YES! It is that time of the year! Blue Ridge Breakaway in 19 days!
The twin joys of raising a garden and puppies has certainly detracted from my riding time this year. It seems like every time I go to throw a leg over the saddle of my Salsa Fargo, I end up throwing a leg over a hoe or a dog leash. Be that as it may, I haven’t given up on observing those good folk out riding on two wheels. In fact this past weekend, the Navigator and I had a chance to do a lot of observing during our…
weekend of camping at Grayson-Highlands park on Mt. Rogers in beautiful southern Virginia. Our trip to G-H took us through Abingdon and Damascus Virginia, home of the Creeper Trail. The economic impact of cycling on the communities doesn’t slip up on you – it hits you on the head with the force of a framing hammer! Bikes, bike shops, coffee houses featuring bikes, and other retailers were everywhere in the picturesque town of Damascus.
Vehicles were heavily laden with multiple bicycles as we climbed to Virginia’s highest point for our weekend camping with family members. Once in the park, the number of bicycles and kids of all ages on them did not decrease. Many camp sites had trailers full of bikes parked alongside tents and campers. In the mornings, there was a steady stream out of the park as people headed to ride the Creeper.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of camping in a Virginia State campground, you have missed some fine accommodations and experiences. Over the past few years, the Navigator and I have enjoyed camping at a number of their facilities and have found them to be excellent. Virginia does it right!
Anytime you get a bunch of people together, there is bound to be someone less thoughtful than would be appreciated. Such was the case with what looked to be three families, who on Friday, took off to ride the Creeper while leaving their four dogs tied to trees in the campsite. The inevitable happened and those of us still in camp were “treated” to 8 hours of non-stop group barking. I can never understand why some dog owners think they can abandon their pets in strange surroundings around unknown people and expect that everything will just be a slice of heaven.
We were camped beside the two sets of campground hosts and they too had to listen to the dog-symphony throughout Friday. Needless to say, the Park Police were awaiting the return of the dogs’ owners and had a word of prayer about park rules with them. To the owners’ credit, they seemed to take to heart the message and we were all treated to relative quiet from that point forward.
(Dilly spotting yet another forest denizen in need of a good smell!)
For our part, we enjoyed hiking with our dogs, Dilly and Beau, along the trails of Grayson-Highlands. Talk about sharing the road! We were on trails shared by horses, mountain bikers, and hikers. It was a challenge keeping our puppies from smelling every inch of the trail. It must have been quite the smorgasbord of scents for them.
(Zeke, Dilly, and Gary on the Seed Orchard Trail)
We also enjoyed cooking and eating. I finally got to cook on my Camp Chef Pro 60 2 burner grill and came away quite pleased with its performance. As you can see from the following image, the hungry horde was awaiting completion of cooking time!
(Is it food yet? Hungry minds want to know!)
(Hey, I ain’t fixin’ fast food here!)
The weekend came to a close as it began… Severe weather sandwiched two days of great camping weather. We left Canton in a cloud burst and packed up in the aftermath of a severe thunderstorm that arrived in camp at 4:00 a.m. and lasted about two hours. As the Navigator and I listened from the comfort and safety of our bed, we were sure glad we weren’t in a tent at that point. We arrived home to be greeted by yet another severe thunderstorm and tornado watch. We were all safely tucked in by then! The days ahead are predicted to be more fall like than summer like. I’m looking forward to temps in the 50’s at night and low humidity.
If you are still reading at this point, THANK YOU! Please strongly consider coming to beautiful Haywood County and enjoying the Blue Ridge Breakaway on August 16th. Tell’em Zeke sent you!