Mingo Falls, Cherokee Reservation, North Carolina

Day 1468

     It was a beautiful fall day. Covid was in the air. Time to seek out a waterfall. 

     Mingo Falls, from the Cherokee’s name for Big Bear, cascades 120 feet down the mountain. 

     The falls is on the Cherokee Indian Reservation and located on Mingo Creek before it empties into the Oconaluftee River.

     We took The Pigeon Creek Trail to Mingo Falls. The hike to the waterfall runs alongside a rushing stream. 

     The trail is short, but you must climb 161 steps. At the top of the stairway a short path past rock outcroppings leads to a viewing area at the base of the falls.

     The trail is 0.25 miles long and is moderately difficult, unless you have been sitting around the RV for 9 days, then it is very difficult. I didn’t tell Barbara I was beat, but each time she said she had to rest I said “oh, ok.”

     Tidbit of Information: There are over 250 waterfalls in this part of North Carolina. Mingo Falls is considered one of the most spectacular. To be honest (of which you all know me to be) some of those falls might only be 10-20 feet, and some, like Indian Creek Falls (see Day 1402), I would not classify as a waterfalls, more like a water slide.

     It is quite impressive, though, as I stated before, being in the Smoky Mountains there are hundreds of streams and creeks, including one right behind our RV. 

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Day 1459

     Today’s blog is about our trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, in The Great Smoky Mountains, to reach the highest point. That means you are going to learn more than you probably want to about this parkway and mountains.

     The Blue Ridge Parkway was the first national parkway to be conceived, designed, and constructed for a leisure-type driving experience. It connects The Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.  Running from Skyline Drive, Virginia to Cherokee, North Carolina, it is the longest road planned as a single unit in the United States.

     Begun during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the project was originally called the Appalachian Scenic Highway. Work began on September 11, 1935, near Cumberland Knob in North Carolina. On June 30, 1936, Congress formally authorized the project as the Blue Ridge Parkway.

     The Parkway meanders for 469 miles of which we drove 73 miles today. It runs mostly along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The road is carried across streams, railway ravines and cross roads by 168 bridges, 26 tunnels and six viaducts. Elevation ranges from 649 feet at James River in Virginia to 6,053 feet, the highest point on the parkway, at Richland Balsam in North Carolina, which is here:

     I was able to stand on the tippy top of the mountain.

     The mountains of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina are blanketed with a smoky haze that gives the region an almost magical quality. The Smoky Mountains are home to millions of trees, bushes, and other plants. The atmosphere is filled with finely dispersed droplets of oil, which, in combination with dust particles and water vapor scatter short-wave length rays of light which are predominantly blue in color. The blue light that is scattered from the sky is between you and the mountains causing the mountains to look blue.

     When European settlers arrived in the early 1800s, they took inspiration from the Cherokee language when they named these mountains The Great Smoky Mountains.

     Tidbit of Information: You will notice there is no “e” in Smoky. Now you can call them the Smokey Mountains, as do many of the locals, especially here in North Carolina, but the more prevalent Tennessee spelling is “Smoky” and that was chosen as the official adjective of the park. Perhaps it was a cost saving measure. The elimination of all of those “E’s” over all those years must have saved a small fortune on signage and printing costs. I mean, that could be millions of “E’s” saved over all of the years since the park was dedicated. And when you think about it, it’s not smoke at all. It’s mist, or fog, or ozone and other greenhouse gases being emitted from the foliage. But the Cherokee named the range Shaconage which roughly translates to the place of blue smoke. (Richard Weisser).   

Johnathan Creek, Maggie Valley, North Carolina

Day 1449

     Johnathan Creek is a babbling, frolicking little creek that alternately rushes and meanders along its course through the Great Smoky Mountains. We hiked the part the goes through Maggie Valley, North Carolina. 

It use to be farmland around here.

But time has taken it’s toll:

Some of the older homes are pretty neat.

This modern house was just completed on the creek:

     It has all the modern conveniences you can ask for, including a Jacuzzi and hot tub that looks over the creek.

     Unfortunately, when everything was said and done, they realized they forgot to put in a bathroom. 

No problem, they improvised:

Still Here in North Carolina

Day 1447

     We have been here now since July. The pool was supposed to be finished when we arrived.

