Today was Joe's and my 41st wedding anniversary, and it bore an eerie similarity in some way to our 40th. Once again we are dealing with Mo's mechanical idiosyncrasies. But whereas last year we did finally get back on the road, this year we spent our anniversary with Ed, his friend Amelia, and Roxy. It was a really nice day, and certainly our dinner was way better than last year!
Joe called Tim, the manager at the Ford repair in Charleston, at about 10:00 this morning, only to hear that the part they needed, the new cover for the engine, had not yet been delivered. As a result, they hadn't made any progress with the repairs. So Joe and I did some brainstorming regarding where to go from here. We are facing Labor Day weekend, and the need to be home by Tuesday morning at the latest. (Really, we need to be home Sunday night so Joe can catch up on Monday.)
I did some Internet searches, and by noon I had reserved a minivan from Avis to pick up at noon on Friday and return in New Jersey on Monday. I called Enterprise and told them we needed the car until Friday, but would definitely return it then. I also called "our" Comfort Inn and made reservations for Thursday and Friday night. We are planning to leave Floyd tomorrow. Obviously all of these reservations are cancel-able if the RV is repaired, but at this point we are operating under the assumption that it will not be. Our plan is to pick up the minivan, return the car we have now, go to the Ford dealer and load the stuff in the RV into the minivan to take it all back home. If and when Mo is repaired, we will have to fly down to Charleston to pick it up and drive it back.
So Eddie, Amelia, Roxy, Joe and I drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway to Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve. After driving up gravel and then a dirt road, one lane wide, up the side of the mountain, we parked the car and then hiked to the top of Buffalo Mountain. The website calls it "a steep, 1-mile hike." That is exactly what it was--QUITE steep in places. Our hike up was enlivened by our conversation (ranging from childhood memories to discussions of life after death) and by Joey's cell phone, which suddenly began pinging like crazy. We've had absolutely NO cell service since we arrived on Friday, but someplace on the side of the mountain, the phone picked up one bar, and all the backed up text messages started pouring in. I was so proud of him when he simply turned the entire telephone off so we didn't have to listen to electronic tones in such a lovely wooded setting.
The top was spectacular--a rocky summit with a 360-degree view of Virginia and North Carolina. We watched the turkey buzzards swooping around us as we looked out over the vistas at our feet. It was well worth the climb for all of us.
Mabry's Mill, a small site which gives information about life in rural Appalachia. We sat for a bit and had a snack--we'd brought some of the leftover rice salad, baba ganouj, and a few other things with us from home. Then we wandered through the mill and chatted with the blacksmith about how iron "tires" were made and fitted onto wooden wagon wheels. And after that, we went into the small restaurant, where Amelia got a cup of coffee and I got some delicious, home-made ice cream.
We headed back to Floyd after that, but before going home, we drove into town to the natural foods store so I could buy some cereal and Ed could pick up some cheese (we've eaten a lot of cheese, at almost every meal, so it's a staple Eddie didn't want to be out of) before heading back home. Amelia went back to her own place to shower and rest a little, and the other 4 of us (including Roxy) pretty much crashed out from our exertions. But it really was a gorgeous day, and we all enjoyed the excursion.
That was about it for the day. Dinner was home-made burritos, a repeat from last night because we had all the makings left over. I did the dishes, and we chatted for an hour or so. Now it's after 11; Ed has already gone to sleep, and I am ready also. Tomorrow I guess we will be hitting the road... it is hard to believe we've been here for so long. Except judging by how our belongings seem to be scattered over the entire house, perhaps we've been here TOO long. It was wonderful spending time with Ed, but I'm sure he will be glad to get his life back.