The semi-dud April trip my husband and I took is looking better and better these days as I’ve almost forgotten the 1800 miles in the car in 9 days and I am acutely aware it will be quite a while before we so much as leave the confines of our house since the ole guy broke his ankle but good last week impersonating Bobby Orr. So I will hobble down memory lane for a few posts.

I now understand why some people vacation with their dogs instead of significant others.  It’s easier to find a bathroom facility for dogs than humans on the Blue Ridge Parkway in April, when my husband and I took a vacation to parts of Virginia we’d never been to and parts of North Carolina we had been to years ago and didn’t remember.  We were well past the middle of April when officially sites are supposed to be up and running, but there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as far as the Parkway visitor center bathrooms being open or closed. I don’t usually fixate on bathrooms when I travel since I have a bladder of steel, but on the Parkway the choices are few and far between. At 4:45 p.m. on Sunday the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center was closed which was a bummer since I had hoped to get maps and such there.  Many miles and more than an hour later down the road at the James River Visitor Center, the bathrooms were open. That was a good thing. The path there led us across the pedestrian bridge over the James. I am a big fan of pedestrian bridges over rivers (the Belle Isle Pedestrian bridge in Richmond comes to mind) and was happy to see our home river, the mighty James,  in its country duds.

run along now, James

Ok, so that photo is showing it heading upriver, but that water had every intention of sneaking on down to Richmond eventually. We stopped for the night at Peaks of Otter Lodge, and the colors on the mountain across Abbott Lake gave the trip an autumnal feel–as did the brisk temperatures in the morning when we woke up for an early trek up Sharp Top Mountain.

Really Steep Mountain is more like it

I am competitive enough that I was most happy we easily outstripped the amount of time the sign at the trailhead said it would take to get to the top. That rocky summit that gave me a bit of vertigo even with the hand rails now and again, but the climb did a number on my appetite. By the time we wound up in the lodge’s restaurant for an early lunch, I could not resist ordering a ham and cheese sandwich that was fried, dusted with powdered sugar and had blackberry jam to dip the concoction into.  Sort of like French Toast. I hate French Toast. Sick. It was easy to resist not eating the whole thing, but still. Must have been altitude sickness affecting my brain–there’s no other way to account for it.

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