Sep 15, 2014
|Today our morning travels took us on the byways of southeast Ohio. Blue skies and bright sunshine illuminated the farm lands and eventually into the foothills of the Blue Mountains. I find myself getting frustrated while driving when I see crazy or amazing things but can’t get to the camera fast enough to capture it. Hopefully we will be able to capture a couple of things to show our followers.
We decided to pull up short of Richmond to explore western Virginia for a day. We pulled into the Jellystone Park Campground about 6:30 PM and found the office closed. On a table were packets for campers who came in late. As we were deciding which packet to take a large 5th wheel rig pulled up behind us. When the driver came in a gruff mood he tried to open the office doors which shook when he grabbed the bar. Sandy pointed to a couple of packets for people who pre-registered, and he grabbed one and stomped out the door.
We watched as he started up his massive diesel pickup, backed up a little, and tried to go around our trailer. The scrapping, jerking, and banging indicated something went wrong, and we hoped it wasn’t our trailer or truck. Walking around the truck after he had backed up, we were relieved he took out the gutter and part of the roof of the guard shack. The owners weren’t happy!
Tomorrow we will be looking around the area. Stay tuned to join in our findings!
Today we had a Capitol idea! So off to Richmond we went to take in North America’s first permanent capitol building. Of course we didn’t know that until we got there!
Once again good timing was with us in spite of trying to find a parking spot in the downtown area. Once parked in a parking garage we entered the visitor center with enough time to visit the restroom and join the tour. Our guide was a stately older lady with an extensive knowledge of Virginia history, telling stories and knowing her audience to keep them entertained. She was one of the best guides we’ve had in our 8 years of travelling.
On a side note, we have encountered great people-oriented employees and also the worst. Yesterday we met Inga Bored the visitor center receptionist who never looked up from her computer or acknowledged our presence in the room. Then today we visited the Natural Arch and the clerk seemed put out that we bought tickets! After asking if they had a senior discount I showed her my bright red AARP card and she said “Yah.” Then she gave us our tickets to the evening light show at the base of the arch depicting the 6 days of the creation of the world, from the Book of Genesis.
The program has been running since May 27th, 1927 with President Calvin Coolidge dedicating the show. Not much has changed since then. The lights go out, the scripture is dramatically read (in King James), and lights come on and off giving different colored hues and effects on the rock surface for 30 minutes. Imagine looking at an aluminum Christmas tree with a light wheel and classical music playing in the background. What would you be doing at the end? I guess we are too conditioned to big fireworks and Disney light productions which tainted our perspective. We gave it one star.
Back to Richmond, our tour continued with the historical impact the Common Wealth of Virginia had on this nation. Some of its favorite sons are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson. Our host said they are waiting for the first woman president to be from Virginia! We’ll see.
Thomas Jefferson designed the building while serving as ambassador in France and called upon the classic Roman temple design which has influenced the capitol building around this country starting in Washington DC and going to Washington State.
After our tour, we headed off to the Hollywood Cemetery dating back to the 1700’s. Driving amongst the grave markers you are taken back to pre-civil war with all levels of social status displayed in granite. If you have a few spare hours, roaming a graveyard can put things into perspective. Whether you’re rich or poor, black or white, the end for all is a place like this. Reading the markers you can get a glimpse into people’s lives. Our favorite shows a rugged cross with these modest words: “Simply to thy cross I cling.”
Our trip home was beautiful as we passed farm fields, gorgeous brick homes offset by mobile homes with porches full of ‘collectables’ and cars on blocks. Pulling up to our trailer we let out a soft sigh of relief after a busy day of driving and exploring. Tomorrow we head for North Carolina, and we haven’t settled on a camping location or a way to get there. So keep tuned in to see what happens next!