Lake Gypsy
March 10, 2022 - Wilmington KOA North Carolina (410 miles)
Due to the war in the Ukraine gas and diesel prices were very expensive. Luis filled up the truck at $5.09/gal Thursday evening.

We (Luis and I, Kaylee and Zoe) left on Thursday for KOA Wilmington after Pattie got off work around 3:00. The weather was fairly warm for March. We set up and noticed that the Wilmington KOA has been improving and upgrading. They had a lot of outdoor games and had worked on adding patios and landscaping and walking areas. We yelped for restaurants and found an interesting one called Ceviche's and drove there for dinner. Unfortunately, it is so popular it was even an hour wait on a Thursday. So we booked a reservation for Friday night and went to the Shark Bar at Johnny Mercer's Pier, Wrightsville Beach. It was a pleasant beachy modern atmosphere. Very small eating area so we sat at the bar. The food and drinks were very good. We would definitely go there again. No view of the beach from the restaurant. Since it was pitch black and windy we didn't try to walk on the beach.

Friday we walked the dogs and hung out since it was overcast and Luis had to work some. We went to Something Fishy for lunch. Later we went to Ceviche's for dinner. It was very good. Cute covered patio area with heaters. It was pouring rain at that point and was very cozy in the patio with the rain hitting the roof. On the way home we saw they have a Chicken Salad Chick in Wilmington now. So we made plans to pick some up tomorrow.

Saturday it was a weather warning day. Very windy and gusty and tornado watch. We went to Chicken Salad Chick and got some chicken salad for later. We decided to pick up a carryout order of pizza from Brooklyn pizza and fried cheesecake! Yum.

We had to fill the water tank to disconnect from the water connection due to impending hard freeze. We turned on the tank heaters and gas as temperature was dropping Saturday night. We were warm and cozy and did not have any problems.

Sunday, we cleaned up and winterized again, and headed home by the 11:00 a.m. checkout.


We ate at :

Shark Bar
Something Fishy
Ceviche's
Brooklyn Pizza
Chicken Salad Chick

26 low and very windy

Notes:
Typical KOA.
The dog park was nice but did not have double gates.
They have 2 bathhouses and most campers are in RVs so they were not crowded.
Good location on Market Street.
They have made a lot of improvements since we stayed there in 2018.

We stayed at site #55.

March 31, 2022 - Tanglewood Clemmons North Carolina (320 miles)
We left on Thursday and drove through a storm. Luckily before we reached Tanglewood we passed through it to the other side and beautiful weather. Set up camp and Ginny and Kevin were already there. Teresa and Richard were on their way after having to go obtain a new battery. We all went out to dinner at Little Richard's BBQ in Clemmons. Very good. Came back to the campground and had a fire in our gas firepit. It was great!

Friday Luis had to stay at the camper and work. Richard drove us to Old Salem to tour the museums and old houses. It was very interesting being founded by the Moravian's. It was disappointing that it was only open from 10-2 and that was nowhere near time to visit all the museums and historic reenactment houses and stores. Friday evening we went to Villa Grill in Clemmons right outside the campground and that was great too. We also bought some baked goods in Old Salem that were okay. Not worth the price. After dinner we had our second campfire.

Saturday we went to Jolo for lunch. It was a beautiful day and we sat in the outdoor area with the wind shields. We had a great meal. Then we drove up Pilot Mountain and it was not crowded amazingly with the gorgeous weather so we got to park up top. It was around 2:30. We didn't wear hiking shoes so we walked all around the top and saw the fire damage from last year. Not completely barren luckily and already signs of growing back. They already repaired fences etc. We had our third gorgeous campfire.

Sunday we winterized again, packed up and headed home. It was an easy trip and Luis took the camper right up to storage after a few minutes of unpacking at home.

Notes:
Really nice for a county park with full hookups and nice paving on the the sites.
It is kind of like a KOA but with trees and half the cost.
The campground is in a good location.
Inside of a large county park with plenty of walking trails, a dog park, horse rentals, arboretum, and more.
The bathrooms were clean but small.
The sites also had cable and Wi-Fi.
We stayed at site #41.
April 28, 2022 - Virginia Creeper Trail Tennessee (588 miles)

We left Thursday around 10:00 a.m. to drive to KOA Bristol. Kevin and Ginny were also arriving in their camper, and Paul and Julie were staying in a cabin. We arrived without incident and made plans for dinner. We went to Bare Bones BBQ in Kingsport. Unfortunately they only have brisket on Friday and Saturday. We had the pork and it was good, but the sides were very good also. Nice people. So, we planned to go back for brisket and ribs Fri or Sat.

