Journey Through North Carolina – Part 30 ~ By Tom and Audrey ~

Hello and welcome to part 30 of our journey through North Carolina.

After leaving Azen, VA and our delightful conversation with Renny we continued along the curvy, narrow Jeb Stuart Highway on the road to Damascus, VA.  The decent changed from Mt. Rogers turned into White top Mountain which is SW Virginia’s second highest peak, 5500 feet above sea level and the starting point for the 35-mile Creeper Trail.  From what we gleaned in our many conversations “The Creeper Trail” is very popular with hikers, cyclists and equestrians.  The road we traveled is so beautiful it’s hard to keep your eyes on it because it serpentines alongside one of two river sized creeks that flow into the Holston River near Damascus, VA.

We had never heard of Damascus, VA until a week or so before the trip when we saw a post on Instagram and how it is home to the largest annual gathering of Appalachian Trail hikers referred to as Trail Days.  This multi-day festival in May attracts about 20,000 hikers and other visitors to Damascus each year.  We sure are glad we didn’t travel the road to Damascus at that time, lol.

As we arrived in Damascus with Daisy on empty and our bellies too we stopped at a little gas station with the pumps a long way from the building.  As I was looking at the pump to figure out where to put my credit card there was no credit card slot.   I figured I would have to go inside and leave my card and go back out to pump and didn’t really want to do that.  Then along came a guy and I asked if we had to pay inside.  He laughed and said, “nope around here folks trust each other”, just pump what you need and head on inside to pay.  Now that sure was a good thing to hear in a world where trust is the last thing ya wanna do.  So, as I was pumping the gas the man shared how great a town Damascus is.  When I asked what brought him there he too noted “well, I came a few years back and never left” and I immediately began to laugh.  It seems like folks in NC do this a lot.

From here we went across the street to the “Mojo Café .  Again, what a great place for those of you traveling through.  As we talked with the staff we learned more about the community and how active it is because folks walking the Appalachian Trail usually end up stopping for something to eat and rest awhile.  The food at this place was excellent and one item I am still trying to get the recipe for is the “Apple curry chicken soup”.  Mary said the owner’s mother makes all her own soups and didn’t know if she would give up the recipe.  I gotta have it!  If we get it and the owner says it’s okay we’ll be sharing it with you.  While we talked with Mary and Jose the cook they also shared how great a place Damascus was.  Mary mentioned moving to the area as a child when her dad took a job in town. She noted that in the fall she was going to be attending NC State where she intended to study aerospace engineering.  When asked if she wanted to be an astronaut she laughed and said, you never know.  It was awesome to hear this young lady’s dreams.

We talked on line with Gabe Burkhardt of (almost)unsalvageable.com)  about Damascus and Mojo Café and he says it’s the new hiker hang out hot spot in Damascus for many reasons including wi-fi and cell signal strength.  Gabe would know since he is an experienced Appalachian trail hiker.  You can read about his exciting journey there by clicking on this link, “Hiking the Appalachian Trail Against All Odds”.

From here we were off to the Wytheville KOA where we spent our last night in a campground. 

Well this is it for today.  We hope you come back and see how the trip unfolds as we share more of the USA Through Our Eyes.  Until then be safe.

usathroughoureyes
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  1. RhapsodyBoheme

    So many wonderful memories. Forever dear to your heart and I can relate. We still talk about memories from years ago and they always bring a smile and a feeling of happiness and gratitude. It’s those moments that remind us that we have lived and it’s a wonderful feeling.

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    • usathroughoureyes

      Yes it was so funny as we sat at the eatery knowing that Gabe had passed through there. It makes us wonder how many times on our travels we are standing near or driving along side a fellow blogger looking at the same view. I know when we pass through your area we always say out loud “Hi Madelyn”. On a recent drive about we passed through your area and there was a section of the city closed off because of a gas leak. Hope it wasn’t near you?

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    • usathroughoureyes

      It is so nice having you along with us Robbie from across the world. It is interesting learning how different regions do things and yes we too can’t wait for them to share that recipe. We’ve had lots of homemade soups from folks sharing them on blog post and this one was right up at the top of the list.

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  2. Tobias Mann

    What a cool spot. I always love to meet those characters whose stories paint a picture and set the tone of your visit. Plus, Mojos sounds like a nice place to hang out and catch up on some writing. Wish you guys safe travels. -Tobias

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  3. Ann McDunn

    Nice to read and see the photos from a day of your journey Tom and Audrey, The Trial Days looks like a very fine festival, and Mojo café was a good place to stay. Warm greetings, Ann.

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  4. guineapigtraveler

    That sounds like such a beautiful town and destination! I remember when my small town I grew up in used to have the honor system for gas stations and the cafe sounds so homestyle! This is why I think road trips are awesome! You get to hit the highlights, but sometimes stumble into places you never knew you wanted to discover! 🙂

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    • usathroughoureyes

      It is so great having you with us along our journey and sharing like you do. Wouldn’t it be great to have those good ole days of trust and the honor system back again!!! Its so true about stumbling into places you never knew you wanted to discover until there they are. Some of our greatest moments have been those surprises. As we read your post we are seeing that you too are encountering those beautiful moments!!!!!

