0640- Have just taken a little wander around the grounds outside. My Honey would definitely approve. There are about 5 young colts in the paddock to the right of my room's doorway. They share this space with several mares. They are jumping about, playing and acting silly in a way that would make my wife go: "Awwwww...bless!!" There are a multitude of bird species out there, creating a mountain morning symphony. I can recognize cardinals, orioles, woodpeckers and the odd variety of finches, but that's about it. This region of Virginia, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, is home to over 200 species of resident and migratory birds.
To describe the sounds is like trying to describe the fragrances and aromas that assail your senses, as you scoot along the Parkway. There are so many scents I cannot even put a name to. The bushes that line the BRP are heavy with bougainvillas and rhododendrons in full bloom. Honeysuckle grows everywhere around these parts, as does mountain laurel and dozens of other blooming plants. Just outside my door, there are two large honeysuckle bushes and the air is heavy with all manner of natural perfumes. Ron told me last night that we would probably be having breakfast outside on the patio at the rear of the house. The patio is directly below my veranda. I hear sounds of motion in the main house, where I am quartered. Outside, I can hear the horses softly whinnying, as well as the call of mourning doves. Yes, my wife would so love it here...
0820- Ron and Kathleen are making the final preparations for breakfast. I am now on my second cup of coffee, after having had my first while chatting with Bill and two other local guests a little while back. We had spied another couple emerging from the main kitchen, with steaminmg mugs in their hands. It wasn't long before Bill and I made our way down there for a mug of our own. I walked the driveway, trying to pick a path which would be the easiest/safest. It oughtta be okay, I guess. As long as I can keep Baby's ponies in check without sliding her. I'm getting anxious to get underway. The places are set on the patio. Time to have breakfast, I reckon. I'm wearing one of my new shirts today: "The Mountains are Calling and I must Go". So true... So true...
Breakfast at the Reba Farm Inn, by the way, consists of the following:
- Poached pears in a lemon sauce
- Warm homemade cinnamon loaf with fresh creamery butter
- Eggs Mornay (hard-boiled eggs, halved and served with potato slices and carrot shreds in a cheese sauce)
- Country sausage patties
- Apple juice
0920- Bill and Sandie left while we were all having breakfast. Shame. He stopped by to say goodbye before they left. I reckon we'll meet further down the road some day. He was a likable sort... Guess I'm on my own for makin' it down that hill. Well... It's time to load up Baby and take her down the road.
For all that I had sweated it, Baby performed admirably on the way down. I promised to keep my hand off the front brake and she promised not to throw me on my ass. It was nip and tuck, notably with the last 90 degree turn at the very bottom of the bad section, but she sailed through with grace and poise. Heaving an enormous sigh of relief (and vowing to never do anything like that again), we set out to climb our way back onto the BRP.
1015- Stopped at the Peaks of Otter for a water break and to pick up a fresh one.
1215- Stopped at the Meadows of Dan (Mile Marker 178) for some gas and fresh water. I also picked up a wonderful miniature fiddle and case. It may well go to my wife's niece back in Cape Breton, who is a pretty fair little fiddler in her own right. This is a beautiful area. Very lush and green.
1548- Crossed the North Carolina State line. Don't know about making it to Asheville tonight. Will see if I can hook up with the I-81 to Asheville and continue on tomorrow. If not, I will begin heading home tomorrow, as there simply won't be enough time.
1644- I'm at Mile Marker 230 on the NC side of the BRP. I have decided that I would not have enough time to complete this trip as I wanted to. So... I have turned Baby around and am headed back North, to home and to my Missus.
2000- Pulled into Salem, VA about 6 miles from Roanoke. Fuelled Baby and rented a room at the local Holiday Inn just off I-81. Very nice!! And cheaper than the Reba Farm Inn.
Have eaten over at the local Burger King and finally picked up some Vaseline moisturizer and a hairbrush. Haven't contacted home yet as there is no answer there so far. Will try later on. Can't wait for a shower and a rest. The attendant had me park Baby under the portico outside the front door. Awful nice of him...
Came off-mountain and took the I-77 North until I hooked up with the I-81. Turns out the I-81 starts heading West and goes nowhere near Asheville, NC. I can jump back on the BRP anytime I want to as there are many access roads that lead onto it.
2054- Just got off the phone with my wife. Let her know where I was and what I was doing (coming back early). Told her I ought to be home by end of day on Wednesday. Time for a shower and to turn in. May try to watch a little TV, but doubt I'll be able to last long.