Wednesday, August 19th:
The drive from Marietta, Ohio down to Fancy Gap, Virginia took us almost six hours despite the fact that we were on I-77 the entire way. It was a longer drive than we had become accustomed plus an accident on the interstate cost us about 20 minutes. Despite the duration of the drive through the mountainous terrain of West Virginia, the scenery was gorgeous and memorable. Once we arrived at our Fancy Gap KOA located about one mile from one of the entrances to the Blue Ridge Parkway in southeastern Virginia, all of our dissatisfactions about the long drive were quickly forgotten.
We were out of the "house" by 8:15 am. Sounds early perhaps, but not when you rise at 5:30 am and then enjoy a good breakfast while reading the Wall Street Journal courtesy of the best campground WiFi system in weeks of traveling. After this, 8:15 am feels like the middle of the morning. Besides, we figured that it is best to get onto the Blue Ridge Parkway as early as possible as we had no idea as to how crowded it might be. As it turns out to our benefit, the Parkway was very quiet. Our plan was to drive up the Parkway about 30 miles north, stopping at whatever sights we might see, and then backtrack down the same path. At that point we planned to see what the small hamlet of Fancy Gap is all about. Our first stop was at a small cabin that the historic marker identified as the Puckett Cabin. The cabin was occupied by one Orelena Puckett up until her death in 1939 at the age of 102. I guess this proves that not everyone lived in the mansions like we have seen in Marietta and other cities.
One of the primary destinations along this trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway was a visit to old Mabry Mill that was built and put in use in 1910 and operated as a corn grinder and saw mill until 1936. In 1945 the National Park Service restored and landscaped the mill and according to the historic marker, the mill is the most photographed feature on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We can see why. Kathy has complained that she is in all of the photographs in our blog, so for our photo of the mill, I agreed to let her be the photographer. Here is the result - not bad, except for the old guy in the photo. Despite the fact that the man with the keys dangling from his neck was partially blocking the view of the mill, the importance of the mill justified this enlarged photograph.
The end of our journey north up the Blue Ridge Parkway concluded with this wonderful view of Kathy and Cabo with a backdrop of what truly justifies the name of the Smokey Mountains. This photograph as well deserves to be enlarged.
Tomorrow we are ready for another long drive down to Wilmington, North Carolina which is the home of Kathy's sister and her sister's daughter and her family. We have never been there so we very much look forward to our visit.