Thursday, July 04, 2013

This Really Happened

I have not been blogging because I  have started the second stage of my life and it has been a
 whirl wind.  The plan was that a friend was flying in from MO and I would take him  home in the RV.  How nice it would be to have someone with me on my maiden voyage.  My son-in-law gave him a five minute lesson on the operations of the RV and the next day we were off.  We had calculated that this would be a 17 hour drive.

Day 1-  the direction we were going to start was discussed but because my son wanted me to see him race his radio control cars before I left, we would go  to Virginia and decide when we were leaving as to the direction to start.  We  got on the highway  about 10AM when my son called to say that it was raining and the race was cancelled.  After about a second deliberation we decided that since we were going south we would continue.

First stop would be  Front Royal, VA for the night, I checked for campgrounds while we drove.  I found a campground that used Passport America called North Fork Resort.  I made a reservation and the night's campground was secure.  Because I will not have my tow car until I get back to MD, we decided to do our sightseeing before checking into the campground.  At the visitors center, we  picked up brochures, got some good information from the staff and set out for the State of Virginia Arboretum in Boyce, VA.  There were no signs to help you know where to turn so after several false turns, we made it.  At the Arboretum there was a sign saying large vehicle parking but we could not find it and finally parked in the field in front.   The arboretum is free, dog friendly, but most of all...beautiful.

We took the Natural Plant trail after we had wandered awhile,
walking along the wet land area, and through a lush garden,
sat in the lookout tower
and marveled at the landscape.
 As we were leaving, my friend said that on this trip we would stop and smell the roses every time we could.

We made it to North Fork Campground which would be our home site for the night.   The place was nice as far as facilities but the ground was unlevel .
The shower and bathroom was clean but the site itself was nothing to write home about.  A gravel site is not a problem but it would have been nice if there had been an attempt of level.  It was full hookup, 50 and 30 amp no different in price.  Because I use my Max Burton induction hot place when the price of electric is in my site fee, I was glad I got the 50 amp service because we used the microwave, induction cooktop and air conditioning with no problems.  My friend decided it was time that I learned how to make a campfire
so I got my first lesson.  I  told him before the trip that I could not cook well and he said  we would just have to eat Arby's.  That night he cooked and I found out he was a gourmet chef.   I told him that he ruined it for himself because  there would be no Arby's  on this trip.

Day 2-  Still heading south, we decided to go to the New River Gorge  in West Virginia to see the bridge that you see in so many movies and Beckley, WV, to go to Tamarack so I could get my craft fix.    I texted my daughter to find us a campground near the Gorge because our cell service, even through one of us had Verizon and the other AT& T,  was not consistent.   My daughter texted back that she talked to the owner of Rifrafters Campground in Fayetteville, WV   and he was near the gorge and would not be there when we arrived because he had to take the dog to the vet but we could pull into any open spot except #3.  There was 7 full hookups, out of the 12 sites, 6 sites had 10x30 concrete pads and a 10x10 fire ring.  The entrance road is a little steep but very manageable.

It was decided that we would take the back way, to go through the heart of WV.   We would  head south west and would figure out the the rest later.  The drive was beautiful, trees, and curvy curvy curvy roads (thank goodness I was not driving). It started to rain so concentration of the road was necessary.  I was actually quiet, I know you do not believe me but I was.  He decided to mess with my daughter and if you have  not seen the Jeff Gordon video , then check it out before I tell you what we did.

I texted my daughter that it was raining which it was and  these were winding roads..  I said that I feel like a passenger in a Jeff Gordon video and that I was crying  because he was driving Miss Kitty like a Ferrari.  My daughter texted back, 'Gas Mileage Dude.'  I told her that I told him that and he said that he brought the gas and  he would drive anyway he liked.  She texted back, ' that it was not his house.'  By that time, we were laughing so hard that he had to pull over.  Kidding aside, Miss Kitty did get a nice needed shower and handled her self admirably.   I was given a lesson on straightening out curves and driving on these types of roads.

We got to the area early enough to go to the gorge and found out that this was a national park.  The view of the bridge was amazing.   We both wished that they allowed walking across the bridge.  This was also the first time we realized that a tow car was needed.

You can drive the old road before the bridge was built but we were told that it was not big truck and RV friendly so we  only look at the map.  We did pick up the free CD talking tour in case we had a chance to come this way again.

In order to get to the campsite, I was happy that it had been my turn to drive and have  the privilege to drive the RV across the bridge, it was exhilarating.   We were late arriving because  we went to the bridge first so the owner had returned.  After checking in, the owner got in his golf cart to show us our site.  My friend backed in like he had been doing this forever,  he said that the owner was watching so he did not want to embarrass himself.  I highly recommend this campground if you are in the gorge area.  This is a small campground but the sites were level, most being concrete, wi-fi, cable, clean rest rooms and showers, friendly staff and the part I did not know about until the next morning,...the police drive through during their patrol.
 Miss Kitty at her spot.

