Day 6: August 26, 2010
Not Snappy Enough
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My first stop of the day was at Roanoke River Gorge where I headed to the "pedestrian overlook". The 1000 foot trail was all downhill which I knew meant more work coming back but I steeled myself with thoughts of the gorge opening before me as promised in the brochure. In the end, I was a little disappointed that there were trees growing right in front of the stone platform. In general, trees are a good thing and I could certainly see through them to the river but they prevented any clear photographs. And now, of course, I had to climb back up that trail.

There was an even steeper and longer slope leading to my next stop but that one I drove. It was the four mile Roanoke Mountain Loop (no trailers, no vehicles over 20'). Truly marvelous but hazy views that lose a lot in photographs.

This is Smart View Overlook; named for the "right smart view" from the cabin. The view is described as especially smart in May with dogwoods in bloom.

The second picture is just a fence I liked and pulled over to photograph. I'm including it because it's near where my first BRP deer sighting occurred. Before I had completely accelerated back to my 45 MPH pace, a deer ran across the road in front of me and disappeared into some tall growth. I grabbed the camera and snapped a couple quick pictures carefully timed to show the grass hiding the deer rather than being gracefully leaped over by it. I believe this picture shows some air where the deer is about to be. I also have pictures of air where it just was.

A clever fellow named Jarman Rakes built this dam around two centuries ago. A more easily read version of the sign is here.

Mabry Mill is a major stop on the Parkway. The visitor center there includes a restaurant and a good sized gift shop but it's the mill, built in 1910 and restored in 1945, that is the big attraction. A sign calls it "the most photographed feature on the Blue Grass Parkway". Today I did my part to help keep the mill on top. The second picture shows the wooden race that delivers water to the top of the wheel. Two flumes, that look just about the same as the race, deliver water from two different streams to the race. The third and fourth pictures show the water wheel outside and in. The nearest shaft in the last picture is the axle for the mill's "transmission; the belts and pulleys that power the gristmill, sawmill, and wood working shop. The water wheel drives the half visible shaft behind it.

More historic buildings stand beyond the mill. Here various disappearing skills are demonstrated during the summer months. Today a fellow was carving chair legs and we had chair caning and spinning, too.

Groundhog Hill was identified as a good place to see different fances and indeed it is. A sign describes four basic types and there are examples of each. I spent several minutes attempting, with sad looking results, to include all four in a photo. At last I walked to the unusual looking barn at the top of the slope. When I reached the other side, I discovered a doorway and a modern set of steps leading upward. The "barn" was a cleverly disguised viewing tower. Getting that group photo was simple.

When the Parkway crossed US-52 I turned south toward Mount Airy. I started this trip on US-52 in New Richmond, Ohio, but left it quickly. Someday I'll drive all those miles in between. Andy Griffith was born in Mount Airy and the town was partially represented in TV's The Andy Griffith Show. I figured I'd have a late lunch -- probably a famous pork chop sandwich -- at the Snappy Lunch. (NOTE: The Snappy Lunch website was not functioning at the time of writing.)

Mount Airy's Main Street street is one way. When I spotted an open spot across the street from the Snappy Lunch, I pulled right in. What luck, I thought. But it was just past 2:00 and the Snappy had been closed for forty-five minutes. Had it been any other day (Sunday excepted) I'd have been only fifteen minutes late; 6:00-1:45 Mon-Tue-Wed-Fri-Sat, 6:00-1:15 Thu, closed Sun. Thursday is sort of Floyd's day off, too; Appointments only; No regular hours.

So I picked up a map and some advise from the friendly gal at the visitor center and walked round a bit. My first stop was the Andy Griffith Museum with the statue of Andy & Opie out front. Three bucks gets you not only that museum but the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall and the Siamese Twins Exhibit, too. Those exhibits are mostly pictures but we're talking the original real-as-you-can-get Siamese twins. Mount Airy is where the guys from Siam, Eng & Chang, settled in 1845. No photos are allowed in any of the three exhibits.

As I left the museums, a familiar looking police car rolled by. Rides are available for a fee. Wally's Service, where Gomer worked, is just a few blocks away and the "courthouse" is right next door. The inside is set up with a couple of cells and the JP's office. "ALSO SERVING MT. POILT" is painted on the fender of the taxi. I'm guessing that was a joke on the TV show but I don't really know.

I had decided Andy's boyhood home was a bit far to walk so I returned to the car for a drive-by. The place can be rented.

I made it back to the Parkway and to the Blue Ridge Music Center before it closed but not before the day's music had ended. The "Roots of American Music" display is not quite ready. That panel to the right holds BRP Happy 75th birthday cards colored by children.

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