A few weeks back I had seen a photo of this mill on the cover of a book about Virginia and it stuck in my mind. So one day when I got home from work I had the crazy idea of taking a photo road trip to knock out a couple of places on my wish list. The idea was to drive 2.5 hours to Meadows of Dan, VA., get a few shots of this mill, and then drive to Boone, N.C. Then wake up around 4 am and drive to the Linn Cove Viaduct to get some sunrise shots. So after checking the weather and sun position I grabbed the wife and the tripod and headed out. Our GPS had us going in circles once we got to Meadows of Dan, so I had to break out Google Earth on the iPad to get us to the mill. That put our arrival at the mill near the end of the Golden Hour so I had to act fast. I got off about 50 shots from various locations before my exposures were getting too long for ISO 100 and causing vegetation and duck blur:) So we headed off to Boone, but not without seeing a huge black bear only a few miles from the mill. The bear walked across the road in front of the car, walked over to a tree, wrapped its arms around it, and just waited for us to drive away. A few deer, skunk, and raccoon encounters later we arrive in Boone. Pretty uneventful trip so far. We went to our new favorite chain of hotels first and they had no vacancies. Not a big deal, we will just go somewhere else. Come to find out, every freaking hotel in Boone was sold out! So we left for Blowing Rock which is only a few more miles away. Nothing! Everything was sold out there as well. I finally had to ask someone why every room was sold out in two neighboring towns. The guy behind the counter told me that Thomas the Train was visiting Tweetsie Railroad for the weekend. What are the chances!! So we drove back to Boone in desperation. Maybe we could sneak in 4 hours of sleep in the car. Keep in mind that it was now nearly midnight and I had been up since 3 a.m.!! There was just one motel that had vacancies but the reviews (thank you Trip Advisor) read like a horror film script. So we had ourselves a little bit of a dilemma. Pay $70 to stay in a roach motel and risk life and limb to get 4 hours of sleep to get a shot that I’ve wanted to shoot for years that we are only 10 minutes drive away from, or drive 2 hours back home over insanely winding mountainous roads without the shot after being up for nearly 24 hours?