Saturday, June 11, 2016

2016-15 Mount Airy North Carolina on thru to Burnsville West Virginia


Mount Airy North Carolina
Burnsville West Virginia

Mayberry Campground
Campground:  Mayberry Campground.  Full hookups.  $16.75, two nights at PPA discount.  Two nights with Good Sam discount:  $30.00.  Nice spacious sites on multiple levels, lots of green grass, no trees to get in the way of back-in or pull-thru sites.  Looks like a new park. Cable tv 50+ channels.

Campground:  Riffle Run C.O.E.  Full hookup.  $15 senior rate (half off).  Small lake/dam.  Campsites run up a narrow valley.  All paved roads/sites with grass and trees.  No Tv, no radio or cell service in back of campground.  4G Verizon near front of park/office and near hwy 79.

The Andy Griffith Show

Distance traveled:  242 miles
South Carolina
North Carolina


1.  When using aerosol spray cans, such as Lysol or a spray on foam carpet cleaner, always cover your carbon monoxide detector.  The aerosol propellant and cleaning product has micro particles that will clog the carbon monoxide detector and will cause it to malfunction, often beeping or alarm going off making it no longer effective for it’s intended purpose.

2.  Need to defrost the fridge?  The next time you go through the trouble of defrosting, insert a couple of thin flexible cutting boards (just thin plastic) on the back of your freezer compartment.  The next time you need to defrost, it will be as simple as tugging on a corner of the plastic sheet and all the ice will fall off of the plastic instead of clinging to the back of the freezer.  Note:  a thin plastic place-mat would also work.

Mount Airy (Mayberry) NC.  

Inspiration for Mayberry and home of Andy Griffith

Andy and Ron Taylor
characters in the Andy Griffith Show

the Siamese twins that lived in Mt Airy

Mt Airy North Carolina

the largest granite open pit mine is in the area

This is a major destination for this seasons travels.  Mount Airy is where Andy Griffith was born and raised and is the inspiration for the town of Mayberry featured in the Andy Griffith show.  The tv show ran for 8 years and has never stopped playing on tv as reruns.  I often watch it when there isn’t anything else to watch on tv and it always brings back fond memories of the gold age of tv.

I’m even staying at the Mayberry Campground.  A modern day addition to the community and a mighty fine campground.  It’s a short 10 minute drive into town.  Many of the places that were featured in the tv show are here in Mount Airy.  Including Floyd’s Barber Shop, Snappy Lunch, Wally’s Service Station where you can get a tour of the town in an old cop car.  Mount Pilot, which is actually Pilot Mountain is a short drive from town.  And don’t you know it, they even have an Andy Griffin museum and you can even see Betty Lou from the tv series at the museum occasionally.  Just a minor recommendation or not:  Snappy Lunch is basically just a sandwich shop with their pork chop sandwich being the featured item.  It was ok, but other restaurants in the downtown area are authentic and much better.  All are relatively cheap for lunch.

This is a great location for summer touring as the temperatures are very pleasant and it’s close to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  There are numerous venues for enjoying good folk and country music and some are even free.  Part of the Andy Griffith Museum also includes the story of the Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng who lived in the Mount Airy area, becoming farmers with over 1,000 acres and owning slaves to run it before the civil war.  The Siamese twins of course were in many carnival acts and eventually met and married Siamese girls.  Eventually having children who grew up normal fortunately without any defects like their parents.

I visited their regional museum, which was a bit of the ordinary and usual history stuff except for one special temporary exhibit on the third floor called “We are the Music Makers”.  It covers the mainly black southern roots regional musicians with much of the music being blues, gospel and folk.  The local musicians that were discovered are all excellent musicians who have lived in abject poverty and were only recognized more recently.  Promoters were able to get them jobs and tours throughout Europe and America.  Their songs and music have just recently been preserved as many of the musicians are dying off.

