Volume 11

Grayson Highlands

2005-11-01.jpg (33103 bytes)  We spent the months of September and October camp hosting at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia.  We were here for four months last year (May thru August) and have already signed up for next year in Sept and Oct. The campground is only open for 6 months so we have now experienced the whole season.

2005-11-03.jpg (46217 bytes)The Fall Festival is held every year on the third full weekend in Sept. Ken and Phyllis Weber were here for a couple of weeks during that time. 

2005-11-04.jpg (55866 bytes) Every body is comparing their goodies that they bought at the craft booths. Judy bought a necklace and earring set and Kenny is holding one of the handmade bowls he bought.

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Phyllis checked out the pony auction but didn't bid on any.  I think a pony would have fit just fine in the Airstream. 

25 "excess" ponies were sold in order to keep the herd to 120.  The proceeds are used to pay the expenses of maintaining the health and welfare of the ponies.  
2005-11-05.jpg (67977 bytes) Ken and Phyllis sat on the hill and enjoyed the music while Judy and I worked in the park booth selling shirts and stuff.2005-11-06.jpg (48249 bytes)


2005-11-07.jpg (53803 bytes) Saturday was sunny and warm.  They had demonstrations of apple butter, cider and molasses making.  The team of horses was used to grind the sugar cane.  There also was a blacksmith  making items for sale.  Sunday however it rained all day and the crowd was a lot less, a few hundred rather than a few thousand people.

 2005-11-08.jpg (15642 bytes) 2005-11-09.jpg (21231 bytes) The next two weekends we had "Haunted Hayrides".  'Backwoods Bob',  who was reportedly raised by wolves,  was the narrator.   Stacy, Ranger Kevin's wife, was a witch.  Ken and Phyllis were in charge of refreshments for the people waiting.  We ran 4 trips each night with 20-25 people each trip.  Ken also went along and was attacked by "Demented Ranger Jim" on each trip.  He was dragged away and hacked to pieces and his arm was thrown back into the wagon.  One little girl was so upset that afterward we had to show her that he was all right.  She hit him and said "but you scared me".2005-11-10.jpg (26148 bytes) 2005-11-10a.jpg (37924 bytes)  

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John and Jane Canfield arrived in the beginning of October.  Of course we all biked the Virginia Creeper Trail.  It's everybody's favorite.  I had a tire blowout about half way down, but with the help of John's tire patch kit I made it all the way down.

Jane was also a victim of "The Demented Ranger" on the hayride.  She was able to escape however and jumped back in the wagon for the return trip. 


2005-11-15.jpg (79804 bytes)2005-11-14.jpg (24990 bytes) Both John and Kenny worked on projects while they were here.  Kenny cleaned and painted an old horse drawn mowing machine that the rangers dragged out of the woods where it had been for probably 50 years or more.  Jim, the maintenance man who builds all the rock walls in the park,  build this display area near the park entrance for the completed mower.

John made and installed this set of doors so that the country store can be expanded next year. 

2005-11-13.jpg (51184 bytes) The other major project in the park was the paving of the campground roads.  There are no more potholes to jar your teeth when you drive around.  

2005-11-16.jpg (55753 bytes) 2005-11-19.jpg (27494 bytes)We arrived May 1st last year before the trees had leaves and saw a few days with hail and snow flurries.  This year we experienced the end of the season and had snow during the last week we were here.   We had 2" one night and 3" the next with 40 MPH winds.  The campground road was icy and the tree limbs were hanging low from the weight of the snow.  At Massey Gap the road was completely covered and was closed to the Visitor Center. 
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When you drove down the mountain from the campground (elev. 4300') the snow was less.  At Sugarlands Overlook (elev. 4200') the road was clear and at the park entrance (elev. 3800') there was no snow.2005-11-20.jpg (36494 bytes)



Well, that's all for this chapter and this year's trip.  We're leaving 11/1 for Ft Myers for the winter.  More to come next year. 
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2005-11-22.jpg (35359 bytes)P.S.    The night before we left I made one last round thru the campground to check for new campers (we only had one other besides us).  It was almost dark and I caught something out of the corner of my eye in the playground.  When I looked I saw a herd of 10 black cows.  I asked the campers about them.  They said they had been there for about an hour.  I called the ranger (Daniel) and asked if he knew that we had cows in the campground.  He said that there wasn't any in the park.  When he came up later he said he hoped we weren't pulling a Halloween prank on him.  After a few phone calls we found out that someone had opened the gate to the National area where they were grazing and they had walked 1.5 miles to go camping with us.  The owner came to round them up the next morning.   Overnight they had visited the entire campground and had left piles of manure everywhere.  I had no idea 10 cows could make so many piles.  I'm glad the campground was closing and we were leaving.     


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