SHAKEDOWN/SHAKEUP EGG TRIP TO MONTANAS
Hope over reason being what it is, we decided to take highway 321 all the way up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mistake! Everything was fine until the final 15-20 miles when it morphed into a Guatemalan high mountain pass complete with "dynamiting to be expected next few miles" signs and of course skads of fellows with day-glo vests leaning on their shovels and grinning, as if thinking "you dumb-ass with the trailer, how come you're on this potholed, skinny road with the 200 ft. sheer drop-offs? But we made it, thanks to luck, fourth gear and a few gallons of petrol.
Julian Price National Park was our destination. Our reserved space was up a very muddy hill in the muddy forest. We asked for another spot down near the beautiful lake. The ranger said, "look around and if you see a spot you like and doesn't have a reserved card on the pole, stake it out, come see me and I'll register your there." We found a nifty spot near the lake and with a nice grassy area adjacent to it. I manuvered the EGG backwards for fifty yards or so (no small task) and entered our new slot as clean as a whistle. But then the ranger shows up and says "I made a mistake. This spot is reserved even though there's no ticket on the pole." Exhibiting calm understanding though I'm ticked off, I say, how about that second spot up the road? "Sure," she says. "Go stake it out," and she speeds away in her pickup. As fate would have it, this was a Handicapped Only spot. By this time I'm emotionally handicapped, but this won't work without a psychological assessment and there ain't no shrinks for a hundred miles.
The upshot was that we found a spot that proved to be great and I've gotten over the ranger who was a born-again airhead and /or smoking some good weed.
We hiked 2.3 miles around Julian Price lake--much of it in the mud, but it was great,with lots of pretty vistas, flora and funny fellow hikers--most of whom also with mud up to their shins and a few with happy dogs that looked like hogs from a wallow.
Day two, we hiked for 5.2 miles in Cone National Park that's adjacent to Julian Price. This is an easy hike from the Cone Mansion down and around another beautiful lake then back to the Mansion. The trail is wide, mostly fine gravel and easy walking though with an up-hill grade 50% of the way. We encountered few people, with the exception of a dozen or so young, supper fit, cross country runners who apparently were doing two laps around the 5.2 mile loop. They appeared happy and not even breaking a sweat. Oh to be young and fit, though I seldom lose sight of my good fortune in that I'm old and still kicking.
Coming home via 221/I-77 we encountered gridlock on I-77 and bailed off on to 115 that runs through Cornelius, Davidson and ultimately hits Sugar Creek Road not far from home. It was slow, but with no stress and it provided us with a chance to do some nifty rubber necking at this segment of the old Tar Heel state. Slow with low stress is our mantra. The Interstates are gridlocked more and more frequently in N.C. I'm guessing it's a commentary on rapid population intensification. Why is everybody from Ohio moving to N.C.? I realize they've got a wacky governor and the Cleveland Browns haven't won a game since Jesus was a toddler, but.....
Our next trip will be down to Duck Creek Small Boat Harbor, way out in the woods, not far from Bridgeton, N.C. This is where we dock our antique C&C Corvette sailboat. Lost in time, this spot always generates lots of grist. For example, is Maurice, who is on the lam & living in an abandoned AirStream out in the honeysuckle, still cooking Starlings on his charcoal grill ? As he put it, "They ain't bad. You just have to eat a shitload of them to get any meat."