30 October - The Inn at Biltmore has great rates mid-week with a 12 month guest pass that paid for itself. A few weeks ago, the Biltmore Estate had a special - purchase add-on to the $47.00 tour ticket for an additional $40.00 providing free admission for a year. In addition, the guest pass gives a 10 per cent discount on many items including the Inn at Biltmore. The tours for today were the Rooftop Tour and the Behind the Scenes Tour - about three hours of walking. We learned the importance of saving pennies to buy the place.
29 October - Guilford County, NC Public Library researched until time to head to the Inn at Biltmore for a delicious wine tasting-dinner at the Bistro. The Red Snapper was very good. The waiter was a very jovial fellow.
28 October - SNOW!!!! Swirling snow greeted the morning. Heading east on Hwy 58 from Damascus, the snow began to fall in earnest producing a scenic winter wonderland until the highway was snow covered necessitating backing down the mountain road into a turnaround to go back to Damascus and head towards I-81 N to 77 E instead. Little local traffic on the road.
Spent the afternoon in the Madison Public Library, Rockingham County, NC researching before heading to Greensboro, NC for the night.
27 October - after a delicious dinner at the Old Tavern Inn in Abingdon (1770) we spent the night at the former John Rambo house - now the Mt. Laurel Inn. Leslie, the owner and chef created a delicious breakfast in front of the fireplace in the dining room. It was no surprise to learn she grinds her own wheat flour to bake bread when she is not homeschooling three children or running a catering business, too.
26 October - Stopped in Damascus, VA for hot soup, cocoa, sandwiches, brownies and lots of fudge candies as Trail Magic for Papa Bear and the Preacher's Boys who had left Pearisburg early that morning. The drive took two hours but the road was unmarked and hidden making us half an hour late. Papa Bear's only direction was Sugar Run Road where it crossed the AT. We drove forever on a road that became a trail that became a wagon rut covered in a foot of leaves to a dead end. Certain that we had missed them or had wrong directions we turned around on the forest service road and drove just a few yards when we spotted two of the boys on the road ahead of us. The other boy and Papa Bear were on their way out of the woods - all four wondering where they were because the road was unmarked. They were a half hour late. It was truly a miracle that they arrived just as we did because it was too cold for them to have waited. They were elated to have hot (well... by now lukewarm) food. The wind was raw and miserable with no shelter to eat - but it was good to see them. Note: After continuing for several more days they decided to be thankful for the almost completed AT hike and head home to their family in York, PA. Kevin's knee was not doing well and the family missed them a lot.
25 October - Driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway from North Carolina to Tennessee beautiful vistas and glorious fall foliage were still visible. Stopped at Spruce Pine to get supplies for Trail Magic (veggie burgers and stuff for breakfast) to Kat and company at Overmountain Shelter. BRRR - the wind was cold. Hiked about 3/4 mile up to the shelter covered in golden leaves. Kat had not yet arrived - and the fire building process was slow. It was almost dark when they arrived overjoyed to have hot food, a fire and a fine visit. We slept outside despite 38 degree temp. enjoying the stars in a clear sky
24 October - Columbus, NC - Rambo cousin, Duncan Ely, was a most hospitable host for a delightful overnight in his almost renovated grand manse that he hopes to have on the National Historic Register of Homes. Our room had a lovely view - but the charm was the house itself. It looks like a church with stone walls and clerestory windows. Duncan and his wife, Beth, removed the dropped down ceiling to expose the hand hewn timbers mortised with pegs and cleaned the walk-in fireplace plaster to reveal a handsome granite boulder wall facing the fireplace.
23 Oct - Columbia, SC: The most recent galley proof is edited and ready to be sent to the publisher. Indexing the next three volumes waits in the wings while leaf season is still spectacular. We are leaving soon to follow trails with high color hoping to encounter Papa Bear, the Preacher's Boys, and Kat on the southbound AT for some hiking and camping. The knee feels stronger now with two long walks a day.
October Trails: Leaf Peeping along Hwy 86 in Vermont was at peak season. Brilliant shades of crimson, mixed with glistening golds and oranges, provided a dazzling display of New England fall foliage for miles of enjoyment. The view from the Country Club Inn at Rangely, Maine was awesome. Several deer were spotted in the early morning along with a bird sitting in a warm patch of sunlight - either very content or too tired to fly.
The colors were brilliant near Auburn, West Virginia where we attended the Long Distance Hikers Association awakening to incredible morning vistas. Larry Luxenbourg led a most compelling workshop on the future AT Museum in Harper's Ferry. It was good to see Bob Peoples from Kincorra - and Kat who is still hiking southbound. We were not disappointed with Jim's recommendation to continue from Auburn to Little Switzerland because the colorful foliage was at its peak and the vista was wonderful from the Little Switzerland Inn.
At Brewster, near Bar Harbor Maine, the lobster was indeed very fresh and delicious.
It was a surprise to discover the journey would include Duncannon, PA; of course a visit to the Doyle Hotel was a must in time for a hearty lunch with 8-10 southbound hikers who enjoyed receiving their lunches as trail magic.
The bronze plaque bears the inscription of Peter Rambo named as one of the important personages in the Colonial History of Philadelphia, PA. It is hanging outside Philadelphia City Hall.
A garrulous city cop named Frank recommended dinner in the Italian sector of the city at Victor's Cafe, made famous in the Rambo movie; he instructed us,"tell them one of the south Philly boys sent you." The streets were narrow making it challenging to park the car while the entire neighborhood watched in amusement. How fun to have the operatic waiters sing during the meal. Of course, there is no connection between Sylvester Stallone's Rambo and our ancestor Peter Rambo. Philly is a great city but the Philadelphia city records are a mess... a disaster.
Traveling with Sister Carol is delightful! She enjoyed Western PA genealogy resources - and a great discovery of another Rev. War ancestor's proof of service was made by brother "lucky" Ron " who discovered the Overturff Bible Record and a record of a Revolutionary War Pension Law naming John Overturff as qualified to receive the pension.