Saturday, May 17, 2014

2014-10 Spartanburg South Carolina and Asheville North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway, one of many tunnels

Spartanburg South Carolina
Ashville North Carolina

Campground:  Croft State Park.  450 Croft State Park Road, Spartanburg SC.  $18 includes reservation fee and taxes.  Nice wooded sites with gravel drives.  Horse stalls and lots of horse trails, biking and hiking as well.  Lake available for fishing… no swimming.

view from my campsite at Croft State Park

Campground:  Hominy Valley campground.  Outside of Ashville NC.  Reg. rate $30, Passport America $15.  1550 Hwy 151, Candler NC, 28715.  6 full hookup sites on the side of a mountain.  Rv must be fully contained as they have no restroom, showers etc.  I love the site because I feel like I’m actually living in the area.  Looks like most of the sites are now filled with perms.

Hominy Valley Rv Park (6 sites)

I packed up and left one great campsite on the lake.  Not sure I’ll get another site as good as the one at Modoc again this summer.  But it sure was nice while I was there.  Very quiet in May as the camping season doesn’t really get started up here until after school lets out.  There were times that I was the only one on my peninsula of twenty plus spread out campsites.  Just me, the whippoorwills, two Canadian geese and some squirrels.

Distance Traveled:  108 miles

Augusta Ga to Spartanburg SC

I traveled all secondary roads.  No shoulders,narrow two lane roads in most cases and very little traffic which making the travel much more pleasant.  I’ve arrived at Croft State Park just outside of Spartanburg SC.  The park was once a 7,000 acre WWII training grounds, since turned into a state park.  This is one of the many tracts of land that the government took over in support of WWII.  Often dislodging whole communities in the process.  Remnants of those homes, cemeteries and roads still remain within the State Park.  The parks main attraction is a small lake and the many miles of trails for horses, mountain bikes and hiking.

I did drive into Spartanburg, home to a BMW factory and Denny’s Restaurants main headquarters, housed in the only real high-rise in town.  The town is well maintained, lots of trees and beautifully maintained homes along winding avenues that dip and rise with the hilly and curving landscape.  Lots of red brick homes as well as red brick sidewalks.  Very charming.

Spartanburg South Carolina

Distance Traveled:  80.5 miles

Spartanburg SC to Asheville NC

How exciting, traveling up hwy 26, crossing into North Carolina the mountains have all come into view and I’ve begun my ascent through them and it’s spectacular.  Bright orange poppies line some of the road sides along with what looks like babies breath.  Rolling mountain ranges can be seen off to my left, some covered in that blue mountain mist.  We slower RV-ers and truckers put on our blinking lights to warn others that we are towing uphill at a slower pace, though it’s not a bad drive at all.  I stop at the NC visitors center where I hope to get some good information on things to see and do in the state.  The response I get is underwhelming.  How about some information on waterfalls, unique towns, historical sites I ask?  The answer is “they are everywhere.”  “All the little towns have something special to offer.  I couldn’t begin to tell you about any of them since they are all so worth exploring.”  Well thank you very much.  That sure was helpful.  Wouldn’t even get off of her seat to point out some of the brochures that might be of some help. NC visitor center rating:  poor.

I get to my destination, the Hominy Valley Rv park.  A very tiny, 6 rv site campground.  Full hookups but no other amenities which is fine as it gives the camper the impression that one is actually living in the area and not just a visitor in a big rv park.  The owner doesn’t even live on site and I will probably only see him once when he eventually stops by to accept my payment.  I’ll be here for 18 days.  The longest I’ve stayed at any site this spring and I’m looking forward to exploring and getting to know the Asheville area much better.

After settling in for a couple of days, I headed out this morning and did my clothes washing at a new local laundromat, picked up my mail and even though it is sunny out, it’s a bit chill, I decided to start some exploring.  So taking hwy 151, which is really just the two lane country road that my campsite is off of, I headed south where the road quickly climbs up the side of the mountain in a zig zaggy corkscrew manner.  Breathtaking and yes a bit exhilarating with the steep climb to the top of Mount Pisgah and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  From the Blue Ridge Parkway the views are stunning as the parkway, which is accessible only to non-commercial traffic, winds it’s way along the tops of the mountains peaks.  Actually the Blue Ridge mountains are very old and therefore the tops are well worn and rounded in appearance.  I head across the parkway for another 6 miles and then descend down hwy 276 on the opposite side.  Yes, another twisting exhilarating drive in search of waterfalls.  My good friend LaVon would love this area as there are dozens of waterfalls to explore.  I might even crown it the waterfalls capital of the world.

Looking Glass Falls

Pisgah National Forest

trail to one of the water falls
I hit just a few of the dozens of waterfalls in the area.  Moore Cove falls, Looking Glass falls, Sliding Rock and a quick glimpse of the Forest Discovery Center which I’m told is the birthplace of modern forestry.  Also called the Cradle of Forestry home of the first forestry school.  Many of the original buildings can be found along a great walking trail.  Just up the street is Sliding Rock a really fun summertime activity where you can slide down the smooth rock along the river.  Some hardy kids were sliding down it while I was there.  Way too cool for me as the air temperature was only in the 50s.  After hiking to a few of those waterfalls I was getting hungry so….

Moore cove

Looking Glass Falls

On my return trip through the mountains, I treated myself to lunch at the Mt Pisgah NP lodge.  I always try to enjoy a good meal at one of the lodges in our national parks as they usually have exceptional meals at reasonable prices and the views are always top notch.  Out the window were views of the Blue Ridge mountains and a blue sky, turning to a misty rain, then a thick fog that rolled on over the top of the mountain.  All while I was enjoying a great meal.  it eventually cleared up as I headed on out.

view from Blue Ridge Parkway

RV tip:

We RV-ers often have more time to enjoy reading.  And though it’s fun to go through used book stores or Barnes and Nobles and the like for our next great reading adventure, it’s easy to end up with a ton of books waiting to be read and weighing down the camper.  If you have a Kindle or Nook reader, check out this web site, BOOKBUB.  It’s a great way to fill your kindle with great reads for as little as 99 cents on up to $1.99 and many are free.  I’ve probably downloaded over 100 books on my Kindles and now I have to find the time to read them.  But at least they are not cluttering up my storage bins.  Also, get a library card as many libraries now have e-books which you can download online from the libraries website without even having to go to the library, how cool is that.

I’ll be here in Asheville for a couple more weeks enjoying the mountain scenery and touring the area.

1 comment:

Mary gay Hutcherson said...

THe Asheville area has traditionally been the place floridians go for summer and in our community in Florida lots of folks have cabins around there...frequently their same neighbor here is their neighbor there.

When we get tired of .new England we will probably do the same thing. Actually more when we get tired of driving to New England as I don't think I would ever get tired of New England.