Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Visiting the Daughter in NC and Having Fun…

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Our next stop from Hickory North Carolina will be a month long stay at a park near our daughter, Katie, in Moncure North Carolina. We will be staying at Dickens' RV Park a place we have stayed before. It is a park mostly inhabited by transient workers and very few folks like us.We stay there because it is close enough to our daughter in Raleigh that we can easily visit anytime we want plus it is also close to many of the other attractions we like to visit during our stay.

We pulled into the park around lunchtime and began getting settled in.Since we were in a site facing southwest we put up our ‘semi-permanent” 10x14 sun blocking screen. Man we love this product when we are staying for at least a month as it gives us both sun protection keeping the RV cooler and it also provides a bit of privacy when sitting outside.Seriously this product is the bomb…

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The first weekend our daughter took off of work for a few days and stayed with us in the RV. It is always fun having her visit. She looks forward to eating breakfast tacos and other Texas styled home cooking with us.  Happily she also likes playing disc golf with us. Staying here in Moncure we have at least 6 or 7 very nice disc golf courses nearby. North Carolina has some of the most scenic and best laid out courses we have played.  It is a very popular sport in this area as we usually encounter other players who are friendly and helpful in directing us to hard to find tee boxes.

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We played one of our favorite disc courses near Pittsboro NC called Rock Ridge. This course is very long and challenging so it also is a great way to get some good exercise. There is one downside to playing this park as it is heavily wooded with narrow “fairways” making it quite a challenge considering the length of the course including one hole which measures over 700 feet!!!

In Moncure we are also near many different breweries as well. During her visit, Katie took us to a couple of her favorite breweries in Raleigh  Both Bond Brewing and Raleigh Brewing were pretty good but the IPA’s were certainly not up to the west coast standard. The beer was cold and the atmosphere was upbeat at both places so we could certainly see why she picked them.

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We will be in Moncure until July 13th so we will be staying in weather a bit warmer than we like. We still haven't firmed up our summer plans but hope to at least move further north after leaving here. Where to? We aren’t sure yet so everything is still on the table from Maine to Massachusetts to Michigan. We only know we will be staying east since we will be wintering in Florida this year.

NOTE: We are now in Moncure NC near Raleigh to visit our daughter for a month and will leave here on July 13th.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Baker’s Mountain Hike near Hickory North Carolina…

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Our week was up in Blairsville Georgia and we were certainly glad we took the opportunity to visit the beautiful mountains of Northern Georgia. We will be back for sure but it was time to hit the road!  Our goal was to stop at a TA truck stop just outside of Asheville NC to scope out a few parks we found online. The first one we checked out was Wilson's RV Park but not only was it completely full there is virtually no way we could have made the turn into the park.

imageimageThe other park we wanted to check out was the Lake Powhatan State Rec Area. Despite its rave reviews the road into the park with its abundant low hanging branches also kept us from choosing this park. It might be a real nice park but having to spend hours buffing our tree limb scratches in our paint job didn’t appeal to us.

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Frustrated, we drove back to the truck stop and decided to simply head further down the road. We love Asheville and hoped to revisit it but we decided it was not in the stars. Our next destination was a small park called Indian Springs RV Resort. The entrance road into this park was not good either but it wasn’t low lying branches this time, it was a very narrow pavement which became a rough dirt road the last little bit. Once in the park it turned out to be a beautiful little park of 25 sites in a lush green valley.

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We set up camp and then went into Hickory to check out the town. We found it to be a neat little town worth exploring a bit more. The next day we decided instead of exploring town we should take advantage of our opportunity to take one last mountain hike for a while. We drove to Bakers Mountain Regional Park to hike to the top of Baker Mountain.

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We did mostly the red loop trail but took a few legs off of it and it made the loop hike a bit over 3 miles. There were some steep climbs on this trail but it was mostly in great shape, and other than a bit of huffing and puffing, we were able to make our way to the top for a great view over the lower lying hills and valleys below.

After our great hike it was off to town to explore one of the area’s breweries called Olde Hickory Brewery. We visited their tap house and sampled a few of their craft beers. I thought their best one was the Black IPA which was very drinkable on a hot day after a long hike..

