Mixsonian Morrs and Barbara

Summer Vacation

In July, Corky, Betty, Billy and their kids Janice, Karen and Timmy joined our family on vacation in North Carolina. Corky was going with us because Grandma and Grandpa were going to Atlanta to help Dixie who was sick.  A couple of years earlier Mom had gone with a group of women to a church convention at Ridgecrest, North Carolina and she wrote down the contact for the cabin the group had stayed in and rented it for a week.  Ridgecrest is in the small town of Black Mountain nestled in the mountains a few miles east of Ashville.  We had several dinners and lunches with the Yawn’s the previous few weeks in which Mom and Dad planned the trip with Betty and Billy, it would be a big adventure. 

The day before, with help from Mom, we kids packed our clothes in suitcases and took them out to Dad who was loading the car.  The 55 Chevy has a really big trunk but with a family of six it took all of Dad’s packing skills to fit all our luggage in.  We got up early the next morning, ate breakfast, Mom packed the ice chest with food for the trip and Dad placed it in the trunk in a spot reserved just the exact size.  We were ready to leave at 6:45, a full fifteen minutes before the planed 7 AM time.  The only problem was that Betty, Billy, who were to travel with us in their car, had not arrived yet.  Ten minutes crept to fifteen and Dad begin to get impatient with Mom trying to calm him saying things like, “Honey, you know Billy’s always late.”  and “Honey, you know they have to come all the way from Micanopy.”  Dad then says that if they were not here by 7:30 he was leaving with out them.  Fortunately, they showed up a few minutes later, we piled into the car and begin our journey. 

The interstate highway system was just beginning to be built at Picnic on the side of the roadthis time and did not extend into Florida so we had to take older country roads.  Dad in the previous week got road maps of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina and carefully mapped out the route and marked it on the maps which Mom would then use as the navigator while Dad drove.  Most of the time we were the lead car as Billy didn’t drive at an even speed which annoyed Dad he said because it made him hard to follow.  It was a long drive so we brought books and played games on the way with one such game was to find all the letters in the alphabet in road signs. We stopped somewhere in Georgia at a roadside rest stop and had a picnic lunch that Mom had packed and then continued to Black Mountain.

Fairview CabinFar View Cottage, 1962

We arrived in Black Mountain late afternoon and turned on a dirt road winding its way up the side of the mountain where on one side of the car was a steep slope going up the side of the mountain and on the other side a drop off going down the mountain which was a bit scary as I looked out the window of the car.  We soon arrived at the cabin where the road widened a bit allowing the two cars to park and we all got out and stood looking at steps leading up to the cabin perched twenty feet up the side of the mountain with the name “Far View” on a sign hanging on the side of the house.  Having been there before, Mom led us up the steps and we entered a screened in deck. As Mom unlocked the front door, we looked out over the valley below and the mountains on the other side, it was a beautiful view.   Mom had described the cabin as “rustic but clean” and I soon learned what rustic meant.  It was clear from the layout that the cabin had been added onto several times with the different rooms connected in odd ways.  On one side was a back bedroom with bathroom, the kitchen with dinning table, a second smaller bedroom and another bathroom.  On the other side of the cabin was a single large room with sets of metal framed bunk beds along the two longer walls.  Mom, Dad, Betty and Billy took the two bedrooms while us kids, Corky, Brenda, David, me, Janice, Karen and Timmy were in the bunk room.  With enough bunks for over a dozen people we all got to have an upper or lower bunk that we wanted with I choosing an upper bunk that had a view out a front window to the cabin.  The cabin had no air conditioning, but it wasn’t needed, it was so much cooler in the mountains than the hot Florida we came from. We loved it.

Blue Ridge Parkway OverlookMom, Brenda, Beth - Dad, Larry, David

We stayed for a week and each day we would go see different sights in the area.  Dad loved to go for drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway which wound its way through some of the most scenic view in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I loved the views out the window of the car but every few miles there would be an overlook with parking, and we would pull over, get out of the car, read the sign with the overlook name and elevation like Big Witch, Name of the last great Cherokee medicine man – Elev. 4160 feet; Rough Butt Bald, Describing the mountain off in the distance; and one of my favorites, Devil’s Courthouse, view of a rocky summit with a devilish appearance and with a cave in it in which the Cherokee say the devil holds court.  We would go up to the stone wall at the edge of the overlook, look off into the distance and someone might point and say “I see it.” and we would all look sometimes agreeing and other times not although I thought I saw the bald rough but.  We then would pile back into the car and travel to the next overlook and do it all again.

Blowing Rock Blowing Rock

Mixsons at Mount Mitchel

From the parkway we saw such sights as Clingmans Dome and walked up the spiral walkway to the highest point in the park and Mt. Mitchell, not in the park, that is the highest point east of the Mississippi River, ok confusing.  At Blowing Rock we read about the legend of the maiden that jumped over the edge only to have the wind blow her back up.  The rock itself juts out over a steep cliff that then sweeps down two thousand feet into a valley as far as I could see. I walked out to the rock, getting as close to the edge as I dared, which was probably three feet, mind you there was no railing at that time.  My brother David, more daring than I went much close than I before Mom called him back.  The wind was blowing strongly with occasional gusts that would rock me back on my feet. In my mind’s eye I envisioned spreading my arms like wings and jumping out into the wind and soaring upwards in a spiral and the sweeping down into the valley disappearing in the distance. I had dreams for many years about standing at the edge of a cliff and flying down into the valley below. 

Chair Lift to Ghost TownOne day we went to Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley.  Ghost Town was really “in the sky” being high up on top of a mountain which you got to by taking a sky lift to the top which was a little scary at first, but I soon loved it, sitting in an open chair sixty feet off the ground was the closest thing to flying I had ever Gun Fight in Ghost Townexperienced.  The town itself was looked like the towns in the many westerns on TV that we watched for years.  There was a saloon, blacksmith shop, stables and many other shops lining the street connected by wooden walkways.  There even a miniature railway that carried you around the park which when it crossed a field, Indians came out and attacked.  At high noon there was a bank robbery complete with a gun fight between the sheriff and robbers.

There were days we spent a morning or afternoon at the cabin so David, Timmy and I would go exploring.  We traveled up the dirt road as high as it went up the mountain and found it circled back around on the other side and back to the cabin.  It was a good mile walk down the road to a small store on the main road that had railroad tracks next to it in the valley.  After some exploring David and I found a shortcut, a path that went directly The Jardown the side and was much shorter although steep and very rough.  On day we took some pennies and placed them on the railroad track and then went back the next day and found them flattened like a pancake by the passing train.    (See the Jar)

It was a wonderful week of fun and exploration but soon was over and we packed for the long ride home.  The only minor but rememberable event on the way home was that Beth lost her pacifier.  I’m not sure why, but it was something the family always would always remember as vacation that Beth lost her pacifier.

Updated: 08-12-2022

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