From the Kentucky Horse Park we headed east. Our first stop was Meadow Bridge, West Virginia, which allowed us to add the state to our list of places we've camped. We took a side trip to New River Gorge, a National Scenic Landmark. The roads to the overlook at Hawk's Nest State Park are a motorcyclist's dream - lots of 20 mph curves and 7 and 8% grades, even one 10% grade for a mile and a half - not something I would want to take with the trailer in tow, but a beautiful drive.When we got to Hawk's Nest, the overlook viewing area was occupied. There was a wedding going on with a bride and groom who had to be in their 70s. Judging from the size of the wedding party it had to be at least the second time around for each.
On the way to Hawk's Nest, we stopped at Babcock State Park, which features a working Gristmill - almost. The sluice was destroyed in last year's disastrous flooding, and was almost rebuilt. They told us they would be selling cornmeal again within a week.
Our next stop was Surry, Virginia, and Chippokes Plantation State Park. The park is the site of one of the first plantations in the US, and just across the James River from Jamestown and Williamsburg. With the free ferry across the James, it made an ideal spot from which to tour the area.
Jamestown is a National Park, so with our Inter-agency Senior Pass (that "Geezer Pass" is one of the best deals I ever got) it only cost us five dollars for both Jamestown and Yorktown. We were lucky enough to take a guided tour led by a young man who is an archeologist on the staff. His knowledge of the site was encyclopedic, he was a great speaker, and remarkably funny. This tour was one of the highlights of the trip.
Of course, there are the obligatory statues of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas.
We did one day at Colonial Williamsburg, which has grown considerably since our first trip there 30 something years ago. It was interesting, educational, and hot as blazes the day we were there.
We toured the Peyton Randolph house. Randolph was one of the leaders of the revolution that you've probably never heard of - he was attorney general of the colony of Virginia and was scheduled to attend the Continental Congress. He died just before it happened and was replaced in the delegation by John Hancock.
From Virginia we headed to North Carolina. Just before we got to Bryson City, I-40 came to a halt. We saw a sign that said there was construction ahead in seven miles and we were only seven miles from our exit. It took almost two hours to make it to our exit, and the interstate was still a parking lot as far as we could see. We eventually made it to our destination. There was a little confusion when we arrived - the park was full and they had our reservations in Shelton's name - but it all worked out.
We stayed at the Deep Creek Tubing Center and Campground. It was cool - lows around 50 and highs in the mid 70s - and of course the water was COLD, but there were tubers all over the creek. They got in the water a few miles upriver within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and rode down - some of them all the way to the campground. Honey and I really loved this place - it reminded us of New Braunfels, Texas forty years ago - back before Schlitterbahn.
Bryson is only a few miles from Cherokee, NC, and we visited the Oconaluftee Indian Village, and Harrah's Cherokee Casino. The village was interesting and educational, the casino not so much.
All along our route, from Kentucky on, we saw hundreds of bright orange day-lilies growing wild in the ditches. In North Carolina, the state had planted huge beds of yellow day-lilies at highway interchanges and roadside parks.
We can't leave Bryson City without posting this sign from the RV Park: