And we certainly didn’t plan on a storm delivering six inches of rain overnight and flooding the peaceful little campground, followed by a tropical storm. But hey! We didn’t float away, it’s 15 degrees cooler here than it is in Florida, and there are no biting bugs (which I don’t exactly understand, but it’s wonderful).
Settling In To A Sweet RV Park
After 18 months of stationary life, we decided that staying in an RV park for a month, not too far from home, would help us get accustomed to traveling again. Plus, if it turned out to be a disaster, we could head back to Florida.
We found a sweet small park perfectly located for a variety of adventures in Western North Carolina. Riverbend RV Resort is in Lake Toxaway, in the heart of waterfall country. Nearby are several interesting little towns, including Brevard, Cashiers, Highlands, and Sapphire. And it’s only an hour from Asheville, one of our favorite places we’ve visited in our travels.
This is radically different from our usual style of travel. Typically, we stay in state or national parks whenever possible, and we move every few days. But this little park has pretty sites just as nice as a state park. And because we booked for a month, the rate is $675 with full hook-ups included, which is much less expensive than many state parks.
Riverbend only has about two dozen sites. There’s blazing fast free internet, a nice small laundry, a beautiful pavilion on the creek, and assorted laid-back social events. It’s an easy place to ease back into RV life.
Adjusting To Living In A Trailer Again
We have a long list of things we want to do while we’re here, and staying put allows for a sense of spaciousness in our explorations. Unlike our usual agenda of hiking/exploring/adventuring every single day, we’re having days when we just hang around the RV park and catch up on life. Staying in one place also gives the three of us time to adjust to living together in our trailer.
On the days when we don’t head out for adventures, we get plenty of exercise walking the trails in the park. I’ve figured out two loops around the entire park adds up to a four-mile hike, with some good uphill stretches.
Eric and I lived full-time in our trailer for seven-and-a-half years. Even when we were back home in Oregon, we stayed in our trailer. Even when we visited my parents in Florida every winter, we stayed in our trailer. It was our cozy little nest.
Most of the time, we’re really happy with our trailer. But after living in a 1600-square foot house for the last 18 months, the trailer feels small. Especially when it rains (which we will get to in a moment). The truth is that in the realm of full-time traveling, our 27-foot trailer is small for two people. Add in a cat, and it’s even smaller. Fortunately, it has a deep slide-out that magically expands our living space and adds immensely to a harmonious living situation.
Traveling with Magnolia is part of our re-adjustment to trailer living. Much as we try, our rules at home (no kitty on the dining table!) are not working in the trailer. The only thing we’ve been able to enforce is “no kitty on the kitchen counter,” and I’m quite sure that only applies when we’re around to enforce the rule. You have to choose your battles, right? However, we do move her off of the table when we’re eating.
She was so little when she came barreling out of the woods last February. Now, at 10 months old, she weighs a hefty 11 pounds. And she’s not done growing. My friend Lindi has a Bengal kitty, and thinks Magnolia may be part marbled Bengal. Whatever she is, we love her.
A Rainforest And An Epic Rainstorm
Did you know that Western North Carolina is in the Appalachian temperate rain forest? We did not. As I mentioned earlier, this lovely place that we’ve chosen to spend our summer gets about 80 inches of rain per year.
That means waterfalls galore, and hiking trails through verdant forests. It also means that the weather forecast calls for rain almost every day. Fortunately, we’ve learned that the rain is predictable. The mornings are sunny with blue skies and puffy white clouds, which build into thunderheads that deliver a torrential storm almost every afternoon starting at 2 p.m. We’re working our hiking adventures around nature’s schedule.
We have big, roiling thunderstorms almost every day that dump copious amounts of rain. But nothing prepared us for the epic storm last week. Six inches of rain overnight caused the mellow little creek that flows through the campground to flood. According to locals, it was a 100-year storm. (Have you noticed that there are a lot of 100-year events happening recently?) A couple of days later, tropical storm Fred came through, and delivered a lot more rain. We’re lucky that our site is on high ground.
Hiking After The Storm
The day after the storms subsided, we thought it would be fun to see the effects of the rain on nearby waterfalls. Gorges State Park is only five miles from our campground, and boasts one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the land of waterfalls. We had hiked previously to Rainbow Falls, and it was lovely.
