Monday, September 10, 2012

Our First Fender Bender

Candler, North Carolina  (high 74, low 43)

We arrived safely at Hominy Valley Campground in Candler, North Carolina, which is just a few miles west of Asheville.

We arrived safely, but not without incident.  We were traveling on I-40 when an idiot pulling a Fifth wheel veered into our lane and hit us.  Fortunately, the only damage was to the drivers side mirror.

Here is the idiot.  He kept going west.  If you see him, let me know!

this is the idiot that hit our mirror

this is the idiot that hit our mirror

He was flying by us and we both saw him veer into our lane.  We heard a clunk and knew he hit the mirror.  We didn’t know if there was any other damage, and there was no where to pull off to check.   The mirror was skewed outward and Al wasn’t able to use the mirror for the rest of the trip, which fortunately was only 10-12 miles. 

Al  was able to manually move the mirror back in place.  There are some scratches but nothing too bad.  It makes us so mad.  Of course he kept right on going, and may not have even know what he did.  I hope he has some damage.  I hope he has LOTs of damage.

damaged mirror, pushed over and scraped

damaged mirror, pushed over and scraped

If there had been more damage, we would have gotten a police report and notified our insurance company.

Other than that we had a pretty good trip up to Asheville.   While in South Carolina, we just encountered rolling hills.   Once we crossed over into North Carolina, then we got to the big stuff!

I think this was about the point where we both said, Holy S$!t.  Then we both said it again when we realized we were going to have to go over that mountain.  After so many years of marriage it seems we think alike.

nc mountains


The motorhome did fine, but Al did have to floor it on one stretch to keep it at 45 mph.   We practiced what we had learned about the exhaust brake (we means Al) and he  rarely needed the foot brake.

The Allison transmission seemed to keep us in the correct gear most of the time, so Al didn’t do much gear shifting.   We watched the temperature and the rpm’s and he tried to keep his foot off the brake. I think we did okay, but any suggestions on how to drive in the mountains is appreciated!  

(yeah I know many of you are laughing at us for being such cowards to drive in these little bitty mountains)   Smile

We thought Chatty was doing better because he had finally started urinating normally.  Yesterday morning he wasn’t very hungry, but I didn’t worry about it too much at the time.  By the time we arrived here, we realized he wasn’t doing well.  He slept so soundly we had to keep checking to see if he was breathing.  He did that all day and night, but this morning he finally pepped up.  I called the vet and he decided to take him off a few of the medications.  It seems to be helping as his appetite is better and he is awake.  We were pretty worried yesterday, and wondered if we had made a mistake by leaving Charleston.

The weather here is gorgeous and we’re loving it.  It has been a long hot summer in Tampa and we are very glad to have some cool weather.  I just wish we had brought a few more warm clothes!  This morning we awoke to 43 degrees.   We had to break down and turn on the heat pump.  It warmed up nicely today. 

We got up early and took a drive out of the campground to the right.  They say NOT to take a motorhome on that road and boy were they right.  We went up a mountain on some extremely narrow and curvy roads.  I was pretty nervous the whole time and Al wasn’t particularly relaxed either.  You gotta remember we are Floridians where we don’t have hills, let along mountains. This road (Pisgah Highway)  eventually led us to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  No pictures because I was too worried we were going to fall down the side of the mountain. 

I took a picture of the GPS showing our elevation at one point.  Note, we were going 11 mph, and the speed limit was 35.   35 would have been crazy in my opinion.  I don’t know why the GPS said it was 55, the signs all said 35.

notice the speed...straight up the mountain on an extremely curvey road in MH

We got to over 4000 feet. 

It was a beautiful area and once we got on the Blue Ridge, there were lots of places to pull over and take pictures.


Blue ridge pkwy

There were a lot of tunnels.


It was so much more beautiful than the pictures show. 

After our early morning jaunt, we went home and checked on Chatty.  We were happy to see he was feeling better, so we felt we could leave him awhile again this afternoon.

We took a drive into Asheville to the downtown area.  It’s one of those downtowns with a lot of little shops and even a trolley.

There were some interesting churches.

church in Asheville

We were near the Biltmore so we went to the visitor center.  Tickets are $59 plus $10 if you want a video guide (which is recommended).  They say the ticket prices are only used to run the place and they make no profit.  After seeing a little of it, I think I might just buy that.   It will take a full day to tour it, so we’re going to wait until we can leave Chatty for the day.

We drove by Bear Creek Campground to check it out.  It was $45 a night for 50 amp.  The sites were crowded together.  They had amenities, but the price was too high for us.   Especially after paying our Vet bill. 

Our Campground is right off a highway, so we have some road noise, that’s a negative.  There are only 5 campsites, positive.   The price is $17 a night…another positive.  The owner is also a cat lover and rescues them like we do.  another positive!  It’s on the honor system because the owner lives 300 miles away. There are some stamped envelopes in the mailbox, you put in a check and mail it to him.  He’s a trusting soul.

monaco from campsite at Hominy Valley Campground

We are on the end and backed up to a mountain (some people might call it a hill).   We are at 2200 foot elevation.  Our view is very pretty, except for the electrical wiring.

I’ll take more pictures later.  There are NO amenities, except I think you can get cable for $2.  We have a good Verizon signal and our Directv works fine, and we even got some local channels, so that Al was able to watch the Tampa Bay Bucs yesterday.

Our kitty is having a better day, we made it to the mountains, the temperature is wonderful.  Yeah, we’re very happy campers!


  1. Glad to hear that Chatty is feeling better. It's the pits when your furkids are sick.

    Never heard of a park that let you mail in the payment. You're right, he must be a trusting soul.

    I promised myself I wouldn't say anything about your mountains!!!

  2. While in Ashville, be sure to go see The Grove Park Inn. It is amazing and has beautiful craft stores with local artists making and showing their work. I am pretty sure you can park and go inside the Inn. The main foyer and grounds are beautiful!!

  3. Thank goodness that you have the swing away mirrors, glad no real damage was done, it could have been much worse.

    You did great in the mountains, see it was not as big of a deal as you worried it might be. Before you know it, you'll be driving mountains in your sleep. ;c)

  4. Glad the damage was not worse, I think he might not even knew he did it depending on which part of his rig hit. Maybe it is a right of passage. Our first month of full timing, we were hit by a drunk driver and a week later blew a right rear tire.

  5. Wow that is way too close when they hit the mirror, probably the awning support arms. Glad you had nothing more serious.

    I knew you would have no problems with the mountains and 45 is a good speed to be able to maintain on some of those grades I usually do not push too hard. Your Allison and diesel are pretty much in tune with one another and do most of the work without any intervention. Be safe.

  6. You will love that area. Wait till the trees start changing. You are in for a real treat.

  7. Glad the damage wasn't too bad. Hoping Chatty stays well. We've been in that area and stayed at Bear Creek. Enjoy the weather! Maybe you could go to Mt Aury for Mayberry Days.

  8. Perhaps it is because of you that we are finally having cooler, dryer weather? If it is, THANKS!

  9. Whew glad that damage wasn't any worse. But I am sure every time you look at that mirror, you will have steam coming out of your ears. ARGGHHH

    We feel that way about the first scratch on our motorhome--- long story--- but don't ever trust parking lot attendants who are waving you this way or that way to park!

    Glad Chatty is doing better, was thinking of him today.

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  10. sorry to hear about the fender bender..but at least you got his license plate!!!..that could be helpful if the need arises!

  11. I'm glad Chatty seems to be feeling a little better. You better have a good supply of Valium with you if you come out to Colorado and drive around :-).

  12. Good news to hear you made it to the mountains okay (minus the mirror damage) and that you are finally able to enjoy cool weather. Asheville is high on our travel list, so we appreciate following along. Hope Chatty keeps showing signs of recovery.

  13. Yikes, glad it only hit your mirror. Looks like a nice camping spot. Go Bucs :)

  14. Sounds like you did everything right through the mountains! Good job! Sorry to hear of the jerk that hit you! We almost got hit by a wide load on the highway yesterday. Sometimes the drive can be so stressful! Great campground. How did you find that little one?

  15. Hey, Karen those aren't mountains they're hills!! Just kidding but the best advice I can give for driving in the mountains is to just take it easy and never ever go too fast down a hill.

    Those tunnels must have been a bit intimidating too, they always make me shrink a bit.

  16. Had to be frightening that a guy hit your mirror!

    Asheville is also famous for all of its many microbreweries. Here is a list:

  17. definitely a close call on the damage..glad it wasn't worse...I love that area we toured it last year for 2 will love the Biltmore Estate its fantastic...we didn't take the video tour we took the audio could stop and start etc...

  18. oh and Glad Chatty is doing better...

  19. Glad you weren't hurt. Sorry about the damage. We loved the Biltmore. Hope you guys enjoy it too!

  20. Hi, Karen!Just found your blog while doing a search on RV travels to Asheville. My hubby and I visited the area for the first time last September as well! We may have passed you on the road. :) As Floridians, those mountains certainly were daunting! We are headed back there in mid-October, planning the trip now. We prefer to stay in state or national parks where the space & quiet make up for the lack of amenities. Here's where we stayed last year and plan to visit again:

    I'll be following your travels! :)



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