The final few miles

October 19th, 2018

We are closing in on Great Smokey Mountain NP at Milepost 469!  So between Shenandoah NP and The Blue Ridge Parkway we traveled about 600 miles in a National Park and we are about to enter another National Park.  You can travel these three NP’s with only a 1/2 mile outside, although you do need to leave the parks to fuel up and get groceries.

Before we leave Blue Ridge Parkway another hike and another waterfall.

That is the Parkway.  We saw so much beauty and a few really cute communities.  One town had the most amazing toy store, better than any other I have been to!  The bummer was I can’t bring much home but I found a couple small things.  And we found a very interesting ice cream shop that wasn’t very appealing on the outside.  It was located all by itself and appeared to be just a warehouse.  Inside was a bit dark but they had great ice cream and I even tried Kale/ Blueberry ice cream.  It wasn’t green and it was sweet and creamy and had a blueberry flavor!

Pisgah National Forest

October 18th, 2018

A nice little side trip to see a few more waterfalls, Pisgah National Forest We chose this side trip because I read in my research that the town of Brevard was considered a “cool” town!  Well the drive was very cool and we saw some really nice fall colors and waterfalls but the town really wasn’t that “cool”!  The Pisgah NF  is also home of the first school of forestry in the United States, now preserved at the Cradle of Forestry in America historic site, and boasts two of the first designated wilderness areas in the east.

Posing in front of Sliding Rock

It is hard to see but this is a giant slab of rock that in the summer they allow you to slide down into the pool below.  I love it.  A natural water slide.  This was a beautiful spot but there were no sliders and mostly retired people checking it out.  I am sure it would be a whole different experience in the heat of summer!

Enjoy the views

October 17th, 2018

Being a National Park the landscape is different than many places we go so I work hard to find memories that will remind me of my experience.

This little hike was under the Linn Cove Viaduct and the trees were amazing.  Growing on the rocks and perfectly straight trunks!

Linn Cove Viaduct

Linn Cove Viaduct    A 7 mile link that was the last part of the parkway to be finished in 1987.  It was delayed for twenty years as environmentalists, adjacent landowners, engineers, and architects sought a design that would preserve and protect the fragile habitat of adjacent Grandfather Mountain.  The hike under it was pretty cool.

Its a Catch!

Taking a lunch break along this small lake while this dad caught a Big One!  His son was a little afraid and then they released the fiesty fish.

One of 26, most are in North Carolina near the end of                                  the Parkway

Changing Seasons

We were about a week early but in the higher elevations we were getting glimpses of the beauty to come.  Our last trip here we hit the peak at the end of October.  The most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.

Being the end of the growing season we saw lots of hay waiting in the fields.  They have plenty of water so they can grow the hay in very small areas.

There are not a lot of buildings on the parkway but I was able to find a couple weather worn to photograph.  It’s fun hunting for something to photograph.

Waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway

October 17th, 2018

I always try to find the waterfalls and the Parkway had plenty to choose from.

Then we found a side trip to a National Forest that boasted there many waterfalls so we decided to take a detour.  Pisgah National Forest is in North Carolina and the little bit of it we saw it was beautiful.

We also got to experience another form of entertainment in retirement.

        Two Ladies along side a waterfall                      making their music.

Sometimes you just need to rest!

Paul was definitely getting into vacation mode.  We took a nice hike along a waterfall and there was some beautiful rocks to sit upon and enjoy the flow!  Put him right to sleep.

Along the Parkway

October 16th, 2018

Parkway Signs are about all you see that is similar to the outside highways.  The speed limit on the parkway is 45 so not many residents take the parkway even though there are many homes right on it.  There are lots of roads running along side with driveway like entrances.  The signs were interesting to us although there was one we just didn’t always understand.

These were all sizes and mostly turnouts!

Anytime a crossroads entrance.

This sign was very helpful because you didn’t enter the same way as a normal onramp and it could be miles before you realized you were going the wrong way, unless…..

Every Mile

Sometimes they were hard to find and they were only on the southbound side of the road with numbers on each side.

                       Top of the Parkway

It was a spectacular day when were reached milemarker 431.  We even saw a couple that brought out there recliners and were enjoying the views.

                              Music Center

We arrived here late in the day but on weekends they have live local bluegrass music.  I think the sign is really cool, the shape of the NP sign but almost looks like an instrument.

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail crosses the parkway in several spots.  We choose this one for a short hike so now we can say we walked the Appalachian Trail.  Paul has dreams about hiking the Trail, not me!  It isn’t that scenic as you are deep in the woods for much of it and camping is what you bring on your back!  Nope.


Lizzy Mabry Mill

October 15th, 2018

Lizzy Mabry Mill   Mile Post 176 in Virginia, One of the most picturesque places on the Parkway. Mabry’s original sawmill and blacksmith shop still stand.  The National Park has done an amazing job in preserving this treasure.  We saw a blacksmith working his craft, corn being ground and hand weaving.  The Mill was very picturesque and picnics were welcomed.

                                  Mabry Mill

The Big Deal

October 14th, 2018

The main focus of our trip this fall was to return to North Carolina and the Smokey Mountains via the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We have done many miles on the Parkway but this trip will be 469 miles on the Parkway.  Smokey Mountain NP will be the ending of the Parkway. We will take several side trips but mostly we will be on the parkway.

