Appomattox Court House

At 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning, August 25, I pulled our Ram truck into the Mt. Airy Dodge Ram dealer. They were so accommodating to fit me in first thing in the morning to look at our flat left rear inner tire. It turned out to be a simple fix. I had run over a nail which had become imbedded in the tire. About 45 minutes and $38.00 later, I was on the way back to Mayberry Campground where Cindy was waiting. We drove approximately 180 miles to the Lynchburg NW/Blue Ridge Parkway KOA. It was Beatitude II’’s first real experience with mountains and she did well. Actually, it was our RAM that did well. She maintained and increased speed easily on the steepest grades on I-77 and I-81. We also handled the winding road with hairpin turns over the last 15 miles to our campground, which is about as isolated as can be in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There was no cell service and minimal, extremely slow wifi which was satellite-based.

In our Mayberry shirts, ready to leave Mt. Airy.

Our very nice site at the Lynchburg NW/Blue Ridge Parkway KOA

After setting up at on our roomy, wooded site we made the fifty-minute drive eastward to the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park., where on April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia, surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all the United States Forces. We were thrilled to stand in the parlor of the reconstructed McLean House where the conditions of surrender were negotiated and signed. The terms of surrender were generous: All confederate soldiers could return home with their sidearms and their horses. After wandering through the old town of Appomattox Court House , we stopped at a few other nearby sites on the way home.

The town of Appomattox Courthouse, a place of monumental significance.

This gentleman told us the story of Appomattox and the days leading up to the surrender from the standpoint of a confederate soldier whose farm was nearby.

Cindy stands on the front porch of the Clover Hill Tavern (Appomattox Courthouse was formerly known as Clover Hill)

A certificate of parole giving the confederate soldier safe passage to his home. Many lived in far away states and would have to travel through Union lines to make it home. This parole paper gave them passage and provisions when presented to Union troops.

Two printing presses on which thousands of parole certificates were printed for confederate soldiers.

The McLean House in the background

Standing on the porch of the historic McLean House

One of the rooms in the McLean House

The Parlor where the surrender was finalized. Lee sat at the desk to the left, while Grant sat at the desk to the right.

The Appomattox Courthouse

One of the fields of battle around Appomattox Courthouse

A nearby Confederate Cemetery which contains the bodies of 18 Confederate soldiers and one Union soldier

This unfortunate Confederate soldier from Alabama enlisted three days after Fort Sumter and lasted through the entire war until Appomattox. He died in the final 24 hours of conflict.

The Richmond-Lynchburg road, upon which Lee carried out his retreat westward hoping to be able to turn south to reunite with additional Confederate forces. This road ran through Appomattox.

The battlefield upon which the nail was placed in the Confederate coffin.

An excellent graphic showing how Grant continued to deny Lee his turn southward until finally he was forced to surrender at Appomattox Court House.

On Friday evening, we grilled salmon and had a lovely dinner outside. The weather is so nice! The heat and humidity disappeared from the air once we hit Mt. Airy, NC. And finally, it was cool enough in the evening to have a campfire. We sat around the fire in our beach chairs (we couldn’t throw them away!) until well after dark, relaxing, sipping wine, and singing songs.

Dinner Al Fresco

Sitting by our campfire.

The mesmerizing fire at our campsite.

Pilot Mountain State Park

On Thursday, after a morning of Mayberry, we completed the short drive to the beautiful Pilot Mountain State Park for an afternoon in nature. Pilot Mountain, rising to 2400 ft. of altitude, has been a navigational landmark for centuries. The Saura Indians, the region’s earliest known inhabitants, called the mountain “Jomeokee”, meaning “great guide.” The two distinctive features of the mountain are called Little Pinnacle and Big Pinnacle (a.k.a., The Knob). We drove up to and walked around on Little Pinnacle, enjoying spectacular views of the Yadkin River Valley.

We took this picture of Pilot Mountain as we were driving from Fayetteville to Mt. Airy

[caption id="attachment_14991" align="alignnone" width="584"] The Knob

We then made our way to Jomeokee Trail, which took us over to The Knob for a hike around the conspicuous quartzite rock formation. We loved the one-mile hike and the fantastic vistas it afforded. We finished our day with a Mexican dinner at Tlaquepaque Mexican Restaurant.

