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 > BRP Fall Color Trip Report

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kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 10/24/13 08:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Since my last report on the trip to GA back in the spring, I managed to squeeze in another trip to western GA where the clutch in my truck started dragging preventing shifting into gear. After dropping the transmission and putting in a SBC clutch, I made a trip to Lake Jocassee with family for a long weekend. On the way home discovered a vibration which I fought the rest of the summer and into the fall. After pulling the transmission two more times, axle joint, driveshaft joint, steering upgrade, shock replacment, new tires and a couple failed trips (actually 50+ miles from home when turned around), I finally managed to get a week off work. When the DW asked how far before we turn around this time, I told her only when I had to call the wrecker as truck was going or die trying.

But just to be safe, we waited until Saturday morning before heading out. Past our usual turn around, past the state line, and finally on the Blue Ridge Parkway we went with everything feeling good, my gut slowly relaxing, and a smily spreading on my face.

Due to the government shutdown, we couldn't stop at DW preferred campground, Pisgah Mtn. But since this the area I grew up camping, I knew I could find a flat place some place.

We made it to the parkway shortly after lunch so had plenty of time to make the 25 miles south to our hopeful destination. We stopped at just about every over look along the way checking them out for signs of colors.

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Even though Pisgah area is above 5,000 feet, we only saw green. Didn't see any real color until we approached Graveyard Fields.

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When we arrived at the Black Balsam Mtn Road, we were amazed at the cars parked along and even in the road. The crowds were worse than normal, even for peak color weekend. With renewed apprehension and starting to think about back-up plans, we went down to the parking lot at the end of the road where I could boondock. Just as I was getting ready to pull into a beautiful spot, some car pulled in. I went past them to turn around only to realize they were doing the same. So I scored a spot road side, away from traffic, and the window looking over the valley below.

Broke out the grill for some wonderful steaks and green beans while DW made the salad. After taking care of the dishes, by 8pm we were snuggled in the warm bed as the temps began to fall.

In the morning, we found out we would have to fight the fog. In the breaks of the fog, we did manage to enjoy some views. We just mosied along stopping often to look and take pictures.

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Finally it was time to head back to the camp site for Sunday night. Linda wanted to watch the sunset, clouds permitting. As we rounded the corner to Graveyard Fields, things didn't look to promising. The parking lot is just behind that knob half hidden by the clouds and soon disappeared completely.

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Clouds kept us from seeing the sunset so we compensated by another 12 hours sleep. Despite the temps at night in the 40s, I had the furnace set so low it didn't come but a couple of times. Between the flannel sheet, a pair of socks, and the 20* oversized sleeping bag spread over us, we slept wonderful.

Next morning we attempted Devil's Courthouse which I consider one of the premier short hikes. The fog was gone and looked like the views would be spectacular. However, by the time we made it to the top, we could hardly see the parking lot below. Seems the fog rolled in a couple hours after sunrise which is very strange for the area.

[image]

After riding north on the parkway for a few hours, we decided to just go to Waynesville for a night with power, hopefully less humidity, no fog, a good diner out and hot shower. Ended up eating at Maggie Valley Family Resturaunt. Had lots of vehicles in the parking lot even though it was early. Food was good and prices reasonable. We spent the night at Creekwood Farms near the junction of Hwy 276 and I-40. My father usually stays here and once the sawmill across the street shutdown for the night it is quiet.

In the morning, turns out the fog had followed us down the mountain.

[image]

With the fog in the valley, we quickly headed back up to the parkway.

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About mid-day, when we stopped on the side of the road, we came across this gentleman using an old 3x5 camera. He spent over an hour setting up a single shot waiting on everything just to be right. Was real impressed up to the point where he said he would scan the image in and then photoshop the people in the valley below.

[image]

Since the weather seemed to have cleared on the west side of the parkway, we decided to go for a hike on the Art Lobe Trail. This can be done as a 4-5 mile loop coming back on the road, but we just did to the top of the first three knobs and double back for a 2.6 mile hike. A lot further than it sounds for us flat-landers since all three knobs are over 6,000 ft.

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In the last picture, make note of the road on the very right. On the way back, we found our fog and realized it was rolling back in.

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After the hike, it was back to the parking lot for another night. Being Tuesday, the parking lot is almost deserted. Believe we had five vehicles in the morning.

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While Linda relaxed, I felt like taking a stroll down the forest road mentioned above. Back as a kid, the road was in a bit rougher shape, but the trees were much smaller. Back then, taking the TC down it would have been an interesting option allowing one to camp in a beautiful saddle with majestic sunset and sunrises. Did walk about 3/4 mile down the road for a picture of the TC and to realize the fog was rolling in and I needed to get back.

