Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

This is a picture Ron took when we were in Charleston..saved it for Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

# 43 The Tail of the Dragon (aka Hwy 129)

Yesterday, we enjoyed a brief "NASCAR" moment as Ron navigated Highway 129 on the NC/Tennessee border.
This is a really cool road that seems to be a haven for drivers of fast vehicles!  We saw several motorcycles of all types, Cameros, Mustangs and even a few Porsches travelling this curvy road.  It is stated that this road is an engineering feat as it involves 318 turns in 11 miles.
Tail of the Dragon 
And if you "lay your bike down" also known as "wrecking it", you are to place the broken part at the "Tree of Shame".  We found all of this At Deals Gap on the NC side of the border.
The leaves were in full color and I did my best to keep my eyes on them.  Ron had no problems driving this road...he loved it!
He drove the highway 11 miles and then turned around and drove it again.  There were several pull offs and we took advantage of them to view the traffic.  We saw one guy on a racing bike almost lose it...but he regained control and drove on.  Scary!

On the way back to Flat Rock (Lakewood Campground), we stopped by the Nantahala Outdoor Center to reminisce.  We have spent many good times here with several good friends.  It has really changed and grown since we first ran the river in the early 1980's.  The restaurant and Outdoor Center were in the same building back then.  There was only one "take-out" and there was no development across the riverbank.
We had to stop by Harrah's Casino in Cherokee too.  No luck with the slots, but we did have a good time.

This week, we played in the snow at  Mount Mitchell State Park .

We've had some fantastic BBQ at Hubba Hubba BBQ in Flat Rock, enjoyed a great pizza and craft brews at Ashville Pizza and Brewing and we have put lots and lots of miles on the Jeep.  We have had a great time driving around these beautiful mountains.  The leaves seem to peak at different elevations.  There were no leaves on the trees at Mount Mitchell but they are in full color here (Hendersonville/Flat Rock area).

Little Boy was unhappy that we left him so long yesterday.  He paid us back late last night by sneaking outside when Ron stepped out.  We finally got him back in the MH but not before we had to chase him down...and was he ever so hard to see!  I left the door of the MH open and thankfully he went back in on his own.  His new name today is "Little Stinker".

 It's raining and cloudy today, so it's housework and chillin-out time.  Ahh..

Thursday, October 24, 2013

# 42 From the Low Country to the High Country

Well, we made it safely to Lakewood RV Park in Flat Rock, NC.. but only with Ron's "fancy"driving skills.  Our GPS died about half way up I-26 so it was up to me and my Google maps.  Opps....missed that turn again.   After this experience it's the Garmin Dezl 760LMT for us.   No more guess work or make-do, we've learned our lesson.

Last week, this day, we were paddling at Cypress Gardens ,SC. 
Cypress Gardens, SC

Today, a week later, were viewing the Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest.
Looking Glass Falls
Sliding Rock

This full-time RVing is just want we hoped it would be.... 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

# 41 Hello, it's the Big 6-0!

Ron was 23 when he and I first met.  It's hard for us to believe that was 37 years ago!  We decided a great way to celebrate his birthday would be to spend some more time in Charleston.  We have done something different almost everyday.  A few of the things we've enjoyed have been:

We took a drive down the historic Ashley River Road, exploring the plantations of the area.
Magnolia Plantation on the Ashley River Road, home of the oldest gardens in America.
We spent a day walking around the town, exploring the side allies, galleries and shops.
The Heyward-Washington House.  George Washington was entertained here.

From the previous posts, we've enjoyed Cypress Gardens, the Irvin-House Winery and we have done some shopping too.
Today, we revisited The Firefly Distillery.  Ron enjoyed six selections and settled on the Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon and the Southern Accents Peach Cobbler Liqueur.  They were out of the Bourbon (shucks!) so it was the Peach Cobbler Liqueur that made it's way into our shopping bag.  It was suggested that the Peach Cobbler was excellent in apple it will accompany us to the southern NC mountains tomorrow.  Next stop: the Hendersonville, NC area.  (Flat Rock, NC)
For dinner, Ronnie was craving Greek Cuisine.  It was suggested that Manny's Grill was one of the best in the Charleston area, so off we went. 
It was very tasty and did not disappoint.
Little Boy wishes Ronnie a Happy Birthday too.
We have had a memorable time here in Charleston, SC.  Tomorrow we are going to Flat Rock, NC.

Friday, October 18, 2013

# 40 The Angel Oak Tree

Today, we visited The Angel Oak Tree of St. John's Island, SC.  When we walked up to this tree, you couldn't help but to have an emotion feeling of wonder and amazement.  I struggle with the accurate superlative to describe this tree.  I'll let our photos try to give the viewer a small idea of what we saw.  We thought it was truly fascinating.

