Friday, September 25, 2020

Jordan Lake, Disc Golf and a visit to Pinehurst NC…


The NC State Fairgrounds have a 14 day maximum stay so after we visited Katie and Brooks on the weekend we left a bit early to move over to Jordan Lake to camp at Poplar Point State Park. This was only about a 30 minute drive westward from Raleigh NC and we planned to stay 10 days then move back over to the fairgrounds.


Like most state parks, North Carolina also limits campers to a 14 night max stay. We also won’t have sewer hookups so we have to be cautious about our water usage. Poplar Point State Park has 6 loops of campsites and we were able secure a site in loop C. It was a nice large, fairly level, shaded site with just a glimpse of Jordan Lake through the vegetation.


Being a bit further west and south of Raleigh allowed us to visit a few different disc golf courses we have enjoyed playing in the past. First up was the Rock Ridge Disc Golf Course just south of Pittsboro NC. This is an 18 hole course that plays very, very long. There is even one hole over 740 feet long. The terrain is mostly rocky, fairly heavily wooded and is a very challenging course yet a fun, scenic one to play.


The best part of playing this course is that in nearby Pittsboro is the Carolina Brewery which has a nice outside seating area. All bars/restaurants in NC are under Phase 2.5 for opening due to Covid so masks are required to enter and then you are permitted to remove the mask at the table once seated. This afternoon they had just tapped their Octoberfest beer so we enjoyed a pint after a rough day at the disc golf course…


Another weekend arrived so we went to see Katie and Brooks again. They too wanted to play disc golf so we headed off to a new course for us at Southern Community Park near Chapel Hill NC. What a great little course!  It was a very challenging wooded course with excellent hole layouts. We all had a fun time on this course where even Benny the corgi enjoyed himself.


Of course we ate extremely well while visiting with Katie and Brooks and after the weekend was over we headed back to Jordan Lake. Though there are lots of great disc golf courses in and around Raleigh, we decided to take a road trip over to Pinehurst NC where the US Open golf is played and is home to the famous Carolina Inn.  After strolling around the inn we drove over to play disc golf at Reservoir Park.


This may be one of the most scenic disc golf courses we have played as it is in the sandy hills with beautiful longleaf pine trees. It is a well laid out, fairly open, yet wooded, course which is pretty easy to play. It lies adjacent to the Reservoir where there is also a great 3 mile hike around the lake. We hiked on some of it after we we played to revel in its serenity.Normally we stop in for happy hour at the lively Maxie’s Pub in town but with Covid still rampant we chose instead to head back home.


As planned we will be heading back over to the fairgrounds next. Cheers!

NOTE: We are currently in Raleigh, NC probably until the end of September…

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Visiting Our Grand-dog and Daughter in Raleigh NC…


After a short drive south we arrived at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh NC. We plan to spend a good amount of time here as we will be visiting our daughter and her husband who live near Raleigh NC. The drive was thankfully pretty uneventful and as we pulled into the fairgrounds,  we called the security guard, set up in our site and paid for a 10 day stay.


Our plan is to enjoy the Raleigh NC area during the weekdays and spend time with our daughter, Katie, on the weekends. We naturally fell into a daily routine pretty quickly as most mornings we lounge around after enjoying our coffee and breakfast. We also catch up on the world events and sometime discuss what’s going on. Afterward we nearly always go for a brisk morning walk of a mile or two.


Sometimes we stretch our walk out a bit and walk across the Fairgrounds over to the North Carolina State Football stadium. Normally at this time of year the weekends would be active as football would have kicked off and crowds of students and alumni would be seen everywhere all decked out in the school’s colors….. not so this fall. Not many people around at all… sigh.


Weekends we drive over to Katie and Brooks to get together for some fine cooking. We have made a deal that we will cook one night and they will cook one night to get some diversity in our meals. Meal planning during the week has become a fun event all by itself. We also finally met our granddog, Benny, for the first time.


Benny is a full blooded Corgi and about a year old so he is still in his puppy phase. He is very well mannered except for the occasional unwanted bark. We have been enjoying some doggie time playing with Benny and taking him for walks. We do miss having a dog but until we are out of the RV we have no plans to get another one.


We took Benny out for his first disc golf event as Katie, Brooks, Sharon and myself drove over to the Apex Nature Park to play a round of disc golf. For those who don’t know, truly anyone can play disc golf. It is basically free (you will need to buy some discs) and there are some really nice parks nearly everywhere we have travelled. It is great exercise and wonderful family fun.


