Sunday, July 29, 2007

#228 Ragged Mountain Natural Area

Close to our home is the nature preserve called Ragged Mountain Natural Area.
Owned by the city of Charlottesville, the small reservoir at Ragged Mountain supplies a portion of the city’s drinking water. In the next two years, the dam will be enlarged, raising the lake level 45 feet and flooding most of the area we hiked.

I imagined doing the same hike then in a diving suit with lead shoes and a big iron helmet with a porthole window.

Yours in hiking under water,

Sunday, July 22, 2007

#227 The Grand Canyons

How many grand canyons are there?

Let's see. There's THE Grand Canyon, of course.

And also out west, there's the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

And then there's the Grand Canyon of the East and the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.

But did you know Virginia has a Grand Canyon too? Yup. Breaks Interstate Park in southwest Virginia is called the Grand Canyon of the South.
The gorge is 5 miles long and 1/4 mile deep. With all the flora and fauna, it's sometimes called "The Grand Canyon with Clothes On." Besides the gorge, there are two other cool things about the Grand Canyon of the South.

First, the Notches! Come one rock hound, come all. These are some fascinating rock formations.
Second, the morning fog!
We should write a book. There's probably a grand canyon in each state. We’ll call it The Grand Canyons of the United States. Who's with me?

Yours in appreciating the grandness of all canyons,

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

#226 There’s key lime pie in Virginia.

Thank goodness. There’s key lime pie in Virginia.
We have lived here for 2 Saturdays and on each Saturday, we’ve made our way to the downtown Charlottesville City Market. Kelly's big cool hat keeps the sun out of his eyes and helps introduce us to the locals.
Local farmer: "Nice hat."

Kelly: "Thanks. How much for the grape tomatoes?"
Besides grape tomatoes, they sell eggs, corn on the cob, tomatoes, blueberries, honey, pickles, flowers, some homemade greeting cards, and yes, key lime pie.

I think we can be happy here.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

#225 Think globally, recycle locally

BEWARE: What follows is a blatant advertisement for Freecycle.

Need moving boxes? You could always impose on a good friend to bring you carloads full of paper boxes from the office. (Thank you, o' kind one.) Or you could check Freecycle.

Need to get rid of all those moving boxes after you’ve got them unpacked? Simple. Post them to Freecycle. Next thing you know, you’re getting offers from people who are eager to come take them away. No trips to the cardboard recycling place for you!

When you want to find a new home for something, just send an e-mail offering it to members of your local Freecycle group. When you're looking to acquire something for yourself, just respond to a member's offer, and you might get it.

We've used freecycle about 10 times through the years and have had terrific experiences. It's a good thing.

Freecycle is changing the world one gift at a time.

Yours in freecycling,

Thursday, July 12, 2007

#224 Shenandoah National Park

We’ve visited a lot of national parks in our lives, but we’re just starting to realize what it feels like to have a national park in our back yard.
Now, I know what you’re thinking... Those Johnstons are going to give us their top 10 list of national parks. Wrong! (But that's a good idea for later!)

We've only just arrived in Virginia and we've spent two days in Shenandoah National Park. We've hiked a little bit of the shady Appalachian Trail, we've spotted 2 of Virginia's large black bear population, we've seen 1 wild turkey, and we've driven the 105 spectacular miles of Skyline Drive.

Yours in holding a Shenandoah National Park annual pass before holding a Virginia driver’s license,

Monday, July 09, 2007

#223 Keep 'em coming

You all sure know how to write. We enjoy your writing style, your sense of humor, and your outrageous e-mailabilities.
Here’s a collection of material that hit our e-mail inbox just last week. See yours?

  • Things continue here much the same as before, with outrageously optimistic plans and grotesquely irresponsible behavior.

  • When to Va? As soon as possible, my id tells me.

  • I think the lack of a bow tie and the calm demeanor are worth noticing.

  • If only IKEA carried Apple, it would be much easier (although if they did the laptop would probably be made of laminated cardboard).

  • Do you remember back to your Indy days - does Scholar's Inn have strawberry shortcake?

  • [He] can send you some plywood with termites, snakes and poison ivy to make new furniture.

  • Will the rover room be ready? (Or since we'll be the first visitors, can we name it?!?!)

  • I used to have a crush on Ralph Macchio, and now I have decided that I have a crush on Mr. Miagi. He is the COOLEST. Funny how times change!

  • Being over 50 is not a problem. It gives one the luxury of using age as an excuse to get out of undesired activities and to stun people when doing things they don't expect.

  • I’m glad to hear Elton went with you to Virginia. I’m sure he enjoyed the ride and the conversation. Nothing like a little Elton to make a drive go faster.

  • My fingers are crossed...makes it hard to type.

  • Whenever you get reasonably established in Char-ville, you need to find out what all interesting things there are to do in the area and use them as leverage to persuade me to come for a visit. Looking at the map I discover there is no really direct way to get between here and there, but the lack of convenience is made up with an abundance of presidential estates, battlefields, and probably fabulous winding-road type of scenery all the way there.
Keep ‘em coming.

Yours in letting you all write today's blog post,

Saturday, July 07, 2007

#222 7/07/07: A lucky day

People are saying that today, 7/07/07, is a special day, because 7 is a lucky number. 7 seas. 7 planets. 7 wonders of the ancient world. 7 digits in a phone number. 7 days in a week. 7 pillars of wisdom. 7 habits of highly effective people. 7 deadly sins. 7 Harry Potter books. Alright, alright. So maybe there is something about the number 7. One thing I know is that 56 years ago, on July 7, my parents married and that marriage lasted a lifetime.
19510707 JD and Judy
Yours in appreciating the 7s,

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

#221 Fifty is nifty

One of the longest highways in our country is US Highway 50, the backbone of America. 50 cuts through the heart of the US from Sacramento to Ocean City and along the way it goes through Montrose, CO; Emporia, KS; Overland Park, KS; Warrensburg, MO; southern Indiana; and Fairfax, VA. In these towns, we’ve grown up, we’ve graduated, we’ve worked, and we’ve played. So, it was no wonder that we chose 50 to help carry us from our Indiana lives to our Virginia lives. Even without the sentimental reasons, 50 through southeastern Ohio and across West Virginia is a beautiful drive.
079 WV Highway 50 out the window
096 WV Js on 50 at Saddle Mountain
Along our drive through the mountain state of West Virginia, we came upon the birthplace of Nancy Hanks, the mother of Abraham Lincoln. She was born in Campbell County, just south of 50, and grew up in that area until moving with her husband to Kentucky and finally to Indiana. Nancy died when Abraham was 9 years old and she is buried at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in southern Indiana, not all that far from – you guessed it – Highway 50.
111 WV Nancy Hanks cabin
Let us know if you have plans to drive across the country on Highway 50. There are no markers at our birthplaces, but we can give you some tips! Just don’t count on seeing Disney World along the way, despite this sign we discovered on Highway 50 in West Virginia.
089 WV Disney World on Highway 50
Yours in enjoying the ride,