Friday August 5th
Today, we began our first shake down trip in our new Aliner camper. After several weeks of planning and preparing the trailer, we felt we were ready. Our plan was to drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway so we could camp in the cooler elevations. Our first stop was at Chantilly Farms, a beautiful campground near Floyd, VA. After setting up camp, we drove to Mabry Mill and walked around Floyd where people were gathering to go to the Friday Blue Grass concert at the Floyd Country Store. We love the funky shops in Floyd. I particularly love the tie-dye clothing! We opted not to go to the concert and returned to the campsite to enjoy a beautiful evening in the mountains.
We headed down the Parkway and stopped at the Blue Ridge Music Center. To our surprise, there was a free mid-day concert and we were able to eat lunch while listening to a really good Blue Grass band. The three folks on the right in the photo below are father, daughter and grandfather respectively! We got off the Parkway at West Jefferson and drove through Todd to the KOA Campsite near Boone, NC. By the time we set up camp, it was time to call it a day.
Hot tea with lunch in Boone warmed us up and we headed back to the campground for showers. Later in the afternoon we headed to Blowing Rock to walk around the old town. It's a yuppy kind of place and we love it!
We drove south with a quick lunch stop at Linville Falls en route to Mt. Pisgah where we noted the camper brakes were acting funky. We set up camp and then headed to the Inn for dinner. The Inn was in the clouds and we asked a couple at the window table near us if we could take their photo to verify the view.
Mt. Pisgah Inn was the first place Kelley ordered something off of the menu other than mac and cheese or toasted cheese, 22 years ago. She was 16 years old and ordered trout. In her honor, I ordered trout tonight and it was delicious!
During the night, we found out that our camper was water tight as it just poured on and off all night. After breakfast, we headed down the mountain in search of sunlight and the North Carolina Arboretum. What a wonderful place, with gardens, galleries, an outdoor Bonsai exhibit, biking and hiking trails and an education center with a cafe. One of the artists on display throughout the gardens was Sean Kenney, a Lego sculptor. Here is a photo of his Monarch Butterfly.
The one thing that did not work well in our camper set up was the grey water drain. So we headed to an RV dealer in Asheville. It was a nasty place. Gretchen took one step into the store and walked right out. But they had the parts we needed and now we have a functional drain!
Our next stop was Brevard. We had never actually stopped there but we had passed through on our way to finding the spot Daniel Day-Lewis ran up the rocks in Last of the Mohicans for the girls when they were teenagers! Brevard has a really nice town center to stroll around. We then found the Brevard Music Center which was really nice. We'll have to plan a trip in the future to attend a concert.
Our next stop was the Cradle of Forestry on our drive up Mt. Pisgah to our campsite. It is an impressive place exhibiting the history and scope of forestry. The science of forestry began on the Biltmore Estate with Gifford Pinchot, who managed their forest in the early 1890s and then became the first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. German forester Dr. Carl Schenck replaced Pinchot at the Estate and founded the Biltmore Forestry School in 1898. Summer classes were taught in a camp on the current Cradle site.
We decided to eat at the Inn again since the food was great and the prices reasonable. Tonight the view was the same from the restaurant and fog shrouded our camper. We both had burgers and they were really good and REALLY huge! We have not eaten that much food in one seating in years and hopefully, will not for years to come!
We were planning to drive back up the Parkway but since we encountered brake problems, we decided to come home via major roads. All in all, it was a great shake down trip. The only item we needed that we had not packed was an essential...a wine stopper!