On Sunday morning, I started off bright and early from Otter Creek, on the road by 8AM. I’m not going to say that I was running away from the smell of sewage, but the knowledge that Sunday is often a day when people leave campgrounds, and people often dump their tanks upon departure, definitely factored into my swift escape.
I was glad I did, however, because the Blue Ridge Parkway was absolutely stunning at that hour. I stopped at multiple scenic overlooks, mostly by myself because it was so early, and admired the breathtaking views. I took a bunch of photos, but none of them come anywhere close to capturing the beauty. And I’m starting to think it was a mistake to let the puppy chew on my phone — I’ve cleaned the camera lens, but my photos, eh. Anyway, this is the best of many bad shots of the glorious morning.
I stopped at the first visitors center I came to and read about the history of the road. The ranger there also gave me a map and explained why GPS is so completely useless: apparently, because commercial vehicles aren’t allowed on the parkway, Google has never mapped it. That explains why my phone kept trying to send me other places.
Although probably my phone would have kept trying to send me other places anyway — the parkway is definitely the slow way from Virginia to North Carolina. After four hours, I’d gone about 100 miles. And it was starting to get not fun. Seriously, not fun.
This shot is an excellent representation of what the road was like by noon. Forget the views, I was worried about whether I’d see the curves of the road in time to not drive off the road.
I stopped at a non-scenic overlook — that one with the tree, actually — to see if I could wait it out, but after forty-five minutes or so, that didn’t feel like an option. The fog just seemed to be getting thicker. So I gave up on reaching the campground I’d hoped to make it to (Linhall Falls) and looked for a closer option. And sadly, I had to look for an option with electricity, because the generator wouldn’t start so I couldn’t get the battery to charge. (Sigh. I’m hoping the generator problem was the elevation, which has been the problem every time it’s refused to start in the past (on two separate occasions in Arizona), but I haven’t tested it yet.)
Fortunately, there was an Army Corps of Engineers campground about an hour away, so I headed to Bandits Roost Campground in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The campground is a typical campground — lots of sites, reasonably close together — but as with all ACoE campgrounds, there’s water nearby. If I had a neighbor, I’d be looking into their trailer window, but as it is, I’ve got a view of the lake (or reservoir, not sure which) beyond some trees. Zelda, for some reason, was super enthusiastic about the smells of this campground: we went for a walk when we got here and it took us half an hour to make it around the tiniest loop. Her nose never left the ground, but her tail was happy, happy. Unfortunately, they’ve got a water pump problem so the showers aren’t working. But the electricity is, so I’m not complaining. I turned the heat on to 70 this morning, and it was so nice to be warm.
My spot was only available for one night, however, so I’m getting back on the road this morning. I seriously debated abandoning my slow route plans entirely and just heading to Florida as quickly as possible yesterday — I was so tired from seven hours on the road and really unenthusiastic about adding any time at all to the driving I’ve got to do in the next week. But I am literally less than three hours away from Asheville, so I am going to persist. Hopefully not too much driving today, followed by a couple of low-driving (or no driving!) days and I will be ready for the long burst back to Florida.