     No progress in the last 4 months.

     The campground normally has many activities, but most have been cancelled because of the china virus.

     However, today they did have a New Year celebration.

     I guess they had leftover decorations. There was entertainment.

     Sparsely attended.

     Plus it was chilly.

     He was Ok, but won’t make the circle.



Savannah Volunteer Fire Department, Sylva, NC

Day 1437

     Watching all the fires on the west coast, and being a firefighter for 28 years, got me wondering about fire protection here in the Smoky Mountains. As it happens, there is a fire station about 1/4 mile from our campground. 

     The Savannah Volunteer Fire Department was organized in June of 1978. Darrell Woodard was one of the founding members. He became Chief in October 1984 and continues to hold that position today. On July 1, 2009 he became the only paid permanent member of the department.

      I spoke with Chief Woodard today who told me that his fire district covers 27 miles and his department currently has 42 members. 

     So far this year they ran 147 calls. Most of the calls are for traffic accidents and medical emergencies. They only have about 3 structure fires a year. 

     The Fire Department gets its name from the The Savannah River drainage basin which extends into the southeastern side of the Appalachian Mountains just inside North Carolina, and runs by the fire station.

     Since we are in the middle of a forest, I asked if his fire department is also responsible for forest fires? His response was “if no structures are threatened by a forest fire, they assist the forest service.”

     Like Fallston, Md, my home fire company, there are no hydrants in his district, however Dillsboro, with the closest fire hydrant, is only 7 miles away, which allows them to refill the water in their equipment.

     In comparing my fire company with his, we found there was no real differences. Same structure, problems, and politics. 

     Tidbit of Information: Benjamin Franklin, at age 30, established Philadelphia’s first fire department. Sometimes called Benjamin Franklin’s Bucket Brigade, Benjamin Franklin was a volunteer firefighter in The Union Fire Company, formed on December 7, 1736 (that’s 40 years before the revolution).

Cullowhee, North Carolina

Day 1434

     This area was first settled around 1838 when the Indians left. Originally named Painter, it was renamed Cullowhee in 1903. Downtown Cullowhee was destroyed in the flood of 1940, and never rebuilt.

     The area is most noted as the location of the Judaculla Rock. Supposedly this stone was carved 1,500 years ago, that would make it year 520. Petroglyphs are images and designs engraved within a rock’s surfaces to symbolize important places, stories or events. If done today it is graffiti, if done a thousand years ago, a Petroglyph.

     The name of the town is derived from the Cherokee phrase joolth-cullah-wee, which translates as “Judaculla’s Place”. Judaculla was the Cherokee legendary giant and master of animals. According to Cherokee legend, Judaculla was a slant-eye giant (that would be considered racist today) who lived high up in the Balsam Mountains. He guarded his hunting grounds from Judaculla’s Judgment Seat, today known as Devil’s Courthouse, a site on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

     As legend has it, once, a party of disrespectful hunters came through his land, Judaculla chased them down the mountain. With a mighty leap, the angry giant landed here on this boulder. Putting his hand down to steady himself, he left his mark on the rock’s surface. The impression of his hand can still be seen at the lower right of the rock.

     I was not impressed with the rock. In fact, if I were not told it was a Petroglyph, I would have just stepped on it, continuing on my hike.

     Maybe the rain and weather of a thousand years has made it less impressive. Here is an illustration of what the rock carvings are supposed to look like:

     What do the carvings mean? Fortunately, the Cherokee left us a message:

Maggie Valley, North Carolina

Day 1431

     Sometime things just don’t work out.

     We visited Cross Creek RV Park, located in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, where some of our RV friends were camping, about 45 minutes from us across a mountain range. (Maggie Valley is 35 miles west of downtown Asheville.)

     The first white settlers moved into this Valley, called Cataloochee Valley, in 1805. Maggie Mae Setzer was born in this valley on December 21, 1890. Her father, Jack Setzer, wanted to establish a post office in the Valley as the nearest one was 5 miles away, over the mountains. In 1900 he petitioned the U.S Postmaster. The Post Office Authorities required a name for the post office, so Jack submitted his daughter’s name. Four years later, on May 10, 1904, Jack received a letter from the US Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock that the post office authorities had granted his petition. The official name of the mountain settlement post office was to be Maggie, NC.