First item on the to do list is get to the entry gate at milepost 0  in Virginia and get our senior parks pass that will be good for Paul’s lifetime.  A great value as long as we keep moving.  Not only do you get into the National Parks free but also get 1/2 off camping in most.  So on this trip we spent (actually Amy and Stephanie bought it for Paul’s birthday) $80 and saved about $60 in entry and camping.

A real senior benefit

Our first view of the beautiful area is behind Paul.  We will get in some hiking on this trip but also a lot of views!

Because of the winds last night the parkway had lots of debris because the NP Service does all the maintenance and often closes stretches of the parkway if they cannot get to it.  That happened at about mile 30 but the detour was beautiful also.  We missed about 11 miles of parkway but none of the big stops.

Peaks of Otter near Mile Post 86 is a beautiful resort area complete with a lodge, restaurant and a beautiful lake.

The lodge of Peaks of Otter

Fuel is not available on the parkway so you need to exit the parkway and even though there are lots of signs on the parkway it is a National Park so signs of what is available at the exits is minimal so it is up to your smart phone to guide you to the outside world.  Sometimes you get really lucky and find some amazing place!  Some not so much!

You decide!

Paul pulls into the station for fuel and sees this sign and says “you need to go shopping! I have some work to do!”  Ok then, it was kind of a warehouse with lots of racks of clothing in beautiful colors.  Tunics and Leggings were the hit of the party.  I walked out with a $75 Credit Card bill but some really cute leggings for Halloween.



Shenandoah NP

October 12th, 2018

The beginning of our road trip during the fall.  We entered the Shenandoah NP at the North Entrance Station under cloudy skies.  The Skyline Drive was our goal thru this park which is 105 miles and will connect us to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Our first night was very rainy and windy.  The park has several campgrounds and are very well kept with nice showers.  We had to move around some to find cell service to make it through the evening of rain.  When we have no connections we rely on cell service so we can work and play indoors.

A very cool outcropping of rocks, If I was younger I would have tried to get to the top

At the same stop there was a small waterfall and a portion of tracks that have been refurbished and you can get a sense of long ago days.

Waterfalls are always my go to.  I will hike miles just to see running water.  Most of the falls on this trip were pretty close to the roads.  This one was after a nice little uphill trek.  There was plenty of water to fill the streams and falls as it has rained most days that we were in Shenandoah NP.

Our last night was very rainy so we finished the drive and found our way to a local town with Walmart and Starbucks and spent the afternoon and evening with plenty of internet.  It was very windy and rainy.


Another Roberts Family Reunion

October 11th, 2018
This one is for the youngest Roberts 50th birthday. Yep, we all left our lives to celebrate Stephen turning another milestone!
We all made our way to Old Forge again and had a great 4 days of togetherness. Lots of laughs, more than enough food and snacks! If you couldn’t find something to snack on well…..
The weekend was Columbus weekend which means it is also homecoming and the big Varsity soccer tournaments.

David and Ethan both play varsity so we got to see them run around the bonfire that is set by the volunteer fire department after the 5 floats are dismantled.
The team had a great first game but lost the championship game. They came in 2nd in the tournament !
Saturday we had the big party for the birthday boy, Stephen with all 9 siblings and some cousins and one aunt.

And our favorite hike to Bald Mtn. Of course! This view never gets old

That’s me with Paul’s sister Nancy  (#5) and his niece, Jennifer. The only one from her generation besides the boys who live in Old Forge to make the weekend.
And the best reason this was a good time to come to Old Forge! We hit peak!

Old Forge, New York, such a beautiful spot

January 14th, 2018

We arrived in Old Forge just after dark and it is already 0 degrees!  But the house is nice and warm!  And now we have a shower and running water, YIPEE!  Life is all about the small things that make me smile.  We had a very uneventful evening and slept great, we even had to turn the heater down a notch.  The Van was very cold and both heaters were working overtime.  We woke up about 8 and it was -20 degrees!  WHAT???  Well I did say I wanted to experience “REAL” winter.  I think this is as real as I want!

Well that is a “new” look!

The van used a lot of propane so we will be out refilling it this am as soon as it warms up a bit!

We finally got ourselves bundled up and headed into town.  There are lots of snowmobiles on the roads, trails, bars and it is before noon.  It is a beautiful morning in the Adirondacks but most are staying inside next to the fire.  We found propane and the gauge said it was out.  The poor guy had to get down on his belly in the snow and then Paul had to drive up onto a board because the tank is low and his hose was stiff!  Duke and I waited about 50 feet away because I am very nervous around gas and don’t want to get caught in the explosion; I can just watch as Paul and our van go I guess!  It took the guy at least 20 minutes to get hooked up and then he pumped our 4 gallons into the tank.  At these temps it may not last until we leave on Thursday.  The weather says it is going to warm up again after more snow on Tuesday.  Warm up is 20 for a low!!!

Anyway, we cruised around town and I got to see my frozen lake!

1st Lake in the Fulton Chain of lakes

I have ridden in a boat on this lake many times!

The track is from Snowmobiles

Snowmobiles heading for the next bar

The deer are still around

Above is the Moose River which we canoe on every time we are here and usually go for a swim right here as we are just about done with our 10 mile paddle!