This post was actually written while on the road but not completed. I had to go over it and finish it up before I could finally post it. I am back home with my sister in St. Michaels for the time being and so finally had some time to finalize this post. It’s a long one….so grab yourself a drink and settle in. On my next trip I promise to break it down to more of a daily run down rather than the entire trip in one post!!……..
Well my friends I apologize – I have been chastised by more than one of you for not writing – but it has been a rough road the past few weeks. Yes I am on the road – but it has been a huge learning curve for me and on top of that I have had the worst time with allergies.
My mom and I finally left….3 days late…..2 Thursdays ago. If I haven’t mentioned it before, my mom makes beautiful home decorations out of hydrastone and other mediums. The most popular by far are her angel wall hangings. The plan was for her to make product before we left and then for her to sell it at stores on our trip. So between her trying to get her product ready and me trying to get the van registered and tagged….we left a little late.
Just one of my moms beautiful angels!!
Of course about 3 to 4 days before we left the pollen count was at an all time high and my eyes became so agitated that I could barely see…..which in turn then caused a horrific headache. This did not help with us getting a timely start! I checked the pollen map to see if there was somewhere else with less pollen that we could travel to but the only state with little to no pollen was Oregon…..so we stuck with our original plans!
We first drove to Charlottesville, VA. We have both been trying to get to Charlottesville for the past few years and every time we plan a trip it gets cancelled for unforeseen circumstances…..the last time mom ended up in the hospital with chest pains. The last time I did go to Charlottesville I went with a boyfriend who did not enjoy the same things that I did and so it was a complete waste of time. I wish I could say that this visit was better but unfortunately I can’t.
To begin with my allergies were so bad that I could not see real well (imagine having a tablespoon of sand in each eye ball) I looked like I had been on a 3 day drinking binge they were so red. Needless to say this was making me a tad bit cranky (yes that is a major understatement). Then (here comes the learning curve) driving the van around town was sooooo cumbersome. I really missed my car at this point. I can’t parallel park (is there any such thing as a cute little downtown district WITHOUT parallel parking??), I feel like I’m driving an 18 wheeler and I don’t like following my mom or her following me. Of course some of this complaining had to do with me feeling like crap!!
That first night we parked in the parking lot of a hotel. It was our first night of “stealth” parking and felt a little strange. Of course just about the time I was falling asleep there was a domestic disturbance of some type. Lots of screaming and yelling and carrying on….I thought I might need to call the police at one point but it finally died down. Then….just as we were settling down again another girl (not sure if she was related to the earlier domestic disturbance or not?) decided that the back of our parked vans was the perfect place to pace back and forth and cry on her phone. Needless to say, after this evening, I made sure I knew where my ear plugs were!
The 2ndnight we parked at the local Wal-Mart and I for one was much more comfortable. I don’t think my mom cared for parking at Wal-Mart but I liked it because I knew we were “allowed” to and most likely would not receive a knock on our doors in the middle of the night. And since other RV’ers were parking there it just generally felt safer. But I definitely still need the ear plugs!!!
Our next stop was Lynchburg, VA and then Roanoke, VA. The Roanoke Wal-Mart was a little crazy…..have you ever seen the website “People of Wal-Mart”??? Yeah, it was kinda like that! We spent two nights at the Roanoke Wal-Mart – the first night we must have parked where some of the employees had also parked so sometime about 11:30 pm or so they came out and turned on their car radios LOUD to some kind of screaming head banging stuff that my kids would have loved. Thankfully they left fairly quickly…..but I was a little concerned for awhile there! The second night we got a visit from a cab driver. I don’t know what was going on…..was it a prank, was he actually supposed to be knocking on the RV’s next to us?? I don’t know but he kept driving around and around our vans, then he honked, he got out of his car and kind of walked around….then he actually knocked on mom’s window. Eventually he did finally leave but it was the strangest thing…..I mean really…..why would a taxi driver arbitrarily drive up to 2 parked vans like he was there to pick up customers?? I think it was a prank.
Overlooking Roanoke from Mill Mountain
We spent Easter day on Mill Mountain in Roanoke – it was a beautiful day and I did get out and enjoy it some but again the allergies won out and I spent the rest of the day relaxing in the van reading and napping. It was super windy…..I opened up all the windows on the van and enjoyed the breeze!
