Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Golf, Awning Issues and The Biltmore Estate

Tuesday:

On Tuesday morning Connie and I went up to the sales office here at the campground (it is part of a Camping World complex) and walked through a number of used motor homes that they had for sale. After looking at several of them, we both decided that we made the right decision in selecting The Duchess to full time in.

In the afternoon I went and played golf with three other campers at the Black Mountain Golf Course which is located about 15 miles from where we are staying. The course was founded in 1929 with only 9 holes which were designed by Donald Ross. Later a second nine was added to make it an 18 hole design. The course is very tight with small greens. There was a Par 6 (yes that is correct - a par 6) on the back nine that measured 747 yards. I ended up with a 5 on the hole which was a birdie. The first time in my life that I took 5 shots on a hole and ended up "under par". I managed to keep the ball in play and shot a 79 which is much better than I thought I would do since this is the first time I have played this year.
The longest golf hole I have ever played.

Trees on the right and creek along the left.

In the evening after Connie cooked us a great meal of salmon, rice and salad, we joined several other campers in a "happy hour". By the time we joined the group the drinks had been flowing for several hours and everyone was in a happy mood. The sun began to set and a thunderstorm moved through the area. Everyone headed to their rigs to get ready for the rain. We put everything that we had outside the rig up and went in for the evening. However, we had forgot to bring the big awning in and even though the awning is on an automatic sensor that is suppose to bring it in when there is any wind, it did not. A short time later a gust of wind from the thunderstorm caught the awning and lifted one side of The Duchess (we think it took all of the weight off of that side of the motor home, not actually picked it up from the ground). The awning broke in two and did some damage to the fiberglass where it was attached to the rig. There was not much we could do since it was dark and rainy, so we waited to inspect the damage.

Wednesday:

We got up early in the morning to survey the damage: the awning was a total loss and there was damage to the fiberglass that will have to be repaired. I went over to the Service Center here at the Camping Center and arranged to have one of their workers come and take the awning off of The Duchess so that no more damage was done. Later in the day we called our insurance company, Nationwide Insurance, to start a claim and get the damage repaired. It will delay our leaving the area because the awning will be a "special order" meaning it takes more time to get here to North Carolina from the factory. This is a beautiful part of our country and there is lots to do in the area so if we are going to stuck here for a while we will have lots of places to visit.
The roller on the awning cracked in two

We used a pole we had to keep the awning off of the slide until it was removed.

We had already scheduled a trip the Biltmore Estate in Asheville as part of our Rally activities for today. Around 8:30 AM we made the 30 minute drive over to the Biltmore. When it was finished in 1895, it was the largest private residence in the USA. It remained a private residence until 1930 when the Vanderbilt family turned it into a place that the public could visit. As with most places that are of grand scale, pictures do not do it justice. We spent around 3.5 hours touring the house and gardens. The tour through the great house involves a lot of steps/stairs and by the end of it Connie was quite wore out. We both rented the audio tour devices which gives you a lot of information about the house, its history and occupants over the years. After finishing this part of the visit, we drove over the Biltmore Winery. The winery was started in 1985 and now produces a number of white and red wines. The winery is located in one of the buildings that was the Biltmore Dairy & Creamery for many years before it closed.  Most of the grapes used in the wines are grown in North Carolina but some are imported from California. We tasted several whites along with all of their reds. Connie liked the Zinfandel and we ended up buying one bottle of this variety.
Connie entering the grounds in front of the "house"


When George Vanderbilt finished this house he was a bachelor.

One of the lions guarding the entrance to the house.




Views of the formal gardens located near the house.

We found a local pizza place in Asheville on Yelp and ordered a 12" pizza for our late lunch. Upon returning to the campground, I went up and finished the paperwork for the insurance claim with the Service Department. The RV-Dreams group had a burger/hot dog dinner after which we retired back to The Duchess.