The 1st night I was just setting up and Vonnie was doing mass laundry while Vi swam at the pool. We did some research via the internet to find some cool waterfall/swimming holes in the area. So we got up the next day and drove out to check these out. The land is really lush and green through this country just at the foothills of the Smokys.
Lots of farmland and forest combined. We stopped off at one of the many produce stands to stock up. (note: While traveling, we’ve always tried to stop off at the local stands when we are in need of veggies and fruit. It’s been hit and miss but a good way to sample the local goods and it beats Wal-Mart produce.) This waterfall was pretty nice although a bit crowded.
It was some cold refreshing water though, and a nice change from the warm ocean water we’ve been swimming in lately. You can climb up on the rocks and go behind the falls. You can sit on a ledge inside of there. It was cool. Then you can slide the slippery rocks out from under the falls and into the swimming hole below. It was nice to finally let Chula do some swimming too. (I had some video of this but couldn't get it to upload because of my weak-ass wifi access here.) Vi and I agreed that it was the best shower we’ve had since moving into the RV! After swimming and playing for a while we got ourselves another good shower on the trek back to the truck as a nice 20 minute cloud burst opened up on us. We sat in the truck and ate lunch. We were soaked to the bone and, even a little bit cold for the first time since leaving California!
The storm never really let up so our waterfall hunting was over for the day. Note: there are so many waterfalls around here that you can spend weeks exploring them all. You can check out 3 of them right around this Hooker Falls location.
We got changed back at camp and headed into the downtown Asheville that evening. It was a Friday night and they had bands playing in the street and it was like a big party. This is a cool town to visit. So many shops and pubs and music venues. We loved it. My buddy, Larry, from back home has been here before and suggested we check out this Jack of the Wood pub/brewery, so we did and it was real good. Great IPA! (Green Man IPA, I think) We cruised around in the streets for a while. It reminded us of some towns in our area back home but not as uptight.
Lots of music happening on the street corners and pubs opened up to the streets. Pretty cool. Vonnie ended up loving this place too and we were wishing we had a few more days here. (note: The skatepark is right downtown as well and looks pretty nice. I had gotten up early on this day to skate it and found it closed so I was hoping for some more time here….as is usually the case.) We didn’t get home until after 11.
I got up early the next day to take a drive out the Blue Ridge Hwy that I’ve heard so much about. I went solo and drove north up the Pkwy, about 40 miles I think, to this peak called Mount Mitchell. At 6684’ it claims to be the highest peak this side of the Mississippi so I had to check it out before I left.
This road winds about 450 miles through the mountains and is supposed to be one of the most beautiful drives in the US. I was impressed. (You can see a little clip that I took from my drive) You can see from the pics why they call these the Smoky Mountains. It appears that a fire is burning but it’s the fog that rises out of the gaps between the many ridges. The photos aren’t great but pretty cool to see in real life. I was wishing I had brought Vonnie’s camera to shoot a panoramic here. Mount Mitchell was cool but it was hanging in the clouds so my view was kind of fouled. Note: I did see some RV’s on this pkwy but I would hesitate to take mine along here. At speed limits of 35 – 45 mph, it would be a real slow drive northward and the low hanging limbs would threaten to smash my skylights out. Great ride on a motorbike I’ll bet.
We loved it here and thought about staying another night but decided we would come back here on another trip east. We had a lot more exploring to do here but it was time to leave. Once I was back at camp we packed it up and were pulled out (late) by 1pm. Hope they don’t charge us for that.
We took the I40 north-east toward Virginia Beach. Once across the Virginia state line we found a little town with a Wal-Mart. We rented a couple movies from the Redbox, put together some dinner then crashed out. With the temps in the 70’s, no generator or AC was required. Nice!
Vonnie and Vi weren't real excited about heading to the mountains and checking out Asheville. Vonnie wanted, more, to cruise the east coastline and check out beach towns but I really wanted to check out a little bit of the Smoky Mountains and everyone seems to like this Asheville place. It was a good 5 or 6 hour drive out I26 into the hills. We got into a pretty good campground (Bear Creek RV park) just outside of Asheville about 4 miles from the downtown.