Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Crazy road trip day 3: peaks of otter, forks of buffalo

The rocking chairs at the inn in Lexington were appealing enough that we had breakfast on the porch and then we headed off to drive the longest, narrowest national park in the US, the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a beautiful sunny day and we drove across to the Parkway and turned north for what was going to be a couple of viewpoints and ended up being a little further because we had to find a viewpoint that didn't have an RV in the way. We headed south before we actually reached Shenandoah and then turned off thinking we'd go see Natural Bridges. You get to this down twisty turny roads which would be huge fun to drive were it not for the apparently mandatory 20 mph driver going in each direction and we didn't see the bridge itself because it's a tourist trap - $18 or so just to see the rock formation, with a light show at sunset and a dinosaur museum and all sorts of tat; it was the first tourist attraction in the US, apparently, so they've had a long time to work out the fleecing. We turned back to the parkway and drove on past view after view and creek after creek.

We paused repeatedly for photos. The flowering trees over Otter Pond were lovely and there were butterflies rising and swooping over the creek; when we walked down we saw a flock of swallowtail butterflies swarming around a salt lick, with the occasional blue-black or tiny blue butterfly sneaking in. The Peaks of Otter are one of the crests of the Parkway; the display at the visitor centre debates whether they look like an otter or are named for Otter Creek or are a debasement of an Indian word and then veers off into Awful Warnings about descending radius curves and not falling off (very Stick Figures In Peril). We kept passing signs for Forks of Buffalo; from the name, it really ought to be a restaurant but I expect it's some delightful rocks instead!

After miles more views, the light was all wrong for pictures at Mabry Mill, but we did learn how to make sorghum molasses (by having someone do all the hard work of breaking, stripping, boiling and skimming for you, I think - you can buy it in the gift shops). We debated several places to stay and picked Sparta because it was close to the Parkway and seemed to have lots of hotels. It turns out there's only one; the GPS was including hotels from the next town! We seemed to be sharing it with hardly anyone except the germans who had shipped over their own motor home to cruise around the US in. We had the 'dinner plate' at The Pines (I had the chicken *again*) and settled down to work some more.

Tags: food, travel

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