Friday, July 15, 2016

July 15, 2016

Chimney Rock

This morning we drove east to Chimney Rock, NC and Chimney Rock State Park.  The village of Chimney Rock is much like Truckee, CA.  A couple of blocks of small touristy stores.  The draw is Chimney Rock State Park.



Chimney Rock

You can climb to the top of Chimney Rock. And beyond even.


The climb is all stairs.


We took several side trips along the way, each with more stairs.  We went up and then down over 800 steps today.


Flag raising on top of Chimney Rock.


Chimney Rock from above. 




Hickory Nut Falls.  Over 400’ high.  1 1/2 mile side hike from base of Chimney Rock.

July 14, 2016

Serendipity 3 and Carl Sandburg Home

Heading down the freeway south of Asheville, NC we saw a Point of Interest sign (Used to be that brown signs indicated National Parks and such.  Now it can be almost anything.) that intrigued us.  Parked the carbus, did some shopping, and then drove back a few miles.  At the end of a wide, curved, brick paved entry road we came to a large brick paved parking lot sitting next to this:


You can see why we were intrigued.  Facility is less than two years old.  Very clean, upscale feel.  Much like classy, expensive wineries but they make beer instead of wine and there are no vineyards.  The name?  Brewery started in Chico, CA and home base is still there.  Never know what you’ll find.

South a few miles to Flat Rock, NC and home of Carl Sandburg.  Did not know what to expect but found it very educational and enjoyable.  Many sites like this are presented a ‘The house where so and so grew up / lived / etc.’  The name of this NPS site is Carl Sandburg Home and visiting here is very easy to feel like home instead of house.  250 acre farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.   Grassy hillsides separated by stands of trees with ponds at the base of the hills.  Beautiful view.  Mrs. Sandburg used to say they bought 250 acres of land and a million acres of sky.  The main house was built in 1838 and upgraded to ‘modern’ standards when the Sandburgs bought it in 1945.  Mrs. Sandburg raised goats.  Not just any goats.  Prize winning, world champion class goats that produced milk in record amounts.  About 100 yards from the main house is a still functioning goat farm populated by descendants of her herd.  The dairy function is gone however.  Visitors are free and encouraged to walk amongst the very people friendly goats.

We got there a bit late in the day so had to hustle through much of the docent staffed spots.  It would be very interesting to spend a day there learning about both the Sandburgs and exploring and studying the whole farm.   Have to mention how impressed I was with the very esthetic but very effective methods of erosion prevention used throughout the farm.  Ask me some time.


House from base of open hillside.


This beautiful pond is created by a flagstone dam across a creek.

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 2016

Outer Banks

Spent the day touring the northern part of the Outer Banks.  Much like vacation areas to the north.  Main through street with two or three blocks of streets on either side filled with homes on stilts, occasional hotels, and lots of tourist traps.

One difference – Wright Brothers Memorial Park.  Site in Kill Devil Hills where Wright Brothers spent years experimenting, testing, and finally achieving self propelled manned flight. 


Memorial on top of hill from which Wright Brothers tested flight dynamics using gliders.


Actual flight ( s ) location. Bolder marks takeoff location from skid rail in front of it.  Four flights – each longer than next – marked by stone pillars.  Fourth flight is tiny dot way back there.

Further south through Nags Head. (Interesting history to name – Google it) Across a couple of bridges to Roanoke Island, site of Fort Raleigh and the Lost Colony.  Interesting.  Not something we on the west coast hear abut.


Lady on a tortoise.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

July 10, 2016

Celebrating 50 Years with Music

As of 8 PM PDT yesterday (July 9th), we have been married 50 years.  Looking forward to this day I searched the web several months ago for things to do to celebrate this day.  I happened across a dinner theater in Fredericksburg, VA that did Broadway musicals.  Good start.  Show that date was ‘Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber’.  Good deal. Favored music and food. 

Nice evening.  First two hours were devoted to meal.  Food itself was so so. I had chicken cordon bleu.  I realize that it is difficult to have many meals ready to serve on short order in limited time but freshness was definitely missing here.  The chicken was very tough.  almost like jerky. It was tasty, just tough.  The sides were very tasty though. Desert was cheese cake. Again not so good.  Very tough and dense.  Not quite but almost needed a knife to cut it.  Have had better from Costco freezer.

The show was a different story.  Great! Ten adults and seven kids (who performed like adults) singing 2 1/2 hours of almost nonstop Andrew Lloyd Webber. Not just singing but incorporating appropriate acting to enhance the songs.  Pretty extensive costuming and some set parts (Phantom chandelier) to enhance a segment.  Great voices (adults AND kids) and presentation.  The soprano  who sang the Christine songs from Phantom was OUTSTANDING.  Sue’s comment “I understood every word she sang”.  The part is very difficult.  There are several songs with very high notes which then go higher and then higher and then higher. She hit and held every one perfectly.  It was truly inspirational to see and hear.  She also sang ‘Pie Jesu’ from Requiem. Beautiful!  So many singers try to force a song by trebling, overpowering, or jumping up a note to emphasize their control of it. It really just shows the lack of confidence on the part of the singer.  This artist sang very difficult songs exactly as they were written with great confidence, strength, and control.  Wonderful!

We are now in North Carolina.  Took as many small roads as possible getting to a campground in the northeast corner including going through the peanut growing region  of Virginia and the area where peanuts were first grown in America.

View out our front window at our current camp spot.