Tuesday, October 28, 2014

More Family Pictures

Roanoke, VA

Jim’s sister, Nancy; her daughter, Patti; and her granddaughter, Shelby came down from Fredericksburg to spend Saturday with us. This was the first time in many years that they were able to have this many family members together.

Jim and Aunt Ruby


We went back to Jersey Lilly’s restaurant and they let us have a room to ourselves. Lots of catching up, laughter and siblings telling stories on each other.  Can you believe that my hubby was not a perfect child? Neither could I.

So I now give you more family pictures.

Nancy, L.E., Janet, Jim


Shelby, Patti, Sandra, Aunt Ruby, Nan


The Siblings – Janet, Jim and Nancy


The Sibs plus Patti


Sandra, L.E., Nancy, Aunt Ruby and Nan


Three generations: Nancy, Patti, and Shelby


Patti and her Uncle Jim have always had a very special relationship.


We had an awesome time visiting with family. Hopefully it won’t be so many years before our next reunion.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bent Mountain

Bent Mountain, VA  High 74  Low 52

Jim’s sister, Janet, lives on several acres at the top of Bent Mountain, VA. I am a child of the desert but let me tell you, I think Janet’s home is about as close to paradise on earth as you can get.

I want to share some pictures on the way up the mountain and Janet’s home.



These are views from her driveway.



Janet’s pond.


Looking toward her barns.


Two of her rescue horses.


She also rescues dogs.







Molly (she wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to get a picture)


Bent Mountain is a beautiful sanctuary for Janet and her animals. She has many friends and neighbors who help her with all the work involved.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Booker T. Washington

Roanoke, VA 

The Booker T. Washington Memorial is 25 miles from Roanoke and since we finally had a half way decent (no rain) day we headed out that way.


DSCN0228 "I was born a slave on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia. I am not quite sure of the exact place or exact date of my birth, but at any rate I suspect I must have been born somewhere and at some time."

On April 5, 1856, Booker T. Washington was born a slave on the 207-acre farm of James Burroughs. His mother was a cook, his father a white man from a nearby farm.


There was a time in America when human beings were bought and sold. A written inventory cataloged the salves on the Burroughs farm in Virginia in 1861, their monetary worth calculated according to the work they could do. On this list was a little boy, named simply “Booker,” valued at $400. 

They are doing some preservation work on the cabin where Booker was born and lived.


This is a picture that I took from the web so you can see it without all the scaffolding.


One of his jobs was to carry books to the schoolhouse for one of the Burrough’s daughters. He wrote: “I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study would be about the same as getting into paradise.”

In April of 1865 the Emancipation Proclamaation was read to joyful slaves in front of the Burroughs home. Booker’s family left to join his stepfather in Malden, WV.


Through his perseverance and tenacity, Booker started his education. At the age of 16 he walked to Virginia to enroll in a new school for black students, Hampton Institute. He later became an instructor there.


In 1881 Booker founded a school for blacks in Tuskegee, AL. He and his students constructed Tuskegee Institute themselves, brick by brick. They even made their own bricks. He was the first principal of the school and became one of the most influential African Americans of his era.

There are several animals on the farm as well as a huge garden that are taken care of by volunteers.



Booker T. Washington died in 1915 and is buried at Tuskegee.

I had to get a new camera. My old point and shoot had strange, wiggly lines and black spots on the lens and it couldn’t be repaired. I cropped pictures to get rid of these lines as best as I could but it just got to the point where I couldn’t crop any longer. So I have a Nikon CoolPix L830 with a 34X zoom. No more weird lines.

Roanoke Star

Roanoke, VA  High 78  Low 54

For those of you who asked – Aunt Happy was married to my Dad’s brother so she’s not a “blood” relative. However, both my folks lived to 90.

The Roanoke Star was erected in 1949 as a symbol of the progressive spirit of Roanoke, star city of the south.


The star is 88 1/2 feet tall and weights 10,000 lbs. The steel structure holding the star is 100 feet tall and weighs 60,000 lbs. The concrete base weighs 500,000 lbs. The neon tubing used to light the star at night is 2000 feet long and is visible for 60 miles from the air.  This is the world’s largest man-made star and is one huge symbol. 

