Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mount Airy, North Carolina

After too many arduous miles on the mountainous back roads of Kentucky and Virginia yesterday, I finally reached I-81 and was able to pleasantly clip down the road at a brisker pace.  That first 120 miles or so took me close to four hours.  My most immediate need once on the interstate was to find a Rest Area.  Eventually I found a sign that said I could find relief in seven miles.  Only problem was, it turned out it was for cars only!  Ack!!  It’s kind of hard to cross your legs when driving a motorhome.

I carried on, and about ten miles before my exit for the campground, a North Carolina Rest Area appeared.  I followed the sign for the truck parking and pulled in.  They were very tight spaces with quite a challenge to pull out of without whacking the truck next to you.  It was about 1:30 in the afternoon, and as I had a bite of my sandwich, the truck next to me very slowly maneuvered it’s way out.  I immediately threw my lunch in the garbage, stuffed Emma back in her crate and revved up the engine.  I wasn’t taking any chances on another truck pulling in next to me.  With an empty space on my right, it was easy-peasy to get the heck out of that super busy area.

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I ignored Jack-in-the-Box (my GPS) after I exited the interstate.  I had written down very concise directions from the park’s website on a sticky note that I attached to my steering wheel.  It was about 90* as I set up at the Mayberry RV Park in Mount Airy, NC, and it wasn’t long before some nasty storm clouds began to roll in.  Emma and I took a good walk around the many tiers of this campground, and returned to the rig just as the skies began to open up. 

This is a very well maintained campground, and the sites are rather spacious for a private campground.  During the week, they honor Passport America, so the cost for two nights was $35.51 including tax for a 50amp, full hook-up pull through site.  Eventually, some trees would be nice for a little shade, but the owners told me they were new.  This is about the best Passport America park I’ve ever stayed in.  I’m staying on Opie Taylor Lane.  Winking smile

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I decided to stay two nights so I could visit Mount Airy, which many of you may know is where Andy Griffith lived.  It is also the inspiration for the fictional town of Mayberry in the TV show where Andy was the Police Chief.   My first stop was at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.  For a $3 senior entrance fee, you are transported back in time through four floors of very interesting displays about this region.  The building itself used to house a hardware store, and that is evident by the creaking oak floors throughout.

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Just yesterday, a large quilt display was opened that highlighted quilts made by the local members of the Surry County Quilt Guild.  It was one of my favorite displays.  I was in the museum several hours and couldn’t help but compare it to the museum Pam and I went to a couple of days ago in Pikeville, KY.  This place is really quite amazing considering it can be found in a small town.  I’d give it two thumbs up as a must see if you are ever in this area.


I walked or drove past all the other tourist sites, like Floyd’s Barbershop, the Snappy Lunch CafĂ©, and Wally’s Service Station.  Not being that big of a fan of Andy Griffith, I ended my downtown tour at the Andy Griffith Museum where this bronze statue depicting Sheriff Taylor and Opie can now be found.  I also opted out of the $35 squad car tour of the town since I had done most of it on my own.

Besides Andy Griffith, Mount Airy is also famous for the World’s Largest Open Face Granite Quarry.  This was something I wanted to see.

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Can you believe I got lost trying to find this place?  Getting lost seems to happen quite regularly with me, so I was not too surprised when I ended up back in Virginia by accident.  You would think a mining operation this big wouldn’t be hard to miss, but I did that two times before I finally found it.  It was pretty interesting to watch the workers drilling away and moving out huge slabs of granite.  I think they’ve been working this quarry for close to 200 years, and it’s estimated that it will take another 500 years to deplete it.  Some of this granite has been used in monuments in Washington DC.  I also noticed that the gravel roads in the campground are made up of granite.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading out to Williamston, NC, and then it will be a rather short hop and a jump to the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX to those in the know. Laughing out loud)

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy