Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vacation - Part 2

On day one, we traveled as far as Roanoke, VA.
The views get better with each scenic overlook.  
Ridge after ridge of mountains were breath-taking.  

We were blessed with beautiful weather......until
Day Two, we continued south along the parkway, we stopped at Mabry's Mill.  If you notice it is not as bright as the photos is because we have climbed so high, we were driving in the clouds, aka fog.

We continued to travel south exiting the Blue Ridge Parkway at Fancy Gap and stopping in Mt. Airy - the hometown of Andy Griffith and the town that Mayberry was based on. 
This was in the general store.   

This statue outside the Andy Griffith Museum was adorable.  

Inside the lobby of the museum, the gas pumps from the 'filling station'.
 The museum was a really nice tribute to their hometown hero and well worth the $3 admission.   Lots of neat memorabilia but no photos allowed.  Most of the items were collected by Emmett Forest who had collected so many things, he needed a museum to house them!
"Stars" for the stars of the show.

Barnie's patrol car.   You can take a ride around town in it.   The owner of the car will chauffeur you.

I think that is Opie's tackle box and Otis' straw hat in the back window.

Passing the filling station on our way our of town and Barney's car is parked for the night.
We were then off to our destination of Little Switzerland, NC with the perils of Route 226A still unknown to us...... Meet Diamondback - 12 miles of twists and turns.  As per the brochure, over 190 turns in just twelve miles.

 Remember the fog we encountered earlier in the day......well it hit us full force not even half-way up this 12 mile stretch.  I had called the Inn when we left Mt. Airy to tell them we would be arriving until 8 p.m. and asked for a weather report...."the fog's startin' to lifting, y'all".   Lifting HELL!   We were using all the electronics we had.....Debbie was driving, we were using her Garmin GPS and I was using Google maps on my iPad and telling Debbie each curve that we were approaching.   Imagine Lucy and Ethel in the techno age.   No shoulders or  places to pull over, straight drops on one side and rocks or trees straight up the other side of the road.  Seriously this was about an hour of terror except we were so damned determined to be brave for each other.  At one point, I offered to use that flashlight she had given me and to walk out in front of the car.   I really would have but I think her being afraid of bears and needing me to talk her through it she vetoed the flashlight idea.  It really wasn't one of my better ideas and I wasn't too disappointed she didn't want me to.  Slow and steady we just kept our eyes on the white lines at the edge of the roadway.  We stopped at the Alpine Inn which was at the very edge of the road offering scant parking. They told us we were only a mile away and if we got as far as the Blue Ridge Parkway we went too far.  They added that locals don't drive the mountain at night or in fog!   It was the first and only place to pull over.    They also won't let you use their rest rooms either so don't stop there if your in need.  Rest room or not, had they not mentioned we should verve to the right of the parkway entrance, we would have never found the Inn.  There is was, a faint glow of amber lights on the right and a car coming straight toward us out the driveway (because when we made the turn, we were in the wrong lane!) let us know there was a driveway ahead.

Here's the sign  next to the road the next morning.
I cannot even begin to tell you how bad it was.......except to say that we passed the sign to the Inn which was lighted and only feet --- FEET --- from the road and we could not see it.  Unfortunately for us later during our stay in at the Switzerland Inn we mistakenly took 226A again when we missed the turn to get on 226 and we saw in bright crisp clean daylight how horrific the road really was.   We both must have had an angel on our shoulder that night and after we had settled into our rooms, we enjoyed well deserved drinks and delicious dinner at the Inn onsite.


Sarah said...

Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pictures and great stories about your trip with my Mom.

cucki said...

very beautiful xxx

Catherine said...

Great photos! I have heard many stories about that road!