We have found two new favorite places to stop. Preparing to leave Walden Creek RV Park in Pigeon Forge which we will return to again – this was our second stay, I did some online research and found that many RV.net/forum participants really liked Mama Gertie’s Hideaway Campground just outside Asheville. The drive through the mountains was beautiful and uneventful. We managed to avoid Interstates until we got near Asheville.
The campground is set on a mountainside. The roads are fairly steep, but the angles are such that we never bottomed the hitch. The turns to access the pull throughs were designed to make access easy. We really enjoyed the owners and the other RVers there. Oh and it was quiet, no road noise and although we heard some trains during the day, we never heard them at night. We give this a five star.
While there we returned to The Biltmore Estate for the first time since 1984. It is a phenomenal private residence and this time we arranged to take a Behind the Scenes tour which took in the boilers, the kitchens, and the service areas that are not open to the audio guided self tour which we also took. The next day we drove up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and took a short hike, about 2 miles with some steep parts (actually some not so steep parts mixed with mostly steep). Having finished that by 1:30 we continued on to yet another RV dealer, Tom Johnson RV, which turned out to have sold all of the coaches we might have considered, including those they had on order. Oh well back to Gee 2.
Today we set out towards Virginia. I may have mentioned that last Fall we joined Harvest Host which is a group of wineries, farm markets, etc that have space for an RV or two to stay the night free while sampling the products – the sampling is not mandatory but seems courteous. As we have crossed the country we have only been within easy range of one participant and that was a huge winery in the Paso Robles area and the facility seemd to be a very large very busy gravel parking lot between the tasting room and the highway. We did not stay. So as we prepared to move on today I looked up Harvest Host participants along the way. The one I selected based on its closeness to our route was Thistle Meadow Winery.
A diversion, as we pulled in there was the smell of overheated brakes. In the distraction of arrival I did not jump out and examine the car and coach. brakes. Later when Tom was taking us on a tour, I noticed lights on the back of the car, brake lights! I asked him to bring us right back and I found the front brakes still hot and one wheel cap had fallen off. I pulled up on the brake pedal and the lights went off. We left again on our tour with Tom. Much later, I opened the car and discovered a Meyers Lemon that we had picked in Davis, CA had been rolling around on the floor for 6 weeks or more and had lodged in a position to prevent the US Gear brake piston from retracting fully, causing the brakes to drag! Later yet as we walked the yard I spotted the missing cap and was able to put it back in place. We disconnected the car from the coach and drove it around the yard, there is no indication of any brake problems. We will have them inspected in Charlottesville next week.
Back to Thistle Meadow and owner Tom Burgiss. Tom is a garrulous 80 year old who has not figured out that he can retire, nor does he want to. He offered us electricity, but the outlet is many feet up the power pole and frankly since we did not expect to have it we decided to say thank you but we would be fine without it. As we were setting up he came over and walked me over to the field across the road from the coach and pointed out the area where they have weddings, with a covered area for the Bride and Groom, I almost said chupa, but that is hardly likely in these parts. Then he came by with the car and took us to see the house which is where they lived for many years – his mother was born there 101 years ago. As we toured he pointed out that they ran it as a B & B for 35 years and now they rent it out for mountain getaways. Then he drove us up the road accompanied by Rosie a greyhound mix running alongside at speeds up to 35 mph , of course she does have some shortcuts. There new house is designed to support them through the last stages of life with wide hallways and roll in shower and and few large rooms. It is a lovely place and I hope that there preparations are not needed for many years.
Tom then took us to the winery where we tasted some wine and saw where he makes it and then to the warehouse where he prepares and ships kits for home wine making or small winery setups. We were very impressed and plan on buying some of his Malbec before leaving. It is made from concentrate of Malbec grapes imported from Argentina. I could go on, he was a pharmacist, he had his own plane and I am not sure that there is anything he hasn’t tried short of brain surgery. What a blast. Oh yes his car is a nice new Subaru Outback with 6 speed manual shift! Definitely a man after our hearts.
I think Carol is presently writing the same story for her post. Read us both to get the full story. Her posts are at MessageinaMinute.blogspot.com/