[image]

Shortly after I made it back while setting up the grill for diner, three cars sped past us and a bunch of people jumped out. Next thing we know, they are pulling out tripods, video cameras, sound booms and other recording equipment. Didn't want to get too close and bother them, but best we could tell, they were using our view as a back drop to a video about taking pictures.

[image]

Before firing up the grill, we moved around the corner about 500' so we could have diner as we waited on the sunset. Clouds prevented much, but did manage a little.

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We moved back around before settling in for our fourth night and 3rd at this location. In the morning, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise which I enjoyed while cooking french toast and scrambled eggs.

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After cleaning up from breakfast, we headed out to explore some more of the parkway.

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We finally made it back to the parking lot about 3pm where I was really looking forward to sitting in the chair to relax just watching the clouds roll by. Since my wife didn't have a good book, she didn't feel like sitting and tricked me. She suggested we explore the Art Lobe Spur which is a strenuous climb to the knob we had climbed yesterday. About 200' up, she says, "I know where this goes, let's walk the Sam Knob trail a little bit." If only had I known she wouldn't stop until she made the top, I would have said "NO!" Turns out we hike to the knob which is 2.5 miles and involves a .8 mile section that climbs 600 feet. The views were nice, but didn't have near enough time to sit and soak up the views.

[image]

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Made it back just with perfect timing. Had just enough time to cook up a wonderful grilled chicken with peas and corn. It was done just in time to enjoy it with the setting sun.

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A while back I downloaded a time lapse program and hadn't really had a chance to do anything with it. Though the previous nights never really gave us a good sunset, I had played with it. This night, I had set it up on the camera and let it run. Here is the resulting video: Sunset Time Lapse Video

Last morning on the parkway treated us with a special sunrise. Great way to end the parkway portion of our trip.

[image]

With it being 300 miles home, we decide on Thursday to start heading home. May have stayed another day, but rain was in the forecast and we were tired of the fog. Seems like with the truck running great again, the shortest way isn't possible.

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We did make Tallulah Gorge SP. Linda thought about going down in the gorge until she read the sign.

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We had thought about staying the night but with the campground backing up to the main road, we were worried about the noise. Instead, we made good time and surprised my recently married DD and SIL by treating them out to diner. Then boogied down to Hartwell SP arriving just as the gates were closing.

[image]

We had planned on stopping for our last night at Hamilton Branch SP. But there is a drag strip across the street and when we asked the ranger about the noise level, he said some people do complain. So with the government back in operation, we headed across the lake to Petersburg CG, a COE park.

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After visiting the park, I understand why. The sites are spread out, each one has water access when the lake is up, and the sites are well maintain. Most of the sites are large with plenty of parking. Everything you see in the above pic of our site was our and I could have parked two cars in front of the truck. I'll be back next year with the boat in tow.

We finally made it home in time for Linda to watch Clemson get creamed by FL State. Oh well, guess everything can't be as good as this trip.

P.S.
Didn't think I was going to get this posted within the week. [emoticon]

* This post was last edited 06/20/17 11:15am by kohldad *   View edit history


2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hand calc avg mpg after 92,000 miles with camper)
2004 Lance 815 (prev: 2004 FW 35'; 1994 TT 30'; Tents)


jmtandem

western nevada

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Posted: 10/24/13 08:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice trip. Thanks for posting.


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noxinnhoj

vancouver

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Posted: 10/24/13 08:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for posting that excellent trip report,awesome pics !!


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Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 10/24/13 10:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well done.


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CueSee

Canada

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Posted: 10/25/13 05:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The BRP is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing the photos. My friend did the AT end-to-end some years ago.


QueSee

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silversand

Montreal

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Posted: 10/25/13 05:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I LOVED the sunset time-lapse video! Just for others: it is in .AVI format.

That was excellent. The changing cloud movement was spectacular.

Nice TR; thanks!

Silver-


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colbert wa.

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Posted: 10/25/13 06:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

great stuff. I always love the sights of being in the mountains and looking down on the clouds or fog.


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Markiemark32

Atlanta

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Posted: 10/25/13 07:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent, great pics and great recap.


Thanks for sharing!


Markiemark[emoticon]


Banned member for posting Customer satisfaction maybe catching up : http://rvmiles.com/camping-world-investors-file-class-action-after-stocks-fall-60/
OK to ban per Mark F.

TraciK

Louisiana

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Posted: 10/25/13 07:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pics!!

BradW

Mayor of Flat Rock

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Posted: 10/25/13 08:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[image]

If that is the parking area for the Shinning Rock Wilderness; that is where the clutch cylinder went out on our 2001 F-350 and we got towed down the mtn to the Ford dealer in Brevard.

All great photos; thanks for posting. We used to go up there every fall for the leaves, but I think I have let too many irons get in the fire. I would love to spend a week up there next fall.

Brad


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