Wandering in the Georgia and North Carolina Mountains

Before we bought our Titanium fifth wheel in 2006, we attended a rally of Titanium owners at the River Vista Mountain Village in Dillard, Georgia. We stayed in one of the cabins at the park and after meeting the owners and touring their fifth wheels, we made our decision to purchase a Titanium. It was one of the best decisions we ever made!

We returned to River Vista this October for a short fall trip. The RV park is a perfect location for exploring the surrounding area. While we were there I spotted another Titanium on our row. We first met the owners when we came to the rally in 2006 and enjoyed visiting with them before they headed for home. What a small world!

Our mountain adventures began in nearby Mountain City, Georgia at Black Rock Mountain State Park, the highest state park in Georgia. The views of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains were spectacular and we crossed the Eastern Continental divide a couple of times.

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The Eastern Continental Divide runs through Black Rock Mountain State Park
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Black Rock Mountain State Park

We decided on the spur of the moment to take the quarter mile downhill trail to see Ada-hi Falls. The view of the falls was worth hiking down the damp leaf covered trail.

It always pays to stop at the Visitor’s Center to ask about what to see when you are in a new place. When we asked about things to see, as soon as we heard “gravel road” we knew we had to take it to see Black Rock Lake.

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We can’t resist driving on gravel roads and one took us to Black Rock Lake
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Black Rock Lake

The next day our destination was to see three waterfalls in the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina between Highlands and Franklin. The road from Dillard to Highlands has many sharp turns and steep grades and I wouldn’t recommend taking a big RV on it. Our first stop was the Sky Valley overlook in Georgia for a view before crossing into North Carolina a few miles later.

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Sky Valley Overlook in Georgia on the road to Highlands, NC

Our journey took us to the outskirts of Highlands before turning onto the narrow, twisting Highway 64 towards Franklin. Bridal Veil Falls was the first waterfall we came to but we couldn’t stop because the parking area was full. We continued to Dry Falls in the Nantahala National Forest. The National Forest has built a good size parking area with pit toilets and a handicapped accessible overlook of the falls. To get a closer look at the falls and even walk behind them we walked down a series of stairs and short trail down to the falls.

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Dry Falls near Highlands, NC in the Nantahala National Forest

Our next stop was a few miles down the road at a small waterfall on the Cullasaja River. To see these falls up close we had to park across the road and navigate our way down a short rocky slope.

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Small waterfall beside Hwy 64 between Highlands and Franklin, NC

In order to  return to Bridal Veil Falls we had to drive down the narrow road a short way before finding a place to turn around. This time there was plenty of available parking. Walking behind the falls is allowed but cars can no longer drive behind them.

After returning to Georgia we had one more waterfall to see. Sylvan Falls is located next to the Sylvan Falls Mill Bed and Breakfast in Mountain City just a few miles beyond the campground.

Four waterfalls in one day! All were easily accessible with no strenuous hiking involved.

Saturday in Athens

On Saturdays in the fall when the Georgia Bulldogs have a home game, all roads leading to Athens are lined with vehicles flying their Georgia flags and the entire campus is filled with red Georgia tents and fans dressed in red and black.

We have had season tickets to Georgia’s home games since 1980 and our fall weekends revolve around home football games.  This past weekend was the SEC showdown between UGA and visiting University of Missouri. We usually stay in a town about 50 miles from campus but we decided to take the fifth wheel closer to Athens for this game. Last year we discovered Pine Lake campground in Bishop, about 15 miles from the UGA campus. With spacious wooded campsites, a lake, and even a small waterfall it is a well run private RV park that feels more like a state park.

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The lake at Pine Lake Campground
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Waterfall in the Pine Lake Campground

The SEC Nation pregame TV show was broadcasting live that morning just behind our tailgate area. Crews were in the process of breaking down the set when we arrived. Several semi tractor trailers were still there but we just missed seeing Tim Tebow, Paul Finebaum and the other announcers. It’s amazing how much equipment is required for these broadcasts.

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SEC Nation was live on campus before the game. We arrived as they were tearing down the set.

After a fun afternoon visiting with friends, eating delicious food, and enjoying an adult beverage or two,  we headed to the stadium for a 7:30 kickoff. It was a great night for the Georgia Bulldogs as the Dawgs won and went on to become the number 3 ranked team in the country. Go Dawgs!

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The teams take the field for pregame practice before a night game in Sanford Stadium
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Homecoming pregame show
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Georgia Bulldogs vs Missouri in Sanford Stadium
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The fans light up the stadium at the beginning of the fourth quarter

 

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Wyoming

State 45:

Welcome to the last post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I have only featured 45 of our beautiful United States because our wandering has  never taken us to Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island or Vermont.