DSCN0270 Jim is dwarfed by the star. There was a couple taking pictures while we were there who were probably in their late 50’s. The guy was so surprised that Jim could climb up on the wall. Jim told him he might be old but he’s not dead yet. We got a good chuckle out of that.

The views of Roanoke from the star are really incredible.


It was humid and hazy so the pictures aren’t as sharp and clear as I would like. This one is when I was trying out the zoom on my new camera.


We didn’t get any pictures of the star lit at night so I got this one off the web.


Friday, October 24, 2014


Roanoke, VA  High 72  Low 49

These pictures are of Jim’s family in Roanoke.

Aunt Ruby (96 and still going strong) – Jim’s mother’s sister


L.E. and Sandra (Sandra is Ruby’s daughter and Jim’s niece)


Jim and his sister Janet


Sandra and her Mom, Ruby


Me, Jim, Janet, Ruby, Nan (a good friend of the family) with L.E. and Sandra standing.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

So Far Behind

West Memphis, AR – High 67  Low 42

We moved down to Roanoke to the Dixie Caverns Campground. This is where we always stay when visiting Jim’s family. This is about the only campground in this area and it is a busy place. I am always amazed at the folks who pull into a campground in the dark. But there are a lot who do.

We had planned on being in Roanoke over the three day week-end but couldn’t get reservations so we had to wait until the Tuesday after the holiday.

This put us a week behind our “schedule” and I am so far behind on blogging. I’ve been reading blogs but not commenting very often. We are actually in Memphis at Tom Sawyer RV Park and are headed west. But I have a few posts to make from Roanoke and along the way before I get caught up.

We had a fantastic visit with everybody in Virginia. We would say this trip East has been one of the best times we’ve had RVing. There just never seems to be enough time.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Virginia is for Lovers

Still Raining and Miserable

That is the state slogan and Virginia wants to prove that "love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation" in a big way by having giant "LOVE" artworks pop up  across Virginia.

It’s really hard to do any sight seeing when it’s pouring rain so we decided to head to Lynchburg for lunch.

This LOVE artwork in Lynchburg shows activities that can be enjoyed in that city. The L features shoe cut-outs for walking/hiking; the O has children's bicycle wheels to represent biking in the area; the V has canoe paddles attached; and the E features skateboard wheels.


DSCN0158The Craddock Terry Hotel is by far the best hotel in Lynchburg. The building is a re-purposed shoe factory located on the edge of Lynchburg's industrial area near the James River. The shoe factory was the largest shoe manufacturer in the United States.


We had lunch at the White Hart Coffee Shop. I wanted some good french fries and found good reviews for this place. The reviews were definitely right on. We split a hamburger and the fries and it was really good.


This place is a college hangout and we found it interesting that the majority of the young people all had Mac computers.

Here’s some Lynchburg history for you.

Lynchburg was the only major city in Virginia that did not fall to the Union before the end of the Civil War.


At one time, Lynchburg had more than 45 tobacco factories. Most of their tobacco was processed into chewing rather than smoking tobacco.



The old Court House. Monument Terrace, 139 steps,was established to recognize Lynchburg citizens who fought and died in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII, Korea, Vietnam and present day.


Doughboy statue at the base of the Terrace.


Even with the rain the Fall colors are beautiful.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Red Hill

Rain, Rain, Rain, Rain

I really wanted to see where Patrick Henry had lived and was buried. We had a slight break in the weather and decided to check it out. Red Hill is a 45 minute drive from Appomattox and by the time we got half way there the rain was pouring down. We persevered but were not rewarded for our determination.


We arrived at Red Hill and the rain came down even harder. You have to walk from the visitor’s center out to the home and grave site and it just wasn’t happening. Very disappointing but sometimes Mother Nature wins.


Red Hill was named for the color of the soil and the fact that the house is situated on a hill overlooking the valley. Two of Patrick’s 17 children were born here and two of them were married here.


On June 6, 1799, Patrick Henry died at Red Hill and the “Voice of the Revolution” was silenced forever.

I think these are soybean fields, but I thought all the yellow was beautiful.


We were going to go to Bedford to visit the D-Day Memorial. We were there in October 2009 and really wanted to go again because it was such a fantastic experience. However, with the pouring rain we turned around and went back to the campground.

One of the pictures from 2009. Notice how gray and overcast it was then also.