     The Town is mostly closed because of the China Virus. However, we were informed that there was a hiking trail from the campground up the mountain that led to a spectacular waterfalls.

    Our plan was to meet our friends for breakfast, hike the trail to the waterfalls, and then spend the rest of the day and evening playing cards, and games.

     The trail was a well marked gravel stone path. However it was a steep 6% to 9% grade.

     We hike the trail to the top, about 1.5 miles, which took us an hour and a half. This is what we saw:

     No waterfalls. Not even an overlook. Just a circular end. 

     It took us 55 minutes to go back down the trail. I think the return trip was harder on our legs than the trek up. 

     200 yards from the beginning of the trail was this: 

     I hardly call this trickle a waterfalls. 

Webster, North Carolina

Day 1425

     The campground in which we are staying (Fort Tatham RV Parkhas a zip code of Sylva, North Carolina. The city of Sylva, and now the County Seat of Jackson County, NC,  is about 5 miles from our campground (see Day 1348). The closest Town to us, about 4 miles, is Webster.  In April 1853 for one hundred dollars an eighteen acre tract of land bought from Nathan Allen became the site of Webster, Jackson’s county seat. Five years later an act to incorporate the town of Webster was passed by North Carolina’s General Assembly. Webster was for sixty years the county seat.

     Jackson County was named for the Democratic president and North Carolinian, Andrew Jackson, while the County’s government center of Webster was named for the New England Whig, Daniel Webster. Prosperity came to the region. Webster, with its agriculture, mining and small businesses, became an active little town – the nucleus of Jackson County.

     During the construction of the Western North Carolina Railroad, county residents fully expected the railroad to run through Webster. However, the county’s state government representative — said to be fond of his drink — was taken aside at a crucial moment in the voting process and plied with liquor by an individual desiring a route through Sylva, 1 mile away.

     Change came in 1913, when most of the businesses in the Town of Webster were destroyed by fire. That and the fact that the railroad went through Sylva, resulted in the County Seat of Jackson County being moved to Sylva, where the Court House was built. 

     Today, in Webster, there is no downtown area. Individual buildings do remain, such as the Webster Methodist Church built in 1887.

     And Walter E. Moore’s house built in 1886, one of the oldest homes in Webster that escaped the destruction of the 1913 fire. 

     The Webster Rock School was constructed in 1937 from local river rock by the Works Progress Administration in colors of tan and brown. The WPA was a New Deal agency, employing millions of job-seekers (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. Do you think we need that today?

Deep Creek, North Carolina

Day 1402

     Went to three rock Concerts:

Indian Creek Falls 

Juney Whank Falls

Toms Branch Falls

     Indian Creek Falls is actually more of a water slide than a true waterfall. It is 45 feet.

     The other 2 falls are each 80 feet.

     We arrived at these falls by way of the Deep Creek Trail, which was one of the first trails constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the newly legislated (June 15, 1934) Great Smoky National Park. This part of the park is just a few miles from Bryson City (see Day 1336).

     Today, the park bearing the name of the Smoky Mountains encompasses more than 800 square miles. Just over half of this landmass lies within the state of North Carolina, with the rest in Tennessee. The park boasts 750 miles of trails, including 71 miles of the Appalachian Trail which runs along the crest of the Smokies.

     The creek’s gentle gradient, plus the fact that while it may be shallow (12-18 inches) it is deep by Smokies standards, making it ideal for floating downstream on a tube.

     As you can see, although North Carolina has a high infection rate of the China Virus, everyone practices social distancing and the wearing of face masks. 

     Part of our hike to the falls took us on a horse trial. Barbara said the horse that left these droppings is 45 minutes ahead of us.

     She determined this by noting the temperature as she squished through her fingers.

     I will leave that thought with you until next time.

Greenway Path, North Carolina

Day 1378

     Concluded walking the Little Tennessee River Greenway. Our last leg, on the Southern End of the Greenway, gave us different views than our previous 2 walks.

     This section had sanctuary for birds.

     In an open area was a frisbee field where Disk Golf was set-up.

     I am not sure I would want to do hole 14

     There was also a field for cattle.

     Because of yesterday’s rain, the river flow was more rapid

     Even the bridges were different, like this open sided covered bridge.

    All along the Greenway are benches facing the River and random picnic tables.

