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LaZoom – A Little History And A Lot Of Laughs

LaZoom Comedy Bus Tours in Asheville, NC

We finally rode the open-air purple bus with LaZoom Comedy Tours in Asheville, NC. What a hoot! The saying “time flies when you’re having fun” took on new meaning. It was the fastest hour-and-a-half we can remember. If you haven’t taken the tour, lighten your load and as LaZoom says, “Get on the bus!”

Redneck Earlene Hootch, Tour Guide, LaZoom Comedy Bus Tours, Asheville, NC

A few years ago we saw a bumper sticker on a car that said “Keep Asheville Weird” and LaZoom is definitely helping. Nothing was off limits to our hilarious, redhead (and self-described redneck) tour guide, Earlene Hooch, in her muumuu from Good Will. She pointed out (and took shots) at almost everything weird and sacred to Asheville, from the rich, trust-fund-hippies to the eat-local and gluten-free fanatics.

Sister Bad Habit, LaZoom Comedy Bus Tours, Asheville, NC

Talking about sacred, Sister Bad Habit is also very entertaining. Somehow she gets off the bus numerous times and catches up to it later wearing different outfits and skits. Every encounter was hilarious.

Funny Skits On The Lazoom Purple Bus Comedy Tour

You’ll find yourself laughing throughout the trip, and like us, you’ll wonder where the time went (and wish it didn’t have to end so soon) so check out LaZoom online here. And for additional pictures of the LaZoom Comedy Bus Tour click here.


Tazewell County, Virginia, in the Sunlight

The Cove, Tazewell County, Va

Tazewell County, Virginia, is beautiful even on overcast, rainy days like my visit, but its beauty is much more obvious when the sun shines brightly. The photo above of “The Cove” in Tazewell County is where the Lassie movie was filmed in 1994. The picture below shows the calm water at Falls Mill Dam…

Falls Mills Dam, Tazewell County, Va

Thompson Valley in Tazewell County looks spectacular from VA Rt. 16′s Back of the Dragon…

Thompson Valley, Tazewell County, Va

This is a picture of Tumbling Creek…

Tumbling Creek, Tazewell County, Va

Click the image below to watch a 4-minute video of Back of the Dragon Days in Tazewell County…

Back of the Dragon Days Video

The photos above were provided by David Woodard, Tourism Coordinator, Tazewell County, Virginia.

“Back of the Dragon” in Southwest Virginia

Views from the Back of the Dragon, VA Rt. 16

Virginia’s “Back of the Dragon” has some terrific views as it crosses over three mountain ranges and beautiful, green valleys with rolling hills and farms. The Back of the Dragon connects Marion, Va., with Tazewell, Va., 32 miles north on Virginia Route 16.

Back of the Dragon 55 mph Speed Limits

Another nice thing about the Back of the Dragon is the lack of traffic. I rode it during the week, and in over 30 miles I only saw three cars and one motorcycle.

Back of the Dragon Speeds

Best of all, the speed limit is higher, often 55 mph (I believe the speed limit is 35 mph on the entire 11-mile stretch of the Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina, with tons of sports cars and motorcycles running it everyday. For more information about the Back of the Dragon, click here. For an interactive Google map of the Back of the Dragon click here.

Back of the Dragon Limits Truck Traffic

If you ride the Back of the Dragon from the north and need a place to stay, you might try the General Francis Marion Hotel in Marion, Virginia. It looked nice from the outside, but I was traveling north so I didn’t stay there. Check the Hotel’s website and TripAdvisor for additional information.

General Francis Marion Hotel, Marion, VA

I arrived in Marion at lunch time and stopped at the Wooden Pickle for lunch. The restaurant is a clean, nice looking place that’s probably more lively on the weekends. My chicken salad wrap was delicious. I chose fruit over French fries for a change, and enjoyed it very much.

Chicken Wrap at Wooden Pickle Restaurant, Marion, VA

My overnight destination was the Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park in Tazewell, Virginia. It provides an interesting history lesson on Tazewell County and the Clinch River Valley of Virginia. Here are a few pictures of the museum and park…

Pictures Outside Crab Orchard Museum

Pictures Inside Crab Orchard Museum

It was raining and overcast the next day so I only visited a couple of other places in Tazewell County. One was the fascinating and beautiful Burke’s Garden, which is an 8-mile-long valley at 3,000 ft. elevation surrounded by Clinch Mountain. Click on the Google satellite image below of Burke’s Garden for an interactive Google Map to Burke’s Garden…

Google Satellite Image of Burkes Garden

Burke’s Garden has a very interesting history, especially for those who like Asheville’s Biltmore Estate. The legend is that Burke’s Garden was the Vanderbilt’s first choice for building their home, but the original owners wouldn’t sell their property. Read more about the history of Burke’s Garden here. If you search for Google Images of Burke’s Garden you’ll find some amazing aerial photos that reveal its “crater-like” geography.

Afterward I headed over to the Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine. That was another education in the history of our country and how hard others have worked for the rest of us…

Photos Inside the Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine

I must thank Tazewell County Tourism Coordinator David Woodard for his hospitality during my trip. When I told him I was coming to ride the Back of the Dragon, he made arrangements for me to stay at the Cottage at the Crab Orchard Museum (if you need a place to stay, this 2-bedroom Cottage is a great value), and David escorted me on a tour of his beautiful county. If you haven’t been to Tazewell County, Virginia, add it to your list of “must see” places. It truly has some of the most beautiful scenery in all of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Bactrian Camel and LLama Farm in Burkes Garden Virginia

One more thing: The group tour at Lost World Ranch let’s you get up close to Bactrian (rare, two hump) camels on a farm in Burke’s Garden. Call 276-472-2347 for reservations.

Navitat’s New Blue Ridge Experience Zip Lines

Navitat Video of the Blue Ridge Experience

Click to Watch 1-Minute Navitat Video on Vimeo

We’ve heard that Navitat’s Blue Ridge Experience will take your breath away, so we’ll have to get back up there to try it out. Reports are that Navitat’s newest zip line adventure soars higher, faster, and longer than ever before. (When I first rode the Navitat zip lines three years ago it seemed very fast. They must be screaming now!) Check out Navitat’s website here for more information about their new Blue Ridge Experience.


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