called his guitar "pawn shop" because it was in the
pawn shop so often

What a great place to explore and hopefully come back to again and again.  They tell me this is a great place to retire too whether coming from “up north” like Michigan or New York, or southerners from Florida.  Mild temperatures,  lots of activities in the area to enjoy and good hospitals as well.  The great Smoky Mountains block any tornados from reaching this area and it’s inland enough that they don’t have to worry about hurricanes coming up the east coast.  I think they may have something here…

Mount Pilot

The next day I drove a short distance to Mount Pilot, another location mentioned in the Mayberry tv series.  The mountain is an outcropping that stands out from the heavily forested area and was used early on as a landmark when traveling through the area.  I drove to the top via the Pilot Mountain State Park and had some grand views of the valley below as well as an up front view of Mount Pilot.  I even checked out their campground and have an offer to be their camp host for a month or two when I’m available.  It might work out nicely this fall or during next seasons travels along the east coast.  I’ll have to give it some serious thought.

A Note on North Carolina State Parks:  Camping is cheap, however many are older smaller camp sites and rarely have electric and water hookups or even dump stations.  Pilot Mt St Pk is a good example.  The small campsites are paved though only a few sites would be practical for an RV.  More suitable to tent camping and smaller pop-up or van campers.

Update on computer problems:  It turned out that the problems I encounter with my laptop computer all boiled down to the power cord.  Replacing it cost around $50.00.  Not cheap, but better than purchasing or sending the laptop in for repairs.

Distance traveled:  221 miles

The day started out great, with an early morning breakfast at Cracker Barrels.  It’s always nice to start out with a good breakfast especially since I would be on the road for close to 5 hours, much more driving once again than I usually do.  But you know my goal is to get to upstate New York by July 1st, so some longer drives are required.

New River Gorge, considered one of the
oldest rivers in the world

Since Mount Airy North Carolina is almost on the boarder with Virginia, I was on the road by 7:45 and spent all of one hour in Virginia before crossing into West Virginia.  Three states in one day.  I think it’s a record for me.  Heading north through West Virginia, hwy 77 is a toll road, but it was well worth the $3.30 for truck and camper.  A short stop at New River Gorge, a 72,000 acre National Park preserving a remote river gorge provided stunning views of the river below and the bridge crossing the gorge.  Learning the history of how the railroad opened this area up to coal mining, now played out in the area,  but helping to settle this remote part of our country.

An hour later I arrived at my rest stop for a few days, Riffle Run an Army Corp. campground at the site of a local dam project that the Army Corp developed.  The campground is literally at the end of the road.  It’s a no-reservation campground, and I was lucky that on a Friday, there were still a half a dozen campsites still available.  All with full hookups.  Looks like the sewer lines are a recent addition.

So I’m thinking what great luck, I’ll spend a few days relaxing at the campsite, in the heart of West Virginia.  Surrounded by thick forested mountain ranges in every direction.  I quickly set up the camper, dropping the stabilizer legs, hooking up the electric, water and sewer lines.  Inside I press each button to open the three slides.  Hmm.  What was that whirring sound after I opened the big slide?  Hmm, let me try the slide button again.  Same whirring sound.  But nothing is happening.  The slide isn’t coming back in… it’s stuck in the open position.  There’s no way I could drive down the highway with a four foot slide sticking out.  I’m ok for the next couple of days stay, but now I can’t close the slide when I want to leave on Tuesday.  EKK!

I was able to get a hold of an Rv repair guy who will come to my campsite on Monday, but no assurances as to whether he will be able to fix it.  I’ve already determined the “manual” override to close the slide will not work and it appears as if a connection between the electric motor and the gear box is broken.  With the slide in the open position, there is little room to work on the mechanism.

What will happen on Monday?  Will I end up stuck in West Virginia for days, weeks, years?  Will we find a way to fix the broken connection or order the part?  How long will it take to receive the part ?

You’ll have to wait until next weeks episode to find out.

On the edge, deep in a forest, at the end of the road…

Mt Pilot, photos

Mount Airy NC, photos

Mount Airy, walking/biking trail, photos

New River Gorge, West Virginia, photos

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