Finally we made it to Mount Airey, NC where my friend lives. Mount Airey, NC is where Andy Griffith grew up and is dubbed “Mayberry USA”. It is a very cute little town and since the last time I was here was on a Sunday and everything was closed, I was very interested in getting a chance to explore this time. Franci’s mother-in-law Nancy allowed us to park in her driveway (I wouldn’t park, at first, in Franci’s driveway because the driveway was so long and steep I was scared to drive the van down it!!) for a few nights and that was lovely compared to the Wal-Mart parking lots!
Mom and I spent a lovely day exploring Main Street Mayberry – I think she got a few good leads for her angels and I got to drool over all the stuff that I wanted that I couldn’t afford and don’t have a house to put in anyway.
Me and Andy Griffith - I always wanted a man that was tall, dark and metal!!
The next day mom and I decided to part ways. I think she was tired of my crabby butt and I can’t say I blame her…..sigh…..!!! I was still absolutely miserable with allergies and couldn’t really do much for very long…..I think I was really only good for about 2 to 3 hours a day before I just gave up in misery! However, she said that she felt we were holding each other back from what we wanted to do and that we both wanted to do different things…..and I agreed. My idea of vandwelling had been going places and staying a while….getting to know the area…..exploring…..until I was ready to go. The whole going to a new town everyday was a little exhausting for me. Of course the pollen/allergies did not help matters. Mom of course had work to do….and it was imperative for her to get to all these towns. So it was good for us to split up. And of course she was only going to Asheville, NC which was only about 3 hours away. So we were still close enough to each other for an emergency.
That first day that we split up I literally spent the ENTIRE day laying in my van reading a book. It was the most gorgeous day – sunny, breezy!! I found the perfect spot in the library parking lot where I was in a corner surrounded by trees. So I could put the shades down on the side and the back of the van where I faced the parking lot and leave the shades open on the front and side of the van facing the trees. I opened up the windows and let the breeze through and …..heaven! I could see through the windows to the trees and I felt just like I was up in a tree house!
View Into The Trees
The next day I decided to drive to Blowing Rock, NC. What a cute little town! I loved it! I did have a little trouble in the evening when I got there because when I drove through the local Wal-Mart it didn’t seem like RV’s were allowed to park there. This was the first night by myself that I was really unsure where to park. I spent about 2 hours driving around and around trying to decide where to park. But I’m a little bit of a chicken shit when it comes to parking. I don’t want to have any knocks on my window at 2am and then have to drive around trying to find a new spot. If I had gotten a minivan or a cargo van I would have felt better – a minivan looks normal parked just about anywhere and a cargo van can be parked anywhere industrial and look normal. But a conversion van just doesn’t always look normal parked anywhere. I had assumed, before I actually got out on the road and looked reality in the eye, that I could just park in a neighborhood – like a guest or something. And I probably could but it just felt a little “iffy”. In fact even when I stayed in Nancy’s driveway with her permission her neighbors still called Nancy and asked what was going on. So I guess it depends on the neighborhood….but I wasn’t finding anything I liked the look of in Blowing Rock. FINALLY I went back to Wal-Mart and asked the manager……and here is where I learned a very good lesson…….before I spend a lot of time and effort…..just ask FIRST!!! The manager said “oh sure…just park over here”!! Sigh………………..
ONE of the few pictures that I took that I actually liked!!
The second part of that lesson involved FINALLY just going up to the pharmacist and explaining to him the trouble with my eyes and allergies and all the OTC medications I had taken and could he PLEASE help me…..don’t you know he walked straight over to the shelf, handed me some eye drops and my poor bloodshot eyes were instantly cured! All that time AND money wasted…..I should have just asked the pharmacist to begin with!!!
The next day with a good night sleep and my eyes finally cured I had a great day exploring Blowing Rock. I visited some great shops – scoped out some great ones for my mom – had a ginormous bowl of the best caramel salted ice cream (makes me drool just thinking about it now) – and then headed out to explore the great Blowing Rock itself. Again it was another incredibly gorgeous day and I got some great shots. I did some experimenting with my camera. I would really, really like to learn how to be a real photographer! As it is right now I just snap, snap away and hope that something turns out!! I don’t have a very good camera either so that doesn’t help.
After Blowing Rock I headed back to Mt. Airey and did a lot of relaxing and hanging out with my friend Franci until it was time to head back to Virginia. Her kids are soo cute and fun…..she has a great family. And although I love her family and her……it was so nice to have the van to escape to!! I think that is one of the things I’m going to love the most about the van…..having my own space to retreat to. When I got tired or cranky and needed my space I just got in my van and drove off to my favorite spot in the library parking lot and relaxed….read a book….took a nap….it was great!!
Me Sitting On Top Of The Blowing Rock