The star meal the first weekend was smoked pulled pork butt. I bought a couple of 12 pound pork butts we doctored up with ours and Brooks’ favorite rubs then Brooks set up his smoker and we smoked them about 12 hours. Man were they great. We and the kids sure will enjoy the small bags we froze for a day in the future when we have a hankering for some smoked meat…

NOTE: We are currently in Raleigh, NC probably until the end of September…

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Rudds Creek Campground and a hike in Rochichi Wildlife Management Area VA…


After spending only a single night in Appomattox we headed on down the road on a southernly route for a short drive to a Corps of Engineers Park in Boydton, VA. Rudds Creek Campground is yet another great COE park located on the John H Kerr Reservoir. We had a back in site which was spacious and secluded.

aa2We also were happy to see we had a nice view of the lake through our front windshield which was great as the plan was to spend a few nights here to unwind. We set up camp and walked around the park. This park was fairly packed mostly with locals since it is bit off the beaten path. There weren’t many tags that weren’t from either Virginia or North Carolina which is only a few miles south of the lake.


Each morning after breakfast and a little time to digest we would venture out for a 1.5 to 2 mile hike around the park. What is great about COE parks is that they are usually huge with ample places for a nice walk even if it is just inside the campground. The dense Pine and Harwood Forest  has kept us shaded evenl during the heat of the day.


Nearby we drove over to the Rochichi Wildlife Management Area one afternoon to hike the trails in it. The trails here were not maintained at all and were mostly along an old logging road that had patches of coarse gravel here and there making the walking not as fun as we hoped.


What was interesting though was the abundance and diversity of fungi growing in the understory of the woods. We really had fun looking at and photographing the various mushrooms and fungi. After photographing them I spent some time on the web to identify as many as I could and was able to place a name or two on some of them. Note the watermarks in the photos for what species I think they probably are.


Afterward we drove over to the Buggs Island Brewing Company to check it out. Since it had a nice area out front to sit outside we stopped and and ordered a few craft beers to enjoy. Maybe not the best craft beer we have had but it was nice just to be at a brewery during this pandemic and the staff was especially welcoming..


NOTE: We are currently in Raleigh, NC probably until the end of September…

Friday, September 4, 2020

Pondering as we tour Appomattox Court National Historical Park…

IMG_20200822_145410Wow, we could not believe how much stuff we had taken from the RV to the downstairs apartment we stayed in once we began to move back into the RV.  It seemed to take forever to put everything back in its place. We started packing the night before and finally finished up in the morning. And good news, the RV started up just fine after sitting for so long and once it was fully packed we hit the road.


We drove a fairly long way the first day as we covered over 180 miles via small shouldlerless roads that years ago would have had me white knuckled but now are not a big deal whatsoever. Our first stop back on the road was at Parkview RV Park in Appomattox, VA.

IMG_20200822_150554I wanted to stop here to check out the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. The RV park we were stayed at was nearly within walking distance of the park but we drove over to the main entrance. There was no fee to enter and we had no problem finding parking near the main entrance.


With Covid-19 masks were required for entering any of the buildings and most buildings were open for touring except for the visitor’s center. There were a few people visiting the park with us but it was quite easy to socially distance ourselves the whole time we were there.

“On April 9, 1865, the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia in the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia signaled the end of the nation's largest war.”


This park is a preserved 19th century village which is where the house of Wilmer McLean is located. It was in this house that the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee surrendered to the Union commander Ulysses S. Grant took place on April 9, 1865. This act is what effectively ended the American Civil War.

a8The village was at one time nothing more than a stagecoach stop along the Richmond-Lynchburg stage route in the early 1800’s In 1842 it became the county seat and developers were excited about the possibility of its future growth. However, in 1854 train depot stopped three miles west in Appomattox, Virginia and the area went into decline ever since. The park service did an amazing job resurrecting it.


The park is rather spacious and as we walked around looking at buildings built during the American Civil War we could only imagine what life was like during that tumultuous time in our history especially given the civil unrest our country is currently going through. To see both Union and Confederate soldiers buried side by side gives one hope that better times are certainly ahead of us…

NOTE: We are currently in Raleigh, NC probably until the end of September…