Yesterday, somewhere between New Bern and Greensboro, North Carolina (where we stopped for gas) the other tire on the passenger side of the BP blew out. Yes, we never heard or saw anything until stopping for gas and even when I exited the truck to go in the station for the bathroom and coffee, I didn't take note of the decomposed tire and new damage to the slide panel. Jeff walked into the station cussing and muttering, "we just can't win". To which I replied "WTF are you talking about?". Nice, huh?
Anyway, God in his infinite wisdom had us stop at a station that was directly across from a Camping World. And the (extremely) nice folks of North Carolina, though the service center was closed on Sunday, immediately came to our rescue, found a tire center that was open and had the tire(s) we needed and supplied us with a weight appropriate jack so we didn't have to repeat the $200 road-side assistance fee! Seriously, these are the nicest, most accommodating people you would ever want to meet. As the fine sale clerk told Jeff, "Here in North Carolina, we take care of fellow campers". And the clerk who found us the tire guy and supplied the jack said "You find out who your friends are when stuff like this happens". Who knew we had so many friends in North Carolina? Sure is nice to know.
So Jeff jacked up the BP, removed blown tire, drove it to tire center where it was changed, drove back to BP, put new tire on, hooked up BP to truck to turn around, jacked up BP again, removed both tires from drivers side (we were freaking about blowing them so decided to get all new tires), drove back to tire center, returned to BP with two new tires, replaced tires and....voila...on the road again for the last 75 miles to Hillsville, Virginia. And it only took 5 hours to get all this accomplished. I, in the meantime, just cried. And cried. And cried. Blame it on fatigue, stress, being a huge pussy....whatever.
So, by 6 pm we were back on the road and making it through one more hurdle, the Blue Ridge Mountains. We have not seen mountains for awhile and that was just fine by us. But we knew we were going to have to cross the Blue Ridge as well as the Appalachians (coming right up). Still, we were less than excited to see this...
Pretty as they are, the Blue Ridge is still a mountain range and if we never saw a mountain again (at least while pulling the BP) that would be JUST FINE! Actually, it was not a big deal, slow and steady up a relatively slow grade. We made it to the Lakeridge RV Resort by 8 p.m. and after an extremely quick hook-up, glass of scotch, and a few smokes (for me anyway), we were off to bed. Of course, it had to storm all night (and I am talking thunder boomers), which made for little of much needed rest.
Truthfully, there is not a lot to do around here, short of a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and I am just plain tired of playing "cruise director", so we are spending a few days here being complete and total slugs. Today we did go into "town", that being Hillsville, and got some groceries. We also had lunch at a "diner" that has been in operation (in an old streetcar) since the '40's. It cost us a sum total of $11 for one lunch, one dinner (Jeff) and two coffee's. Unreal and utterly charming! We also went to the local liquor store. All liquor stores in North Carolina and Virginia are state run and called ABC Liquors (for Alcoholic Beverage Control). We had a nice talk with the clerk who filled us in on the state rules and regulations regarding alcohol vs. beer and wine. She explained that beer and wine were sold in grocery and department stores... "like Walmart". Walmart? A department store? Really?????
WOW!!! Well, there is no Walmart in Hillsville but they do have a Food Lion which predominately features Bud and Bud Light. Every single person in the stores here have on either a Bud or a "Deer Hunter" tee-shirt...men and women alike! That being said, it is extremely beautiful. Rolling green hills, horses and cows (and a few donkeys), lovely brick homes and blooming cherry trees.
We have carefully reconsidered our route from here to Louisville and decided on a slightly out of the way but less mountainous (read risky hills and deadly curves) route through Tennessee and Kentucky versus north through West Virginia. So, I guess I will not get to experience that West Virginia/ Appalachian culture that I was so looking forward to. :(