     These ducks are waiting for the ferry.

     All in all, another beautiful day.

Little Tennessee River, NC

Day 1375

     We walked another portion of the Little Tennessee River Greenway. 

     This took us through a butterfly garden.

     The trail crossed the river by bridge 4 times during this walk.

     Of the four bridges, this is the only one from which you could not commit suicide.

     Probably because the water was so murky they did not want you to get sick if you did not die. 

     We stopped by the waterfalls.

     We saw the mower’s convention.

     All and all, a pretty nice day.

Town of Franklin, North Carolina

Day 1367

     The town was named for Jesse Franklin, born March 24, 1760, in Orange County, Virginia, who surveyed and organized the town in 1820. Jesse Franklin served North Carolina as a senator and as its 20th governor. The town of Franklin was not incorporated until 1855.

     The town is located in a valley surrounded by some pretty high mountains. Driving here we had to go up and down 8% grades. As usual, I just kept my eyes closed. 

     Throughout these mountains rivers and streams run. Naturally, some of the restaurants in Franklin are on these waterways.

     Prior to the White Man taking over here, the Cherokee Indians called this area home. The area that is now Franklin was named  “Nikwasi” or “center of activity”. The remains of the Nikwasi Mound are still visible in downtown Franklin, marking the location of Nikwasi’s spiritual center. A Council House used for councils, religious ceremonies, and general meetings was located on top the mound, as well as the ever-burning sacred fire, which the Cherokee had kept burning since the beginning of their culture.

     In 1761 the British, former allies of the Cherokee, destroyed Nikwasi. After the Cherokees rebuilt, the Americans destroyed it in 1776. The Cherokees rebuilt again and lived here until they were forced out in 1819. 

     You are probably wondering how I know all this. Simple, the Cherokee’s left a plaque.

     Tidbit of Information: William Holland Thomas was born February 5, 1805 on Raccoon Creek, two miles east of Mount Prospect, later called Waynesville, North Carolina. He was related to the Calvert family, the founders of the colony of Maryland, through his mother the grandniece of Lord Baltimore. Thomas had the distinction of being the only white man to serve as a Cherokee Chief, and an adopted member of the Cherokee Nation. But, that is a story for another time.

     In 1997, Duke Power acquired property along the Little Tennessee River, which runs through Franklin, to built power lines. After completion of the power system they deeded the property to the Town of Franklin who constructed the Tennessee River Greenway, a 4.7 mile paved trail along the River, part of which we walked today. Thank you Duke. 

     Like all the cities and towns we have come across in this area of North Carolina, there was a statute dedicated to the Confederate soldier who died defending his home in the war of northern aggression. 


Bryson City, North Carolina

Day 1366

     Bryson City, North Carolina is located about 70 miles southwest of Asheville, NC.

     The historic courthouse is now the city visitor center, and for a change, was open with a nice exhibit on the area. 

     The Tuckasegee River flows directly through the City.

     Bryson City use to be the Cherokee settlement of Kituwa, which stood here for hundreds of years. 

     Thaddeus Dillard Bryson was born February 13, 1829 in Haywood County, North Carolina. On September 7, 1861 he was Commissioned a Colonel in the 20th North Carolina Infantry of the Confederate Army. After the war, in September 1868, he acquired a large tract of land on the north side of the Tuckasegee River. 17,000 Cherokee Indians had been forced out of the area in 1838, leaving the land open for white man settlement. The town was originally called Charleston. The Postal Service screwed up the mail because it confused this city with Charleston, South Carolina. They are not even close to each other. Nevertheless, in 1889 the name was changed by the citizens, population 25, to Bryson City, to acknowledge the many services rendered to the city by Thaddeus Bryson. 

Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina

Day 1364

     We hiked the Bartram Trail in the Nantahala National Forest to a lookout tower on Wayah Bald said to present a spectacular 360 degree view of the Nantahala, Appalachian, and Great Smoky Mountains. We were not disappointed.  

     Wayah Bald is the highest point on the trail where it crosses the Appalachian Trail (which is blazed white, for those that are interested).

     The trail is named for William Bartram, born April 20, 1739 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a naturalist, who crossed here in 1776 looking for new plants.

