Who We Are

We sold our home in June, 2007, and spent the next 7 1/2 years traveling full time in a Cross Roads Fifth Wheel. (We had been traveling during our summers for several years before going full time.) We loved the full-time lifestyle! Each summer we spent a month or two volunteering in State Parks, first in Indiana at McCormick's Creek State Park, near our family, then in later years as the grandchildren got older, at the Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico. We spent 6 months each winter at Cactus Gardens RV Resort in Yuma, AZ, where I worked mornings in the park office. The remaining months were spent on the road, seeing this great country of ours. Our favorite places are our National Parks. Anita loved photography and the freedom of digital photography, taking sometimes hundreds of photos in a day. We hiked as much as our legs will allow. We also really enjoyed square and round dancing as we travel across country, and meeting all the wonderful people who dance and/or travel.

But as in all things, there comes a time for change, and we decided it was time to create roots once more. In the fall of 2014, we purchased a home in Cactus Gardens, and in the spring of 2015, sold the 5th wheel. Anita also retired in the spring. We will continue to travel each summer, but for a shorter period of time. We hope to continue blogging about those trips, but it will obviously be on a more limited basis than in the past.

Please explore our past posts if you are interested in traveling this great country. You'll find an index in the left column. We hope you enjoy our blog, and appreciate all comments

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blue Ridge Parkway – a short look at its history


Blue Ridge Parkway MapRunning 469 miles along the ridge of the Appalachian Mountains from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a designated National Parkway. We decided make its length our primary destination this summer.  

The Parkway is many things.  It is the longest road planned as a single unit in the United States.  It is an elongated park, protecting significant  mountain landscapes far beyond the shoulders of the road itself…It is a continuous series of panoramic views…a museum of the American countryside, preserving the rough-hewn log cabin of the mountain pioneer, the summer home of a textile magnate, and traces of early industries.  It is the fleeting glimpses of a wild animal or a spot to picnic in the woods.  It is all these things and more. 1


Started in 1935, many of the earliest workers came from federal agencies including the well-known Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA).

 A lesser known group of workers came on the scene during the war (WWII), the Civilian Public Service, made up of conscientious objectors to the war.  In fact the work was slowed or halted throughout the years during both WWII and the Korean wars.


26 Tunnels had to be constructed through rock.  The longest is 1,320 feet long.



176 bridges were needed to allow other roads to pass the Parkway without directly intersecting it.  The structures of both tunnels and bridges are works of art, using a “capstone” arch design.  Stone from the immediate area was used by the stonemasons at each site to help the structures blend into the landscape.



The last and most impressive element of construction came in the early eighties with the Linn Cove Viaduct.  Grandfather Mountain was considered a too fragile and valuable eco-biological resource to deface, so a viaduct bridge was designed to provide access around the mountain. 


The 153 precast segments, each weighing 50 tons, were made in a facility a mile away, then each was trucked to the site and added to the extension of the bridge.  Only one segment was straight, as the entire bridge is shaped in an S curve.


The only disturbed areas of the mountain were where the 7 supporting piers enter the ground.

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Otherwise, the construction crew never touched the ground.  Trees that were there before the bridge started were still standing at its completion, an amazing feat in itself.

The icon is 1,243 feet long and 35 feet wide.  It is located at an elevation of 4,100 feet.  Taking three and a half years to complete, the final cost of the bridge was 10 million, and provided the completing link to the Blue Ridge Parkway in November 1982.

Over 52 years after the start of construction, in 1983 the Blue Ridge Parkway was complete.

If you have found the above of interest, more detailed information on the Parkway’s history can be found on the following sites:

Blue Ridge Parkway Travel Guide /Parkway History

Blue Ridge Parkway/ More Than a Road

Timeless Gem of the Blue Ridge Parkway (Linn Cove Viaduct)

1 Paragraph adapted from Highways in Harmony:  Designing and Building the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Historical photos were found at various sites on the internet.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blue Ridge Parkway -- A Preview

After the vent cover problem of the day before, and the hard rains that followed that night, we knew we had to replace the fan immediately.  The temporary cover of garbage bag and duct tape could not last through many such storms.  Fortunately for us, a new Camping World opened in nearby Hendersonville this spring.

We decided to combine a little sightseeing with the trip to Camping World.

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Our campground within the Pisgah National Forest is within 3 miles of an entrance to the Parkway.  We decided to drive a loop that would cover a small length of the Parkway and the Looking Glass Falls, reportedly the most photographed falls in the east.

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The Parkway looks lush and green, belying the fact that this area, like most the of the country, has been in the grip of a drought.  Obviously, the mountains have been getting sufficient moisture.

It wasn’t long as we climbed in elevation that we began to encounter fog.

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We stopped at the overlooks for photos.

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But it wasn’t long before we were engulfed by the fog.  It’s an eerie feeling to be driving along the crest of a mountain on an unknown road at almost zero visibility.

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We drove in and out of the pockets of fog. 

There are 26 tunnels on the Parkway.  Pine Mountain Tunnel is the longest, at 1,320 feet long.

