Saturday, August 31, 2013

The "Grand Tour" Road Trip Part 2/4

DAY 4, Thursday (June 13th) -

On the road by 6:50am and it was already 75-degrees and oh, so muggy.  But that was okay, because less than 45-minutes later we were entering Great Smoky Mountain National Park!   


We were on high bear alert and I had my camera at the ready, but all we saw was a turkey and some deer.  

Cades Cove in the park was a great place to explore.  The first settlers arrived in the Cove in the early 1820's and by 1850 the population had reached 685.  There was an old church, cabins, and other historic buildings that we were able to wander through. It's a really beautiful valley.

The John Cable Mill at Cades Cove is still operational.  A park ranger grinds corn and it is sold in the gift shop.  The same grinding stone has been used for 145 years.

This is the Becky Cable House built in 1879 with lumber from the Cable Mill.  No indoor plumbing and heat came from a fireplace.  

We exited the park into Cherokee, North Carolina about 12:30pm just in time for lunch!  Ate more BBQ at Butts on the Creek BBQ in Maggie Valley and then found our way to I-40 and continued east.  

Butts on the Creek in North Carolina.

Robert chows down on the some fried corn on the cob.  Delicious!

With tummies full of brisket we continued on.  Passed over the Eastern Continental Divide and around 4pm we hit some really bad weather just west of Mocksville, NC.  Leaves and debris were blowing across the freeway and several trees had fallen onto the freeway in the opposite lanes.  

The man on the radio announced a tornado warning for east Tennessee and west North Carolina and suggested people take shelter.  Hello!  We're in west North Carolina!  Driving on the freeway!

Rain. Wind.  Lightening.  Rain. Wind.  Lightening!  I was quite scared, but couldn't do much but hunker down and pray.  Exited I-40 at Durham and headed north on I-85.  It was still raining, but not as hard so I was feeling a bit better about the weather.  

About 6:45pm we crossed into Virginia.  Severe weather storm alert again!  Robert was texting his daughter, who had already arrived for Gabriel's gradutation.  Her and Robert's parents were taking shelter in the basement of their hotel, because of a tornado alert!  I hunkered down (again) and hoped for the best.  

NOT happy.

Happy (because we had yet to be carried away by a tornado).

We survived the tornado warning and the weather had calmed, but now we were stuck in traffic near Richmond.   Spent a few romantic minutes in traffic watching the sun set over the semi trucks in front of us.  

Arrived in Fredericksburg a little after 9pm.  The Super 8 would be our home for the next four days.

Total day's mileage:  approx. 440 miles

DAY 5, Friday (June 14th) -

A sleep in day!  Yeah!  After some very long travel days, we were ready for a rest.  

Eventually made it to the Cracker Barrel to meet Robert's family for brunch, but on the way we detoured to A. Smith Bowman Distillery to take a quick tour and do a bourbon tasting.  I don't drink bourbon, but that morning I did and I liked it. 

The room smelled wonderful!

Robert stands in front of "Mary."  Unfortunately she wasn't running when we were there.


After breakfast, we went back to Robert's parents hotel and visited a bit longer and then it was off to get ready for Gabriel's graduation.  A celebration dinner at the Park Lane Tavern followed the ceremony with more time to visit with his family.  It was a late night, but a good one.

Lois, Gabriel, Robert, Katie, and Mike - The Piersons.

Congratulations Gabriel!

DAY 6, Saturday (June 15th) - 

We slept in late and missed the motel's complimentary breakfast.  Boo.  Instead we enjoyed more BBQ at Virginia BBQ before heading out to Gabriel's house for another BBQ (delicious ribs!) with his friends and family.  A very relaxed day.

Coming soon....part 3 of the "Grand Tour."

1 comment:

LaRee Brownell said...

I sure enjoyed this leg of your trip. It makes me want to travel the area. The Bob sign made me laugh. I couldn't help but think of my "Bob". Enjoyed your travels and look forward to the next installments!