Friday, we left at 9:00 to go the Creeper Trail Bike Rental in Damascus where we had a reservation. We checked in and picked out our bikes at Creeper Trail Bike Rentals in Damascus. They loaded them on a trailer and took them to the drop off area at White Top. The weather was gorgeous and we had a gorgeous 2 1/2 hour downhill ride by the stream and beautiful wildflowers. The coffee shop was open but we did not stop as it was too close to the top. The restaurant was not open yet for the season. When we got back to the bike shop we checked in the bikes and went next door to eat at Trailside restaurant in Damascus. It was very good. Kevin and Ginny came down slowly and then they joined us. We headed back to Bristol and had ice cream on the way. We went to dinner at Bare Bones BBQ but they were out of ribs after Julie got the last order. They only had "point brisket" which turned out to be very fatty. We were disappointed that they failed to mention that they run out of ribs and brisket. The donuts Paul had purchased early in the morning attracted ants into their cabin. So they moved to another cabin.

Saturday we headed to Warriorers' Path State Park very near the campground for a hike with the dogs. It was a very nice park with a big lake. Pattie saw a strange plant and Paul's plant id app said it was peyote. We were sure that was not correct as this is not even the corrwect region. Later we returned to the campground then headed to Jonesborough TN. We got coffee at Corner Cup Coffee. We ate lunch at Main Street Cafe. We enjoyed that. Then we continued to walk around and had a story told to us as Jonesborough is a storytelling capital. We walked around town and Pattie bought some small Fostoria goblets for tastings in an antique store. We went into the Chuckey Train Depot Museum. It was cute. Then we found the TN Hills Distillary. What fun trying all their whiskeys and cordials. The best was the key lime! We bought some and headed back to the campground via a TN liquor store on the way. It was our last night.

Sunday we packed up and left. When we arrived home we emptied the camper then parked at the mail kiosk as we are leaving for Asheville on Thursday.

Notes:
  • Bathrooms were clean.
  • There is a dog run but it is at the bottom of a hill and very wet. Could use some work.
  • They have a shop and fill propane tanks.
  • About 30 minutes from the Virginia Creeper Trail.

May 5, 2022 - Campfire Lodgings North Carolina (562 miles)
We headed up to Campfire to site P4 arriving right aroound 2:00 for check in. We got situated in our site on the edge of the cliff. Noone was joining us at the campground this time. We walked the dogs around the campground. It was just Luis and I. /saw sine nire idf the "Peyote" and it was identified by the iphone as Conopholis Americana. We went to Ingles and got firewood and ate at Moes. We built a nice fire. Very realxing evening.

Friday May 6 we went to Lake Louise to walk the dogs and then ate at Well Bread. We took the dogs to Tree Rock Cider House to taste Meads. They have a wonderful selection from around the world. We will be back. This was followed by Luellas for BBQ. It poured while we were on the patio but they put down plastic windows. So ir was cozy.
Saturday Tom who is staying with Deb (who was in Cary) met us in Black Mt. with his dog Katie. We were going to hike in the mountains but it was pouring up there. We met in the town square at Black Mountain and walked around and got coffee. Later we ate on the porch at the Bistro. Tom followed us back to the campground and we had a campfire. Jason made him move his car. The next day I made sure I went to the office to pay a guest fee. Also, don't put a mat on the grass, and campground is not big rig friendly. Oct will probably be our last visit until we go small again. Too stressful and we feel unwelcome. But it is gorgeous!


Notes:
Sites P1 through P8 have incredible views (specially during sunset). They are on the edge of the cliff which does leave you exposed to the winds. There are also no trees so on very hot days you would have no cover.
Sites P1 through P5 should be the easiest to back into with a large rig.
Sites D9 through D15 have trees behind them so the views are limited. They do have a lot of tree cover which is nice during the day if spending the day outside.
Sites D16 through D19 are not the best but are still nice.
The road up to the campground is long and narrow. Rigs going in the opposite direction would be a challenge. To avoid problems, they discourage late departures or early arrivals and you must ask special permission.

We stayed at Campfire Lodgings Site P4.
July 4, 2022 - KOA Asheville East North Carolina (572 miles)
The trip started with a flat tire. Luckily it was flat when Luis went to pick up the trailer and was able to put on the spare in a safe place. Pattie found a place to patch it luckily that day because everyone was closing for the 4th of July weekend! Good thing Luis went up two days early to pick her up.

