An interlude away (I know, there is no away)
Trip Start Mar 23, 2009
27Trip End Jul 23, 2009
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We pulled into the campsite, Lake Ridge RV (resort – no less), Hillsville, Virginia, at about lunchtime, asking for a pitch that would allow Larry to park beside us when he arrived, he was due to get here late afternoon. We had a great run down, sunshine all the way and this is a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains/Parkway that we had missed last time so we were looking forward to going on a hike or two. By about 4pm we were wondering where Larry was so a quick Skype call to his cell ascertained he was about an hour away and as I thought the office closed at 5 I offered to nip in and pay for his slot so that he could just pull straight in. It’s ok they assured me – "let him pay for himself, we’re open 'till 7". We had got one of those huge pizza’s for a snack when he arrived, I think they are about 16” but they seem more like 3ft diameter. Betsy cut a couple of portions to cook for us as Larry had said he had already eaten on the road (dirty habit that…). Whilst we were eating, waiting for Larry to arrive, the skies blackened and a sudden but fairly violent thunderstorm hit us, lightning hitting a ridge mere yards away from us – it was all over within minutes though – wow!
5 o’ clock came round and so did 6 but still no Larry, a little while later we got the call “ I’ve broken down!”. He had just managed to pull off the freeway and into the car park of a hotel, he was only about 10 miles from us but couldn’t limp on any further with an air leak he had lost all suspension and would soon loose brakes! We drove over to meet up with him – he had already spoken to a repair service garage nearby and they had arranged to come out and have a look first thing in the morning and the hotel had given him the ok to overnight in their car park – you see it’s a good job I didn’t pay for his campsite after all :). Whilst visiting, the skies blackened over and the heavens opened, a tremendous thunderstorm, very violent, complete with winds that were blowing small trees down the road and lightning hitting the top of a ridge just a matter of a few yards away (deja-vu or do, do, do?). It too was short lived and as the rain subsided we wished him good luck for a small and inexpensive repair that could be completed the next morning and that we would still try and keep the site next to us for him. It was, we did and he turned up just before lunchtime – break off another chunk from the 6ft pizza :)
Just one more thing before I can get on to a travelling blog. When we got back to our campground after visiting Larry in his hotel car park/campsite we couldn’t log on to the internet – the connection just didn’t exist any more… and this was the main reason we had chosen this campground in the first place, because of the internet connection, oh yes and the fact that it is Passport America (we get a 50% discount – that’s more like Malc I hear you say). We found out the next morning that their wi-fi antenna had taken a direct hit from the storm whilst we were out – it had fried their whole system, computer hard drives and phone too.
The morning had been sunny again but the forecast wasn’t good so we abandoned hiking in the mountains for a drive along the parkway and a visit to the Mabry Mill http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1533339/mabry_mill.html Turned out to be a fantastic choice; I got my fill of an old mechanical marvel, Betsy enjoyed the lovely setting and Larry seemed be enthralled by the stories of how Chestnut trees are now all but gone… and we all had our fill of the yummy buckwheat pancakes served in the mill restaurant.
We decided to stay a third night so as to have a full day on the Thursday although yet again rain was expected in the afternoon so, again we decided no hiking in the woods/mountains.
We went to Mount Airy http://www.visitmayberry.com/ , a town famous for a TV serial starring Andy Griffiths as a small town cop in the 1960’s http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/A/htmlA/andygriffith/andygriffith.htm – the show aired 249 episodes and I think I have seen most of them by now as it always seems to be showing re-runs whenever we have TV reception. (Something we don’t get now anyway since the US has gone completely digital, it’s ok when we have cable at the campsite though). Or at least I have seen the same episode 249 times???
We headed for the downtown district, many of the shows had been filmed here as the fictitious town of Mayberry so we got to check out a few of the locations, though none of us were actually fans we did “bump into” many people who were, if you want to see what all the Andy Griffith hype is all about http://www.tvland.com/fullepisodes/andygriffith/ or I am sure you can see some of the shows on you tube. Whilst in the tourist office, our ever favourite “first stop”, would you believe, the skies blackened and the heavens opened – you guessed it – we stayed in ‘till it cleared, http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0606/feature6/index.html This is a sort of intriguing story of the two (born in Siam and hence the term Siamese twins). After touring as a “show” both in Europe and the USA they “retired” to a farm nearby where they married, even had a double wedding, and had 21 children between them, so to speak. Their names translate as, left and right.
Down in the basement there were a couple of fire trucks and a great lump of granite that had been left as part of the foundation as it was too difficult to remove at the time of building, neatly bringing me round to lunchtime, well late afternoon really.
For our picnic “lunch” we set off to the viewing point that overlooks the world’s largest open granite quarry http://www.ncgranite.com/largestquarry.asp – just up the road, the Andy Griffith show even gets a mention on this quarry website. We had learnt about this from our visit in the museum. I think we managed to finish off the last of that 10ft pizza :) It was granite from here that was used for the Wright brothers memorial - remember that?
On the way home we checked out another campsite; Eng and Chang’s farm, their farm is now a campsite would you believe, so we had to go and look around.
The following morning we bade farewell to Larry as he set of before us, wishing him a trouble free journey home, which he had. We also arrived back at Le-Hi later that day, safe and sound from our little interlude in the rain! –
Where I stayed
Lake Ridge RV Resort Hillsville