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next and final state of my series is

Wyoming

Wyoming became the 44th state on July 10, 1890. The Capital is Cheyenne.

 

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Welcome to Wyoming

The Wyoming welcome signs feature the copyrighted symbol of a Bucking Horse and Rider that has been used on Wyoming license plates since 1936. According to legend the Bucking Horse and Rider is based on the early 1900’s horse Steamboat, “the horse that couldn’t be ridden”.

My husband and I are huge fans of the Longmire mysteries by Craig Johnson. I’ve read all of them except his latest The Western Star (I’m on the waiting list at the library). Set in the small fictional town of Durant in Absaroka County somewhere near Sheridan and the Montana border, the stories feature Sheriff Walt Longmire and a wonderful cast of characters. With beautiful descriptions of Wyoming and the Bighorn Mountains, page turning mysteries, and great dialog Johnson’s books are hard to put down. Boy Howdy!

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Bighorn mountains in Wyoming
Storm over the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming
Storm over the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is the world’s first national park and is one of the most popular national parks in the U. S. The national park covers over 3,000 square miles. We spent several days exploring and as we drove through the park we stopped to explore the geysers, natural formations, hot springs, rivers, waterfalls, lakes and so much more.

Yellowstone is famous for it’s wildlife. Huge bison herds roam freely through the park and often stop traffic. Elk and many other animals are frequently seen.

If you love waterfalls you won’t be disappointed in Yellowstone.

Our time was limited in Grand Teton National Park but we were able to take in the majesty of the spectacular landscape.

On one of our trips we left the Black Hills of South Dakota and traveled into Wyoming to see the Devils Tower. As we drove along we could see the tower jutting up from the prairie. Our campsite at Devils Tower KOA had a great view of the tower.

As we took a hike around the base of the tower images from the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” popped into my head. There were climbers on the tower and some had made it all the way to the top.

We enjoyed our stay at Peter D’s RV Park in Sheridan on our way to Alaska in 2013 so much that we stopped there again on our return trip. With a view of the Bighorn mountains, a historic town to explore, and dinner at the Wyoming Rib and Chop House it was a worth a return visit.

On our return trip from Alaska, we drove south from Sheridan through the high plains where we saw ranches, several herds of pronghorn antelope, and prairie dogs beside the road. We spent a night in Casper, Wyoming at Ft. Caspar RV Park where we visited Fort Caspar on the North Platte River.

 

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon     Pennsylvania    South Carolina     South Dakota     Tennessee     Texas     Utah     Virginia   Washington     West Virginia     Wisconsin

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Wisconsin

State 44:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

Wisconsin

Wisconsin became the 30th state on May 29, 1848. The Capital is Madison.

On one of our trips through Wisconsin we had truck trouble on Saturday of Easter Weekend. It was too early in the season for the Madison KOA to be officially open but they let us have a site for the weekend while we waited until we could get the truck serviced on Monday morning. The campground was next to a cheese shop that had a little more money in their till after I got finished stocking up on wonderful Wisconsin cheese!

On Easter Sunday our server at the Cracker Barrel was from Georgia and I learned they serve grits even as far north as Wisconsin. After our Easter breakfast we drove around downtown Madison for a look at the state capital. On Monday morning the truck repairs were done early enough to hitch up the fifth wheel and continue north to our next destination.

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State Capital in Madison, Wisconsin

As we traveled north from Madison the snow started coming down. We arrived at Apple Creek Campground in DePere and set up camp in the snow. They weren’t officially open yet but the owners were great and let us have a site for a couple of nights. Seeing Lambeau Field and the Door County Peninsula were on our Wisconsin bucket list and the campground was close to both.

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We set up our RV in the snow in DePere

Jutting out into Lake Michigan is the Door County Peninsula.  Our visit was during the off season and as we drove around the peninsula very few places were open. There was beautiful farmland and several lighthouses to visit.

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Door County Peninsula
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Sherwood Point Lighthouse, Door County Peninsula
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Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Door County Peninsula
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Cana Island
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Cana Island Light
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Baileys Harbor Lower Range Light is no longer in use
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Blondie got to put her feet in Lake Michigan

On the way back to the campground we stopped in Green Bay to see Lambau Field, the home field of the NFL Green Bay Packers.

