While driving home from church yesterday afternoon, Neal commented on how clearly we could see the mountains and how pretty they were (or if he didn't comment on them being pretty, I'm sure he thought it). Sometimes it's hazy and you can't see the mountains as clearly, but you could practically see the roads on the Blue Ridge Parkway! I looked at him and batted my eyes and asked if we could go up there after lunch. He said he was going to take a nap. I kept batting my eyes, sticking out my lower lip, and practically begging until I figured he couldn't resist. No, actually I didn't figure I had a chance of going up there when a nap was on his mind; however, he surprised me and relented! We kept it secret from the kids, because we like to be mean that way... We went on home and I grilled tuna steaks while the kids and Neal bathed the dog aka Suzi. The kids knew something was up, and it was killing them. After we cleaned up the lunch dishes, I told the kids to dress warm and we all (Suzi included) piled into the van. (We decided to splurge and drive the van since gas went down over $1.00 a gallon -- WooHoo!)
We were planning on going to the Parkway, but Neal pulled over at the Food Lion parking lot to have a "Council Meeting" with me. We stepped out of the van and he asked if I'd like to drive up to Cave Mountain Lake to see where he and Ben camped last weekend. I agreed, and we ended the meeting and resumed the drive.
About 45 minutes later...after driving around curve after curve...we arrived at our secret destination. Ben was excited to show us where they had camped! First we went to the beach:
While we were out walking, we went across a foot bridge:
Now this may not seem a big deal to most, but Suzi hates bridges. We live next to a bridge and she will not cross it. Neal can pull with all his might, and she will pull harder in the opposite direction. We've tried foot bridges in the past, as well, and she wouldn't go over them. So this was a big deal for us! We took many pictures to celebrate the glorious occasion! ;o)
Neal wanted us to check out the camp sites to see if we'd want to camp there sometime as a family. The campsites were fine, but the real test was.... the bathrooms! Yes, that's right. We have to have a decent potty! Beth and I decided it was doable, so we'll probably camp there in the spring.
As were were leaving the park, we spotted a sign that said Parkway 4 miles. Neal asked if I wanted to go that way, and I said sure. That was our original destination anyway. So after about 1 mile the road turned into a gravel road. Hmmmm, it was a halfway decent gravel road, so we decided to forge ahead.
Next the road starts curving and going up.
It was okay at first, but then it just kept going and going and getting higher and higher.
And did I mention it was a one-track road? Only wide enough for one vehicle and there were NO guard rails?!!!
And did I further mention that I am afraid of heights...especially when I'm in a car? Well, I am, and I was very afraid! I was so afraid that I wouldn't look out the window.
But I was curious enough to wonder what was out there so I turned the camera to the window and blindly took this picture:
Not much to see there. So we kept driving and I kept taking pictures. I mentioned at one point that maybe we should turn around. But since Neal kept driving I figured he didn't like that idea much. Actually I think he figured since we'd driven that far, and the gravel road was still pretty well maintained, that we would eventually end up on the Parkway.
Right when I didn't think I could take it anymore, I built up my courage and glanced out the window and saw this:
The fear actually left me at that moment, and I was glad we'd taken this scary route! (not that I would do it again!) About a quarter of a mile later, we saw a stop sign and we were there...we were on the Blue Ridge Parkway! WooHoo!!! We were all quite relieved to get to our destination and hit pavement!
We pulled over at the next scenic overlook and saw this:
It was very pretty!
Here's a shot of Neal and I in our cool shades! ;o)
Next we drove to one of our favorite spots.
Here's Beth sitting on a rock looking at the view.
Here's the view from the overlook!
I always take a picture of the kids on these rocks. Beth didn't want to get up there this time, but she gave in to make her Mama happy!
Here's another big rock Ben had fun climbing.
There was another family at the overlook with their dog. For some reason their dog doesn't like other animals, so we kept Suzi at a safe distance to keep the peace.
As it turned out the man was a former co-worker of mine. I hadn't seen him in over 14 years. He is a professional photographer now, and was taking lots of pictures of his family and the view. When they finished, he took a few shots of us with our camera.
The lighting wasn't the best, but it turned out pretty good.
It was a fun day spent with my wonderful family! It's so nice to live so close to such beauty! We were in awe of God's beautiful creation yesterday!