We continued another half-mile up the trail to Turtleback Falls. This is a popular swimming hole. But not on this day.
And…We’ve Decided To Stay Longer!
We realized pretty quickly that a month is not nearly long enough to explore this area. So we’ve extended our stay into October.
Come September, we’ll have to move sites. We were lucky that they have a site available. But…it’s one of the two sites that was underwater during the flood. We’ve been assured that the rains will soon abate. And, of course, that was a 100-year flood. :-)
Awesome, enjoy and be at peace there….looks like a place to put on our list…
Julie, you and Martin would enjoy this little park and the gorgeous location! Add it to your list, for sure. :-)
Oh Laurel, all that greenery and water are a feast for the eyes, here in the parched and brown west.
I wish I could send half of this rain to you in Ashland, Ann. It’s a gorgeous part of the country, as you know. Hugs to you, my friend.
Lots prettier than when we were there! I look back at our hiking through the sticks… While all that rainforest water makes good floods, it also makes beautiful waterfalls, which are always fun hiking destinations. It looks like a great place to extend your stay, and I hope they’re right about the rains abating so your next site stays dry. Did you cut a hole in a cupboard yet? ;)
Joodie, as you know, we’ve been in the mountains of North Carolina twice in the springtime, and also experienced hiking in the sticks with views of brown stick-covered mountains. It’s so different now, lush and green and beautiful. We’re happy we’ve extended our stay because we have a big long wish list of adventures!
There’s a cat door in a cupboard, as of yesterday. Now the task of getting Magnolia to understand that her litter box has moved….
Hope September’s weather is perfect to match that perfect place to be for awhile. After cat-sitting for a Bengal kitty for one month, I know why you guys are in love with Magnolia. They’re very demonstrative and communicative. He would jump up on the counter, as eye-level with me as possible, and paw me like a dog when he wanted my attention.
Terri, Magnolia has some behaviors that aren’t like most cats we’ve been around. She’s very interactive, loves water (she comes running when she hears the shower and perches on the side of the tub), and loves to play chase. She’s a fun kitty! It’s so cool that you’ve been cat-sitting as a way of traveling. Maybe you’ll consider a cat-sitting position in Florida at some point? :-)
Congratulations on your adaptation to your new lifestyle. I hope you continue to “go deep” in your new little neck of the woods.
Thanks for the good wishes, Nancy. A lot of this is new territory for us, and we have a lot to explore. We’ve both commented several times how much our hikes here remind us of the Pacific Northwest…if we overlook that these are mostly deciduous trees instead of conifers! Hope you guys are doing well in Ashland and doing some traveling.
My goodness, that’s a lot of rain. Happy to read you are staying longer and I hope you three settle in to RV life happily!
Janna, it was definitely a lot of rain! And it was eye-opening to witness the effect on the little creek. We’re glad we pried ourselves away from Eastpoint for a new adventure. :-)
Glad you made it through the floods unscathed. I can practically hear those waterfalls roaring in your pics! I am keeping my fingers crossed that you will soon see the end of the rains so your new site stays high and dry. This RV park definitely rivals most state parks — love those private, wooded sites! — and with the bonus feature of no bugs I can see why you decided to stay a while longer.
Shannon, I think you and Ken would really like this park and all of the opportunities for adventures nearby. Plus, it has all the comforts of home that we appreciate as travelers (laundry, great internet) and the benefits of a park in a natural setting (dark night skies, quiet, and beautiful). And the managers are really committed to making it a wonderful park. I’m still wondering why there are no bugs, but I’m not complaining!
How exciting to be in a 100 year storm! It sounds delicious since I can’t even remember when it rained last here. I can understand why you want to extend your stay..it is a lovely campground. Have you solved Magnolia’s kitty litter box dilemma yet?
I like the way you think, Sandy! It was definitely exciting to be in a 100-year storm, and with the extent of the drought out west, I’m grateful for the abundant rainfall in the east. I just wish we could send some to you!
Eric worked on a new home for Magnolia’s litter box yesterday, and we think it’s great. We’re just hoping Magnolia will agree, LOL.
