Rally Halloween

Current Location: Cane Creek Park Campground, Waxhaw, North Carolina

This morning a group of us caravanned to Stack’s Restaurant for an excellent breakfast. It is a popular place in Waxhaw and we had to stand outside to leave enough room for the wait staff to move around until we were seated. They are moving to a larger building sometime in the future, and it looks like they need it. Once we were seated and ordered our breakfast, it arrived quickly.

Stack's Restaurant

Stack’s Restaurant

Once we were done with breakfast, we headed back to the trailer for a while before driving back into Waxhaw to look around. We walked through an antiques shop, found a yarn shop, a used book shop and a nice local food grocery. We picked up a book at the book shop and some various items at the local food shop.

Downtown Waxhaw

Downtown Waxhaw

After our downtown visit, we headed back to the trailer. Val started our dinner item for the pitch-in dinner and put it in the crockpot. We visited folks outside for a while before heading back to the trailer around 6:00 to get our stuff ready to go, including our Halloween costumes. The Halloween party was great fun. There were a lot of great costumes and a lot of good food. Here are some pictures from the event.

Val's costume

Val’s costume

Malcolm's costume

Malcolm’s costume

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Top Picks for Best Couples

Top Picks for Best Couples

Mummy contest

Mummy contest

Mummy contest

Mummy contest

Linda West - the birthday girl

Linda West – the birthday girl

Arrived at the Rally

Current Location: Cane Creek Park Campground, Waxhaw, North Carolina

This morning Malcolm emptied the tanks on the trailer as part of the hooking up ritual. Our home for the next three nights does not have sewer hookups. It was pretty chilly this morning – around 39 degrees according to the truck. And that was nearly 9:00 AM. We got everything hooked up and rolled on out.

Fall colors

Fall colors

The drive was pretty uneventful but at least it was sunny today. While on the road, Malcolm noticed that one of the trailer tire pressures was showing about 15-17 pounds lower than the other three trailer tires, so we stopped at a rest area to check on it. We had to use the restroom first, though. Once Malcolm was done, he checked the tire pressure monitor system and it was now showing correct pressure. Just one of those little glitches that doesn’t happen very often.

We arrived at Cane Creek mid-afternoon and got set up in our site for the North Carolina Chapter Heartland Owners Club rally. We actually had to hitch back up and move the trailer forward on the site because the rear part of the site was fairly steep uphill and the front landing gear was fully extended even with several leveling blocks underneath. We felt uncomfortable with the front of the trailer so high in the air. Most all of the sites here are uphill or downhill, giving most of the others similar pains.

Set up

Set up

Once we were set up, we walked around and visited others. At 5:30, we all got together a convoy and drove to the home of the North Carolina Heartland Owners Club chapter leaders – Lance and Kem Duguay. Everyone brought pitch-in stuff and Lance and Kem provided Taco Salad fixin’s. It was a great time of food and fellowship. Lance was showing several of us his stereo setup in the upstairs “man cave”. It was very impressive.

Hanging out at the Duguay's

Hanging out at the Duguay’s

We headed back to the campground around 8:30 PM and headed back to the trailer for the evening.

Today’s license plate count – 24 plates.

License Plates

License Plates

Biltmore Visit – Sort Of

Current Location: Asheville West KOA, Candler, North Carolina

Today we awoke to very light rain. It had rained overnight and was just clearing out when we decided to start packing up. Malcolm climbed on top of the trailer to clear the tops of the slides. We were afraid there might be a lot of acorns and hickory nuts on the slides and didn’t want to have them caught in the slides when we pulled them in. As it turned out, there were only leaves on top of the slides, so Malcolm swept them off and we finished getting ready to go and headed out around 9:00 AM.

Wet ride through the Smokies

Wet ride through the Smokies

Fall colors, though overcast

Fall colors, though overcast

It was a drizzly, rainy drive all the way to Asheville, but the leaves and colors made up for it once we arrived at the KOA here. We have what appears to be the only “patio” site. If we were here longer, we’d probably build a fire in the fire pit and sit outside. Malcolm took some pictures of the setup with the good camera today. Here are a couple.

Side view

Side view

Pin-up View

Pin-up View

After we got set up, we decided to drive around the area in search of something to do. We ended up over at the Biltmore, but found out that the house closed in half an hour. However, they did have a winery, some shopping and a couple restaurants nearby, so we headed to that area. We did some wine tasting, some shopping and had a pretty good dinner at one of their restaurants. After that we headed back to the trailer, stopping to fill up the truck with fuel on the way.

