Happily, the “new motorhome” projects have slowed down and we’ve found more time to explore the areas we are visiting. Marty’s “to-do” list is still quite long...he is ever the perfectionist…but all the mandatory lifestyle issues have been addressed and he is slowly chipping away at the “Gee, I can modify that!” agenda.
We spent a week in Flat Rock, North Carolina…about 30 minutes south of Asheville. One of the quickest ways to convince Marty that taking time off to explore is necessary is to inform him that there are several craft breweries in the area. Visiting craft breweries is a perfect way to support the local economy, meet and chat with locals, discover nearby places to explore, drink some tasty brew….and happily most craft breweries are dog friendly!
Before heading out for a cold pint, we took a scenic drive to Jump Off Rock Park. The legend of Jump Off Rock is not very original but storytellers enjoy putting romance and drama into every tale. The legend says that a young Cherokee Indian maiden jumped from the rock after hearing that her loved one had been killed in battle. The view was quite spectacular the legend not so much! In autumn, it must be breath-taking.
We continued south to be in position for the August 21st Total Lunar Eclipse. I made reservations months ago after being warned by my sister that many of the campground and RV parks in the “totality zone” were booked solid. I chose Oconee Point COE on Lake Hartwell (about 10 miles from Clemson University) because it was in the “zone,” large lakefront sites, clear sky views and a great price at $26 a night. We were not disappointed.
Many friends asked what is was like when the sun disappeared? What amazed me most was how much of the sun was obscured before there was any real noticeable difference in the daylight. The sun was down to a thin sliver…thinner than a crescent moon, before we could tell (with the naked eye) that anything was happening. When the moon fully eclipsed the sun, the darkness came fast, but it was more of a twilight experience, not a total blackout. The air cooled considerably too! It lasted a little over 2 minutes and when the sun started to peek out…the day quickly became bright and sunny again. It was a very memorable and exciting experience and we were thrilled to be able to witness it.
We took a trip to Stumphouse Tunnel. (What a cool name!) Stumphouse Tunnel is an unfinished railroad tunnel cut into the SE face of the Stumphouse Mountains. The tunnel work began in 1853 with 1,500 Irish workers using hand drills, hammers and chisels to cut through the blue granite. The tunnel was excavated to 1,617 feet of the 5,863 feet planned when the funds ran out and the Civil War prevented its completion. The tunnel is open (to a point) to walk through. It is dark, cool and wet – bring a flashlight! We didn’t see any evidence of bats or rats but sadly graffiti is present. Additionally, a short hike away is Issaqueena Falls. Check out the pictures!
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to tour Clemson University. Since our arrival was the same week as the eclipse and freshman movie-in/orientation at the University, the crowds of families and students made visiting the campus impossible. The sea of orange Clemson shirts and tiger paws (Clemson’s Tiger mascot) were everywhere and filled the air with school pride. We stopped to eat at a local deli and Marty took a picture of me with the orange tiger paw on the wall behind me. School pride extended past the campus and into all the local businesses. In the true sense….Clemson is a college town and a pleasure to visit.
We are continuing our travels southbound. The weather remains hot, humid and at times unbearable….but fall is on the horizon (or so I keep telling myself)….and I am always reminded…it is a very good life!