Except for that little hiccup of massive flooding, looks like you found a perfect spot to spend some time returning to RV living! That is one scary looking flood coming right through the park, sure glad you all made it unscathed. Magnolia looks like she’s enjoying having you all much closer together – and of course her cat-TV!
Jodee, the flood was CRAZY. Fortunately the creek only flooded the lower third of the park, but that was some powerful water moving through. It took away picnic tables, big wooden chairs, and two bridges in the park. It was pretty incredible how quickly the couple that manages the park responded…everything was just about back to normal within a couple of days.
Magnolia does seem to be enjoying us all being together! And she’s obsessed with her cat-TV and the bird programs, LOL.
That is one beautiful park and it really does rival many of the state parks we’ve camped at. Plus – full hooks up AND cheap! Definitely a winner and definitely worth staying longer.
I’m glad you guys didn’t suffer any damage in all that flooding. It is shocking to think that little creek – which honestly looks like a manmade water feature – produced all that devastation. Mother Nature is a nutter. On the other hand, she sure creates some awesome waterfall pics!
I think it’s funny that you’re still trying to set boundaries for Magnolia. As if you have any control over what she’s gonna do. LOL. Just submit already. The house is hers, the trailer is hers, your furniture is hers. It’s all over. :)
Haha, you are absolutely right, Laura. How many times can I remove Magnolia from the table? After a while she wears me down, LOL. I should just submit, already. She’s so sweet and is not being destructive, so it’s really not a big deal (except I don’t want her big butt on the table when we’re eating).
I think you and Kevin would love this park and this location. I’ll let you know if the rain abates in September…but truly, even with almost daily thunderstorms, there’s almost half of the day that is gorgeous. Then again, it would mean that you guys would have to get out early for hikes and adventures, so maybe not so great?
Incredible photos of the creek all calm and pretty and then raging floodwaters! Whew good that you are all okay as that kind of intensity seems pretty scary. Did laugh out loud at the waterfront reception desk.
The waterfalls are so magnificent. I imagine the air was wonderful and fresh too especially after the rains.
Glad to see Magnolia is happily running the roost and has her humans wrapped around her baby finger just as she should…. :)
Wonderful to have the flexibility to stay on in a place that resonates … amazing how quickly a month goes by huh!
Peta, it was shocking to see how that peaceful little creek could do so much damage in just a couple of hours! Fortunately no one was hurt and the biggest loss was a few picnic tables and a couple of bridges.
This is a gorgeous part of the country and we’re delighted that we were able to extend our stay for a lot more exploring. You’re right, a month goes by SO quickly. I’m looking forward to following along on your upcoming adventures to see how you manage a month-long stay in so many different exotic locales.
Magnolia definitely is getting us trained, LOL!
Peta is right that it is amazing in this competitive campsite environment that you could extend for another month. I do hope the rains leave you alone in September.
So glad to learn of this place since month-long stays in interesting spots have become what I seem to be doing with my summer as well. And I like it. I just hope your sweet place doesn’t get so popular that the rates go up. Mine are much higher here in Vermont. But still worth it.
Your pictures are beautiful and so well-matched to your story. I was glad to see both your site, the inside of your trailer which looks lovely, and the park in flood mode as well as those wonderful waterfalls. Waterfalls and covered bridges are a lot of what I’ve done here in Vermont and really call to me to come to that area where you are. Maybe next summer although I guess I better be careful what site I ask for . Thanks for putting this place on my radar.
Sherry, knowing how much you love waterfalls, this is a place that I know you would love! And I know you would enjoy this little park, too. It’s just as peaceful and beautiful as a state park, but with better amenities than most. The only downside is that we have to drive to most hikes. But even if we were staying in a state park or national park, we would have to drive for a lot of hiking opportunities. You will also appreciate how meticulous the managers are—they really care about this park, and it shows.
If you come here, just ask for sites in the upper part of the campground…just in case! And I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.
Looks like a gorgeous place to spend a couple of months. Thank goodness you were in the right site during the floods!
Lisa, we were happy we lucked out with a high and dry site, too! We’re hoping that there won’t be any more flood-inducing rains while we’re here, especially when we move sites in September. It’s so beautiful, and we have lots more to explore.
