(Crowded House) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIb6I8gtgtw
Taking the good weather with you in both attitude and expectation seems to have been the start, perhaps finish, to our Road Trip leaving a blustery Monday in New Jersey to day after day of perfect wintery sunshine. Add that to the absence of people and traffic and you have a perfect mix. With that elevated mood, I was just about okay with going down into the bowels of the earth to see a whole lot of brown. Stalactites and stalagmites of Luray Caverns, Virginia, in natures most creative formed in drips and drops over thousands of years. An hour, guided trek by a backward walking local boy. No comparison to the professional guide at the Navy Academy. So mid-life and maturity do have their advantages. Reassuring.
Skyline Drive from Luray Caverns, VA, to Rt. 81 and onwards to Statesville, NC, was first very slow and very winding and very high. 3,500 feet. My “Stanley Steamer” seem to take it all in stride. A number of New Jersey license plates along that isolated route. We seem to be taking New Jersey with us too. The last leg on Rt. 81 and then Rt. 77 was mostly a gallop to try to make as far into North Carolina towards Asheville and the Biltmore Mansion as we could manage.
Statesville, NC, at crossroads Rt. 77 and Rt. 40, seems to be on a whole lot of people’s ‘maps‘, but I can’t figure out why. Our trusted Hampton Inn again, but at a higher price accepted with a later arrival and fatigue as a compliant negotiator. But, it has a self-serve ‘Guest Laundry’. Just another ‘Hip Hilton‘ innovation. We’ll start tomorrow refreshed in more than one way.
Surrounded by every conceivable restaurant chain, our Hampton clerk suggested two local joints instead. The Mayo restaurant, homemade Italian, complete with live Jazz Band loudly welcomed us to the real South. However, music was truly off our menu at that point(!)