Friday, November 8, 2013

Cherokee, NC

Here for the weekend at Harrah's Casino in Cherokee.  And very happy to be here safe at the end of the day.  More about that later.    

I love casino camping!  Let me count the ways

  • Food and entertainmen (as in 24 hours a day)
  • Nicely landscaped grounds
  • Elegant restrooms
  • Security patrols
  • Buffets
  • Other RVers 

This morning, I resumed my trek over the final section of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This section is notable for containing the highest elevations on the Parkway.  

Can you see the road?

And lots of these

And these

The weather was quite cold at these high elevations.  Ranging from the mid-30s to low-40s with some serious wind gusts.   I pulled over to work and gaze at the views from my window at Chevy U.  

You can see 4 states from here - NC, SC, GA, TN.

More photos from today's drive

In the Alpine Zone, home to these lovely Balsam Firs 

Looking Glass Rock

Rock outcroppings with icicles

BTW, thanks to gal pal Jamie for identifying those beautiful red plants from my last post.  Sumac!

For the past 5 days, I've repeatedly put the GDB through it's paces with climbs and steep downgrades. Today, it came back to bite me. 

Houston, we've got a problem

The following quotes are from Apollo 13.  I use them here because they actually went through my head! 

About 30 miles from the BRP's southern terminus, I felt a wicked shimmy.

I pulled over at the next overlook.  Everything seemed OK, no warning lights.  What could be wrong?

Let's work the problem, people.  Let's not make it worse by guessin'.

Miraculously, there was a Chevy dealer just 3 miles away in Waynesville.  I exited the BRP, the front end quivering the whole way down.  

Of course, it's late in the day on a Friday.  Why must things always go wrong late on Friday?  It's not just me - it's a common phenomenon.  (I bet that's when the tanks exploded on 13's mission).  

Mechanic Greg heard my symptoms and immediately diagnosed warped rotors.  He says it happens all the time in the mountains.  The brakes get hot and melt the rotors. And I thought I was being so careful to downshift on steep grades! Apparently not careful enough.

Greg leapfrogged me in front of some other customers, bless him.  The alternative would have been to stay in Waynesville and return on Monday.  

Consulting ground control

Good news!  Only one front rotor was warped and they were able to machine it rather than having to replace it.  I was back on the road in about 2 hours, $105 poorer but much wiser.  

Moral of the story:  Don't stir the oxygen tanks.

No wait .....  that's not it!

Moral of the story:  Failure is not an option.

I think we've had our glitch for this mission.

Goodnight everyone.
John Sr. 11/8/1924 - 12/7/2011       


  1. All in all it was a good, and quick, fix!! The scenery is just spectacular!! Casino camping can be awesome!! We experienced it when we went through Vicksburg and now that we have our Casita we'll be experiencing it more...I am sure!!!

    1. You got your Casita! Good for you! I remember you wanted one for a long time. Gotta go catch up on your blog.

  2. Just now catching up with you after a few days. Aren't Chevrolet dealers awesome. Had one put me at the head of the line on a Friday in Utah last year for a bad universal joint. And the price was right.
    Beautiful pictures of the BRP. Love Michael Connelly. We read everything he writes.
    Enjoy Cherokee. Should still be some pretty scenery in that area.

    1. Yes, I've been impressed with the chevy dealers on the road. Hope I don't have to meet any more though.

      Love Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch. I started the Bosch stories from the beginning so I have a lot of good reading ahead.

  3. Kim, thanks for the education.....been driving mountains for years and did not know this interesting fact!

    We know that section of the BRP well....hate it that you had your problem there but it did work out with good folks in Waynesville.

    Hope you can return when it's not winter!

    1. Being here in the fall has sold me on the BRP as a destination. I've just got to see the leaves at peak. One of the other customers in the waiting room yesterday confirmed what you said - nice folks in Waynesville.

      Oh, another good thing to know. Greg told me that this is a problem you see more often with heavy vehicles. The GDB weighs over 8,000 pounds so that was a big factor.

  4. I love the way you can camp anywhere -- free!

    The scenery is stunning.... the colors gorgeous! Glad to find out what the red plants were. Although after I read that, I thought "duh!" :)

    I read that although the Rockies are a lot higher than the Appalachians, some of the grades in the Appalachians are steeper.

    How fortunate there was a Chevy dealer only 3 miles away -- and that they could get you up and running again on a Friday!

    I remember that picture of John, Sr. He looks like he was so sweet and so much fun.

    1. I love that photo too - mostly because it really captures him because, you are right, he was sweet and fun. Loved to laugh.

  5. Sumac is beautiful this time of year; but I found out the hard way it's dangerous too - unless this is a different 'sumac.'
    Rig problems / issues .... I've had my share on this beginning of my long adventure - both with RV and Toad. I keep telling myself, it's to be expected. But, it's surely been happening more often than I've had to repair my house!

    1. Forgot to mention that I haven't, yet, tried casino camping. That's on my 'to do' list for pronto.


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