Sometimes we measure precipitation in inches and sometimes in hours. Such was the case for the weather front that hit Bland, Virginia this past weekend. About three inches of rain accumulated, followed by several hours of brisk snowfall. It didn’t stick at first, so we were told, but evidence of it still exists, clinging to the north face of the mountain ridges like powdered sugar across a bundt cake.

We were certain that our driveway would be washed out. So we drove over to check it out. We made the trek up the final ascent by foot, as we could not be sure that a ditch wasn’t suddenly formed by the water rushing downhill. To our amazement it wasn’t as bad as we expected it to be. It can use a pipe or two, and some more gravel, but otherwise it had held up.

My husband has grown tired of worrying about this. He has arranged to meet a man whose vocation is building roads. While they discuss the problem areas and the recommended fixes, I turn up the fire in the cabin. Yes, it is gas, but I love the convenience of flipping a switch to turn the flames on and off. The cabin warms quickly. We have electric heaters that keeps it above freezing when we are away, but the gas logs make it nice and toasty. Once warmed, I can enjoy the scenery.

The panoramic view stops time. The only visible structures are two cell towers and The Big Walker Mountain Lookout Tower. But even they get lost in the vastness of the Jefferson National Forest. Looking out at the surrounding mountains, it is impossible to believe we could ever part with it, though we occasionally flirt with the idea. The moments we have here may be few, but they are priceless. And the feeling is always that we have traveled back in time somehow; as though the tunnel we pass through underneath Big Walker Mountain, is a time machine and when we shoot out the end into Bland, it is 1950. There are no traffic lights or big box stores. And a traffic jam is when someone’s cows are out in the road. It’s just fields and forests, trails and ponds, with a nice golf course and country club one exit up!

Once the driveway has been assessed, we head back home. But not before stopping for dinner at a favorite restaurant in Wytheville, VA – The Peking Restaurant on Malin Drive. It is perched on a hillside near the dinner theater, and always has a nice crowd. The food is delicious, typical Chinese style, but the ingredients always taste crispy fresh. The owners are very friendly and sell us some of their hot mustard – the kind that isn’t hot to the taste buds, but has after-burners that kick in and ignite the sinuses – to take back home with us. It is always clean, and beautifully decorated, plus the wait staff is impeccable. I get a kick out of the menu though. There among the traditional Chinese offerings, are tropical drinks. If it pleases you, they will prepare a pina colada, margarita, or other frozen – or not – beverage. To me, it signifies their dedication to satisfying the customer. And although we have not ordered one, as we are usually traveling through on our way to or from someplace else, I like the idea. It is their own brand of fusion dining!

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