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.

. lcvconstruction

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.

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