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The fans love their Green Bay Packers
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Inside the Lambeau Field Atrium

On another of our trips we camped beside the Mississippi River at Grant River Corps of Engineers in Potosi, Wisconsin, population 711 in 2009. While we were enjoying lunch in the outdoor beer garden at the Potosi Brewery we watched as the town was preparing for their first annual Brewfest. The National Brewer’s Museum is located at the brewery. Also nearby was an interesting Grotto in Dickyville.

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We looked across at Iowa from the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River
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Grant River COE on the Mississippi River
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Sunset over the Mississippi River at Grant River COE
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Our campsite was very close to the train tracks
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Good Old Potosi Beer
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Springs at the Potosi Brewery
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Grotto in Dickeyville, Wisconsin
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Grotto in Dickeyville, Wisconsin

While camping at Viking Village RV Park near Stoughton we bought more wonderful Wisconsin cheese. I counted nine little Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrels running around behind our RV. There were also some Sandhill Cranes running across a field but they were too far away for a picture.

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Thirteen lined ground squirrel – mama with baby
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Thirteen lined ground squirrels
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Thirteen lined ground squirrel

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon     Pennsylvania    South Carolina     South Dakota     Tennessee     Texas     Utah     Virginia   Washington     West Virginia

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – West Virginia

State 43:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

West Virginia

West Virginia became the 35th state on June 20, 1863. The Capital is Charleston.

Almost heaven, West Virginia,
Blue ridge mountain, Shenandoah river,
Life is old there, older than the trees,
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze

– from “Country Roads, Take Me Home” by John Denver

West Virginia is in my blood. My father grew up in a farm house high up in the southern part of the West Virginia Appalachian Mountains during the depression. Way back in the 1700’s my ancestors settled in the part of Virginia that later became West Virginia. Every year of my childhood my brothers and I climbed in the back seat of our family station wagon to travel up the narrow, winding roads up the mountain to spend a week at my grandparent’s house where my father grew up.

I’ve only traveled to West Virginia a few times in my adult life. Over 20 years ago Henry and I traveled to Pence Springs to attend a family reunion. The beautiful old Pence Springs Grand Hotel was our home for the reunion. Through the years the building has been a girl’s school, a resort, and a women’s prison. Since our stay there it has reverted back to a girl’s school.

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Pence Springs Grand Hotel
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Pence Springs Grand Hotel

The campground at Pipestem Resort State Park was our home for several days of exploring southern West Virginia. Located on the east rim of the Bluestone River Gorge, this scenic park was perfectly located for day trips all around the area.

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An aerial tramway takes visitors to the bottom of the 1,200 foot Bluestone Gorge in Pipestem State Park
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It’s a long way down to the Bluestone River

One of my ancestors,  Col. James Graham built this home in 1772. One of the oldest and most historic homes in West Virginia, The Graham House Preservation Society maintains the house and tours are available.

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Graham House, Summers County
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Graham House, Summers County

The New River is one of the oldest rivers on the continent and is one of the few that flows north. Biking trails, hiking trails, and white water rafting are popular activities in The New River Gorge National River. The New River Gorge Bridge is the longest single-span steel arch bridge in the world. We stopped at a few of the overlooks in the park for spectacular views of the river.

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The New River flows north
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Bridges over the New River
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Sandstone Falls on the New River
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New River Gorge Bridge is the longest single-span steel arch bridge in the world

We enjoyed walking around historic Hinton and took a drive to the Bluestone Dam.

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Bluestone Dam
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Bluestone Dam
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Hinton, WV Courthouse
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John Henry Statue, Talcott, West Virginia

After leaving Pipestem State Park our travels took us through Charleston where we passed by the state capitol on the way through the city.

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State capital in Charleston, West Virginia

In another part of West Virginia we toured parts of Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. We were camped at the Harpers Ferry / Civil War Battlefields KOA and took a ranger guided tour of the battlefield at Murphy Farm where Confederate Soldiers captured over 12,000 Union soldiers in September, 1862.

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Confederate soldiers climbed up this bank with cannons of the Shenandoah River at the Murphy Farm

Next we strolled around the historic buildings in the town of Harpers Ferry. John Brown’s raid took place here in 1859 and the town changed hands about 8 times during the Civil War. The town is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.  These days it is a popular place for tubing, kayaking and fishing.

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John Brown’s Fort at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, West Virginia
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Harpers Ferry
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The Shenandoah River at Harpers Ferry is a popular place for tubing an kayaking
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Harpers Ferry

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon     Pennsylvania    South Carolina     South Dakota     Tennessee     Texas     Utah     Virginia   Washington