2008 Keys 2 Canada travel blog

Election Day and we put our flag out

stream running through our campground in Asheville

in some places it was more of a river

this is a huge campground and they also have cabins to rent...

Asheville KOA

they also have a lake

and several large ponds

lots of great places for kids to play

there are ducks and geese, and some folks go boating

the campground has acres and acres of woods

and the woods goes on forever

the ducks seem to love splashing down in these water plants

that's us through the trees on the other side of the creek

back on the Blue Ridge Parkway

the colors haven't faded any while we were gone

and the mountains are as majestic as ever

the range often does look blue from a distance

they are very proud of their beautiful arched tunnels

Parkway near Asheville

the Folk Art Center

display on how they built those arched tunnels and bridges

map showing the location of the parkway

continuing south

the Destination Center where we got the bad news that the rest...

that put us on the freeway - not a good substitute!

detour to Cherokee

coming into Cherokee


we're on the reservation here

the road is very winding and steep

we're at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains

out of the goodness of their hearts Harrahs helps the Indians run...

and of course you can buy reservation tee shirts and other authentic...

road to the campground - we made it by dark

our campsite at Cherokee KOA

these were taken the next morning

the view out our front door

the hill overlooking the campground

the office and covered pool

Mr. Raven

but not quite by the route we’d planned to take - Thursday, November 6

We spent three nights at the KOA in Asheville, doing chores, relaxing and catching up on this journal. The TV was on the whole time.

MSNBC’s unabashed elation at the election results was in stark contrast to the anal grumpiness of CNN and Fox-Noise. It was good to see the talking heads with a crack in their smug façade. Maybe this generation of young people will turn out some real journalists for a change. We can hope.

On Thursday we took off for the Blue Ridge Parkway again. First we drove 20 miles north to see the parkway the detour had bypassed, then we turned back and headed south for Cherokee. Our first stop was at the Folk Art Center just north of Asheville. While most of the Visitor Centers are closed for the season, this one displays and sells the work of a number of local artists and craftspeople and it doesn’t close.

It is housed in a nice, modern building, and inside it is so colorful and rich that you just want to stay there all day. In the entrance area they have two artists working. On this day one was a wood turner, and the other was a jeweler. The wood turner was working on a lathe and he was making bottle stoppers. Behind him was a display of his bowls and plates, and his work was almost as good as our friend Chuck McLaughlin’s, which is the ultimate compliment.

He was working mostly in local hardwoods, and his bowls were turned down extremely thin. Some had holes in the edges of the bowl, and he hadn’t plugged the holes with artistic stitches like Chuck uses, but they were still beautiful and much better than most of the wood turning you see.

The jeweler was making the most exquisite earrings and necklaces out of silver and colored resin. She has developed a way of inlaying resin in silver, and her designs are quite beautiful and expensive. The finished work is kind of a cross between stained glass and cloisonné. She had work displayed on her bench, and more of her work in the gallery store. Unfortunately they won’t let you take pictures in the center, so we weren’t able to photograph any of the work.

The gallery store has local work for every taste, and all of it is expertly crafted and beautifully finished. Upstairs they have a small gallery of their permanent collection - work that is not for sale but just on display. They also have furniture on the second floor. The furniture is for sale, and some of the designs were so radical that we’ve never seen anything like them before. It is an amazing place and one we will be sure to visit again when we return in the spring.

From the Folk Art Center it is a short drive to the Destination Center, which is a Visitor Center devoted just to the Parkway itself. It too was open, and it was there that we got the bad news that the rest of the Parkway was closed for the season. Actually we could have driven a little farther before having to turn off, but we elected to get right off again at Asheville so we could get on I-40 south and west.

Needless to say, we were very disappointed not to get to drive the whole Parkway, but we hope to return in the spring and that will leave something new to see at that time. We followed the interstate to Highway 19 where we turned off and headed for Cherokee. An hour later we crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway again, and at that point we entered the Cherokee Reservation. We were in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains now. At the town of Cherokee we turned off on the road to our campground, and we arrived before dark. We spent the evening making plans for the rest of the week.

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