Our Adventures RV'ing

Our Adventures RV'ing

Friday, June 30, 2017

Blue Ridge Mountains and an unplanned extended stay in Asheville, NC

May 2017

We knew in the beginning when we decided to buy a Class A motorhome that these vehicles are complicated and things just happen. The hope is that you will be near resources that can fix a repair and keep you moving forward. In Asheville we had our 1st major RV failure that tested that hope. But I will get back to that after I tell you all about our stay in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain area.

After 6 weeks in the south and some warm temperatures we were ecstatic to be back in the mountains. On the way to Asheville, NC we decided to spend a few days at a very posh Class A motorcoach resort called Mountain Falls located near Lake Toxaway. Pricey but worth every penny. The place is beautiful and has everything: a small 9 hole short golf course, pool, and a beautiful club house. The road to get to the resort is another thing, it will make you think twice that getting to the resort is even possible but we kept telling ourselves that this resort was built for the big class A's and if the owners who bought sites in this resort and are driving this road then we should be able to handle it. It's a road that if you go slow and pay attention at the hairpin turns you can do it. It was only really bad the last 5 to 8 miles outside of Brevard to the resort. We did it just fine and with the Jeep attached.

Exercise room




Seating area outside pool area with pickle ball courts to the left
The resort didn't seem to have a lot of year round residents when we were here and their social calendar wasn't active until May 15th. I bet most owners are here only in the summer, June to September. The low occupancy only made it even more peaceful and my only regret is I didn't schedule more days here. There isn't much near the resort and any shopping or restaurants are at least 10-20 miles away on a slow and winding road.
We only stayed 3 nights here and Mike had one day planned to do a rafting trip on the Chattooga River with the Nantahala Outdoor Center, it was an advanced trip with class 4 -5 rapids and seeing many of the pictures from their website I thought it was a little too advanced for my comfort level. I know you will get wet on these trips but I don't like when there is a high probability of ending up outside the raft.
Mike had a blast and after seeing these pictures I was a little disappointed I didn't go.

Only the guide in front went in, Mike got wet but stayed in.
We did a hike to Rainbow Falls which was not far from our resort. Moderate 1.5 mile hike to the falls.

Well taken care of trail

A stop at Little Falls along the way and a popular swimming hole.

Rainbow falls
Hated to leave, but Asheville, a short drive away was our next stop.

Leading into Asheville we had a few issues that popped up, the slide that our generator is on had stopped working while we were at Mountain Falls and would not go in all the way, the jacks stopped working and the motor on our steps failed and would not go in. Mike ordered a new motor and had it delivered to Asheville so he could install it when we got there. In the meantime he removed the steps so we were safe to travel. The slide was in most of the way and we felt we could get to Asheville, remember there is not much around Lake Toxaway to get anything fixed. We were running out of time so we pushed forward to Asheville.

On our drive to Asheville there was a noise that we noticed coming from the front of the coach that we associated as a vibration from the generator slide and figured once we had that fixed it would go away.
We arrived in Asheville and stayed at the Asheville Bear Creek Resort. Not much of a resort but it is close to downtown Asheville. I requested a pull-through site when I made the reservations and she warned me it would be close to the road. We aren't bothered by that I was more concerned about the length of the site. The pull-through sites are their longer sites. The park is small and I am not sure we could easily maneuver our large rig into one of the back-in sites. We were put in site #7, and I drove ahead to scout the site. I didn't like the entry into the site and went back to the office to try and get a better site but they were pretty full and she didn't have another site available. The site had a slight incline to get into the part of the site that was level. We also had to be very careful at the point where the incline becomes level so as not to hit the aqua hot exhaust pipe. It was a challenge getting into the site but after a few try's and having to drive on the grass, which most parks don't like you to do, we got over the incline and were able to pull forward enough to be level. Since our jacks weren't working it would be better if we were as level as possible.

The incline behind the coach had a challenging slope to it.

