Monday, October 31, 2011
Bob baked cinnamon rolls for breakfast.We visited with him for a while and then we hooked up and drove about 50 miles down the road to Covington, Louisiana. This is where our friends Gary and Linda live. They used to live in West U and Gary was Jim’s boss. We talked a while at their house and had a beer. Then we went to a bar called the Barley Oak by Lake Pontchatrain. You could see the causeway from the balcony where we sat. It was beautiful and sunny today. We drove around a little more and then stopped by a store to buy some snacks. We went back to the house and had cheese, salami, grapes, veggies with dip and some crackers with wine. Later in the evening we went out for dinner at New Orleans Food and Spirits. The food was really good. Jim had red beans and rice with pork chops, Gary had fish and Linda and I had shrimp and grits. Linda had candy for trick or treaters tonight but by the time we got back from dinner no one came around. She will donate the candy to the church food bank. We camped in Gary and Linda's driveway.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Jim fixed pancakes for breakfast this morning. We left Meridian and drove to Diamondhead, Mississippi. We went to Bob and Pat Harko’s house where we set up the Casita in their driveway. They had picked up a t-shirt in Alaska for Jim and a cap for me at a brewery in Kodiak and since we didn’t go to the Pine Knot Rally we went by to get it. Pat was out of town so we had a nice visit with Bob. We talked awhile and then looked at their Alaska pictures.
We decided to go to a Diners Drive-ins and Dives place called The Shed for BBQ. Bob took us down Highway 90 from Diamondhead through Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Long Beach, Gulfport and Biloxi. This area has still not fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina. There are still a lot of empty lots for sale. Most have lonely looking cement slabs. Some on the water by the new bridge in Pass Christian have only partial docks left in the water. But you can see some new construction. It looks much better than when we came by here after Katrina. Along the way there was a beautiful sunset tonight and we snapped some pictures from the car. After eating, we went back to the house and had some wine. Bob made Cherries Jubilee.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
It was supposed to rain during the night and this morning and turn cooler but it never did. We drove to Stone Mountain Georgia. Jim had never seen it and I had been here about 26 years ago with Mom, Woodie and Allen. It has changed a lot since then. They now have an amusement park attached to it and were making snow for the seasonal snow slide. This mountain has the largest granite monolith relief in the world. Carved into the side of the mountain are Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. A 6 foot man could fit in the horse’s mouth. They have a gondola you can ride up to the top of the mountain.
After visiting Stone Mountain, we went to the American Legion Hall in Tucker and had a beer and talked to the people there. We went back to camp and I cooked dinner. Our campsite is on a lake in the 3,200 acre park. You can see the mountain and gondola from here. This is a Passport America Park. The Silverado turned over to 10,000 miles today. It has started to sprinkle at 6 pm tonight and should be cooler tomorrow. It was snowing today in the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia -- we left just in time.
Jim went to get the oil changed at 9 am this morning. While he was gone I washed the sheets. We drove to Sumter National Forest near Abbeville, South Carolina and got a site at Parsons Mountain Lake Campground. Jim grilled a sliced leg of lamb and it was really good. We gathered some wood and had a fire after supper. There were only two other campers there and it was really quiet. The campground had flush toilets and hot showers. There were no hookups and the price was only $3.50 a night!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Jim bought tickets yesterday at the RV park for us to visit the Biltmore Estate. This house was built by George W. Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. It is the largest privately owned house in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world. It has 250 rooms and sits on 8,000 of the estate's original 125,000 acres. It is full of fabulous art, tapestries, furniture, sculpture, and antiques. Jim said his liberal economics professor at UT Austin would have called it "sickeningly opulent". We got there about 10 am this morning and left at 5 pm. We took the tour of the house using audio head sets. The audio detailed the rooms you were looking at while in the house. No pictures were allowed inside the house. After going through about 60 of the rooms we had some lunch at the Stable restaurant. This restaurant is in the old stables next to the house. The stable also houses some shops. There are a few different places to eat on the estate and they have everything from pizza to really fancy dinners. The estate has its own beer and a winery. We had a beer with lunch and later we did a wine tasting and bought two bottles. The employees were busy getting the house ready for Christmas and it was beginning to look really pretty.
