Sunday, May 31, 2015

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and checking out a work camping gig

After all of Monday's crazy festivities, Tuesday was a low-key day for us.  We took another motorhome test drive in the morning, and then along with Don & Cheryl and Don & Lois, we took a drive up to Little Switzerland for a late lunch.

We had heard good things about the Little Switzerland Café,

and it was all true -- we enjoyed a delicious lunch!  Little Switzerland is a tiny little town; in fact, there are only a couple a small shops -- but one of them is a really nice quilt shop!

I looked around, and she had some beautiful fabrics and wools, but I didn't need anything, so I left empty-handed.

Leaving Little Switzerland, we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoyed the view from some of the overlooks. 

The view was fantastic!

We continued along the Parkway -- it was a great day out with friends!

From the Parkway, we turned north on County Road 80, and travelled a few miles north to the Clear Creek Guest Ranch.  They advertise pretty regularly in Workamper News for summer help at the Guest Ranch, and it looked like an interesting gig, so we decided to check it out while we were in the area.
The drive up County Road 80 was interesting, to say the least, and we weren't quite sure how it would be going up it pulling a big rig.  We found the Ranch and turned up their driveway, eventually making our way to the Lodge -- after a wrong turn towards the barn, which resulting in our car bottoming out and scraping on the rocks several times!!
We finally made it up the very steep driveway,
and pulled in behind the lodge.  We met the manager, Marci (how 'bout that??!!), and she very graciously showed us around and told us about how the ranch operates.  We were also very surprised to see one of our fellow RV-Dreamers from the Reunion Rally in the office!  She and her husband are currently working at the Ranch this season, and they said it's going pretty well.
The Lodge is home to the ranch office, a small gift shop, a HUGE kitchen, and the Dining Room and Recreation Room where guests gather for all their meals, and to enjoy time together.
All meals and snacks are provided for both the guests AND the staff, including work campers -- that's an interesting perk! 
The front of the Lodge has a large porch overlooking the mountain,
and it looked like a pretty cozy spot to pass the afternoon.

The Guest Cabins are off to the sides of the Lodge,
and the work camper sites are tucked into the woods, up on a ridge overlooking the river.


It was a beautiful location, and it sounded like it would be a really fun place to work for a summer.  They have 42 horses for trail rides, and they also take the guests on hikes and to other nearby attractions.  In the evenings, they have bonfires, square dances, movie nights, and many other activities.  There's even a pool and hot tub for everybody to enjoy!  Yep -- I think we'd definitely enjoy spending a summer here!
After our tour, we thanked Marci and left her our card  . . . promising to keep in touch for future seasons.
The drive back down the mountain was twisty and turny -- and we had this guy on our back bumper the whole way!!  :)
Back in Marion, we didn't need dinner since we had a late lunch . . . but dessert was in order!
The salesman at Tom Johnson had told us how good the ice cream was at Jack Frost, so we felt obligated to try it out . . . and he was right!
An excellent day spent with good friends!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

RV-Dreams Reunion Rally - First 3 Days

We arrived at Tom Johnson Camping Center in Marion, NC on Friday afternoon, and got set up in the rally park for the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally.

After picking a spot to park, and getting set up, we caught up with some old friends and wandered over to the pavilion to see Howard and Linda, our hosts. The rally didn’t officially start until Saturday, but there were already a majority of the RVs already there – I guess we were all anxious for the rally to get started!

We sat in the pavilion talking, and eventually decided to pick up some pizza for dinner,

and then Howard got a campfire going.

That firepit was so big, he had to climb right into it to light the fire!

It didn’t take long for others to notice the fire, and our circle of friends grew!

As the sun went down, it got cool and the big fire felt really good! That's a big firepit!

Big group - and the rally hasn't even started yet!

On Saturday morning, we got checked in for the rally and then Tom and I wandered over to the sales lot to see if they had any good used motorhomes. We walked through a few, and found a 2008 Country Coach that was very similar to a motorhome that we’ve had our eyes on for the last month. We talked to a salesman and made arrangements for a test drive later.

The RV Dreams Reunion Rally official festivities kicked off with a delicious catered BBQ dinner. Afterwards, Linda made a few announcements about the week’s activities

and played the traditional RV-Dreams Rally kickoff song – “Me & My Gang”.

(I’ve been experimenting with the panorama mode on my phone – pretty cool!)

As the sun went down and the air cooled off again, we moved the party out to the firepit where, once again, Howard got a gigantic fire going.

Sunday was more of the same after church and a Walmart run – visiting and another campfire. After not having campfires all winter, we certainly are making up for it now!

Bryce brought his cornhole boards over to the pavilion, and there were several people willing to try their hand at beating him.

Monday was our RV-Dreams Family Memorial Day Picnic. We started out with a catered breakfast . . . which was really good . . . I’m not usually a fan of breakfast, but this was delicious!

After breakfast, it was Group Photo time! We started out with the entire Reunion Rally Group (I have to wait to get the official photo from Howard), and then group photos from each rally that led up to this one. We were in the “Original” RV-Dreams Rally Group . . . 2008 in Branson, Missouri.

After all the photos were taken, Tom and I had an appointment to drive that motorhome. We took Don & Cheryl with us, so they could compare it to their motorhome, and tell us what they think.

Tom looked pretty comfortable behind the wheel, but from the couch, I felt like we were flying down the road – even though we weren’t. At 45 feet long, this was definitely a beast going down the mountain roads!

It was smooth, though, and definitely had no shortage of power!

After our test drive, we joined the picnic, already in progress.

There were all kinds of activities and games going on in the pavilion.

There were also crazy relay games going on and, as typical, Bryce was in the center of the action . . . and everybody wanted him on their team!

The relay games proved to be fun . . . and entertaining!!


Bryce insisted that Nancy and Linda’s method was cheating!

He decided to go back out to the basketball court and take on some of the “old guys”

. . . but he didn’t have much more luck there . . . at least not against Howard!

As the games wrapped up, it was time for everybody to go back to their rigs and prepare their dishes for the evening potluck dinner. Everyone did a great job – there was SO MUCH fantastic food – we couldn’t eat it all!!

Once again, we ended the evening with a campfire . . . although it had warmed up enough by Monday night that jackets and sweatshirts were no longer needed!

The first few days were busy ones, but there’s more fun to come!