NOTE: We are now in Moncure NC near Raleigh to visit our daughter for the next month.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Some Things to Do Around Blairsville GA…

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With rainy weather in the area we took only a few short excursions from our site in  Blairsville, Georgia. One afternoon we drove over to Meeks Park. This free park offers something for everyone. We chose to come to play some disc golf. We found the Meeks disc course to be very scenic and  it had some challenging wooded holes. It is an 18-hole disc golf course. with a mix of open and wooded holes with 2 tee boxes both short and long. This year we have noticed out of necessity that we have had improvement in our accuracy thus avoiding hitting as many trees as we had in the past  when playing on densely wooded courses.

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Another afternoon once clear skies prevailed we headed south to Brasstown Bald, This is the highest mountain in Georgia with the summit sitting at 4,784 feet. On a clear day it is said that it is possible to see four different states. Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina can all be seen from the raised circular panoramic platform.

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Once we arrived at the visitor’s center we we had the choice to hike or shuttle the 6/10 mile to the top. Of course we hiked but found the paved trail very steep. We chose a slow and steady pace to reach the top and boy oh boy were we huffing and puffing by the end. It was well worth it for the wonderful view we were treated to once we made it to the summit. Brasstown Bald sits in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest and offers really stunning panoramic views from its Observation Deck.

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On our last full day in town we drove another loop that would take us into North Carolina to Murphy and then back to Georgia to check out the town of Blue Ridge. Our first stop in Murphy NC we discovered that the town was quaint and interesting. We walked around the town square and it became obvious that the town is making a concerted effort to enhance the beauty of the downtown area. There were lots of interesting shops along the colorful petunia infused background.

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Further along our loop we drove into Blue Ridge Georgia which is more of a tourist town than we had expected. We walked around the shops but really didn’t see anything to entice us to walk in. The town was really, really crowded because that particular weekend it was hosting a wine and cheese festival. We left the touristy part by walking a block off the main drag finding a quieter part of town.

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Realizing we were thirsty we decided to try one of the local breweries called Blue Ridge Brewery. We sampled a few of the beers but really didn’t care much for them but we did order other tasty craft beers from their guest taps.Since it was my birthday week I also spontaneously ordered a desert advertised on a menu that sounded too sumptious to pass up.  It was a bourbon pecan pie a la mode.  Wow!  What a delicious decadent road treat it was!

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All in all it was a scenic drive and an enjoyable way to spend our last day. We now know for sure we want to return to this area to check out more of the hiking venues as it was simply too wet to get out and about as much as we hoped during our short weeklong stay. Just like the jazz song, I fondly have Georgia on my mind ...

NOTE: Next we went to Hickory NC for a few nights but now we are in Moncure NC near Raleigh to visit our daughter for the next month.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Blairsville Georgia loop drive to Anna Ruby Falls…

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Blairsville is a great location for the lover of the outdoors. This mountainous area in the northern part of Georgia is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. The scenery is breathtaking and even in the mornings when the fog and low clouds are clinging to the mountains the views are unforgettable. In addition we experienced some amazing sunsets making us more than glad we stopped here!

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One thing we wanted to do was to explore the area surrounding Crossing Creeks RV Resort to see for ourselves what all it had to offer. One way to do this was for us was to drive a good portion of the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway. Starting in Blairsville our loop would take us to Helen and then to the Anna Ruby Falls. From the falls we would return a different route to Hiawassee then back to Blairsville. This encompassed about 85 miles of driving and we knew this would give us a good feel for what was here.

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Our first stop was a small pull out that was on the Appalachian Trail.Although we didn’t see any hikers this looked to us to be a great spot for a nice hike on a very famous trail. From there we drove to Dukes Creek Falls Trailhead. We read on the signage that the hike was only 1.1 miles to the falls so we parked and made the trek downhill to the falls knowing it would be all uphill returning.. The trail was in great shape and was very easy hiking. Several wooden boardwalk type walkways with stairs made it easier to traverse down (and up) without causing a great deal of erosion.

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Dukes Creek Falls emerged as a very nice end point to the trail and we sat a good while to savor the views while listening to the sound of the roaring waters.. I noticed the vegetation was a bit different that the typical vegetation of the southeastern forests as more species of plants normally found in higher elevations were scattered about. It appeared it was still late spring here as the area was extraordinarily vibrant green!

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We drove from there down to Helen, Georgia which is a Bavarian styled town reminding us a bit like Fredericksburg in Texas. Helen, however, is much more touristy and was rather crowded so we didn’t spend a lot of time there. We did, however, stop at the local bakery hoping to score some nice pumpernickel bread. They didn’t have any but we  purchased a nice large soft pretzel with spicy German mustard instead. Yum!