After lunch we took a walk through the grounds and gardens which were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed New York's Central Park and Boston Common. We left the estate and went to Hendersonville to a brewery named South Allegeny Brewing and had a beer. When we returned to the Casita we got our clothes together and went to wash them. We had 4 loads.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
We left Walmart and drove to Fletcher, North Carolina, near Asheville. We got a site at a really pretty Passport America park on a little lake. We made an appointment with a local Chevy dealer to get the Silverado’s oil changed on Thursday morning. We found a barber shop and Jim got a badly needed haircut. The barber cut it very short so it should last a few months.
We drove into Asheville and went to four brewpubs. Ashville Brewing had a really good beer called Fire Escape. It was an ESB with jalapeno added. We went to Lab Brewing ( Lexington Avenue Brewing) and had a beer and a really good fresh baked pretzel with beer cheese sauce and mustard sauce. This brewery won a bronze medal from the GABF for their Brown Porter this year. They were out of it so we didn’t get to try it. The brewer told us he talked to the St. Arnold people at the airport while leaving Denver. We then went to Green Man Brewery, had a beer and talked to a couple that were home brewers from Tampa, Florida. They had previously lived in San Antonio, Texas. Then we went to Wedge Brewing, had a beer and talked to a man who worked for the city of Ashville. He was very knowledgeable about the Ashville brewing scene. There are four brewpubs and five microbreweries in this town of about 75,000 people.
We got back on Sky Line Drive this morning and drove to the end. We only had 26 more miles of the 105 total miles to drive today. As Sky Line Drive ends, the Blue Ridge Parkway starts. The Blue Ridge is a total of 429 miles. We drove 106 miles of it today and got off near Roanoke, Virginia. We drove to Wythville, Virginia and stayed at the Walmart there. The sun came out around 1 pm and the colors of the trees were really lit up.
When we got up at 6 AM is was 36 degrees and very foggy. We had breakfast, got gas and headed out for Sky Line Drive. After driving up on the mountain, the sun was out. At the lookouts you could still see the fog down in the valley that looked like clouds. We drove from mile 32 to mile 79 and got a site at the Loft Mountain Campground. Only one of the campgrounds was full today. We will finish Sky Line Drive tomorrow. The campground will only let you burn firewood that is bought from the park store. You can’t bring any in and you can’t take any out because of some kind of beetle. Because of this and the campground being full this weekend, there was a lot of firewood left at some campsites. We gathered it up and had a big fire at our camp. It was nice to sit outside in the cold beside the fire.
This morning when we woke up the diesel trucks had filled up their parking lot and were in the RV section taking up space. They were even parked in no parking spaces. Other than the trucks only one other camper and us were there. The road noise was bad so I turned on my white noise machine and everything was OK.
We left the rest area and drove into Shenandoah National Park at the north entrance. It was very crowded getting into the park. It was cloudy until about 1 P.M. Since it was Saturday all of the campgrounds along the 105 mile Sky Line Drive were full. We drove the first 32 miles and then got off the drive and went into Luray,Virginia and stayed all night at a Walmart. We were the only RV there.We will tour the rest of Sky Line Drive tomorrow. It is supposed to be sunny tomorrow.
The campgrounds are shutting down since it is the end of the season up here so we are going to start back home. We drove all day and went 365 miles. We were in six states today. We started in Rhode Island, went through New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and ended up in Virginia. We stayed at the visitor information rest stop about 6 miles in. We saw some really pretty changing leaves today as we drove. They were red, yellow and orange. It was cloudy all day with a few spots of drizzle. It was about 50 degrees all day.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
It finally stopped raining. Before hooking up we drove a couple of miles away to Judith Point lighthouse. This lighthouse is on a Coast Guard station base and we couldn’t get up to it for a good picture. This fence and fog were in the way. The waves at this particular point were very strong. It was really pretty to see.
We hooked up and drove to Wilton, Connecticut. On the way we stopped at a Wal-mart to pick up stuff and I got a flu shot. We also made a quick stop by Mystic, Connecticut and looked at Mystic Seaport. We continued on to Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton, Connecticut. This is where J. Alden Weir, an American impressionist painter, lived. He painted lots of pictures of the woods surrounding his farm. He also had other painters of the time at his house as guests, such as John Singer Sargent. Weir was born in 1852 and died in 1919. His daughter lived there after him and continued the tradition of painting after he died. She married a sculptor, Mahonri. He was commissioned to make the monument titled “This is the Place” which featured a 12 foot bronze statue of Brigham Young.
We walked around the property and through the woods to a pond. We drove to a rest area on Interstate 84 about 2 miles from New York state and spent the night.