Heidi and me – ever watchful for that big fish to hit the line.

Larry was the only one to catch anything. He caught four, none big enough to keep. Here’s one of the smaller ones.

On Friday, the four of us went to Asheville to their Farmer’s Market. It wasn’t really huge, but we bought all kinds of produce, snacks and goodies. From there we headed downtown to a Thai restaurant we’ve been to each of our trips to this area. Traffic as awful – and then we realized that one of the largest street fairs in the South was taking place this weekend.

We finally found a place to park and started walking towards the restaurant – on the opposite end of town. The walk was good for us and the food was as good as we had remembered.

We took our time walking back and enjoyed much of what Bele Chere had to offer. There were two streets, the length of the downtown area plus most of the connecting streets full of vendors of nearly everything imaginable. This is Donna, Barb and Larry looking at trees made of twisted wires. They were so cool!

The fair stretched all the way down to the tower you see in the center of this picture. I’d guess it was probably a mile long, give or take.

Here’s another view of how far it all went.

It turned out to be a great “accident” to have stumbled onto this fair. We really enjoyed it.

Yesterday was the International Festival Day in Waynesville. This is part of the two-week Folkmoot celebration going on throughout this part of North Carolina. I had expected more crafts from around the world, but the majority of the vendors were from North Carolina. They had nice wares, but it was anti-climactic after being at Bele Chere only the day before.

We’ve also been doing a lot of hanging around the park. We walk up to 2.5 miles most days. We have cocktails by the creek with all our friends. Last night the six of us played cards in the afternoon. I’ve been doing some paper crafting. We both have been reading and generally relaxing whenever we can.

We’ve got some fun planned for this next week (besides the trip to get the A/C fixed). So I may actually be getting another entry made in the near future. You just never know.

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Boone Over the 4th

We left Asheboro on Monday, June 30, for Boone, NC. This town is named after THE Daniel Boone and is situated high in the Appalachian Mountains. The drive was only about 135 miles, but it was just about all up hill on somewhat narrow roads making it slow going. But it’s beautiful country, so we didn’t mind it!

We got settled in and met several of the neighboring dogs, including a silver Schnauzer who was also named Heidi. We found the weather here to be completely different from Asheboro. It had been very hot there – not true in Boone. The temps dipped into the 50’s over night and it was still chilly for our morning walks. We aren’t complaining, mind you, just stating the facts. It was actually a very welcome change.

We were close to the Blue Ridge Parkway here. We only drove about 8 miles of it, though. These pictures make it easy to see why it’s called the Blue Ridge.

We took a 50-mile scenic drive one day… and it took all morning to do it. It was beautiful, but those mountain roads are very windy and very narrow. This scenic drive took us right by Grandfather Mountain.

At the Visitor’s Center there was a natural habitat area for a number of animals that are native to this area. We saw this beautiful bald eagle.

Not to mention more beautiful vistas.

And a black bear.

(“Show them the backside!”)

At the top, this bridge spans the two peaks of the mountain.

We did cross it. It wasn’t so bad. That’s me in the black sweatshirt. (I told you the weather was colder here.)

Here’s both of us and some of the fantastic view from up there.

We continued on with the 50-mile drive and arrived in Blowing Rock for a late lunch. We stopped at a pub and had a fantastic sandwich. We walked around the shops some and then drove out to the Blowing Rock. We decided we’d seen enough mountains that we didn’t want to pay for another one, so I don’t have any photos. From the brochures, I don’t think we really missed anything special.

There was a parade in Boone on the 4th of July. We drove down and had no trouble finding parking or a place to see it all. Here’s the color guard who got the whole thing started.

I tried, but was too slow to get a picture of the Grand Martial. He rode in the back of an old pick-up and his name is Orville Hicks. He must be pretty well known around here. I checked and he’s got a book written about him and his stories. There’s a picture if you follow that link, and that’s exactly how he looked on the back of that pick-em-up truck.

These guys led the way for every fire truck in the county (if not beyond). That ax could not have been shinier!

Did I mention we were in the sticks? Can you hear the banjo playing?

Much of this parade was pretty similar to the one in Troy. There were the cars, the politicians, some very young beauty queens, a couple of dance troupes, and a few horses bringing up the rear. We were both surprised that there was no marching band. But it was a fun way to spend the morning.

As is our custom (even when we travel), we’d gone to bed a little after 9pm on the 4th. It wasn’t long till we heard fireworks – and not what you’d expect in a campground. So we got up and checked out the skies where we could see a city display taking place. We knew there was a show at the armory but had no idea where that was. Apparently, it was just over the hill from our campground.

We visited the Farmers Market on Saturday. It was small, but we found a couple of things that we just couldn’t live without.

That’s the excitement for our time in Boone. Unless you want to count the fact that the shower was still leaking and the starter on the coach was still giving us trouble. This being the case, we made an appointment for repairs at a place that (fortunately) was right on our course to our next stop. Since we had to be there at 8am and it was 40 miles of windy, narrow, mountain roads, we left the afternoon before and stayed in a Wal-Mart a couple miles away.

We left there at about 3pm with a new battery and a fixed shower. Apparently there was never a rubber gasket in the drain, so it may have been leaking since day one. Yikes! But it’s fixed now.

They had a great customer waiting area at this place and we had to keep Heidi with us. She did great and even made friends with this guy (an employee).

OK, he gave here fresh bacon, but still.

We arrived at Creekwood Farm at about 5pm and it was raining off and on. Thankfully, not very hard so we could get leveled and set up. It was a long day and we were happy to sack out early.

We got the rest of our stuff set up this morning and felt great about getting to start enjoying things again. We went into town to our favorite pizza place for lunch. (It’s still wonderful pizza.) When we got back, the air conditioning was making a funny noise and then pumped out some hot air before starting to cool. This was NOT normal. Even after we turned off the A/C something up there kept running. Julian climbed up on the roof to inspect things and realized that whatever wasn’t shutting off was VERY hot. So we cut power and called the RV repair place again. We’ll be going back there on the 16th to get the A/C fixed and will be without it until then. Pray for cooler weather here! And while you’re at it, pray for things to quit breaking! (Thank you.)