Saturday, October 23, 2010

My trip through history and other exciting adventures

We went to visit Robyn & Andrew over a long weekend.  We left after school last Friday & drove to Nashville.  After a few hours sleep & a not so good Contential breakfast with coffee that tasted a lot like hot water, we drove on to Radford.  We had not made reservations but knew that rooms were available for Sunday & Monday nights.  There were no rooms within 100 miles except a Super 8 for $175 a night!  No way was I going to pay that for a super 8!  The reason....Virginia Tech (about 15 miles away)  had a home game this weekend.  Just our luck!  The one weekend we could actually go, VA Tech had to have a home game!  We stopped at the hotel to make reservations for Sun & Mon with plans to stay with Robyn & Andrew Sat night.  They had a last minute cancellation so we checked in & stayed all three nights.  (I'm sure Robyn & Andrew were glad since they were going to give up their room to us.)

Sunday, Robyn & I went shopping while Terry & Andrew took a walking tour of the Radford University campus then settled in to watch football.  We had a very successful shopping trip & a very nice visit.  I really enjoy spending time with Robyn.  Not just because she is my baby girl, but because I like her!  I would like her even if she wasn't my daughter.  We don't always agree, but we do respect each other's opinions and can just agree to disagree.  Mostly we disagree on politics.  She is ultra liberal and I am moderately conservative, but I love her even when she's wrong! lol

Monday was a full day.  Poor Terry!  He is not as "into" all of this as I am, but he was very patient and went along willingly.  We first went to the Wilderness Road Regional Museum.  In case you don't know, the Wilderness Road was one of the first public roads in the U.S. Davey Crocket carved it out (over 100 miles) from Tennessee through North Carolina and Virginia, to Kentucky. The museum is on the Wilderness Road, part of the first housing development in the country.  Cabins built here had to conform to certain guidelines as to size, etc.and there are several original buildings on this road. This is in a very small town.  We got there a little after 9:30 only to find out that the museum didn't open until 10:30!  We walked around the outside & took pictures of the original log cabins and farm equipment.  As I said, this is a VERY small town.  We were there about 15 or 20 minutes and the curator showed up.  I could just imagine the phone lines singing!  "You had better get down there, there are PEOPLE there".  He was so helpful & opened up early for us.  There are usually two people on duty but one had a dentist appointment so he was alone and couldn't leave the front office.  He turned on the lights all over the old house & told us to just look around all we wanted.  Usually one person escorts the visitors but we had the run of the house on our own! I took pictures of everything.  Tricorner hats, spinning wheels, weaving looms, beautiful old dresses! 

We left the museum & headed to the Natural Bridge.  This was awesome!  Again, I took lots of pictures, but no picture could ever do it justice!  We toured the wax museum, the toy museum, then ate lunch a the little cafe on the grounds.  The Narural Bridge is only a short walk from the cafe, but the entire trail is ove a mile long.  We hiked the entire thing.  It was beautiful.  The leaves were just beginning to turn and the weather was great.  We saw eagles soaring overhead as we walked up the trail to the replicated Indian village.  It was complete with work stations for tanning hides, a community cooking area, and a typical round house.  The trail ended at a waterfall.  It was all wonderfully beautiful, but the bridge itself is the highlight of the hike.  The thought that you are standing on the same spot that a young George Washington had stood to survey the bridge (carving his initials in the rock) and that it had later on belonged to Thomas Jefferson who first opened it up to the public, is humbling.  It truly brought a tear to my eye.  I guess that's why I love teaching history.

We (I) reluctantly left the bridge & headed to the caverns.  Only a couple of miles from the bridge, these are the deepest caverns in the eastern U.S. going 43 stories below the earth's surface. Amazing rock formations, stalagtites, staligmites, pools of water, bats, and a constant temperature of 54 degrees.  I thought I would be cold, but after the 2 mile hike up the Natural Bridge trail and back, it was quite comfortable!   We got to one point in the caverns and our tour guide asked if we were ready to "see nothing at all".  She turned out the lights and there was TOTAL darkness!  I now know exactly what it is like to be completely blind.  Luckily it only lasted less than a minute. 

We went to the apartment to say our goodbyes to Robyn & Andrew Tuesday morning. Robyn went to work, Andrew to class and we headed for our last adventure before heading home.  I wanted to take a short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway before heading home.  Just a short drive...  I am very familiar with the Natchez Trace and there are a handful of places you can get on and off arouond Tupelo so I figured we would get on the parkway, drive for maybe a few miles, take some pictures, get off & head home.  Boy was I wrong!  First of all, we had to drive almost an hour just to get to the Parkway.  Then we started up the parkway.  It was beautiful!  Terry was very understanding  and although he really didn't care about it one way or the other, he stopped at every lookout point so I could take pictures.  Well after a while we started looking for an exit from the parkway so we could start the ten hour drive home.  Much to our dismay, the first exit was 40 miles from where we got on!  We made the best of our long drive though, and continued to stop & take pictures.  We headed for the Parkway at 9:00 A.M. and got off at 1:00 P.M.!!!  Somewhere along the drive the theme song from Gilligan's Island started going through my head..."a three hour tour, a three hour tour..."

We got home a little after midnight, very tired but I am so glad we did everything we did, including the four hour trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Words can't describe how it felt seeing history first hand.  Walking where the founders of our great country walked!  I can't wait to go back & do it again!  Well, some of it anyway!

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