Our first night out, we stopped at beautiful DeSoto State Park just outside Fort Payne, Alabama. What a great place to camp........clean, well-lit with wide, asphalt pads under the trees, and cable tv! (Camping, at its best!). Hidden in the Alabama mountains, deep in the forest are canyons and waterfalls, beautful rock formations, hiking trails, and wildlife. As night fell, we were serenaded by cicadas, tree frogs, and somewhere in the distance, two owls called to each other across the mountain.
|Fort Payne, AL Train Depot - restored|
How I would have loved to have time to wander the streets of Fort Payne, with its quaint little shops, antique stores, and the 'Alabama' museum. (My 'bucket list' just grows and grows!) We left this beautiful park, with a promise (to ourselves) to return. How picturesque it would be, in the fall, with the mountainside bathed in shades of red, yellow, and orange.
We made our way through Chattanooga - navigating Interstate 24, always busy, regardless of the hour. We stopped for fuel in Cleveland, TN and had our first real "irritation" of the trip. The station advertised diesel, at a pretty decent price (not as good as at home, but not bad). As we, and two other big rigs pulled into the station, everyone realized we could get in.......we just couldn't get out!! We unhooked our tow vehicle, and backed the RV out ...... but not before I entered the station and "suggested" to the clerk that they should post a warning "No Big Rigs". (He barely looked up from his newspaper.....I'm sure it wasn't the first, and won't be the last, complaint.)
We had driven under cloudy skies most of the day (a great shield from morning sun). Finally, about mid-afternoon the deluge came - slowing our travel down, considerably. With about 3 hours remaining on our trip, and our final destination in the mountains.....the decision was made to stop for a second night. We spent night number two at Rocky Top Campground near Bristol, TN. A great little RV park with such friendly hosts....too bad this wasn't our final stop!
We arrived at Lake Ridge RV Park, in southwestern Virginia near Hillsville (and there is a reason it was given that name!), about noon on Saturday. The Blue Ridge mountains, in the distance to our south and east, looked as if they had been dusted with blue powder, and then covered with a tent of dusty haze. The tall peaks rose, as if stretching for the sky and then dropped into deep valleys. I imagined dozens of hikers, heartier souls than I, climbing to the mountain tops and looking out over this valley in which we camp.
And then came the joy of trying to get our Motorhome into the reserved, tree shaded spot. (Long story - short - it didn't happen!) We unhooked our tow car, and I followed behind ..... up one hill and down another, as Bob and the RV followed the guide in the Golf Cart. In many RV parks, if it's necessary to back in.....a guide is there to assist. As the guide pointed out the spot, and Bob began to back up - I realized, as our RV exhaust and backend was digging into the dirt, the guide must have considered his job done. He remained in his Golf Cart....in front....oblivious to everything happening, in the back. I quickly parked and got out of the car.....yelling like a mad woman. When he understood that our Motorhome wouldn't fit into the reserved spot, he decided that Bob needed to pull forward and continue down the road, to another spot. Thankfully, a bright young man came along and told him "that won't work ....there's a drop off up there!" (Obviously, this guide needs training.....bless his heart!)
We finally got parked, without assistance, but there are no trees to shade us. (And yes, I did comment that we could have stayed in our own yard if we were going to park, in the sun.) But, I was very gently reminded that we wouldn't have the Blue Ridge Mountains, as a backdrop. There are just some arguments a girl can't win!!
Bob is doing great - the exercise (climbing up and down the steps of the RV) is helping tremendously. He tires, just as he does at home .....but he knows his limits and knows when to rest (and, he has his "little white pill" for emergencies!)
More adventures to follow.....