Today’s travel map – 27 states spotted.

License plates

License plates

Back Down the Hill to Durham

Current Location: Rolling View Campground, Falls Lake State Recreation Area, Durham, North Carolina

We pulled out of Boone this morning after hitching up and dropping our bag of trash off at the dumpster at the campground. Malcolm had looked up the campsites at Falls Lake State Recreation Area in Durham and had entered the address from the website into the GPS.

Leaving Boone to head due east, the GPS took us out US 421, which is pretty much all four lane highway. US 321 that we came in on is still two lanes and twisty as you get further up the hills towards Blowing Rock. On the way up that hill, we were praying nothing would happen to the truck since there was nowhere to pull out of the way in some stretches.

US 421 was the complete opposite. However, there was a long downhill stretch of 8% grade with a couple truck run-off ramps on it. Traffic was pretty sparse. The tuner we added to our truck has an engine brake function that we put to good use going down the steep grades. It held the unit back to some extent, but we still had to apply brakes occasionally just to keep speed down.

We descended in 2nd gear (0ut of four) at around 40 MPH or so. Trucks were supposed to be going 30. Other than not realizing that the engine brake was disengaged on the last downhill stretch (just required a little extra braking), no big issues.

Starting down the mountains on US 421.

Starting down the mountains on US 421.

One on the flats, we merged onto I-40 heading towards Raleigh/Durham. We stopped for fuel between Greensboro and Durham and ate lunch in the truck stop parking lot.

Truck stop lunch

Truck stop lunch

Once we got to where the GPS said the campground should be (or at least the address Malcolm typed in), we instead found the information center for the Falls Lake Recreation Area. It was almost a tight turn into the parking lot, but we got information on where the camping is (we passed one campground on the way) and headed back down the road, finding the campground the old fashioned way – with a paper map provided by the park staff.

Once at the entrance gate to the campground, we found it unmanned. An information board near the road indicated what to do if you had reservations (we didn’t) and what to do if you didn’t have reservations (like us). Our instructions were to find an empty site without a tag indicating it was reserved for that evening (pretty much every site was empty and not reserved for today). Once parked, a park ranger would eventually come around and collect camp fees. We found a nice pull through site right inside the gate and got set up. This is the first time we’ve been on a 30 Amp site. Fortunately, we have adapters for every situation.

Site B1

Site B1

View out the living room window

View out the living room window

Malcolm called his cousin, Theresa, and left a message letting her know where we were. Then we trekked out to the post office to mail a couple things and pick up a fresh sheet of postcard stamps. Then, back to the campground. Theresa called right as we were finishing cooking dinner and came out to join us for spaghetti about 45 minutes later. We visited for a while, then she left to go home. The park ranger came by to collect our $25 fee (in the form of a check) as we were telling Theresa goodbye.

Tomorrow morning, we head out to Virginia Beach and more family visiting.

Mast General Store and Cone Estate

Current Location: Honey Bear Campground, Boone, North Carolina

This morning we got up a little late (8:30 or so) and headed over to the home of Val’s aunt and uncle. They fed us breakfast, we sat around and talked for a bit, then we piled into their car to do some sightseeing. We stopped at the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, North Carolina (just down the road from Boone).

The original Mast General Store.

The original Mast General Store.

It was a really neat store. There were all kinds of things for sale there. The original building didn’t have a level floor anywhere inside, a testament to its age. It was a lot of fun wandering the aisles of merchandise.

The toy aisle.

The toy aisle.

The Valle Crucis post office is located in the building, as well. A sign on the post office boxes warns that it is a working post office and tourists shouldn’t try to open the post office boxes.

Valle Crucis post office in the store.

Valle Crucis post office in the store.

After doing some shopping at Mast General Store, and the nearby local crafts store, we headed to lunch at Cracker Barrel. After lunch, we went over to the Blue Ridge Parkway, drove on it a couple miles and visited the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.

Sign at the Cone park.

Sign at the Cone park.

The views from in front of the house were outstanding. Fortunately, a day that started out cold and drizzly had turned warm and sunny by the time we got here. Malcolm took this panoramic picture of the house. We’re going to see how it looks posted in the blog:

Panoramic view of Cone house.

Panoramic view of Cone house.

After our sightseeing, we went back to Val’s aunt’s and uncle’s house and had pizza for dinner. We visited with Val’s cousin for a while and sat around and chatted into the evening until we needed to get back to the trailer to prepare to head out in the morning. Tomorrow, we’re heading to the Durham, NC area to visit Malcolm’s cousin, then on to Virginia Beach.