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  5. Margaret from soulfood101blog

    I pray you get that recipe :):) Hubby has been wanting to hike the trail forever, and the plan is when he retires in 2 years, it’s on the list of first things to do. Bookmarking this post so we’ll have it when the time is right. Thank you for sharing your trip. I love your posts. :):) God Bless you 🙂

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    • usathroughoureyes

      Thanks Margaret. It is so exciting to know Hubby has the dream of hiking the trail. This was my third year hiking it with my brother and sister and each time I grow. Tom keeps the home fires burning while I’m surviving on nuts and berries, lol. We can’t wait to hear the stories of your journeys from the trail. Sorry for the delay in getting back with you. Tom and I have been on the road since last week and a bit behind, lol. We’ll catch up soon.

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  6. TheresaBarker

    Yum! I shouldn’t have come to this post before eating breakfast this morning! (haha) Oh, that Mojo Cafe looks wonderful. We have a friend who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail out West here, and I think he may also have hiked the Appalachian Trail. It was a lot of planning and pre-prep to make the journey come out successfully… Bill Bryson has a great book about his attempt (“A Walk in the Woods” – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9791.A_Walk_in_the_Woods). His books are all really enthralling, if you have not read his work before…

    About Mary and her aspirations for aerospace engineering, I wanted to share that when I taught engineering statistics at the U. Washington a few years back, one of my most engaging students is now an aerospace engineer in Huntsville AL. She came back to school after some years out in the working world to finish her BS, and even though she was not the most high-performing student in the class, she was the one who asked the most questions and made sure she mastered the material. So, yes, it is doable!

    Damascus sounds like a lovely place. Thanks again for a peek into a very cozy US community!

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    • usathroughoureyes

      You for sure would have enjoyed the soup Theresa. We so enjoyed the book by Bryson. We felt the book was a tad better then the movie though, lol. Their experiences on the trail are ones that we can surely relate too. Its amazing how much one learns about themselves and others when put into situations like they were in.
      You never cease to amaze us Theresa…. WOW, you taught aerospace engineering statistics at U.W. Oh how we can relate to the story you shared about that student. We continually learn how life isn’t an event but rather a process and the true winners are the ones that keep asking questions and willing to step out in faith. We are always asking questions and learning from so many that have walked the roads of life before us.
      You are always a joy to receive thoughts from Theresa!!!!!

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      • TheresaBarker

        Oh! I’m so glad you read Bill Bryson’s book about the Appalachian Trail. His writing always seems enjoyable to me. My other favorite of his works is “1926” – he delves into not only the events of that particular year, but goes into the background and the consequences of many developments in the year. I liked it. My daughter loves his “Home” book, too, and it was very informative as well.

        Thank you for your very lovely and reassuring and inspiring message! I sometimes think about who I’m reaching in my blog, and more importantly, whose blogs I am also reading. Each of the readings changes one, perhaps slightly, perhaps more dramatically, as we become part of each other’s stories. It’s a joy for me, as well, Tom & Audrey! ❤

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      • usathroughoureyes

        Hi Theresa. Sorry for the delay in getting back with you. We journeyed off to Florida to visit family and check out the results of hurricane “Irma”. All is well with family. I wasn’t aware of Bryson’s book “1926 and Home”. They are now on our to read list. He is very descriptive and we like this. We so enjoy how we are becoming part of each others stories in the blogging community. As we talk here at home and on the road we speak of you and others as family. This is a true blessing.

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      • TheresaBarker

        No need to apologize, Tom & Audrey! Good for you to have visited w family after Irma. 🙂 hope everyone was safe! I have family in central Florida who came out okay, thankfully. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • usathroughoureyes

        It was a wonderful respite filled with joys that we’ll be sharing as time moves forward. Its amazing though how behind we got with all the amazing post in our inbox we will be pouring over so we won’t miss a beat in what folks have been busy working on.

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      • TheresaBarker

        That’s great to hear (about the respite)! I’ll be looking forward to future posts and stories. I didn’t mean to put any pressure on you to be online, I just realized, oh, I hadn’t heard from you folks recently, hoped all was okay. 🙂 Thanks again!

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    • usathroughoureyes

      Thanks Christine. Sounds like you may have been there once or twice. It always amazes us to see the vastness of that region. It is breathtaking. So nice of you to stop by and chat with us.

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  7. Pit

    The Virginia Creeper Trail is still on our bicycling bucket list. Thanks for also pointing out the Jeb Stuart Highway.
    Have a wonderful week,
    Pit

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  8. Laina Eartharcher

    What a delightful segment of the trip! I love roads like that, that are almost too pretty to keep your eyes on because they twist and wind and the surrounding scenery is too captivating. How cool! Glad you were able to dodge the Trail Days hubbub 😊👍🏼❤️

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  9. poeturja

    Lovely! For some reason, your words reminded me a bit of the song “The Weight” : I pulled into Nazareth, was feeling ’bout half past dead,
    I just need some place where I can lay my head…must be the “Damascus” in your story…

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