Sunday, June 27, 2010

What a Day !

We headed out this morning to go check out a campground, about two hours from here. The campground sits in the valley, between the Blue Ridge mountains and their website spelled out a very specific route to take, when coming in with your camper. Since we were driving the car, we didn't give it a thought and just punched in the address of the campground and off we went. On the way, we drove through Boone....which is a cute little town. It was getting close to lunchtime so we pulled into the parking lot of a store called Earth Fare and I went inside, searching for lunch. What a neat store that was ! They had a cafe area with prepared paninis and salads on display so I bought a veggie panini and some cranberry broccoli salad. Oh my, was it yummy !

From there we continued on our GPS course towards Blowing Rock. Somewhere near there we were told to make a right hand turn and it was like jumping down a rabbit hole. I should have been a little leery when the highway sign said...Unpaved Road Next 5.8 miles. It was like a goat guard rail...spiraling down...down...down. Have I ever mentioned before how I hate roads with sheer cliffs on either side of the road that make you feel like you're going to plummet into an abyss where no one would find you for weeks ? Well, that is how this road seemed and I was gripping the steering wheel for all I was worth. Every muscle in my body was tensed...On top of the steep and winding part, there were wash board ruts in the road that made the car shudder sideways when we'd hit them....causing more sheer panic. Do you know how long it takes to cover 5.8 miles when you're only going 15 m.p.h. ? A VERY LONG TIME !!

When we finally did make it to the bottom and to the campground, it was nice but not all that. As we were leaving it started to rain....Linda checked the directions she had written down for getting to the campground (if coming with the rig) and knowing that there was no way in you know what we were going BACK the way we came, we proceeded out the correct way EXCEPT Linda told me to go right when I should have gone left. During a few of the "flat" miles we did drive, we saw that there are huge tree farms here. We saw large, mature magnolias growing in rows and arborvitae, etc. It was like Valley of the Trees....kind of cool until we discovered that we had gone the wrong way and not only was the road worse than the other one (now we're going UP the mountain) but now we have 10 miles to go instead of 5.8 miles. Eeekkk!! I was about ready for several valium at this point. After the first couple of miles I had told Linda to refrain from saying, "Oh geeze that's a really long way down and there aren't any guard rails." Yeah, it was nerve wracking.
At one point we came up to a place that appeared to be a small store so we stopped. On the front porch sat two women and one man....When the guy asked me if he could help me, I asked him if there were any black top roads or civilization nearby. He chuckled and proceeded to tell us how to get back to I-40....only 15 or so miles away. Somewhere in the discussion he asked where we were from and I told him Pennsylvania. He asked where and I told him. Turns out he spent some time living in Gettysburg and said it was a wonderful time in his life. Small world....After Linda wrote all of the directions down, we were getting ready to leave them there on the porch. I think it was when the one woman said "when you get to the area where the gorge is, stay way over on the left", I thought it as good a time as any to let Linda drive. Let the circulation back into my knuckles and butt cheeks....

Yep, there was a gorge....White Creek gorge. Seems to be the happenin' place on the weekends, especially if it's 90 degrees out.
All along a 2-3 mile stretch of road, there were cars parked everywhere and you see people swimming in the water and jumping off the rocks. We stopped at one of the few pull off areas and took Boomer to the water so he could go swimming. It was amazing how many people were there. There were coolers sitting on the rocks, dogs running around jumping in, canopies set up for shade on shore...all kinds of ways people were trying to cool off.

We made it to I-40 and I grabbed the laptop to see what might be in the vicinity of Hickory...seeing how we were headed that way. Found info on Bunker Hill Covered Bridge. It's the only remaining Haupt (the engineer)truss covered bridge in the world.
We had to walk a ways, out into the woods, to get to it but it was neat when we saw it.
Given its location, it made you wonder how much different the road system must have been over 100 years ago. Sadly, the bridge has become a blackboard for people's graffiti. It's too bad that this is the only way that people feel they can "leave their mark" on something. There are more constructive ways to do it, rather than desecrating a historical landmark.

As we were driving down Rt.70, to get to the site of the covered bridge, we had passed an ice cream place called "Udderly Delicious". Their sign said that their ice cream was home made. We retraced our path the five miles it took to get to the ice cream place and got a banana split. It was a fitting end to a full day of adventure...As advertised it was "Udderly Delicious" !!

1 comment:

Movable Book Lady said...

Ha! Welcome to my home stomping grounds! Nice trip. Washboards work two ways -- really really slow or bat out of hell. Glad y'all didn't fall off.