While atop the mountain, I happened to check my app which monitors our Ram Truck. I’ve been ignoring the app for a while. It’s quite annoying when it pops up on the phone as I’m trying to use it for my GPS and driving directions. This time, I took a look and was surprised to see that my inside, left rear-tire had a pressure of 0 psi. I got out and took a look — sure enough, it was flat! I’m not sure how long it had been flat… hopefully, not too long. Having dual rear wheels, I hadn’t noticed any difference in the ride. We were due to leave the following morning, so I had to scramble to find a repair before our departure.


The day after the excitement of the total solar eclipse, we continued on our journey which will take us all the way to upstate New York within a week and a half. We took I-26 to I-95, and then followed I-95 to just outside of Fayetteville, NC. One hundred and ninety-six miles later we arrived at the secluded Lazy Acres Campground. We try to travel less than two hundred miles at the most in a day, and this distance neatly fit our self-imposed guidelines. But, the real reason we stopped over in the Fayetteville Area was to visit with our friends, Jordan and Traci Strange and their two handsome sons, Zachary and Evan. What a blast we had catching up at the Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar! Great food and great company!

Site #3 at Lazy Acres, a lovely campground.

Enjoying the Lazy Acres pool.

Cindy, poolside.

The lake on Lazy Acres.

The Strange Family

At Bad Daddy’s, I had the “Bacon Cheeseburger on Steroids.” It was delicious! Two kinds of Bacon (including Jalapeño Bacon) and a Bacon Mayonnaise. Mmmm!

We broke our “rule” of staying at least two nights in each spot when we arose early the next morning to continue our trek northward. Wednesday’s distance traveled totaled one hundred and sixty-four miles. It was noontime when we arrived at Mayberry Campground in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Unlike the moderately-wooded Lazy Acres where our RV was sheltered beneath beautiful trees, Beatitude II was parked out in the open. But, it came with impressive views of the campground and the surrounding area.

Stopping for lunch on the way to Mt. Airy.

Site #68 at Mayberry Campground.

Looking out our window at Mayberry Campground.

Mt. Airy, was a little out of the way. In fact, we made almost no progress toward our final destination. But, we had a good reason for heading that way — Mayberry! Cindy is one of the most avid Andy Griffith Show fans around, and a trip to Mayberry is something she’s always dreamt of. The show’s Mayberry was actually a Hollywood studio set, but Andy Griffiths hometown, Mt. Airy, was the inspiration for the fictional setting. While I enjoyed seeing the Andy Griffith show related sights, I derived the most enjoyment from the absolute joy and giddiness of my wife.


Outside the Andy Griffith Museum

Interior of the Museum

Sneaking a kiss from Thelma Lou (who still lives in Mt. Airy, and is now 91 years old!).

Standing outside Floyd’s Barber Shop

Next door to Floyd’s is the Snappy Lunch, referred to in the show.

We enjoyed a wine tasting in Downtown Mayberry at the Old North State Winery Tasting Room.

Andy Griffith’s Mt. Airy home.

The Aunt Bea Room, a labor of love by the owner of the Mayberry Motor Inn (also an Aunt Bea impersonator). She has collected a number of items which belonged to Aunt Bea and also some from the show. She displays them in one of the hotel rooms.

I hope Otis doesn’t want his cell!

Driving the Mayberry Squad Car.

Wally’s Service Station.

The Mayberry Courthouse.

Cindy in Barneys’ seat.

We were surprised to find that the Mayberry Campground, where we parked our RV, has its own claim to fame. It sits on part of the property which was owned by the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, born in Siam in 1811 and brought to the U.S. to tour the country as a novelty. They eventually settled in the area and married sisters, producing 21 children between them. At first they lived in the same home, and shared a special bed built for four. But, eventually, the sisters couldn’t get along, so they built separate homes. The twins would take turns living in each home for three days at a time. Chang and Eng died at age 62 in 1874. The Mayberry Campground is still owned by a member of the Bunker family.

The Old Farmhouse of the Mayberry Campground, built by Eng’s son in 1900.

A view of our site and the farmhouse in the background.

Cindy, at the gravesite of Chang, Eng, Sarah, and Adelaide behind the White Plains Baptist Church.

The tombstone of the Siamese Twins

Web Photo of the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng