Sunday, August 10, 2008

Is There a Doctor in the House?

We left Wytheville on a bright sunny day. One of the last sights of the town was the water tower. The town holds a balloon festival in the spring, and the water tower has been painted to look like a colorful hot air balloon--complete with basket.

We heard a lot of good music and met many wonderful people.


Then, it was on to Blountville, Tennessee, just off I-81 about 11 miles southwest of Bristol, TN. It was about a two-hour, light traffic drive from Wytheville. We arrived at the Rocky Top Campground and were greeted by Joe, the owner. I was about to test Joe's patience.

I knew we had been assigned a back-in site, and for the past two days had been trying to visualize the process of backing in to a spot. Joe accompanied us to the spot, and we prepared for my initial effort at this maneuver.

Now, as the picture shows, this was no ordinary back-in procedure.
The steps involved pulling through the empty slots (in the center of the photo) into the driveway in the lower part of the photo, backing to the driver's left, THEN backing to the driver's right, and then straight back. My visualization exercises did not include these multiple maneuvers.

As I mentioned, I was about to test Joe's patience. I will not test the reader's patience with the details, however. Suffice it to say, we succeeded in backing into the slot--after 45 minutes. Now in my defense, Joe said that with three axles on the rig and a long truck my job was even harder. It was an explanation that I welcomed, although I realize that Joe was not only patient but also kind.

But, if the final assessment is based on where we ended, then, as you can see, it was a successful initial effort. That's us parked in the spot on the right of the photo above.

We quickly got hooked up (electric, water, cable TV, and sewer) and extended the slide outs. After Kate made sandwiches, we were off to the Natural Tunnel State Park near Duffield, VA, for the Sunday afternoon jam. Like all the Virginia State Parks we've visited, Natural Tunnel was a very well-maintained, clean park. (Virginia was voted as having the best state parks in the country a couple of years ago.)

We only drove a few hundred yards into the park before coming to the Amphitheater, so we'll have to re-visit the park again to see more of it. The photo shows the size and natural layout of the theater and seating area. Today, several people brought their own chairs and sat in the parking lot from where this photo was taken.

Individual musicians and groups performed, and then all assembled on stage for five songs. Dr. Joe Frank Smiddy, far left, showed some preparedness by answering an earlier call from the stage: "Does anyone have a band-aid?" He supplied a bandage for another musician with a cut finger.

Later he appeared on stage and sang "Waiting for the Rose Hill Train," about waiting to hear word about Rose Hill residents serving in World War II. It seemed especially relevant today. Dr. Smiddy is the son of Joe Smiddy for whom the Pappa Joe Smiddy Mountain Music Festival is named. We'll have more to say about this Festival to be held August 31.

The woman (center) playing guitar is originally from Maine and only recently moved to this area, but she sounds as though she's been singing songs of the mountains for years. It was a joy to listen to Addie (we think that was her name).

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