Sunday, May 22, 2016

Our Closed Road Adventure.....

Happy Sunday afternoon all.  We're back home from the 2016 Blue Ridge Rally (BRR for short).  We arrived back here shortly before 1 p.m., and by this time, laundry is nearly all done, Levi is unloaded and washed, and all the normal get ready for work on Monday chores are mostly done.  We had a grand time, and want to thank Cousin Sharon (with lots of help from Cousin Becky) for another successful BRR. While we didn't do a lot of BRR stuff, we did have fun, and did a bunch of sightseeing and scouting for future camping trips.  

Now, back to the title of today's post.  You see, on Saturday after a breakfast of bacon, fried eggs, and whop biscuits, Sue, Trisha, Mark, and Rob loaded up in Levi and headed out to find Balsam Mountain NFS Campground.  As it turned out, the road to the campground wasn't open yet for the year, but as you know, a closed road is just an opportunity for some other adventure.

And this adventure wasn't even too far away, really only about 200 feet or so.  You see, we happened to be parked at the site of a Masonic Marker.  Now it turns out this wasn't just any Masonic Marker, but a marker built with stones sent from all over the world by different Masonic bodies.  

This turned out to be a special stop for Rob.  You see, his grandfather's Ritchie and Jones were both 32 degree Masons.  In fact his dad was also a 3rd degree Mason. One grandfather (Ritchie) lived here in North Carolina and the other (Jones) in Alabama.  Rob said he grew up hearing about this special marker from his Grandfather "Pop" Ritchie.  The only thing was, Pop Ritchie was terrified of driving in the mountains after very bad driving experience in the North Carolina mountains in the late 1940's, so never made the drive up to see the marker.

But, as fate would have it, Rob made the trip for him (by accident) in 2016.  We all know Pop Ritchie was very happy to know this!!

We saw bits of stone from places like Kansas, the summit of Pike's Peak in Colorado, Gibraltar, and the highest Masonic Lodge in the US, at elevation 10,618 feet.

This turned out to be quite the closed road adventure for us, and while it was too bad we didn't get to see the campground we wanted to see, we did see a campground we really liked.

You'll be sure to hear more about this stop later.  All we'll say right now, is that this may be the sight of an adventure in August 2017.

Since plan A didn't work, after checking out the Masonic Marker and the Mile High Campground, we turned right on the BRP instead of left, drove about 22 miles along the BRP, saw some wonderful mountain views, drove through some tunnels, and even visited the Oconaluftee Visitor's Center.  T-shirts, stickers, and other such stuff was bought too!!!

Lastly, here's a picture of three pods lined up leaving the BRR this morning.   R&T's-Pod is in front, with furpod following and Tink'r-pod bring up the rear.  We drove about 1.5 miles to I-40 where we went east and our friends went west.  Was a short podvoy indeed!

We'd like to think everyone who followed along with us the last few days, as we celebrated the 9th BRR, visited with friends, and got to see some pretty special places.  

For us, only 12 days left with the kiddos, two work days, and then we hit the road to Traverse City, MI for the 2016 ERU.  

We very much would also like to thank all of our readers who follow along with us on our adventures.

Until next time, stay safe out there......-R,T,&J.

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