Monday July 4th we left around 10:00 and arrived around 3:00 at KOA East. We have decided we really like this campground because it is in Black Mountain area and there isa lot to do there and Asheville is close. Also, the campground has a beautiful lake that the sun sets over and a creek. So it is a great place to walk the dogs. Pierrie's also arrived Monday and we went to eat at Trailhead in Black Mountain. We enjoyed the dinner and walked around town and got ice cream at The Hop. Sea Monkey was banana with caramel and sea salt, and Luis had chocolate pistachio. Yum. We returned to the campground and Luis and I walked the dogs and watched the most beautiful sunset over the lake.

Tuesday we took the dogs walking in the morning. Richard had to work but Luis was off. Tuesday we went to Creekside (Teresa came with us) which is a former tennis club in Black Mountain about 7 minutes from the campground. It is inside but no A/C. Nice people, $10 per person, but the lighting stinks. It is like being outside at dusk. We played from 9-11, then we left to go back and shower and we (Luis, me and Monica) met Carina and Ezra and Deb at the Yellow Mug in Weaverville. It was very good. We all went back to Carina and Ezra's house and they cut, bleached and colored Monica's hair. Luis and I went back to the campground to let out the dogs and then we met everyone downtown at the S&W Market which is a food court downtown in the old S&W. Very cute and all local fare. We enjoyed our hotdogs, etc., and Hop icecream again. Then we drove home in a torrential rain. I was driving Carina's car because we are going to take it to Jill while they are in Albuquerque. It is easier to drive and park downtown. Deb went back to Sylva and we returned to the campground. Ezra and Carina will be packing and leaving for Albuquerque on Friday driving.

Wednesday morning Teresa and I walked the dogs all over the campground and enjoyed the pink blooming lilypads. Then Luis, Teresa and I packed the dogs in the car and drove to the Montreat Gate. We took the Gate Trail to the conference center where they had a store and we bought drinks and I bought a shirt and earrings. It was just under a mile and a beautiful hike in the shade and along a creek! Then we hiked back down to the car. Must do again. We ate with the dogs on the covered deck at Okie Dokie Smokehouse in Swannoa near the campground. It was pretty good. We went back to the campground to clean up and took Monica with us to dinner at White Duck taco. Richard drove and then we went to the Hop and when we left to come back and arrived at the campground I realized I had left my purse. We called and a wonderful person named Forrest who works there had seen it and guarded it and they put it in the office. It was completely untouched. I got to thank Forrest and thank goodness for karma and good samaritans! I was so mad and upset with myself.

Thursday, Luis walked the dogs and then Teresa and I went to play pickleball at Cragmont Park about 10 minutes away. It is tennis courts the local people put painter's tape and temporary nets on and play on four courts. The people were nice and we had a lot of fun with several of the ladies and Teresa and I got in some great games. It was a $2 donation. Then we went back and showered and went to Louise's for lunch. Luis drove him and Monica, and Teresa and I drove C's car to Louise's. We had a delicious lunch and then Teresa and I went shopping in Black Mountain. The weather was holding out and there was no chance of thunderstorms. Paul and Julie met us when they arrived at the Hampton Inn in Black Mountain. They walked up the hill and met us. We decided to cook at the campground and do Mountain Pies. So we talked about ingredients and then went to Ingles less than 2 miles from the campground. Luis started up the wood fire and we dug out our Mountain Pie makers and started making ham and cheese, reubens, and cheese and tomato mt pies. Then we made apple cinnamon, banana choc chip marshmallow fluff walnut mountain pies for dessert. We chased it with lemonade moscato and other beverages. Sunset wasn't pretty. We had a great evening. Luis had put out the awnings, music, chairs and fans for breeze. It was very pleasant!

Friday it was back to Creekside for PB. Luis, Pattie and Teresa and Paul. We had several games together. Then we also played with some others. Luis and Pattie went back to the campground to eat leftovers for lunch and the others went out to eat around 1:00. We were saving room for our 4:45 dinner at Curate. I am so glad we did because it was fantastic! After dinner we walked to the Bodega to see what they sell. We stopped at Mast General Store on the way and I bought a dress. By the way, dinner was so good we booked again the next day but went at 11:00 when they opened because that or 9:00 were the only options. It was supposed to be thunderstorms all day so we didn't think we would get to go tubing or hiking at Montreat again.

Saturday we did not wake to rain as predicted the night before. We walked the dogs and got ready to go eat at Curate at 11:00. It was still not raining and all day long they kept moving the thunderstorm predictions later and later! So we could have gone tubing or hiking, but did not know it because they were so wrong with the weather forecast. We went back to the campground after lunch to walk the dogs and feed Monica. Then we met around 4:00 at Tree House Cider House. I tried several Meads and Luis had a beer. Julie and Teresa got cider flights. Then they tasted the Meads and were sorry they had not tried them. So we set a date for an Indian dinner and Mead tasting. Richard agreed to make his Indian meal. Next it was off to Grove Park Inn. What a beautiful place. The view from the back porch is amazing of the mountains over a valley. We went to Elaines which is a Dueling Piano Bar. Nice set up, but much more sedate than Plus. We hung for a while then went back to the campground.