     The drive to Wayah Bald can be a dizzying one if you aren’t used to hairpin turns and switchbacks. From the bottom of the mountain at 2,095 feet above sea level, to Wayah Bald lookout tower at 5,342 feet is a 40 minute 13.2 mile drive over a winding very narrow road. The last 4.5 miles are on a dirt fire service road. A Bald is an area of a mountain top not covered by trees. Wayah Bald was named by the Cherokee Indians who called the area Wa-ya, Cherokee for wolf, which inhabited the area.

     The tower was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corp to accommodate personnel observing the Nantahala National Forest, keeping watch over the area for wildfires.

   Three miles from the top, we came across the first forest ranger station of the newly formed Nantahala National Forest, built in 1916.

     The forest got it’s name from the Cherokee word meaning “Land of the Noonday Sun.” Because of the dense trees, the sun only hit the ground at high noon (as opposed to low noon?).

     We then went to Bridal Veil Falls, a 45-foot waterfall not too far from the lookout tower. I could not find it.

     Oh, there it is. I was under it the whole time.

Fort Tatham Campground, Sylva, North Carolina

Day 1360

     Well, the china virus has finally effected us. No, we don’t have it. Our plan was to leave North Carolina and proceed to Maine. Maine’s border is closed to anyone traveling through New York State. Not just New York City, but the whole state.

     When we booked our campsite at Moonshine RV Campground, we booked through the July 4th holiday, and planned to move north. By the time we tried booking in Maine, and New York, the campground here had completely booked up through September. We spend two days boon-docking in the middle of the woods, with no facilities (water, electric, sewer), which was fine with me, we can be independent for up to 7 days.

     We found our current campground had openings. It was only 21 miles from Moonshine campground. Actually, we are on another creek (there are dozens of them in the mountains). This is the view from our side window. Tough life, huh?

     Although it is called Fort Tatham Campground, there is, and never was, a Fort Tatham. Sun Resorts like to name their campgrounds “fort”. 

     We are on the other side of the city of Sylva, which we have already talked about (Day 1348still in the mountains.

Technical Stuff: 

From one side of Sylva to the other, North Carolina: 21.0 miles

1 hour 10 minutes

8.6 MPG

Diesel: $2.29

Waynesville, North Carolina

Day 1359

     Waynesville, North Carolina, is located 30 miles southwest of Asheville, N.C.  between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge mountains.

     The town of Waynesville was founded in 1810 by Colonel Robert Love, born May 11, 1760, in Augusta County, Virginia, a Revolutionary War soldier. He donated the land and named the town after his former commander in the war, General “Mad” Anthony Wayne. General Wayne was born January 1, 1745 in Chester County, Pennsylvania, his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him promotion to brigadier general and the nickname “Mad Anthony”. Waynesville was incorporated as a town in 1871.

     On May 6, 1865, Union Colonel William C. Bartlett’s 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry, the Union Garrison at Waynesville, were attacked by a detachment of rebels from Col. William Holland Thomas’s Legion of Highlanders, who had been summoned by the locals of Waynesville. Thomas’ Legion fired “The Last Shot” of the Civil War here. The following day the Confederate and Union commanders negotiated a surrender. They had been made aware that Generals Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston had already surrendered and that continued hostilities would prove pointless.

     The claim that Waynesville saw the last shot fired in the Civil War is unsubstantiated, and the Battle of Palmito Ranch is considered as the final battle of the Civil War. It was fought May 12, 1865, on the banks of the Rio Grande east of Brownsville, Texas (see Day 269).

     We explored Waynesville to look for evidence of the last shot theory, but nothing has been preserved from the Civil War. In fact, no mention of that theory is mentioned anywhere (although it might have been in one of their closed museums). 

     So, I set off for the old Strand Theater which is now a coffee and ice cream shop. Sadly, it was closed today. 

     Waynesville today, although the County Seat, is nothing more than antique shops, and tourist traps. 

Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

Day 1351

     Lake Junaluska in the Blue Ridge Mountains was named after Chief Junaluska, a Cherokee leader, born in 1775.

     He fought alongside Andrew Jackson and saved his life at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814 (see Day 807). The Chief was alleged to have said upon the removal of the Cherokee Indians from North Carolina by President Jackson: “If I had known at the battle of the Horseshoe Bend what I know now, American history would have been differently written”.