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The last attraction we wanted to see this day was the Anna Ruby Falls located near Helen. I must say this was the highlight of the day. Anna Ruby Falls is at the meeting points of Curtis Creek and York Creek. These beautiful twin waterfalls were named Anna Ruby Falls after the daughter of the discover of them. They flow into Unicoi Lake in Unicoi State Park not far from the falls. . The short hike up the trail to see these incredible scenic falls really is a must do when in the area.

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We then drove through the state park adjacent to the falls and checked out the beach area. We would have stayed longer but with time passing swiftly, we knew we needed to make our way back to Blairsville. What a great loop drive under our belts we felt there was no better way than to end it than a stop at Copeland's Burgers and Southern Eats for a frosty adult beverage and some of their unique smoky hot wings! Yum !

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As I mentioned before, we are so happy we decided to make a stop in the Georgia mountains.  Our short visit left us thinking a return visit might definitely be in our future. We want to do some more hiking and exploring because  we cannot get enough of the lush green landscape and gorgeous panoramic mountain vistas...

NOTE: We are now in Hickory NC for a few days then we will move further east towards Raleigh NC.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Crossing Creeks Luxury RV Resort, Blairsville Georgia…

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We left Cabela's camp area in Chattanooga, TN fairly early since we were trying to avoid some rain heading into the Blue Ridge Mountains. We only had about 100 miles to go but it would be on winding mountain roads so we prefer to drive on them dry. We did encounter a few rain showers but for the most part our trip was uneventful, just the way we like it. We pulled into Crossing Creeks RV Resort just after lunch time and were assigned site 83 for our weeklong stay.

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Site 83 is a fabulous site (even though it faces west affording little or no shade). However, we have a perfect view across a green space right into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Perfect view… well except for the trash dumpster just across the street.  It is a little annoying where it it is situated but we just look past the dumpster and savor the lush green landscape just beyond it…

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Crossing Creeks RV Resort is right smack dab in the middle of the scenic North Georgia Mountains. It sits on 100 acres and gets its name from the babbling Coosa and Anderson creeks. This is an upscale resort which has an onsite spa with a massage therapist available to soothe sore muscles after the long drive to the park.

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The park boasts resort-style five star amenities. The fitness room is fantastic. It is situated in a building alongside a beautiful pool and hot tub area. We were also surprised to discover that along with a fitness room there was a heated sauna and a steam room! It has been wonderful to use these amenities on a couple of rainy days we had while here.  We have also enjoyed their pickleball/tennis courts and were excited the very friendly staff lent us a pickleball set for the whole week we are here! While playing pickleball we were lucky to spot a killdeer nest with four eggs in it. 

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Our site is huge and has a very large concrete landing for our RV.This is not just an RV park but one where you can buy an RV lot. The long range plan is to sell lots here and for the owners to be able to rent out their lots whenever they are away. Each RV site at Crossing Creek is has full utility 20/30/50  hook-ups on a large concrete pad that is definitely big rig accessible and accommodates RV’s up to 45-feet-long. There are also luxury log cabins which accommodate 2-6 people with daily rates around 145. The cabin sites are large enough  to bring an RV to park right right beside the cabin so that there is plenty of room for the grandkids to visit… sweeeeet!

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Just a few miles away from the resort is the historic town of Blairsville, Georgia. Although small, it has grocery stores and plenty of eateries. We plan to visit their weekly farmer's market and perhaps attend a free concert in the square. Not far away are many hiking opportunities and scenic drives. We hope to do as much as we can in one week but we could see that there would be plenty to do all around this area. Yet with all this, the very best thing about the resort for us has been enjoying happy hour on our spacious patio while soaking in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountain views.

imageWe have often thought about buying an RV lot in both the north and the south. The advantages we see in doing so are that we feel sure we could save money in the long run by owning rather than renting. Also buying in sought out locations means a lot could actually become an investment perhaps yielding a future return. But best of all would be not having to make any RV reservations in the places we want to go to the most!!! Will we buy one here?… Probably not yet but we do feel we may be buying an RV lot in the future and this has been a great example of what we are looking for.....

NOTE: We will be in Blairsville, Georgia until Sunday then we will move on into North Carolina…