Hi Laurel, I posted a comment and my internet died not sure if you got it… Looks like a fabulous trip! Glad you’re staying longer! Love and Miss you OXO Judy
Hi Judy, I’m happy to hear from you! We’re having a wonderful time, and are loving North Carolina. We miss you guys and wish you were here with us! But I know you’re having a fabulous time in Alaska and I wish we were there with you, LOL. I want to be everywhere at once. Love you!!
Laurel, I REALLY like that “Time Out” site! Never mind the true origin of it’s nickname; it seems like a perfect fit for your first “time out” on the road again. Enjoy your continuing explorations!
Haha, we really like our “Time Out” site, Mary! I think it’s a reference to being poorly behaved and needing to sit in the corner, but we’re enjoying the peace of being tucked back in the corner of the campground. And it’s a high and dry site! You’re right, it’s a perfect fit for our first time out on the road after a long hiatus. :-)
What a lovely RV park! Looks like a place we’d enjoy too. Thank you for the info. The pic of Magnolia looking out the window is so cute and the same goes for sleeping under the lamp. She’s cozied right up to her new RV environment!
I recently started following your blog and I’m thoroughly enjoying it! I look forward to reading about your extended stay at Riverbend. Take care and have a grand time!
Hi Donna! Thank you for your kind comment. Magnolia is getting used to her new space and has staked out her claim (to everything, LOL).
We’ve stayed in a lot of places over the years, and Riverbend is already one of our favorites. It’s everything we like in a campground—quiet and beautiful, and with the bonus of amenities that make life on the road so much easier (laundry and good internet). The managers are very dedicated and have made the park into a little gem. I can see why people come back year after year!
Laurel, you guys have landed in a beautiful place in which to explore other beautiful places. No wonder you have extended your stay. The temps will only get better from here. My brother and his friends camp there often and love it. I’m sure he has never seen the waterfalls so full. Enjoy
Suzanne, does your brother stay here at Riverbend? This is a fabulous little park! I don’t know how I got so lucky to find it. Not only is it beautiful and well-located, but it is meticulously maintained. And Rosemary and Larry, the managers, really go out of their way to make everyone comfortable. I think it’s because of them that the park is so special.
Glad you guys made it thru the rains ok. I see you’re doing it the Yahoo Rambler way, month long stays. We love doing it that way. Instead of just passing thru you get to ‘live’ the area. And just spending some days kicked back enjoying nature is great. Loretta’s doing some serious kicking back right now. She broke her foot last week. Scratch the kitty under the chin for me. And say hello to that guy, Raven or whatever his name is.
Hi Henry, it’s great to hear from you! We’re so sorry to hear that Loretta broke her foot. :-( I hope she heals quickly.
We always enjoyed our summers on Lopez Island, our month or so in Ashland, and then a couple of months in Eastpoint in winter, but staying in an RV park for an extended stay is a different experience for us. We’re really loving being here, especially because it’s in such a beautiful place with so much to explore! You’re right, it gives us the opportunity to experience the area like locals instead of just passing through.
Other than Loretta’s foot, I hope you guys are enjoying the summer. Come see us in the winter!
Thanks again for sharing your campgrounds with us. We camp in NC several times a year, and always looking for new vistas to conquer. Aside from the flooding risk, does Riverbend have some nice creekside campsites? Helen loves to sit by a creek, drink coffee, and work puzzles. Looking forward to hearing more about your time there. Enjoy! Joe
Joe, I’m sure that you and Helen would LOVE Riverbend! There are lots of creekside campsites…I think I would avoid #1 & 2 just in case there’s a flood. Although we’re moving into site #2, and I’m not really worried, because that was a crazy and unusual rainstorm. The other sites that are directly on the creek are #3-9. They stay full here, so be sure to book ahead!
So glad that you’ve landed in such a sweet place for your first time back out. We look forward to your wonderful prose and beautiful pictures!
I’m enjoying your “training” of Magnolia. It’s always worth a try and maybe, with concerted and very consistent efforts, it will work! Certainly worth a try. I’ve heard that there are cats who stay off tables, as a matter of fact, Jesse’s sweet Dexter has been convinced (at least while they’re in view). My dear aunt’s cat would always take her spot on the kitchen table when I was there for lunch. She’d stare pointedly at me and if I didn’t “get it” she’d reach out and tap my bowl of soup, then sit back down a smidge closer and resume staring. Always fun eating there.