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I’ve always loved trying to get photos as we emerge from tunnels.  Once in a while, you get a good one, as I did here.

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Most of today’s, however, were gray with fog.

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After 18 miles on the Parkway, we took Highway 276 South.  This is a photo of one of the 176 road bridges on the Parkway.  The Bridges are all of this stone arch construction.  One of the principals followed in constructing the parkway was that all building materials such as stone had come from the immediate area in which they were used.

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The road winds down through the Pisgah National Forest. Our first stop was at Sliding Rock.  This is one of the most unique natural playgrounds we’ve ever encountered, loved by locals and tourists alike.

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Here the river rushes down the mountainside.

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You hear the shouts of fun and excitement as you walk down the short trail.  A bathhouse is provided, and just around the building, you see the reason for the shouts.

Here the 50 to 60 degree water flowing at the rate of 11,000 gallons of water per minute makes a swift descent over 60 feet of slick rock, providing the perfect natural waterslide. 

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At the end of the slide is a drop into an eight foot deep pool.  There are signs warning that everyone must be able to swim.  There is also a park attendant at the top of the slide and lifeguards at the bottom.  A few strokes takes each participant to the boardwalk where they get in line to do it all over again. 

We stood for several minutes watching the young and old alike enjoy the slide.  This is the platform at the bottom where the line forms.

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And then the swift ride down.  Often, we saw parents descending holding the hands of their child.

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We stayed and watched for quite a while.

We’ve just missed the season for spring flowers.  A few of the rhododendrons are still blooming.

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Just down the road from Sliding Rock is the majestic Looking Glass Falls.  The name Looking Glass comes from the Looking Glass Rock.  Looking Glass Rock is found up river from the falls.  Water freezes on the side of the rock during the winter, glistening in the sunlight like a mirror or “looking glass”.  The river forming the falls is also named Looking Glass.

I took this at the top of a short flight of stairs that leads down to the foot of the falls.

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Well worth the climb down the stairs, at the bottom you are at the river’s edge, close enough to feel the spray of the cool water falling over 60 feet.

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A couple asked us to take their picture at the half way landing of the stairs, and returned the favor for us.

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One more treat awaited us.  After our stop at Camping World for the new fan, we happened upon the “Little Farmers Market”, where we found beautiful produce at great prices.  We purchased enough to enjoy for several days, along with a jar of local apple butter.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

2012 Summer Trip – Destination Blue Ridge Parkway

Our Summer Trip did not exactly get off to a good start.  Monday morning, I got up with a stomach virus.  We left Bloomington on Wednesday morning.

We headed south on SR 37 to Paoli, and then east on SR 150, which goes through Hardinsburg, my hometown.  I could hardly believe that it looks more decrepit now then it did when we left 5 years ago!  Even the once popular dairy bar is long closed, and grown over with weeds.  Actually, we never lived in town, but about 3 miles out in the country.

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The nearby town of Fredericksburg is almost nonexistent now.  The old buildings are not just abandoned, but gone.


There are still pretty farmland areas along 150, but the crops are suffering this year due to the drought.


Once you get through Louisville, driving through Kentucky is always scenic.

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It wasn’t long until we were rolling through the horse country near Lexington.  I spotted two of the Kentucky Quilt Trail Barns, and managed to snap a photo of one.  This is a trend of painting quilt designs on barns that has spread through several states.  Click here  or here for more information on Quilt Trails.  There’s even a blog on the Quilt Trails.

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2012-07-11 Trip 

We stopped at Berea, KY for the night.  We parked at Walnut Meadows RV Park.  It looks to have once been a nice RV park, but has been neglected.    All you get for your twenty dollars now is a level pull through gravel site with water and electric, but we’ve paid more for less a few times, and the park was adequate for a couple of days.


Ron became ill in the evening with the virus I’d had.  We woke up to rain, and decided to just spend the day there, recuperating from our illnesses.

The next morning, it was still raining, but we were both feeling better, and decided to move on.  After a couple of hours, the rain lessened.  All the much needed moisture also created nice photos of steam rising from the upcoming mountains – hinting of the famous “Smoky” Mountains farther south.




There were times when the woods appeared to be on fire.


We took I-40 toward North Carolina.  By the time we reached the state line, showers were coming again.



Even with the raindrops and clouds, it was still one of the more beautiful stretches of Interstate that we’ve driven.



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The end of the day’s trip brought good news and bad mixed with good. 

The good news?… we were able to get the very last site at Powhatan Lake Recreational Area with electric hookup. 

The bad news?… I entered the 5th wheel to hear our bedroom vent fan running.  Somewhere, thankfully after the rain quit, the wind had torn off the cover to the vent, taking the automatic switch with it.  The fan was running, open to the sky.  Had it happened during the rain, our bedroom would have been soaked!  We are very thankful that the only damage was to the fan.  We taped a garbage bag over the opening, and our makeshift repair lasted through the night, even though it poured rain at times.

2012-07-13 Trip