Left our campsite in Boone around 9:30am and got straight back on to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Before long we came to Linville Falls, so we got out of the camper and WALKED! Yes - walked! Bruce's knees were giving him heck, but we took the second route (the moderate one vs. the Easy or Difficult routes) and walked up to an overlook with a great view of the Falls.
Carrying on down the road, the road climbed up towards Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and the vegetation changed remarkably - no leaves left on these trees. They were stark and bare at over 6,000 feet high.
Dropping back down again (to about 3,500 feet) we passed a building that advertized apples, fudge, etc., so we doubled back to the Orchard where we bought apple butter and pumpkin fudge. Delicious! Miz Caroline was handing out free samples of the stuff she' made, so how could we say no????
Arriving in Ashville, North Carolina, we made immediately for Biltmore, the Vanderbilts Estate - the largest 'house' in the States. We were late for touring the house itself, but the tickets we got were good for the following day too, as we had bought them so late in the day. (Just as well - they were $55 each!) So on our first day at Biltmore, we toured the gardens, the farm and the winery. Yes, we did some touristing in the cellars there..........!
Next morning (27th) we were back at Biltmore bright and early (9am) to do the tour of the house, thinking we'd take maybe an hour to do it. Somewhere around 1pm, we finally left -it was fabulous! 230 rooms (+/-) of the most unabashed spending you could possibly imagine. I have to say we were fascinated by the place and impressed with the possibilities that extreme wealth could buy at that time. e.g. A pipe organ in a loft surrounding the grand salon that had the most enormous air supply equipment in its own room in the lower part of the house. Stairwells absolutely everywhere going to guest rooms and servants quarters (quite apart from the grand staircase with the four storey iron chandelier. Unfortunately, taking photos inside the house is strictly verboton, so I can't show any here, but we did buy a beautiful book full of photos, so if anyone is interested in seeing it we can show it to them.
After finally getting on the road, we tooled on down through Asheville towards Hendersonville to find a place to get the water heater fixed in the camper. Found a place that quickly did the job and charged hardly anything for it. By then it had started to absolutely POUR though, and visibility on the road was tough. So we did what the Tuff do when the going gets Wet - I went and got a haircut while Bruce got groceries and looked for a continuity tester (??) then we went looking for a theatre showing "Julie and Julia". (I've just finished reading the book.) Found one, parked outside it and had some vino while waiting for the 7pm start, saw the movie (loved it), then had supper in the camper outside the movie theatre and went to bed right there in the parking lot. It's tough, but someone's gotta do it! :)