Sunday the rain finally did arrive. Luckily around 8:30 it let up some and Luis started the breakdown. We were packed and on the road at 11:15. Another great week of camping.


Notes:
  • Bathrooms were nice and clean.
  • Nice Fire rings very large area.
  • We stayed in a 50/30 amp pull-through campsite. B01
  • Train tracks are across the street but noise was not bad.
  • Nice location near Black Mountain and Asheville.
  • Beautiful creek through campground and lake with sunsets over it.
  • outdoor pool

August 11, 2022 - Chralottesville KOA Virginia (351 miles)
Thursday August 11:
We left to go to Charlottesville early in the morning to arrive for check in around 1:00 because Luis had some afternoon meetings. We were a bit delayed due to a bottleneck on I-95 3 lanes down to one. So they could do repairs? What a mess. We still arrived in time to do a quick set up for his meeting. I took the dogs out for a walk to scope out the campground. This was an exceptionally low humidity cooler weekend for August. We were very blessed with this weather. We were joined by our PALS the Pierries and Lyons. The campground is very nice and the sites are spaced nicely in the trees. We had a deluxe pull-through site with a campfire ring and stone patio. The back patio was very private. We all went to Charlottesville to eat at Dr. Ho's Humble Pie. It was very tasty pizza and other items on their menu. Luis bought a large pizza so he would have lunch in the camper tomorrow. We all decided we were too tired for a campfire.

Friday, August 12:
Luis was working. I drove the truck for the first time on a camping trip and took the dogs and went hiking at Monticello along the Saunders-Monticello Trail. This was suggested by Teresa and she came with me and Kevin and Ginny drove their truck. It was a beautiful place to hike, but we had to take the dogs over a few wooden walkways which according to the signs was not allowed. But this was frustrating as I had researched in advance that it was okay to bring the dogs. Luckily it was not crowded and no-one complained. We had a three mile hike and went back to the campground for lunch. After lunch Teresa, Richard, Kevin and Ginny and I went to Michael Shaps Winery. They have delicious Itallian wines from their vineyard in Italy as well as local wines. It was in a beautiful thatched roof building they had recently bought from Thatch Winery. We enjoyed the tasting then popped over to Carter Mountain Orchards to buy some peaches and tasty apple cider donuts. We went back to the campground to walk the dogs and pick up Luis to go to Vivace for dinner. It was a delicious Italian restaurant in an old house. We went back to the campground and had a great fire. It was very pleasant temperature.

Saturday, August 13:
Headed to Monticello for a behind the scenes tour. We arrived in time for our 10:00 tour. It was very enjoyable, and it was 90 minutes. It was an absolute delight to tour. After the tour we walked down to the gift shop area and bought lunch and ate at the picnic tables outside the little cafe. Sandwiches were good. Then we went back up to the garden to meet Thomas Jefferson. He was most excellent in talking about his life. We went back to the campground to walk the dogs and rest before dinner. Dinner was in downtown Charlottesville. We ate at the Fitzroy in the outside eating area in the plaza between the buildings. It was a fun area with street performers and lots of shops and restaurants. We went to Kilwins also in this walking area for ice cream! It would be a fun area to visit again along with more of the wineries, and I heard there is also horseback in the area.

We were all pretty pooped and did not do a fire again.

Sunday, August 14:
Breakdown and head home in the morning. Luckily the I-95 bottleneck was not in the southbound direction. We dropped the camper on the way home.



Notes:
Bathrooms were nice and clean.
Nice location near Charlottesville Va.
The campground has been reconfigured for larger rigs which gives it a unique layout.
Cell coverage is spotty, and Wi-Fi is metered which is not good for remote work.

October 1, 2022 - Asheville North Carolina (601 miles)
Saturday, Oct 1:
We left Durham after Tropical Storm Ian blew through. Luckily just some mild winds and rain. Drove to Campfire Lodgings and managed to back into D10 without a huge problem. We are getting better at backing and chasing! Just moved a rock or two and then put them back. Set up campsite and went to Moe's for dinner. Found out brisket is Wednesday, so we plan to go back again. Monica joined us for dinner. Didn't do a campfire that night. Just relaxed and went to bed. Enjoying the fall weather. Some changing of colors, but not a whole lot yet.

