7/30/14

Mt Pisgah on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Mt Pisgah tower

view from the campground

After spending eight glorious days and nights at this idyllic mountain retreat, we returned home jumping back into home updating projects.  The bath is mostly done and it’s time to take a break before returning to kitchen painting.

Waking at 4 AM this morning with blogging on my brain, it is time to take another look at our favorite summer get away.

Introduced to this magical place over 20 years ago, we were drawn here initially for biking and hiking opportunities.  The campground has 5 loops, two RV and three tent, with around 140 sites.  There are no hookups for electric, water or sewer and we never need a reservation….due to the lack of facilities! 

The Mt Pisgah campground is the highest, coolest and most secluded on the 489 mile Blue Ridge Parkway.  At 4, 980 feet, it  provides us with cool breezes and temps that welcome a fire at night.  Mt Pisgah, photo above, is at 5,721 feet with the television tower being the highest east of the Mississippi River.  There are showers in the campground now….years ago we bathed under a sun shower hung in a rhododendron thicket.  The fee is $16 per night, $8 with a senior pass.  The time policy allows camping for 30 consecutive nights, a recent change from a 2 week limit.

The campground is at mile 408 on the parkway, about 15 miles south of Asheville, NC and 61 miles from Cherokee, NC.  It is 5 1/2 hours drive from our home in Chattanooga, 200 miles.  We never hurry as it’s beautiful …traveling through two river gorges and 40 miles on the parkway.

Within walking/hiking distance of the campground, a restaurant, inn and camp store can be accessed.  These photos were taken in early evening from the deck behind the restaurant.

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Always love seeing the beautiful flowers found growing along the parkway.  The elevation makes for a much later season.  We find columbine, a very early blooming wildflower, on a hiking trail.  Rhododendron is blooming throughout our campsite.

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This wildflower, fly poison, is found along the campground road.

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Calla lilies are in the restaurant’s garden.

From the eastern overlooks, Looking Glass Rock, (near Brevard, NC) can be viewed.  There’s a steep hiking trail that climbs to its base.

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Sylvester seems to enjoy the trip…or maybe he just likes getting away from his two older sisters!  Lots of entertainment can be found just outside the window.

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Sylvester lets us know when it’s bedtime by crawling on top of David’s book, persistently returning every time he’s removed.

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A few fiberglass trailers breeze through the campground, most staying only a night.  We are fortunate to make friends with Holly, new Casita owner, and Carrie, proud owner of a pre-owned Scamp.  Will be seeing them again at future rallies!

Too busy talking to get any pictures of their rigs but the campground does have an abundance of small trailers.

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This is a cool but pricey little all-aluminum trailer… Camplite.

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A 1960 Shasta…no peak inside …still remodeling.

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Beautiful homemade teardrop type.

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The Retro Lite’s owners are on a multi-month trip….fun people who travel constantly.

The last few days on the parkway are spent hiking…. driving to the Shining Rock area and taking the Ivestor Gap trail.

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It is mostly flat, an old roadbed, but the large rocks in the trail prove challenging.  Will take the Art Loeb trail next time!

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7/10/14

More of the Same and Blue Mountains

 

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What can I say about this summer?  It’s been difficult?  Long? Exhausting? Hot? Not to mention depressing and confusing….

Our downsizing has continued.  Some days we do nothing, other days are full of accomplishments.  The basement is now  mostly organized.  All the boxes have been explored and categorized.  Unused items have found other homes….occasionally in the trash and we have moved on to phase two: painting the kitchen.

“The kitchen paneling and wall paper will look better painted” the realtor said and we both agreed.  The paneling is done and looks great!  Now dreading  painting the wall paper!

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The confusing and often frustrating part of this project is our ambivalent feelings about selling the house.  Most days it is a “go”, definitely the right thing to do.  But there are also many times it’s a “how in the world are we going to manage in that little duplex without a basement or garage?”  These thoughts mostly arrive in the middle of the night or in odd moments while sitting on the deck looking at the flowers.  And then there’s the cats.  How do we downsize them?

Speaking of the flowers…last year we were in Alaska during the daylily season.  This year I took many pictures as a way of keeping their memories while saying good-bye.  DSC_7163

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We received encouragement from a blog post during one of our downtimes.  The Winnie Views post of “How to Eat an Elephant” arrived just at the perfect moment to help me to realize that the plan of updating the house for 3 months, selling the house in 4 months and heading out to AZ by December 1 was causing the stress.  So the plan is now thrown out the window.

The new plan is to keep painting, keep throwing out the stuff we don’t need and take a break from it all!  We headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway and our little bit of heaven at Mt Pisgah Campground.

It is now day 3 here at 5,000 feet and my body, mind and soul are being renewed.  We have done very little but walk and ride the campground and sit, inhaling the cool breezes and peace that flows through the mountains.

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We hope the tranquility will last and stay with us once we return to the flat lands.

6/5/14

Home Sweet Home!

 

I knew it had been a long time since the blog had been updated but did not realize that it had been this long!  So out of practice writing…could not even think of an appropriate title!

Don’t know if we’ve adjusted to stationary living.  Noticed that I am drawn to looking at pictures of Montana, Wyoming…hoping next summer we will find a way to be in big sky country!

There is progress being made on the whole downsizing adventure!  In the past few weeks Craig's List has become a friend and surplus sporting gear, a refrigerator and our old solar kit have found new homes.  We can see space between the stacks of stuff!

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David has dissembled his shop…it’s still in boxes….but, hey, it’s a start!  And we have a new past time, flea marketing…selling, not buying.  Each Friday morning we take a load of “stuff” a few miles up the road and proceed to unload it on the buyers looking for bargains.  Almost give it away but our possessions need to go somewhere…might as well get a few dollars!  And it becomes a social event…swapping tales with some of the old codgers.   We are not working at it…just trying to enjoy ourselves for a few hours.