  Excellent dinner again (don't get excited, I did not cook), beautiful surroundings, great company...what more could I ask for.

Day 3.  Now I would get to go to my idea of happiness. .. TAMARACK Tamarack showcases the best artisans in West Virginia.  You can also watch some of them work.  I had to leave my wallet in the RV because I knew that I would be broke.  We admired the collection of handmande crafts,

original art, local home made  specialty foods that included jams, jellies, etc.,  then toured the gallery that rotates every six to eight weeks.  This is a "Don't Miss" if you are in the area.

Another call to my daughter to see what she could find near the Makers Mark distillery in KY.  I had joined Harvest Hosts and she thought that this would be the best time to try it out.  What is it you say!!!!!!  The best secret out there if you have a vehicle that is self contained, no  tents.  The fee for the year is $40  and the list is over 400 at the moment of places like vineyards, farms, orchards, restaurants, etc. across the country  you can park for free overnight.   They do ask that you buy something but it is not required.  Frankly, I will not be able to describe my first experience the way you will truly understand how spectacular  it was but I got my $40 worth on the first try.  My daughter called and said that she had found us a winery called Acres of Land Winery in Richmond, KY.  The owners would not be there but we could park on the left of the building.  They could accommodate up to 4 RV's any size, gravel parking area, they gave tours, tastings, there was a restaurant, gift shop, picnic area, wagon rides and a wild turkey.  The drive to the winery was pleasant on a paved road so Miss Kitty was purring after her trip on the back roads of West Virginia.  We pulled up and I was given a lesson in backing up since the parking lot was empty and all I could hit was the one light pole in the lot which I was no were near.  Okay, I did it but I enjoy batting my eyes and playing Scarlet O'hara so all these nice men can have an opportunity to prove how chivalrous they are.

With Miss Kitty in boondock mode,  it was time to explore.   Just think, we had an entire winery to ourselves,  the winery is also a restaurant with a wrap around porch that overlooks the vineyard on one side. The deck was immaculate  with chairs and tables artfully arranged however, one table had an ashtray, we sat there so he could smoke and admiring the tranquility. He decided to make dinner and bring our plates to the deck to eat.   While  listening to music and having our dinner, the ceiling fan above our heads came on and the light behind us came on...WOW!!!!  The rest of the deck was dark.   The sounds of the night was hypnotizing, I also got my first lesson in quill sleeping habits, at least the Bob White quill,  from my friend.  I listened  and watched in fascination for what seemed like hours.Even the cat was relaxed and had no cares.

I texted my daughter she was 2 for 2 and that it was very stressful here.

I remember looking up disappointed that there was no stars and I said that I had ordered stars but I guess my order did not go through.  I went back to Miss Kitty to take the dishes and when I came out, he was standing there and told me to look up and he was sorry that my order did not go through but he went ahead and ordered the moon.   I looked up to a beautiful bright full moon.    The night could not get better.   All I could think was....this is my life now.

Day 4 - I woke early, put on my jacket and sat on the deck to watch the morning.  Workers started to arrive and waved at me.  That gave me the courage to start exploring by myself.  I saw a vine covered archway that attached the restaurant to the building were the wine was made so I thought that was the place to start my exploration.  I found a line of wooded chairs facing a meadow and rolling hills that seemed to go on for ever.   The rain started but I could not move because I was so happy and did not want to spoil the moment.  The need for coffee got me moving finally so I went back to Miss Kitty.

Once Miss Kitty was  travel ready and so were we, we walked over to the tasting room/restaurant.   He did a tasting while I wandered through the building.  Wine was purchased as well as a wine glass for me (I decided that all my wine glasses would come from a winery that I had visited).


I am sleepy so I will get the next installment of  the maiden trip up shortly.   I am sitting in a tree house at my friends home writing this, is not a tree house but he has cut back the branches of the tree over his deck to make a canopy so it feels like a tree house.


Colleen Phipps said...

You haven't blogged because you've started the ...... no, no, no....this is when you must blog because you are traveling. Great post. Enjoying your fun.

Peggy Bjarno said...

Bravo, for finding some of these wonderful, out-of-the-way wonders!


ellenw said...

Great descriptions, Louise. Loved your tales! I joined Harvest Host, too. Will be trying them out for the first time in September, on the way to a Get-Together.

ellenw said...

Great tales, Louise - I loved it! I joined Harvest Host too, and will be trying them out in September on the way to our Northwest GetTogether.