After leaving our friends in Crossville, we decided to travel back to the mountains to work and ride scenic drives. We are staying at an RV Campground owned by the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. The facilities are spectacular and we have enjoyed our evening walks around the lake.
The Conference Center is nestled in the middle of beautiful mountains.
Since we have been here, we've done quiet a bit of work and some sightseeing. The mornings have been too cool to ride the scooter, so we've worked. This has been a productive time and we've been able to get ahead on a few things. We have taken rides after lunch when it is warmer.
We are close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and many great local drives. The Parkway follows high ridges and allows sweeping vistas. The Parkway trees have not greened up yet, so it still looks like winter up there. You can, however, catch glimpses of green as you peer down to lower elevations.
Here is how parts of the Parkway look.
The Parkway is great for relaxation, easy driving (max speed limit is 45 mph) and quiet thought. You have to exit the parkway to find stores and homes because there is no private land. The land surrounding the parkway is set aside for the enjoyment of all. There are numerous pullouts where you can rest or take a small hike. Or you can just cruise for miles on end without pause. We find driving the parkway on weekdays during the school year the quietest. Vehicles are spaced far enough apart so that you often feel you have the parkway all to yourself. We let our minds wonder, lost in thought, only occasionally pointing out a sight we don't want the other to miss. There is no music in the headset, but there is music in our heads.
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
Then sings my soul, How great Thou art!
The smaller roads getting to and from the Parkway are a little more intense. Many are filled with twists and turns as they follow rivers. They are surrounded by homes, farms, and businesses that add human interest to the ride.
Here are a few shots from some of the other roads we drove. The visual variety is almost endless.
This waterfall could be seen from the highway.
This one took a little effort. We had a twenty minute walk up and down the side of a mountain.
Both were beautiful.
There aren't many wide views on these twisty roads, but sometimes you get glimpses of the distance. Notice how much greener the trees are here than on the Parkway.
Occasionally, we find ourselves in a situation that is both frightening and exciting. Here, we came around a sharp curve on a steep windy road just off the Parkway to find ourselves surprised by a bear in the middle of the road. I think he was just as surprised as us. The road was pretty isolated.
Trey made a quick stop and Susan grabbed the camera out of her pocket. We could not turn around (the road was too narrow) and we were not going to drive past our furry traveling companion, so we just waited. The bear seemed uncertain at first.
He looked at us, then turned away, took a few steps, then bounded up the mountain.
As a bear was going up the hillside, another vehicle came up behind us. We had just turned around a sharp corner when we stopped and were glad they saw us in time to safely stop. As we drove nearer the bear, Susan saw him standing about thirty feet up the hill and wondered what would happen if he decided to charge down toward us. As we got even with him, he turned and ran farther up the hill getting lost in the rhododendrons. No worries there!
It was good to see him, and good to see him go!
Speaking of rhododendrons, the forests are thick with those bushes and flower buds are forming. They will create a spectacular show in a few weeks. Unfortunately, we will be gone by then.