Early in our marriage and before we acquired animals we used to go on family vacations. We toured almost all of the civil war battlefield sites down through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. We went to Virginia Beach a few times and down to Jamestown and Williamsburg, too.
My parents jumped on the timeshare bandwagon 30+ years ago. They have a couple weeks a year at Massanutten Village which over the years has transformed itself from a beautiful sleepy little hideaway into what I think of as a monstrosity. It's more like an urban city now.
They gave us a week at a timeshare of our choosing once and we picked Banner Elk. I remember it being a long drive but we were very comfortable in our 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer which had air conditioning which we hadn't had in a car up until then. This car was awesome; leather interior, fold down back seat, power windows and locks, power steering, etc.
We stayed at a beautiful villa on top of a mountain. Looking out from the balcony we could see huge rocks and large, large trees. A couple mornings we woke up hearing a mother bear with her cubs outside.
We planned day trips to see all the sites. We drove to Blowing Rock then over to Boone. We took a rather exhausting walk down to see the falls where they shot scenes from Last of the Mohicans or rather Phil, Ralph and Joe walked all the way down. I couldn't make it. Elevation was over 3000 feet and I was quite winded just walking. Hiking was out of the question for me. We went to Grandfather Mountain. Very beautiful.
Something happened one day as we were driving back to the villa. The car started making noises and then started backfiring. I think it even shot flames out of the exhaust before the muffler fell off and was dragging behind us. We made it as far as the country club type golf course where golfers stopped their game to stand and look at us making so much noise as we drove past. At that point I felt like we were the Beverly Hillbillies rolling into Hollywood. I was so embarrassed but not half as embarrassed as Phil having to stop the car and get out to look at the muffler and tail pipe dragging behind the car. We sat there a while waiting for it to cool off so he could see if it could be wired back up. That being done we drove on up to the offices and asked if anyone knew a place we could go to get the exhaust fixed. I think the statute of limitations has expired so I can say now that the catalytic converter in the muffler had completely gone. The mechanic reached inside and scooped out the remainder of what was once the catalytic converter and cleaned it out. He reinstalled the muffler and tail pipe and away we went. Never had a problem with the exhaust again.
Every time I think back on that trip what comes to mind is the very loud BOOM! followed by flames shooting out the back and both boys yelling WHAT WAS THAT? And turning to see all the golfers just standing and staring back at us. Lovely place North Carolina. I wonder if they'd let us back in?