10/18/09 Hello from Florida! We have recently crossed the state line and are happy to be here where the sun is shining. Today we are driving to the Lady Lake area where we will have a quick visit with Tom & Rocki Blair. These are RV friends from Park Sierra, who were also on the South America cruise with us, who have now relocated to a retirement mecca called The Villages. Last January, when we were in this area visiting other friends, they drove us through The Villages and it is quite a large and impressive place. So we will give you a more complete report after our visit there later today.
Yes, we have arrived here much faster than anticipated. This is because two days ago, although we had planned to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC we quickly changed our plans because it was so COLD and there was a 50% chance of snow in the forecast. I think it was a freak cold snap and the temps will be getting warmer there in the next week, but we didn't want to wait around to find out! The main reason we even went to Asheville was to see our friends Rachel, Connie & Jenny whom we had met on a cruise several years ago. They were so much fun then and they still are, so we were very glad to see them especially on their home turf. Last October, they flew out for our wedding, which REALLY surprised and delighted us. This time they picked us up at the Elks Lodge, where we were camping in our RV, and we all went to the historic downtown for lunch. Here is a picture of us in the
After lunch we went to an interesting store, called The Mast Store, which had a lot of items from days gone by. Connie bought us a Moon Pie because we had never had one and here is the sign for it:
We decided it must be an acquired taste. It is usually eaten with an RC Cola, which we passed on, but then were sorry because the Moon Pie was kind of dry. All this stuff has way too much sugar!
Rachel then drove us up into the mountains to the end part of the Blue Ridge Parkway where there were some nice overlooks. The trees had started to change color in earnest so we took a few pictures:
Their houses are all on a fairly steep hillside, with gorgeous views over the valley, but the steepness of their driveways astounded us. Couldn't believe that a truck could get a modular home or any building materials up those slopes! Just thinking about walking or driving up these slopes in the winter scared the crap out of us, and it is Connie, Jenny & Rachel that have to contend with it, not us! They love it there, although they have a neighbor who is living up to the reputation that North Carolina redneck jerks have, and we advised them to move if he pulls any more shenanigans. We just love having wheels and the option to leave quickly if things start getting ugly, whether it be neighbors or the weather! It was such a lovely afternoon with these gals and we were sorry that we couldn't have had another day with them.
Our last post was from Douglas Dam near Sieverville, where Dolly Parton was born, and within 10 miles of Dollywood. I mentioned then that it was a nice campground with lake views and spacious sites so here are a few pictures:
Besides having lots of fun times with Laura & Gordon Bornkamp, we were joined by Gene and Martha Merryman. We hadn't seen them for several years, and they look just the same as the last time we were all together in AZ!! Each of us took a turn cooking so we had some great meals with the 6 of us and lots of good socializing and catching up on travel stories and personal news. It was nice enough one evening to eat outside, so here is a picture of the whole gang:
The next day it started raining and continued for days so we left for Asheville. Now that we are in Florida, we will be doing some visiting with friends, but also getting ready for our upcoming cruises. Our flight from Orlando to Barcelona leaves on Nov. 19 and we will be back on Dec. 13. The first cruise is a week in the Mediterranean and then we catch a 2 week trans-Atlantic back to Galveston.