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We could be working harder at the purging of possessions….but believing that one must enjoy the process we open one box at a time, looking, remembering and (mostly) discarding.

While surfing one night I stumbled across a video by the young full timing couple known as Technomadia.   In this video Chris is broadcasting from his storage unit in California. He talks about the process of clearing out his old treasures and how he does not want them to just go to anybody…..just those who will value them as he has done.  video.

I realized that is exactly what I have been doing. Holding on to precious memories and wanting these items to go to special people.  Watching the video shows me how this is impeding the process; now my possessions are moving out the door much more rapidly!

We have been home without a camping trip for 5 weeks!  Some days time stands still, other days…it flies!  Still struggling to have fun at home but it’s getting easier.  We’ve cooked in the Dutch oven for the family a few times…every dish turning out perfect! 

On Memorial Day weekend the Pro National Bicycling Championships were in Chattanooga.  Thrilling to watch the elite bicyclists tear down familiar streets a just a few miles from home.

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During the race I became fascinated with this drone….taking numerous photos.  Someone suggested that it probably had numerous photos of me, taking mine as I was taking his.

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Think I’d like to have a pet drone!  Don’t you think it’s kind of cute?

Back to the life at home update!

We are going to the gym, walking regularly and riding our bikes infrequently.  There’s been some talk about paddling but it’s gotten hot, humid and sticky.  Not sure if it will happen.

The three cats are getting along better.  Princess still screeches like a banshee when Sylvester gets too close…very annoying!

We are hoping to shift into phase two within a few weeks.  Phase two is painting the kitchen walls, removing wallpaper and painting in the back bathroom.  And I hope phase three is listing the house!

Outside our “dead” plants are showing green.  My fig tree has new growth at it’s base and the completely brown gardenias are sprouting tiny leaves.  The yard still looks pretty from a distance…where one can’t see all the weeds.IMG_0361

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Well, that’s all I got!  A long hot boring summer stretches out before us!  Very thankful for our blogger friends who are in Canada, Washington, Oregon (by now) and Colorado….(you know who you are!)  Keep us entertained and informed!  We will be making lists of more places to visit…once the downsizing hell is over!

5/7/14

Looking For Balance, Love in the Rally

 

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Apologies for waiting so long to post…..there’s no good excuse, except the continuing emotional rollercoaster of downsizing.

Not wanting to reenter the world of depression, we start working on the basement soon after returning from the Townsend rally.

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There’s another room to the right where most of my energy is being spent.  It’s almost empty of my possessions….can’t say the same for the hubby!  Thus the roller coaster.  On this particular morning, don’t know if we will be able to sell the house.  Is it worth going through all the conflict?  When trying to push (him), our relationship suffers.  Life is too short!

I’m trying to remember how to live, happily, in a house, in a town, in the same place.  Trying to reconnect with people I enjoy and it’s challenging after being away so long!  Taking more effort than available.  Looking for balance between the travel world full of bloggers and fiberglass rallies  and the home world with family and old friends.  Must also find a way to balance the downsizing work with exercise and socializing.  This hermit stuff is not working for me!

Subject change…….

Townsend 2014

It’s a rainy Tuesday when we arrive at the Townsend/ Great Smokies KOA.  We enter a pull though and don’t unhitch.  Our 4 night stay on the river starts tomorrow. 

Pleasantly surprised that many good friends are already here.  Find a whole row of old friends with new trailers, some moving to Escapes, some to more traditional S. O. B.’s, (some other brand).  One of our favorite couples arrived 4 nights ago! We walk, frequently stopping to chat and catch up with our buddies.

And the rally begins……non-stop visiting and eating for 4 days!  

We are getting braver with the Dutch oven, preparing a breakfast casserole for the morning pot luck.  Black Forest dump cake is a success the following night.  (Notice, below, the bottom spoon scrapings.)

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Our site on the river

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The Little River

Difficult to describe a rally….it’s all about the energy of the people….their love for each other and their trailers.  Going to parade just a few of our friends…..

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This is our third rally in six months and I find myself enjoying the events more and more.  Each one better than the last.  This time I feel so much love in my heart….are the people here more loving?  Or have I changed and can accept the love that was already there?  Whatever!  Loving the feeling of being loved!

There are 64, maybe more, trailers here.  Many friends are not in the pictures as it is Saturday before I remember the blog and the need for documentation.

A few trailers:

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Kentucky Burro

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Most of the campers, as usual, are Casitas….from the old to the new.

The high spot of the rally is always the Saturday night pot luck.  Hungry folk wait patiently for their turn.

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One of the reasons the pot luck is so appealing…..this is made in a Dutch oven!

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The music begins after dinner.

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And it is over!  Time for goodbyes and plans to meet again!

We decide to spend another night in the Smokies as a few friends are heading to Elkmont campground.

Another night of tale swapping fun.

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Finding wildflowers along the river at Elkmont.

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Celandine poppy

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Showy orchid

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Large white trillium

The weather forecast is ominous with several days of storms, possibly tornados, coming.  We are anxious to get home but a trip to Cherokee, NC is necessary. The Tacoma pulls the Chatta-Egg up and over Newfound Gap, elevation 5,046, without a problem.

Happy Holiday RV Park has had a few changes with a new pizza and breakfast addition.  We check out the covered pavilion and central fire pit.  Discuss some details with the manager and everything is good.  The 2014 Cherokee rally is just 5 months away!

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Flame azalea in Cherokee