Sue, I love your story about your aunt’s cat. So hilarious!! I can just envision the kitty practicing mind-control on you. Because they do that! Dexter, on the other hand, sounds like a true sweetheart and a gentleman. I wish I could get him to come give Magnolia some lessons in proper kitty etiquette. Sigh. Oh well, we still love her!
This is a wonderful little RV park. It’s just the kind of place you and Dave would enjoy if it wasn’t in the eastern half of the country, haha!!
What a crazy (and scary) amount of water! The few times we’ve been in western NC (Boone, Valle Crucis) it rained a lot, but not like what you experienced. It does remind me of my one and only trip to Kauai. It rained every day we were there, which is not remarkable, but what was terrible is that it rained 42 inches in 7 days. Bridges were under water and we couldn’t do much of anything except whine. :(
Your campground looks wonderful and I’ve added it to my long list of places to visit. I love the idea of staying put for several weeks and with good internet, this spot sounds perfect. Enjoy your time there and stay safe. (OR now has a mask mandate for indoors and outdoors. 72 cases yesterday in Lincoln county! The “norm” used to be 3-6.)
Forty-two inches of rain in seven days?? That’s crazy! I would have been whining, too, Les.
I know you and Rod will really enjoy Riverbend when you make it out here in your RV. We are so happy we found this sweet place! And it’s also easy to be here, even during the continuing pandemic. We’re spending lots of time outdoors hiking, and we’re able to easily find great restaurants with outdoor seating. And of course, when we grocery shop we wear masks. So life is pretty similar to at home, just in a cooler climate and with a welcome change of scenery. You all stay healthy, too! That’s concerning to hear about the rise in cases in Oregon. :-(
You are in a wonderful location. We used to tent camp at Black Rock Mtn SP in GA or Van Hook Glade in NC and visit Highlands. And we spent some long weekends there in a nice little lodge with hot tub/fireplace rooms right on the main street for birthday or anniversary celebrations. Such good memories of that area, and I am sure you are making your own memories there as well! We loved the Whitewater Falls trail, which I imagine is still there.
Happy to hear that Magnolia is adjusting to RV life and that you two are adjusting to her being there. Cats and all that goes with them do make an already small space smaller. Hope the new litter box location has helped.
Gayle, we made a trip to Highlands last week and loved it! What a beautiful little town. We hiked the network of trails in town, visited a couple of waterfalls nearby, and had lunch. I can see why you enjoyed your visits there. Whitewater Falls is definitely on our list. If you have other suggestions, please send them our way!
Magnolia is being a very good kitty and doing her best to adapt to RV living. We’re delighted with her new litter box location…she’s still suspicious and would prefer it to be in the shower, but she’s adjusting. :-)
The vagaries of Mother Nature! Nice that the rain is predictable … as it is in Colorado. Get out in the morning; get back home by mid-afternoon before the thunderstorms. The photo of the little creek that is not so little reminds me of the RV pad we had in Port Aransas. Most of the time the pond that we overlooked was nice and placid, a couple of times, however, it overflowed after major rains. I was never so glad as on those occasions that Mui convinced me early on not to invest in a sunken patio at the edge of the pond. When we had the flooding, our pad had maybe two-three inches of water, whereas those with the sunken patios were submerged at least a foot.
After staying in several campgrounds in Alaska where the mosquitoes were swarming in clouds … well, let’s just say that we’re happy not to have to deal with them at home.
We enjoy longer term stays that allow us to chill at home some days … that RV park sounds ideal for that purpose. I’ll keep it in mind … just in case I can convince Mui to return to the east coast with the RV someday. Hope your next site there remains dry and you don’t get another 100-year event!
Erin, at first we were surprised that it was raining almost every day, and then we were happy to realize that the thunderstorms were predictable. And now, suddenly with the advent of September, the weather is perfect!! I still can’t figure out why there are no mosquitoes or other biting bugs, but I am definitely not complaining!
As you said, we’re discovering how nice it is to have longer stays that allow us time to just relax at home. I know you and Mui would love this park if you ever come this way. We’re moving to an even better site on the creek tomorrow, but it’s still high enough to avoid flooding. :-)