Sunday, September 7, 2014

Traveling On

My blog is becoming more and more of a weekly, or location update. That's fine. I have never felt obliged to post on any fixed schedule.  This is a summary of our activities for September 3 to Sunday September 7.

Wednesday and Thursday were pretty much "do nothing hot and humid" days. Well, we did drive a couple hundred more miles, overnighted at a Camping World, and had two very small, overpriced repairs taken care of.

Thursday afternoon we pulled into a nice campground in High Point North Carolina called the Oak Hollow Campground. They do not take reservations, but then none would have been needed. There are two "loops" and a flat gravel "overflow lot" with hookups. There were a few campers in the lower loop by the lake, but we were the only ones in the upper loop, which was wooded with generous space size. When checking in I asked the man at the desk for a level spot, with 50 amp, near the laundry. He sure got it right. The little building to the left of the Alfa housed the two machine laundry facility. One washer, one dryer.  It's nice that it is just out my window. When I do the wash, I will be able to sit in the coach. To the left of the building is a small but clean swimming pool, that I took advantage of several times.

On our first afternoon I took a walk around the campground. The heat drained any enthusiasm I had for going very far.

There was not a single puff of breeze to disturb the glasslike surface of the lake. This drake had a typical Mallard lady friend. I thought he may have been a cross-breed, but when I got back to the rig and Googled ducks, I learned there is a recognized hybrid called a Domestic Mallard. The article mentioned they sometimes liked to escape back to the wild, preferring freedom to the barn yard.

I had chosen High Point because it seemed like there was a lot to see or do within reasonable driving distance. We had hoped to find a cigarette factory tour, but the last one at the now closed RJ Reynolds factory in Winston-Salem was a few years ago.

We did drive over to Durham and went to the Tobacco Museum and Duke Homestead. It was interesting to learn more about how this crop, and the proliferation of tobacco use, helped the economy of the South after the Civil War. 

House at the Duke homestead

Duke was not the only one to take up tobacco production after the war, but he and his family were the most successful for a number of reasons. We learned a few of them on our tour and at the Museum.

Next we went over to the Duke University campus. We found a parking spot near the admissions building and got a permit for that place.

From there we were able to walk to and through the Sarah Duke Gardens where we enjoyed this quiet frog pond.

Craig found this crossing a little easier than his slippery walk across the head waters of Mississippi.

I am neither about to fall or jump into the pond. I was calling Craig to bring the camera over to me so I could get a picture of this little guy:

He was no bigger than my thumb, and was sitting on a small piece of floating bark. From this picture you can also see the green on the surface of the water is a plant, not scum.

Of course, being a well-funded garden at a prestige University, there were many beautiful plants to be seen. These had to be the largest hibiscus we have ever seen!

The lilies in this pond were amazing. The biggest of the plate-like pads were more than two feet in diameter.

We wanted to tour more of the campus but because I felt it was too hot and too far, we gave up our parking spot. Unfortunately we were not able to park anywhere else so settled for a brief drive around.

We ended the day with a tour of Staggville, a pre-war Plantation part of which has been preserved and is a state-owned historic site. It was recommended to us by our guide at the Duke Homestead.

We were given a guided tour by docents of the main house and of the slave quarters and barn. All of the docents we met this day were excellent, knowledgeable, and nice. It may have been because it was pretty hot, or that it was no longer summer vacation time, but there were only a few other people around. Both the Tobacco Museum and Staggville were free. 

Slave quarters at Stagville

As we have been driving around the area we have noticed many fields of tobacco, and many fields that we think once grew tobacco but are now lying fallow. 

Having had our history lessons for the week, we decided to drive to Hanging Rock State Park on Saturday. It was very pretty there, and the walk would have been nice if the weather had been cooler. Low nineties with very high humidity and no breeze is, as I have expressed many times, not my cup of tea!

The Rock Garden

There were several waterfalls in the park. The kids in the picture below sure knew how to enjoy them.

Actually, I did not see these falls, because after coming down these steps,

and these steps:

and several more sets like them, I said "enough" when faced with the last fifty or so down to the falls.  I chose to wait and let Craig go down.  Down is not a problem, it is knowing that the only way to get back to the air conditioned Jeep is to go back up them all.

Over the last couple of weeks we have repeatedly said we came here at the WRONG time of the year.  But, except for the Northwest it seems the entire country has been having hot weather. Even our friend Al up in Ontario has mentioned how the afternoon heat and humidity has driven him indoors. 

I guess one of our problems is that neither of us are really early morning people.  I used to be, but Craig is just not a happy hiker before about 10 AM, but he also does not seem to be bothered by the heat as much as I am.

To all of this, our daughter recently asked: "So why are you heading for Florida?" We are hoping it will be nice in November, December, and January. 

Hoping ...


  1. You are two months too early for nice North Carolina weather. I am like you. Cannot endure the heat and humidity. Here in Sioux Falls, it has been wonderful....heat on in the morning and windows open in the afternoon.

  2. Love those ducks!
    Here in Eugene, we've tied a record for 90 degree days in a row which was set in 1958. Way too hot this summer.

  3. Those are the months I was in Florida, the panhandle, and just about froze some days ;0 for the most part was very nice tho... love those beaches around Navarre!!! Emerald Bch RV! Those hibiscus were HUGE!!! Love the pictures you are taking... Travel safe...

  4. Yep I sure know what you mean by the discomfort of high temperatures & high humidity.

  5. The heat and humidity have been very bad here in San Antonio for the past couple of weeks. Even the rainstorms haven't cut down the humidity.

    Love the waterfall pic! That, at least, looks cool.

  6. Well I can say that here in your old backyard, it's been pleasant. Mid 70's and plenty of sunshine :)

  7. My parents were born and raised in High Point.

    If you are still there, go to Kepleys Bbq. It's still open and still as popular as ever.

    It's eastern style bbq so if you've never had any, it will be different from what you know. You get some bbq, add some cole slaw on top and some hot sauce and YUM.... The bbq is hickory smoked and no red sauce covering up the flavor of the meat. They used to have a glass bottle with a hole in the lid. You put your finger on the hole to shake it up and then add it to the meat. (not too sanitary but oh so good)

    Just looked it up. Here is the link.

    If you go there and have any freezer room, I would sure love for you to bring us some Kepleys bbq!!! We'll pay you when you get here.

  8. From central Florida on down, expect pretty warm weather in November. You might get some cool weather, but you will likely also get plenty of warm days. In the Keys you will have mostly 80's during the days.

    North Florida is completely different and can be quite a bit cooler from November on. In fact north Florida gets downright cold in the winter.

  9. Love the lily pond photos, very pretty. Those stairs in humidity, yea I would have stopped too!


  10. That's a lot of steps, humidity or no humidity.

  11. you left Ontario too soon! It has been mid 70s with low humidity for the past week or so. Perfect fall weather :-)


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