Standing in (yet another!) laundry at a KOA trying to update, but cannot post photos due to very slow internet signal - so sorry. (And, to boot, I just lost the transmitter for my wireless mouse under one of the washing machines, so I think it's a gonner - and thaqt makes it more awkward for me to do photos!)
Continued along Skyline Drive this morning, getting a much earlier start than usual (about 8:40am!).
Left the Park and drove to Charlottesville and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Jim had highly recommended it as a ‘must see’ and both of us are very glad we went! It’s one of Jim’s favourite grand old houses in the States and I can see now where he got a lot of inspiration for features in the house he built in Mexico that I eventually bought from Jim and Alan. It’s not a big house, but everything just works so well – lots of thought put into it (e.g. a ‘dumb waiter’ that is just big enough to hold a bottle coming up from the wine cellar to the dinning room. The grounds were lovely too, if you can forget the fact that over 400 slaves died on his estate in a period of less than 100 years, and that the gardens and ‘slave row’ that are so picturesque now were probably quite miserable then. Our guide through the house was amazing: she was enthusiastic about her subject and very knowledgeable. Not one question from our group threw her and it made for a very pleasant tour.
After lunch we returned to the Parkway. This time we joined the actual Blue Ridge Parkway (George Washington National Forest) and quickly went to fluctuating altitudes up to and around 3500 feet. As you can imagine, the views are spectacular across the Shenendoah Valley as we go along. Bruce jumped out at about the 30th mile along and got on his bike again, which meant I was driving the camper along the spine at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains and trying hard not to look down the sheer drops to the valley below. I pulled into the ‘overlooks’ frequently though so that I could take photos but otherwise it was “shut your eyes and think of England”. I was thrilled by it, but it’s still a bit of a challenge for me to drive along that kind of a height. The colour is getting more and more vivid as we go along. We were very slightly disappointed that the colour at the beginning of the Drive was not as spectacular as some we have already seen, but it’s definitely getting there now as we drive South.
I found a spot at the Otter Creek campground at about 60 miles along the Parkway and had only to wait about 45 minutes before Bruce showed up. Lots of downhills for him to enjoy today (although he had some pretty lengthy hauls uphill at times, too) as this campground is at the lowest part of the Parkway. Another spectacular sunny, warm day, although rain is expected for tomorrow. I’m crossing my fingers! However, for tomorrow we think we shall detour briefly from the Parkway and go to Lynchburg and Appomattox – both seriously key areas in the Civil War, so if it’s raining hopefully we shall be in a museum somewhere!