     Tidbit of Information: During the Civil War, The CSS Junaluska of the Confederate States Navy was named for him.

     We hiked the 2 miles around the lake. 

     We got caught in a rain shower and were able to take refuge in a gazebo along the lake. 

     There was plenty of wildlife along the lake.

     Including fish,

     and swans,

     and I don’t know what this is:

     Along the lake were manicured lawns.

     and a rose trail.

     with roses coming into bloom.

Sylva, North Carolina

Day 1348

     We are now, literally, in the middle of the mountains in Western North Carolina, a few miles from the city of Sylva. The campground is just South of the Great Smoky Mountains in the mountain range known as Plott Balsam Mountains.

     Smack-dab in the middle of this photograph is Moonshine Mountain Creek Campground, where we are currently located.

     If you look really, really, really hard, you still can’t see us. Turning 180 degrees is the Great Smoky Mountains.

     Our campsite backs up to Moonshine Mountain Creek, which is part of Jones Creek. Because so many creeks are in this mountainest area, the origins of their names have been lost.

     Going through these mountain with our 22 foot truck and 40 ft Sphinx was a challenge. It really didn’t bother me as I kept my eyes closed most of the time. I had to tune out Barbara’s screaming.

     At the campground, we played various games with some friends. Their campsite had a deck built over the creek, how cool.

    The town of Sylvia developed as a center of local commerce after the coming of the railroad in the 1880s. Incorporated March 9, 1889, Sylva is named for Danish handyman William D. Selvey. I guess some people are just impressive. 

     The Jackson County Courthouse, on Main Street, was built in 1913. The Courthouse served as the county’s courthouse from 1914 until the present Justice Center was built in 1994. The courthouse building is now the county library. The Courthouse can be reached by climbing 107 steps from Main Street.

     Because of the China Virus, access to the library is by appointment only. We convinced them to let us in to look at the structure and was directed to the historical librarian who gave us a verbal tour of the building.

     Like all public buildings in North Carolina this week, we were required to wear “face coverings” (I guess they changed the name to get around people wearing batman masks).

     The literature said there were 107 steps leading up to the library’s front portico from the plaza at street level. Barbara counted only 105. I told her she should go back and recount them. However the historical librarian told us two steps were taken out when the fountain was installed. Barbara was relieved.

     From the top of the Courthouse steps was a neat view of Sylva.

     If the town looks familiar, you probably recognize it from the movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” which was filmed here. You remember movie houses, those places where people met and ate popcorn.

Technical Stuff:

McDonald, Tennessee to Sylva, North Carolina: 141.7 miles

3 hours 45 minutes

8.8 MPG

Diesel: $1.86

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Day 1187

     Another short layover on our beeline to warm weather. Did some maintenance and repairs. When you take your house and shake it like a cocktail, something is always going wrong. Barbara calls them “challenges”. I call them “I can’t believe this is happening.” 

     But we manage to meet them all. All is good now, and we are back on the road at sunrise. 

Technical Stuff:

Ashland, Virginia to Fayetteville, North Carolina: 236 miles

4 hours 32 minutes (It’s downhill)

11.0 MPG

Diesel: $2.77

Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina

Day 836

     We are traveling South to Tampa, Florida, to attend The RV Super Rally. We stopped in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina for the night. One of the good things about the Government Shutdown, no traffic on the Washington Beltway. 

Technical Stuff:

Fallston, Maryland to Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina: 276.8 miles

5 hours 35 minutes

10.8 MPG

Diesel: $2.57

Edgar Allan Poe’s House, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Day 370

     Visited Edgar Allan Poe’s house. No, not that Edgar Allan Poe. This Edgar Allan Poe was born in Fayetteville, N.C. and was a prominent businessman. The house was built in 1897 and represents the life style of the middle class at that time. In a couple of days I’ll show you a house reflecting the life style of the hoity-toity.

 Day 370 Poe House & Arsenal NC 2849_Fotor

     The house housed a museum of the history of the Fayetteville area.

Day 370 Poe House & Arsenal NC 2866_Fotor

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Day 368

     Fayetteville, North Carolina is best known as the home of Fort Bragg. Established in 1918, it is now the largest military installation in the world, covering over 251 square miles with more than 50,000 active duty personnel. It is named for Confederate General Braxton Bragg. As so, Fayetteville hosts many war related museums, including the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. 