The step motor arrived; Mike installed the motor and then trouble shooted the generator slide. He determined it was a grounding wire malfunction which is probably what burned out the step motor. He replaced the grounding wire for $7.00 which fixed the generator slide and to our surprise the jacks started working again. I am amazed how many of these systems can be interconnected.
Well we were now in a good place and could comfortably start enjoying our time in Asheville.

Asheville is known for it's art and music scene. There were a number of street performances and festivals while we were in town. It also seemed to be a craft brew mecca with more breweries then we could visit. Many of the brew tasting rooms and restaurants with outdoor seating were very dog friendly. Our favorite was LAB (Lexington Avenue Brewery). Mike liked their Oatmeal Stout- the Knuckle and I discovered a Belgian Dubbel -Philosphe.  I learned about the Saison style of beer and it has become one of my favorites.
Wedge Brewery

All the breweries are dog-friendly

Friday evening music

Dessert at French Broad Chocolates

We were able to meet up with one of Mike's friends from college who has a vacation condo in Asheville. She decided it was a good time to visit the condo and be able to spend some time with us. She showed us her favorite restaurants and breweries. We also did a short hike to Craggy Pinnacle in between some rain storms. 

Top of Craggy Pinnacle

Now to the unplanned diversion in our trip. After a great time in Asheville we began the long drive home to Salt Lake City. We got 10 miles west of Asheville when that sound that we were hearing earlier and thought was related to the generator slide, didn't go away and was now even louder. When I walked to the rear of the coach the sound was worse at the mid to back of the coach. Not a good sign. Mike said this could be bad and we needed to have it looked at immediately before driving any further. I quickly pulled out my cell phone and found a Freightliner repair center in Asheville. We got to the shop and was able to get them to look at it even on a busy Monday morning. By early afternoon they determined it could be the rear differential problem or a bad pinon seal. Unfortunately, they were not equipped to handle the job, we would need to go 150 miles west to another Freightliner facility or to their sister facility in Hickory which is 77 miles east of Asheville.  Mike looked at the options, going east to Hickory would be mostly downhill and west which was uphill and more miles would  put more stress on the differential. We were in a tough spot but with no good choices we took the easier downhill route and went east. We made it to Hickory and the shop was able to start looking at the problem. It was getting late in the day and not likely we were going anywhere too soon so I started to look at dog friendly hotels in the area where we could stay.

Mike thinking that this problem could delay us a week or longer if they have to order parts decided to call his friend and take her up on the offer to stay at her place in Asheville. She said it was dog friendly and was glad to help. Although we would have to drive 77 miles back to Asheville it was really the best option. We emptied the refrigerator, packed some things and with the dogs went back to Asheville.

We did need to have the rear differential replaced which they said was rare in a coach with our mileage. We always worry that with us being new and inexperienced that we might miss something or not do the proper maintenance. But we were assured nothing we could have done could have prevented this from happening. The unfortunate part was the repair wasn't an easy fix. They ordered the wrong part and didn't realize it until after they installed it. After having to reorder the right one and with the holiday weekend the RV ended up in the shop for 12 days before it was all fixed. I am glad we had a place to stay in Asheville, it would have been awful to be stuck in a hotel room with 2 dogs for that entire time.
The bright side is we got to spend that time in Asheville. Not a bad place to be stranded especially over the Memorial Day weekend. We were able to visit more breweries, restaurants and enjoy more of downtown Asheville.

I am slowly learning that you have to be flexible and have a positive attitude when it comes to RV ownership. Things are going to happen and I realized we can always adjust our travel plans. You have to see an inconvienence as an oppourtunity to see and do something new. The RV can always be fixed and then we move on. With the delay we adjusted our return trip to make a more direct route home and other then missing a stay in Denver, which I was able to cancel my reservation without much of a penalty, we were not far off from our original plan. Denver is always an easy drive from Salt Lake and I'm sure we will have another chance to get there.

The RV will go into storage for the summer and we will enjoy some hiking and mountain biking. There is still a lot of snow in the mountains so hiking the upper elevations may not be possible until July but we're ready to do some mountain biking.

Where are we heading next?  A fall trip to the Oregon coast.