One last hurrah before heading back to work and school.

My better half and I decided to car camp / cruise the Blue Ridge Pkwy (north to south) for our last week of the summer. We did this about five years ago and really enjoyed ourselves and wanted to do it again. Our plan was to hit camp grounds for a couple of days and then use a hotel for a night to get some hot water and re-charge camera batteries. We snuck off the path a few times to hit some other sites (Mt. Airy, NC and Monticello, VA).

Since we were planning on being in a different place just about every night, rather than setting up a base camp, we pared down the usual Coleman gear and utilized more of a backpacker load plan. It worked out better than expected. The single burner stove pulled its weight and we also tried out an LED lantern as opposed to the Coleman fuel. While I was impressed with the length of the lanternís burn time, I missed the larger light output.

First stop Ö Monticello


Then onto the Peaks of Otter. This campground was very empty. During the two nights here, we shared the loop with 4 other site users. One was a college prof from the UK who was cycling the upper 1/3 of the Pkwy.


One of many drab boring olí sunsets along the way.


I love being above the clouds.


The kids loved exploring the Mabry Mill site. The restaurant there has awesome food.


Mrs. STinGa has been a fan of the Andy Griffith show for years, so we spent a quick morning at the Andy Griffith museum. Yours truly with Goober.


I was evicted from my bed at Julian Price Memorial Park. It was crowded here; we almost didnít get a spot.


We detoured through Grandfather Mtn and spent a fun afternoon, better than I expected.


The next night we stayed at Crabtree Meadows Camping area. This campground was also near empty.


We try to visit any state high points when we get a chance, and have been up to Mt. Mitchell several times.


The last hike of the trip was up to the Devils Courthouse. Mrs. STinGa hung out at the truck (black spot in the parking lot) for this hike and we shouted down to her from the summit. It took a good 6 or 7 seconds for her shouts to return to us. The kids had a blast with this.


Family portrait at one of the overlooks.


Another sunset shot. This one was from the Richland Balsam area.