Moving right along our next stop was Marion North Carolina, which thankfully was a fairly short drive from Rock Hill. We spent nine nights here; eight of which we stayed at Tom Johnson Rally park; one night we stayed in the parking lot of the McDowell Glass and Mirror while our windshield was getting replaced. While one may say that you don’t get to experience a lot of nature staying in parking lots, we can’t say that about our parking lot experience. Roosters. Sounded like a half of dozen crowing at the crack of dawn. And for reference, the crack of dawn is 4 a.m.
Besides the roosters, we were very pleased with our experience at McDowell Glass. Appears our windshield had been replaced before and they were able to identify a few issues with how the last windshield was installed. It was obvious that Jerry at McDowell Glass knew what he was doing when it came to RV windshields and we feel very fortunate that we were able to find them and they were able to do the install!!
We were in Marion for a rally (RV-Dreams Family Reunion) and while there are a few different types of rallies—the purpose of this one was fun. No educational seminars, just fun! It’s a good thing we travel with and are friends with overachievers, because I’m pretty sure we exceeded our goal.
The rally agenda had a few things scheduled, (meals, activities, etc), various optional activities and a lot of free time built in. You guessed it, we used the free time for fun.
And of course where there’s fun, there are field trips. Marion is in the Smokey Mountains, so it’s a beautiful part of the country to explore. There is definitely a lot more to see than we had time for, so ultimately means we will have to make another stop at another time. Through the rally, there were several activities that we could sign up for and we decided that we would do the Sunday brunch at a local winery and a pub crawl. And yes there is a theme to our selections, but to our defense some of the other activities we were planning on doing didn’t require official signing up for!!
Our first Sunday there, we went to brunch at Silver Fork Winery which was just beautiful. They had a great views, a nice brunch and had a small little band playing.
Our brunch table: Dee, Arlene, David and Sharon...and Kelly walking by.
Having an artistic moment....well, trying to at least!!
After the music stopped at Silver Fork, we went to South Creek Winery, where the music had just started. It was very nice as well, but between the two wineries, Silver Fork was definitely our favorite!! We also got to hang with David and Sharon, who have been full timing since late last year and have a really cool story as they owned a cute B&B (Butterfly Hollow) in Tennessee and sold it and hit the road. More to the story, but that's the Reader's Digest version.
Guy and Sue......like teenagers!!
Pam, Kelly and Sue after a day of wine tasting....
This is Dave and Sharon....adorable!!
We were planning on going paddling on Sunday after the wineries, but yep, bad idea. Didn’t happen. (Seriously, who plans paddling after a day of wine tasting.....overachievers, that's who!!)
Monday was filled with some rally group activities, but we spent most of the day working on the coach and getting our freaking winter clothes packed away. (We're hoping we NEVER have to unpack them....ever again!!) I’m sure at some point we’ll get this thing organized the way we want it but seems every stop it’s purging, repacking and still looks a mess.
On Tuesday, we did have an extended happy hour that may or may not have turned into a full-blown dance party. Tracy DJ’ed and Bill bartended again and together—a bad combination, but fun!! No pictures. They were all destroyed. Confiscated. Never to be seen.
Wednesday and Thursday were fairly uneventful as our home was in the shop. I worked from Tracy’s house and Greg had a couple of solar installs that he and the guys worked on. One of the installs was a repeat customer—Louise—who is one very cool lady.
Louise is a single woman having the time of her life exploring the country and for the most part, doing it with mainly with solar!! Really admire her for hitting the road solo…and even more so admire her spirit, passion and energy!!
On Friday morning, we went for a very nice hike to Linville Falls. The hike was about a mile and a half and had some fantastic views of waterfalls. We left fairly early, which explains why when I got to the park, I had my camera lens, but not my camera. Thankfully, I at least had my cell phone!!
Group hike...17 of us. Needless to say, we didn't see any wildlife!!
We wrapped up the week with a Pub and Grub tour (by Creative Mountain Food Tours) in the town of Black Mountain.
We made a few stops, had some beer samples and some good food. One of the stops was Lookout Brewing, which is a nano brewery. On their website, they state they are glorified home brewers--having fun and making good beers - one small batch at a time.
Can’t beat that and on top of that, it just had a good vibe (and pet friendly, too!!)
Black Mountain is a certified Entrepreneurial Community. Entrepreneurial Communities were created to help counties and small towns in Western NC become more friendly to business startups. Since its certification, the town of Black Mountain saw some 24 new businesses open in 2012, while others expanded, adding some 500 new jobs. Ultimately just cool to see a small town bustling and “help wanted” signs in many of the windows!!
Saturday was slated for paddling (along with boring packing duties). While we have our own kayak, St. James State Park rented them for $5.00 an hour, so seemed like a bargain just to rent versus lugging ours to the park, blowing it up, etc.
Well, seems we have the kayak curse, as when we finally got to the park (four cars following each other in the mountains of North Carolina…queue circus music), they had just rented the last kayak. Oh well. Still fun.
We wrapped up our rally with a nice dinner on Saturday, followed by a goodbye breakfast on Sunday morning. Yes, it was extremely sad to see everyone go in different directions, but we have met so many people and made lots of new friends in the process.
Oh, and we had fun.
Tracy, Lee, Pam, Red, Guy, Sue, Bridget, Pat, David, Sharon, Cori, Greg Kelly. Bill, Jo and Craig...a great group of people we're proud to call our friends!!