July 3, 2018

Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Dateline: Asheville, North Carolina-

I must have been tired yesterday as I slept until nearly 11 am this morning and got a late start. This kept me from being too crazy in my mountain meanderings and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I had a brilliant idea. I was close to the Blue Ridge Parkway so I headed south, picked it up around mile marker 150, and stayed on it for the 250 miles to Asheville. It’s a slow road with its twists and turns and stunning views so it took about seven hours to cover that distance but it was worth it. I had been on the Parkway in the past for brief distances but had never driven so much of it and I highly recommend that anyone in this part of the country do that at least once. It’s beautifully constructed to take full advantage of the scenery, the other roads go under or around it so it has no stops or traffic backups and it’s simply gorgeous with banks of wildflowers, towering rhododendrons and full growth deciduous forests everywhere. There were deer aplenty at roadside, mainly does with fawns. I was hoping for a black bear but they were all out of town for the holiday week.

Most of you have probably figured out by now that I like to distance drive. I especially like driving winding mountain roads, something I seem to have inherited from my father who would always take the longer, more scenic and curvier road when given a choice. This was not always wise, especially when my sister who was prone to car sickness was in the car. Over the years I have driven Highway 1 along the California Coast, the Hana Highway and Haleakala crater roads on Maui, the road from Grand Junction to Durango and many other such malarial germs of asphalt. I’m sure there are more for me and Hope to explore and if any of you have any nominations. One that I’ve always want to try and never have is driving from Seattle to Anchorage,and maybe even to Fairbanks on the AlCan highway. Some day.

Asheville has been my favorite mountain town for many years. I’m not doing the Biltmore thing this trip as I have been a number of times in the past. I first discovered Asheville long before moving to Alabama. Steve was a genealogical researcher and was obsessed with chasing down all the descendants of three brothers, Jonas, Isaac and Moses Spivey who came to the Asheville area in the 1760s. (He was descended from Jonas). In the early 1990s, we made a number of trips to the area visiting all the county courthouses for a hundred miles around looking for records and so Steve could go to Spivey family reunions. One of the mountains just outside of Asheville, is Spivey mountain, named after one of his cousins who resided there in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Steve and I went to Biltmore and really enjoyed the town on our trips. Years later, Tommy and I would make a number of trips to Asheville whenever we wanted a mountain getaway. Steve was most interested in the history of the house. Tommy was most interested in the backstage tours where they let you in to the pieces not normally open to the public and the winery.

Sometimes I dream of retiring to a mountain top chalet with a view over some lush valley, then I realize that I would get immensely bored after about two weeks if I did not have easy access to city life. I think I’ll leave this for vacations.

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