There were people of all ages walking around it.  You could hear everyone say "Wow, what a huge tree!"  Old and young alike were equally awed, it was fun just to watch their facial expressions.  The tree is estimated to be between 300-400 years old.

Next on our list was a visit to the Irvin-House Vineyards.  It's right down the road, about 10 miles,  from The Angel Tree.  There, we enjoyed their tasting room, experiencing a variety of muscadine wines.   We settled on a purchase of their award winning Magnolia selection.  I'm not a fan of the sweet wine varieties but this one seemed to be pretty good.  Ron enjoys the sweet wines once in awhile so he agreed with me, this one was a good choice.  My camera battery died (don't you just hate when that happens..) so no photos.  However, we might get pictures of the vineyard before we leave the area.  This winery also specializes in distilled vodka and bourbon.  They have a second tasting room called The Firefly Distillery.  It is all right there together located in a rustic, country setting complete with live oaks and Spanish moss.

Yes, we had another enjoyable day in the Charleston area.

# 39 Cypress Gardens, SC

Ron has always wanted to paddle a swamp.  We have enjoyed many canoe paddling days in our past but it's been a while since we've been in a "self-propelled" vessel.  In my research of the Charleston area, I came across a full-time blogger's positive comments about Cypress Gardens .  When I suggested it to Ron, he enthusiastically said "Yea, that sounds pretty good."  We made plans to visit yesterday afternoon.  We found a delightful place that had interesting animal displays and a swamp canoe trail.  Several movies have been filmed here..most notably The Notebook.

The first stop was the Butterfly Exhibit.  We were amazed with all of the different butterflies.

This was a Zebra Longwing Butterfly.  It stopped long enough for us to get a photo.

We visited the Reptile Room that was full of turtles, toads, frogs, several varieties and fish, alligators, crocodiles and of course.....snakes.

As we walked the trail, we came to the canoe launch for the swamp trail.  Ronnie couldn't wait, finally a swamp to paddle.

The black plastic you see on the right was part of their "Halloween-themed" swamp tour planned for the weekend.  They had Halloween props set up along the first part of the trail.  Ronnie said he didn't care for the floating doll heads and plastic body parts.

The gentleman at the boat house mentioned that a few alligators had been sighted throughout the day.  Oh boy, can't wait to see one of those.  We kept our eyes peeled and we saw 5 of them.  Two were a good 6 feet long.

Waterlilies were everywhere.  This place would provide an artist many landscape opportinities.  Where's my watercolor pad??

It was so quiet and peaceful.  As we looked around, we saw several turtles sunning themselves on logs.  Suddenly, Ronnie noticed over to his alligator.

The reflection of the trees in the water provided for an interesting photo.  The water was so still. 

This creative painting was at the end of the trail....and reminded me of some of my elementary art lessons from the past!

Oh wait a minute..we're retired.
Wonder what we'll get into today?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

# 38 Charleston, SC

We have had a fantastic time visiting with Rick and Gail of the Gypsy Turtles in Charleston, SC.  We arrived last Saturday evening at the Oak Plantation Campground and relaxed with a Happy Hour beverage and some tasty snacks.  We talked about all the possibilities Charleston has to offer and soon we had a plan. 
We started with a Sunday visit to the Southend Brewery.  We enjoyed good craft brews, sandwiches and even better conversation.  

Monday, we scheduled a boat tour of the Charleston Harbor area.

The weather was cool and cloudy but that didn't hinder us.  We saw lots of sites and learned interesting facts about the history of the Charleston Harbor.

  One of the many sites we saw was Fort Sumter.

 Unfortunately, it was closed due to the government shutdown.

We got to see this unique view of the Arther Ravenel Bridge.

Tuesday was our "chill out" day.  Gail and I spent some quality time at Costco shopping.  Ron and Rick....well they spent time doing motorhome maintenance items.

Wednesday we began the day with a walk on the trail that's part of the Arther Ravenel Bridge.  What views we saw!  Ron really enjoyed this experience.  We didn't walk the entire trip of the bridge trail, we got distracted by the amazing views we saw from the top.
  Later in the day, we had planned a carriage ride through the city of Charleston.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a delightful carriage ride through the city of Charleston.  Again, we learned many interesting facts and saw some beautiful seaside homes.  Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable.  Ron and I both agreed that we would take this tour again as it gave us a more personal view of the city.

Rick and Gail had plans to move on to their next destination this morning.   We said our "Good-byes, Safe Travels and Wow, we had a great time!" and know we'll see them again..maybe next year sometime.   As for our plans, we have decided to spend several more days here.  We have found we really enjoy this city and have a few other places on our list we would like to explore.  Also Ron has an important birthday coming up so we decided this might be a great place to celebrate this occasion.  

Stay tuned...  
We went to Cypress Gardens today.   Beautiful!