Spectacular, awesome, inspiring….there are just not enough superlatives to describe the magical drive through Virginia and North Carolina on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and on the Blue Ridge Parkway. While the folks back home were pondering how to cast their ballot in the federal election, Sandra and I have been driving slowly through some of the most magnificent scenery on this planet.
The temperature is a balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit. We have been driving through the twists and turns at 35 miles per hour (the speed limit), with the windows open and our souls aflame.
As we start out, the hills are dancing with the colours of autumn as the hickory, chestnut and white oak trees prepare for winter. Red, orange, yellow, overpower a few green holdouts.
There is layer upon layer of mountains and hills, and the moisture laden air overlays the hills with a smokiness that reminds me of a Margraf painting of Canada’s Gulf Islands. There are “overlooks” at every turn (lookouts or look offs to we Canadians). As you climb the mountains, you can see the valleys and villages on both sides of the road.
These mountains are definitely not the rugged Canadian Rockies. They are gentle, the vegetation lush, evergreens limited to a few pine trees. I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to leave here although practical Sandra pointed out that people probably leave here for the same reasons many of us leave the glorious Maritimes: to seek gainful employment. As we drove ever southward today, the vibrant colours were replaced by a greener landscape, kissed by colour here and there.
Tonight (Tuesday) we are still on the Blue Ridge Parkway 220 miles from tomorrow’s destination of Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore House is the largest house in the US and we hope to tour it tomorrow before heading to Charlston. From Charlston, we’re going to take a day and drive northward up the coast to check out Myrtle Beach. Then it will be on down the coast to Savannah.
** Note to my gorgeous granddaughters: get out a map of the US and see where we are.
** Note to Gail G. Remember the prediction you made at Sari’s party? Who knew that I’d really be travelling inland in the Carolinas? No sign of that wonderful man you said I’d meet here, though….
(Wednesday) Asheville, North Carolina. Another 80 degree day; another magical drive. For a short while we were back into green vegetation – then we started to climb. As the altitude increased so did the vivid colour. Today we were treated to hills of oranges and reds; yes, they were maple trees! We reached elevations of 4500 ft, the overlooks continued to delight, the sun sent fingers of light down into the forest, backlighting the trees, leaving golden leaves suspended in mid air.
We’re settled into our campsite for the night. Tomorrow we’ll visit Biltmore House before we head to Charleston. Despite the election results in Canada, life is good! (The election comment is not shared by Sandra - she made me put this in :))