A Small World . . .

Our travel to Show Low Day began with coffee and muffins about 7:30 and then pulling out of our site about 9:20 heading over to the Maverik Country Store we had scouted out yesterday.

By fueling up in Camp Verde, rather than making the 10 mile round trip into Cottonwood just to save a penny a gallon, we could head straight out on AZ 260 to Show Low. But my finely crafted plan was not to be.

When I got to the station I found a double trailer fuel tanker stretched across the front of the station, right where I planned to pull in. So I had to go pass the station entrance and come in from the street to the side of the station. But this left me blocking the tanker from leaving. By the time I got parked the tanker guy was finishing up, and I ask him if he wanted me to move so he could get out.

He said ‘No’, he still had some paperwork to do. He then ask how we were doing. At this point I thought he looked familiar, and it turns out he was a vendor at the recent Gypsy Journal Rally in Yuma this past March. 

Wow! RV’ing is really a small world!

Once I started fueling up, I still had problems, or rather the pump did. It keep crashing, and then they would have to reboot it. Who knew gas pumps could crash?

I put in 127 gallons of diesel for a total of $525.00. But I probably won’t need diesel again until next month after we leave the Yosemite area, heading for northern California.

We finally pulled out of the station about 10:30. meeting up with Nick and Terry who were waiting for us about a mile away parked along side AZ 260. They pulled out in front of us as we approached and we were on our way. As we pulled out on the highway, Jan looked over and said “This feels good”. We’ve been parked for 3 weeks and it’s good to be back on the road.

The 150 mile trip took us through some spectacular scenery, and though there were a couple of hairpin turns, the roads were good and the drive was easy. There were a couple of long, slow climbs, but both rigs held their own on the hills.

Show Low Trip 1

Starting at about 3200 ft. in Camp Verde, we climbed to over 7500 ft., before easing down into Show Low at about 6400 ft.

Show Low Trip 2

We pulled into the Elk’s Lodge about 2pm, and after checking in and getting set up, we all headed out to have a late lunch at Native New Yorker, an Arizona chain we ate at last year and really enjoyed. They have potato skins, sandwiches, calzones, pizza, chicken wings, and chicken tenders (They call them ‘strippers’, and Nick got really excited when he saw the sign ‘Today is Stripper Wednesday’), and it’s all good.

Getting back to our rigs, Nick found his daughter, granddaughter, and son-in-law waiting to say hello.

A little later I got the sat dish set up, and we finished up our day watching TV.

More tomorrow.

I’ve reposted our visited to North Carolina and the Biltmore Estate in 2009.

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Thought for the Day:

Some people are like Slinkies.They serve no real purpose, but still give you a moderate amount of satisfaction when you push them down the stairs.

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Estates and Rocks…

Originally posted on June 23, 2009

Today was Biltmore Estate day, the main reason we did a 500 mile jog in our trip up the East Coast to Nova Scotia.

It’s hard to realize how big this place really is. The house is 175,000 square feet inside. That’s FOUR acres!

It has a total of 250 rooms, with 35 bedrooms for family and guests, and 43 bathrooms. It is/was the largest private home in the US.

It took about 6 years to build and was completed in time for its first party on Christmas Eve, 1895.

It was built by George Vanderbilt, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the shipping magnate. No one knows exactly how much it cost to build, but it’s estimated to be about 10 million dollars, and that’s in 1895 dollars.

The Biltmore

The Biltmore

The Biltmore Stables

The Biltmore Stables

The stables shown above are to the right of the main house. I couldn’t get back far enough to get everything in one shot.

Originally, the Biltmore Estate consisted of 125,000 acres. Now it sits on 8,000 acres. The rest is now part of the Pisgah National Forest.

I was also amazed at the landscaping involved. They used over 2 million plants to landscape the grounds.

What I found even harder to believe was this view from the loggia (porch) at the back of the house.

View from the Porch

View from the Porch

When the house was built in 1895 this view was of scrub brush and bare hills, with eroded gullys and fire-blackened tree stumps.

So Vanderbilt decided to have this area completely re-forested.

They resculpted the hills for the rolling look you see today, and then planted 10 of thousands of large trees and 100′s of thousands of bushes and scrubs.

It’s amazing what you can do if you have more money than you know what to do with!

After our tour of the house which took about 3 hours, we ate lunch at the Stable Cafe, which as the name indicates, is in the old stables.

The stalls have been converted into dining areas with tables also out in the center.

The Stable Cafe

The Stable Cafe

Our Stall at the Stable Cafe

Our Stall at the Stable Cafe

The food was very good, with Jan having a Chicken Salad Sandwich with Sun-dried Tomatoes on a croissant, and I had the Harvest Turkey Sandwich with melted brie, arugula, and blackberry mustard spread on a panini.

In addition to the Cafe, the stables also houses several gift shops and guest services.

After we left The Biltmore, we headed out about 25 miles northeast to Chimney Rock State Park.

Chimney Rock has been a tourist attraction since 1885. Over the years paths, staircases, and trails have been added to make access easier.

Finally in 1946, a 198 foot tunnel was tunneled into the side of the mountain,

Tunnel to the Elevator

Tunnel to the Elevator

and then a 268 foot vertical shaft was blasted down from the top to provide an elevator to the top.

After taking the elevator to the top, the path leads thru the obligatory gift shop and then out on a walkway to the stairs that takes you up on Chimney Rock at a height of 2280 feet.

Jan only made it 2270 feet, but I was really proud of her. She has a real fear of heights and I think she only does things like this to humor me. She made it to the top of Chimney Rock, but couldn’t do the last 10 feet to the edge. Honestly, I was really surprised she made that far. After 42 years, she still manages to surprise me.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock Closeup

Chimney Rock Closeup

From there you can see for 75 miles on a clear day. Our day was a little hazy, but still a great view.

Chimney Rock View 1

Chimney Rock View 1

Chimney Rock View 2

Chimney Rock View 2

After having ice cream at the cafe on top of the mountain, we headed home about 4 pm.

A long day, indeed.

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