Raccoon Holler was the location of Rob and Trisha Ritchie's R-Pods & Friends rally in Glendale Springs, North Carolina, located less than ½ mile off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The drive to get there is on narrow, winding, North Carolina roads, smack dab in the middle of Christmas tree country where trees in all stages of growth cover the hillsides. It is a splendid location for a rally and the campground is outstanding with its amenities.
The story of how we were invited to this R-Pod rally goes back quite a few years. Tom and I started our rally days with TAB campers and continued for over 7 years. When sister Johanna purchased an R-Pod she invited us to R-Pod happenings, and we invited her to TAB gatherings. Likewise TAB owner Sharon Sigmon was welcomed to hang out with her R-Pod-owning cousin Rob Ritchie, and visa/versa. When we made the move to the Airstream we joined one of the biggest rallying organizations in the world, but continue to rally with our former camping friends. Indeed, most such casual groups of campers have an open-door policy that is not limited to a specific trailer brand . . . it is more about lasting friendships that are formed around the campfire!
This rally started as we left Elkmont Campground in Great Smoky Mountains (see previous post) and met up with Johanna at the Interstate split of I81 and I40 outside of Knoxville. Three hours later we arrived at Raccoon Holler where we were welcomed by Trish and Rob and a few other early arrivals. The Richie welcome was an amazing little glamping bag with custom embroidered towel and potholder made by Rob on his new embroidery machine!
We set the Silvermine up at the end of the loop road and the Tink 'R' Pod and Tink set up in her customary space right beside us!
Through the trees to the back of us was Sharon Sigmon in her Coffee Cup. Earlier in the year I had been on a journey with her to pick up her new camper, and now I was with her on the Maiden voyage of the Cup. Sharon keeps a blog on the Coffee Cup and you can view it here:
Sharon's Coffee Cup.
Through the trees on the corner side was Rob and Trisha in "Pod." They established a headquarters with a signboard that was updated frequently, and a cozy, fully enclosed visiting porch. The rally centered around that central site, and it was always a meeting point! They also blog, and have lots of details about this rally and all of their adventures: R&T's Podding Blog.
Over the days we were joined by 16 campers. Final tally: 13 R-Pods, 1 TAB, 1 Scotty and our Airstream. Throughout our stay there was a regular procession of people coming from the surrounding area to see all the cute little trailers. Many stopped to visit and for tours.
One of our favorite places to visit when in the area, is the Shatley Springs breakfast buffet. Served family style, once you sit at the big table the food doesn't stop coming: eggs, bacon, ham, red-eye gravy, sausage and biscuits, baked apples, pancakes . . . . It all comes out of the country kitchen in a steady stream.
Above is beautiful Shatley Springs restaurant and gift shop, and below is our group (minus Tom who took the picture) lined up and ready for the breakfast feed.
The rest of the meals at the rally were all camp meals. As you can see, we eat pretty good when we're on the road. Chicken, grilled corn-on-the-cob, roasted onion, and potatoes one night. . . .
Saturday night was the greatly anticipated pot-luck dinner. Don't even think of having a rally (even an "un-rally") without a chance to share the grub and pass by the food table!
The rally was worth the 12-hour, 630 mile to get home. Tink followed us out of the mountains and back to Interstate 81, where we left her at the I40/I81 split. I'll leave you with a picture of Tink and I -- wearing our "sister" shirts!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown