Posted by: sunnyharvy | October 15, 2013

A Long and Winding Road

While we drove in 6 states during our first week, we took a bit more time in beautiful Virginia. Although the government shutdown closed Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, we found nearby Route 340 a delight as it meandered through small towns and farmland. We may actually have had better vistas there since Skyline was above the clouds all day.

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This trip’s first official “boondock” (free camping) spot, which we found through www.harvesthosts.com, was at the Mackintosh Fruit Farm in Berryville, VA. Fortunately, I took a few photos when we arrived, because it rained steadily for the entire two days we were there. We enjoyed the farm kitchen’s zucchini crust pizza and peach smoothies as well as plenty of peace and quiet.

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This week we enjoyed a variety of campsites. After the fruit farm, we overpaid for a KOA campground  along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Otter Creek, VA. It was crowded with screaming kids and barking dogs, but we did get to take much needed showers, do laundry, fill up with clean water and dump the grey and black. The best benefit of staying there, however, was that one of the campground hosts told us about a nearby kayaking area on the tranquil James River. The next day we enjoyed a few hours there.

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The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia was often like a tunnel of trees displaying their beautiful fall colors. Thick fog and drizzle often obscured what I’m sure are beautiful views, but at other times the sky opened up for vast valley vistas.

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We came across a group of folks from Belgium and Holland who were driving their sports cars (shipped over from Europe) from New York City to Miami Beach. They were quite a jovial bunch. 180 cars in total were involved, but we saw only a handful.

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We hopped off the parkway to visit the town of Floyd, VA, which I had read about in Organic Gardening magazine a couple of years ago. It has a deep tradition of Appalachian music and is home to many creative and independent folks, many of whom moved here in the 60’s during the back-to-the-land movement. We dined at Oddfellows Cantina (seared salmon, mahi-mahi fish tacos & tiramisu) where a local trio entertained.  A perfect boondock spot behind the public library was a great end to that day.

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Just down the road from Floyd in Galax, VA the 52-mile New River Trail begins. While we only took time to peddle a few miles of the beautiful bike trail that follows the meandering river, it was a worthwhile diversion.

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Back on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway (do you know it runs a total of 469 miles with a maximum speed limit of 45 mph?), we enjoyed more colorful fall foliage and ever changing beautiful scenery as we entered our 8th state –  North Carolina. Late afternoon even shined some sunshine on us – our fist in four days. Unfortunately, it didn’t last.

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We parked overnight at a 24-hour Walmart (a first for us) in Boone, NC, which actually wasn’t too bad. In the morning I bought frozen fruit to make smoothies for breakfast…another first in haRVy.

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The foliage gets more brilliant every day. We must be here very close to peak because I can’t image it getting any better than this.

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The guy shown below, another from Belgium, built this custom van to suit his specific needs and shipped it across the Atlantic. For the past few years he and his wife have toured North, South, and Central America as well as Mexico and Canada. Oh yeah, did I mention that he is paralyzed from the waist down? Doesn’t stop him from living his dreams!

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Visited the highest peak east of the Mississippi in Mt. Mitchell State Park. Lunched at the nearby restaurant (only one we’ve seen open on the entire parkway) where collards were one of the choice of sides, which we both enjoyed. We must be in the south now!

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Boondocked in a service utility yard  for a fancy guest ranch high above Maggie Valley, NC, west of Asheville. Took a quick walk around in the morning before being politely asked to leave. It was private property after all. We were lucky to get away with this one.

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Did I mention the treacherous road we drove to get up there?

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Responses

  1. so what were those collards cooked in?

    • Believe they were just boiled in water. Plain but tasty! Love any greens and was so excited to see them offered in a restaurant that we ordered two sides!

  2. I love that first picture of Al!

    Great adventures for sure. I am so glad you are savoring every moment.

  3. Love being able to vicariously travel with you two. Death Valley. Wow.
    Having this blog is such a great way to remember all the many places you’ve visited……


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