     And North Carolina’s Veterans Park. This park is unique in that it paid tribute to veterans, past, present, and future, by displaying one hundred bronze hands from castings taken from veterans of every North Carolina County. 


     In the exhibit hall was a chandelier of dog tags representing 10,000 North Carolina casualties from World War II to the present.

Technical Stuff:

Summerton, South Carolina to Fayetteville, North Carolina: 114.4 miles

2 hours 52 minutes

11.8 MPG

Diesel: $2.33

Tobacco is King, North Carolina

Day 250

    Washington Duke was born on December 18, 1820 in eastern Orange County, North Carolina. In 1852, Duke built a homestead on land in Durham, NC his father gave him when he married. He was drafted into the Civil War in 1864, and when he returned in 1865 he became interested in growing tobacco. By 1890 he had the largest tobacco company in the world, The American Tobacco Company. In 1911 the company was broken up by the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

     We toured the Duke Homestead, but because of the rain, we did not go to any of the out buildings, only the Tobacco Museum.


     The museum had a section on the history of spittoons and cuspidors. Barbara does not think I should go into great detail on that subject.

     They did have this replica of the Liberty Bell built of Tobacco Leaves.


     Tidbit of information: In 1924, Trinity College becomes Duke University.

     Of course, you remember the logo of Lucky Strike Cigarettes, LS/MFT? 

Durham, North Carolina

Day 249


     Most believe that the Civil War ended with Lee surrendering to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. Not so. Lee was forced to surrender as Grant had him surrounded. At that time Lee commanded only 29,000 troops. The surrender that actually ended most of the fighting occurred on April 26, 1865.

     After Lee’s surrender, the Army of Tennessee, commanded by General Joseph E. Johnson, remained in the field. He met with Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, who did not want to surrender, but disband the army and reform to fight gorilla war fare. Johnson, realizing the war could not be won, disobeyed this order and asked to meet with Maj. General William T. Sherman to discuss a peaceful surrender. They decided to meet at the home of James and Nancy Bennett, which was about half way between their two armies.    


     After negotiating for some time, Johnston surrendered his army and numerous smaller garrisons to Sherman on April 26, 1865  Johnston’s surrender was the largest of the war, totaling 89,270 men.



     However, that still was not the end of the Civil War. The final battle of the Civil War actually took place at Palmito Ranch in Texas on May 11-12, 1865. The last large Confederate military force was surrendered on June 2, 1865 by Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in Galveston, Texas.

Mebane, North Carolina

Day 248

     Mebane, North Carolina was named for a Revolutionary War General, Alexander Mebane, Jr. He must have been undisguised as a General, as there is no information on his battle, if any, engagements. He was one of the founders of the University of North Carolina. Stopped here on our way South to warm weather. 


Technical Stuff:

Ashland, Va. to Mebane, Nc.:   192.4 miles

3 hours 40 minutes

11.4 MPG

Diesel: $2.28

Wilson, North Carolina

Day 73

      Day 73 (13)Wilson North Carolina is the most depressing city I have ever been. Although it is the County Seat (which means the Circuit Court and Government buildings are located here) and it is lunch time on a Monday, the streets are deserted with 80% of the buildings boarded up. Another 10% of the business closed. It would be a great place to film a disaster or zombie movie.

Day 73 (12)

 It did have a couple of antebellum houses, like this one. Day 73 (2)


           Barbara was impressed with the rose garden, which was in a most unlikely place, the Public Library grounds.

Day 73 (4)



 Maybe the town was once a seaport, and the waters receded

Day 73 (11) Day 73 (10)


     I was so astonished with the condition of the County Seat, (being a lawyer I have been to all 22 County Seats in the State of Maryland, all of which were bustling places) that I went back to the visitor center to ask the hostess, who is a life long resident. She informed me that when tobacco died, the town died. Although they still grow tobacco here, it is shipped to other parts of the State for processing.

Technical Stuff:

Dillon, SC to Wilson, NC   132.8 miles

2 hours 39 minutes

11.9 miles to gallon

Diesel $1.98 gallon


Raleigh Oaks RV Resort

Day 8 & 9

     We spent 3 nights at Raleigh Oaks RV Resort. The current owners purchased the resort from the KOA organization, but it is now their private resort no longer associated with KOA (Kampgrounds of America), a national organization of camp grounds.


