Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blue Ridge Parkway in Rain May 11th 2009

We left about 8 AM on an adventure that was part business and part pleasure. Ben had two inspections to complete for Trillium Works and Jane went along for the ride. Our GPS was set for first visit near Hillsville VA. We plugged in a Tony Hillerman book and were on our way north on I-81 and 77. We stopped at the Red Barn General Store for Ben to complete his first inspection and then began a rather long trek to Rocky Mount VA.

We stopped at a couple locations in Floyd VA which has turned into quite the Arts Community. We saw some very nice baskets, metal work, paper, and pottery work at the Over The Moon Gallery and Cafe. They also had a good selection of various food items. We had Google Map directions as well as the GPS and followed some rather confusing directions but did finally reach Rocky Mount - in fact came into town on the road where Uttermost Industry was located!

It was lunch time so we set off to find Bowlings Place - Jane had read about it on the internet site for the Crooked Road - this is a scenic route through southern Virginia that goes through many small towns that are part of the Country Music History of the Area. We were in the area but did not follow the entire route. Bowlings Place was known for the best hot dogs in the area serving 400 - 500 a day! That just seemed like a lot of hot dogs so we found it - a small place that did indeed serve lots of hot dogs. The menu was hot dogs, soup beans, and slices of hoop cheese. We each had two hot dogs and a drink. They were good and from the buns stacked on the shelves and traffic in and out during our 20 minutes there - they probably do sell that number each day!

We got back to Uttermost and Ben completed his inspection. We then headed off toward the nearest entrance point to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had chosen this as our route south instead of I-81. It was not raining but still very cloudy and we were afraid we might be in the clouds on the Parkway. It was a nice drive south to where the Parkway crosses US52 at I-77. We saw many yellow and orange azaleas as well as some rhododendron. We had never been on this section of the Parkway and were surprised to find that in many locations - while it was beautiful scenery - the parkway only owned a very narrow section of the land.

We stopped at Mabry Mill which we had seen so often in photos but had never visited. The weather was cool and there was very little traffic on the Parkway. The fog or clouds were hanging in valleys off and on and gave our drive an unusual feel. I wish there had been a little more light so I could have taken some photos.

At US52 we got off the Parkway and Ben enjoyed seeing a short portion of the road he used to travel back and forth home from NC State years ago. We got on I-77 and headed back south towards home. We stopped at Red Lobster in Bristol for a good dinner before reaching home about 8:00. A nice 12 hour trip into a close-by home area but one where had never seen.

One Day to Franklin NC - Saturday May 9, 2009

We had planned a weekend camping trip to Western NC Mountains with a couple visits to the Gem and Mineral Show (always lots of beads)! We had reservations at Van Hook Glade campground and were looking forward to a great weekend - but the weather had other things in mind. Friday we had storms and even a tornado warning so did not leave. Saturday am was not great but we left with enough gear to stay or not stay the night depending on the weather. Trip over to Franklin was pleasant with only a few sprinkles but no sunshine. We got to Franklin and ate lunch at the City Grill - OK but not great. We then made our way through the huge vendor tent - Ben looking for a star sapphire for his dagger and Jane searching for the beads on her "list" so she can get back to beading. We found some of the things on the list including some nice amazonite beads to go with the turtle Ben cast in silver over the winter.

About 2:00 there was a huge storm - the sound on the roof of the more than football field size tent was staggering! Wind and hard rain for about 15 minutes and then it was gone. We finished our shopping and left to find the Sprinter in a muddy lake parking lot! We decided to drive back home and not stay in what would be a VERY wet campsite. We will miss our dinner in the Thai Restaurant in Franklin - one of our favorite places.

Coming through Ashville we searched for the River Arts District. Thanks to the GPS and maps Jane had found on the internet we looked around for a while. There are a number of galleries in old buildings but none that peaked our interest. We drove on home arriving without any further rain storms.

No photos - Jane forgot her camera and there was no sun!