Touring the Blue Ridge in 1985

In July, 1985, I made my first solo trip to the North Carolina mountains. I drove my 1983 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, and floated along the Parkway, taking side trips of discovery along backroads. My home base was a rustic cabin in northern Madison County, along Shelton Laurel Creek. I spent two weeks getting to know the places that would become so familiar to me twenty-five years later.

In those days, I had a very large VHS video camcorder that had to be plugged into the car lighter to work. No battery thirty-six years ago. I got to know the French Broad River very well, capsizing a canoe in a large rapids, much like the boys who you’ll see in the video. I got to know the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Mt. Mitchell, and much of the video was made from Parkway Overlooks. I had a lot of rain during my stay, but it never stopped me from exploring these magnificent valleys.

The video runs for twenty minutes, and the quality of the original tape sure makes me appreciate today’s digital Hi-Def cameras. As the late Donald Rumsfeld once said, “You go on vacation with the cameras you have, not with the equipment you wish you had”, or something to that effect.

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