The Campground has 150 RV sites, 30 cottages,_DSC0444 _DSC0447 2 full size swimming pools, a spa, fitness center, numerous game courts as well as a tennis court. Obviously, this time of year, a lot of the amenities were closed. They serve complimentary coffee, juice and waffles each morning. The employees could not do enough for you.

Most of the sites are pull through, no backing up. All had picnic table, fire pit, water, electric, and waste disposable._DSC0442

Like most RV parks, the sites are close together._DSC0443





Technical Stuff:

     When we hooked up our cable to the park’s cable outlet at our first RV park, Williamsburg, VA., to our new 48″ HD TV, the station’s came in with lots of static. The stations over our roof antenna, came in clearer, but some still with snow. When we hooked up our cable to the outlet at the Raleigh Oaks Resort, the same thing. We asked the host if their was a problem with their cable, they asked if I turned on my booster. I did not know I had a booster, much less as how to turn it on. I had no idea even where it was.

     She was kind enough to send over one of her employees with a lot of experience with RVs. He was at my RV before I could walk from the resort office back. He pointed out that each RV is different, but each has a switch which must be activated to transfer the signal to the TV from antenna to cable and back.

     He first looked at my TV, not their, next at the wiring coming into the RV, not there, next at the bedroom TV, not there. I informed him there was a box with switches down low behind the main stereo system, not there.   I then remembered that one of the cabinets below and to the left side of the TV had a box with a cable. That is where it was. It was a black small push button, mounted on a black box in a dark cabinet. I could have looked for a year and not found it.

     How many other things are lurking in hidden places on this unit that I don’t even know enough to ask where they are?


Raleigh, North Carolina

Day 7


     Raleigh is the Capital of North Carolina. About the same as Baltimore, except the people talk funny.

Actually, Raleigh is much cleaner than Baltimore.


Upon our arrival we were embraced by the local people.


     We walked around the Capital building and had lunch at a neat hot dog joint called “Tasty 8’s Gourmet hot dogs”.

We then visited the local museums.image




imageActually, it is a brown pelican




Actually, it’s a brown pelican.


Technical Stuff:


     Never having used propane before I did not realize how it was measured. Spending the time in our driveway we went through the first tank in 3 days because of the cold temperature down to 4 degrees. A neighbor told us that the local hardware store, 2 miles from our house, filled propane tanks. We took our 30 pound tank to them and I asked to watch as they filled. The tank has marked on it that it weighs 25 lbs. empty. The attendant weighed the tank and added 30 lbs. of propane to make the new total tank weight 55 lbs. They charged 79 cents a pound. which came to $25.13 including tax.

     When we got to Williamsburg, I asked at the RV park the price of propane and was told $2.92. I mentioned that is quite a jump from what I paid at home of 79 cents. The reply was she could not buy it wholesale at that price.

     Barbara then called around to find other suppliers of propane and learned that the quote we got at the campground was per gallon of propane, 7.2 to fill our tank, and not per pound. So, as it turned out, the cost at the RV park was less expensive than the cost at home.

     If any of my readers who use propane can further enlighten me, please leave a comment. How do I measure the amount remaining in the tank? The gauge on my tanks are either all red (empty) or all green (full) but no graduation in between.

Four Oaks, North Carolina

    Day 6

     It is a beautiful day, the rain and wind have stopped. Time to move on toward the warm weather of Florida. We are still learning how to pack the RV so that things don’t break as we travel down the road…..We are STILL learning. Fortunately, we can spend the money that would go to our son and granddaughters to replace these items. Sorry guys, fend for yourself. Grandma Barbara is spending your money.

     We traveled 4 hours to Four Oaks, North Carolina for a 3 day stay to visit the surrounding area. Again, we are still learning how to level the RV. The 3 slide outs cannot be employed until the unit is level.The automatic leveler is not that automatic, probably because we are not doing it correctly. The manuals that came with the Cedar Creek were not that detailed or informative. Trial and error is how we are learning. It is amazing how much error exists. 


Technical Stuff:

201.5 miles traveled today

10.4 mpg

$1.79/gallon Diesel fuel