Sunday, Oct 2:
Deb met Luis and I (and Kaylee and Zoe) in Brevard at a cafe for lunch. Monica chose not to come hiking. Then we carpooled to Dupont Forest to hike a gorgeous 3-4 miles to Triple Falls and High Falls. We also saw the covered bridge. What an absolutely gorgeous day to hike. Many beautiful pictures of the falls and wildflowers. We drove back to Brevard and had ice cream at Kilwins. Yum. Deb went home and we went back to the campground.

Monday, Oct 3:
Luis and I walked the dogs. Then we went to Weaverville to Wellbread for lunch then Ingles for groceries. Deb came over after lunch and we took Monica and went to the Hop for Bubble Tea. Then we went to Lexington Glass. After looking at all the very beautiful but expensive items we went back to the campground to make Mountain Pies for dinner and drink some plum mead. Deb got a tent site to sleep over. We enjoyed our mountain pies, drink, the cool weather and our campfire.

Tuesday, Oct 4:
Deb and I drove early to Pisgah Forest Stables to go on a 2-hr trail ride. It was a very nicely run small operation and we had a beautiful trail ride. I rode on Darwin and he was a great ride. He was an Arabian Quarter Horse mix. I liked him a lot. Deb rode on Penny a beautiful Palomino. After our trail ride we went to beautiful Looking Glass waterfall on the way to find lunch.Went to Sierra Nevada Brewery to eat a late lunch. The restaurant was not open but we had some food on the back patio. Then we headed to Camping World to pick up dog stairs since our bed is so high now that we added a 4" topper. We had fun in Camping World and headed back to Campfire Lodgings. Deb headed back home to Sylva since she has to go to Cary in the morning, and we watched a beautiful sunset over the valley.

Wednesday, Oct 5:
Luis and Pattie headed over to Moe's after walking the dogs to eat brisket for lunch! It did not disappoint. Pattie went to Walmart and ended up buying an ottoman for the end of the bed which is sufficient for us to sit on and the dogs to jump up and down on the high bed. The dog stairs did not work. There was not room to extend them properly without getting in our way and the stairs were very narrow.


Thursday, Oct 6:
Monica and I went to Lake Louise while Luis was working. We took Kaylee and Zoe and hiked all the way around it and to the stream with the waterwheel. Later Paul and Julie arrived to stay in their yurt. We went toStoney Knob Cafe. Luis had heard it is good and it is right down the road from Campfire Lodgings. Dinner was really good and the inside of the restaurant it decorated fun and quirky.

Friday, Oct 7:
Paul and Julie and I (and Zoe and Kaylee) headed over to the Arboretum to hike. Luis is working. Monica is not into hiking. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be hiking at the Arboretum and we did see some fall foliage. Of course we had to reward ourselves for all that hiking with ice cream from The Hop on Merrimon on the way back. That was our light late lunch. Dinner was at 5:45 at Curate. As usual it did not disappoint!

Saturday, Oct 8:
CiderFest NC was the main event for the day! I heard about it on the news mid-week and immediately bought VIT tickets (Very Important Taster). It was so amazing along the river just outside Asheville and not too far from Campfire Lodgings. Pay for tickets and get tasing glasses and all the tastes you want. VIT tickets allowed us to park close and arrive an hour early! We will do this again! The best treat was there was Mead there also. The best was Crafted Artisan Meadery! Black Walnut and Fig, and Banana Foster and Key Lime Pie Meads.

Sunday, Oct 8:
Home. Getting out of Campfire Lodgings is a pain trying to make the u-turn at the campsite at the end of the road. Otherwise, we had a great trip!



Notes
Sites P1 through P8 have incredible views (specially during sunset). They are on the edge of the cliff which does leave you exposed to the winds. There are also no trees so on very hot days you would have no cover.
Sites P1 through P5 should be the easiest to back into with a large rig.
Sites D9 through D15 have trees behind them so the views are limited. They do have a lot of tree cover which is nice during the day if spending the day outside.
Sites D16 through D19 are not the best but are still nice.
The road up to the campground is long and narrow. Rigs going in the opposite direction would be a challenge. To avoid problems, they discourage late departures or early arrivals and you must ask special permission.

We stayed at Campfire Lodgings Site D10.

My favorites sites are D12, P5, and D10.
November 17, 2022 - Byrd's Branch Campground Elkin North Carolina (397 miles)


Notes:
Bathrooms were nice and clean.
Nice Fire rings very large area
New owners are nice and still a great bargain.
Lots of minor improvements which is nice to see.
We stayed at site #10.