Saturday, October 31


By now everyone knows about my "no plan" philosophy - which allows for maximum flexibility while moseying down the road. So it will come as no great surprise that this philosophy has as one of its main components one simple thing - curiosity. Curiousity is always rewarded..

For instance:

In Jonesborough, Tennessee for a farmers market
and I found, Andrew Jackson's home while he practiced law in Jonesborough


A little later, while on US23 in Virginia, I was eyeing a really tall railroad trestle and missed a little roadside info turnoff - so . . . (obviously) I turned around to check it out. Beside the info on the trestles their was a mention of a "Natural Tunnel" - remember that little tidbit.

Actually their are two trestle (high and low) - plus see that little road underneath
so, better check it out - because that's what I do
both trestle are still in use


Having checked out the trestles, down the roadI I go - 5 miles later I spot a sign for Natural Tunnel State Park. Tonight's campground, plus more info on this "natural tunnel" thing? Curiosity provides a very nice campsite, a special event (Lighting the Tunnel), plus a concert. No plan, wins again.

The Natural Tunnel turns out to be a cave that is so large it is used as a railroad tunnel - 850 feet long of natural cave, only 50 feet needed to be enlarged to convert it to the railroad tunnel. First used in 1893 and still in use today by the Norfolk Southern. It's a pretty amazing sight.

First, a chairlift down to the canyon floor
the canyon floor and observation deck where the concert took place
The Natural Tunnel
evening concert



Friday, October 30

Ninety Six And Beyond

Sun instead of rain these last two days has certainly made a big difference as we were able to get out of the van and explore a little. One of our stops was in Ninety Six, South Carolina - yup that's a towns name (apparently the town was 96 something's from somewhere, nobody seems to know what or where from). Ninety Six now goes on my most unusual town name list along with Sopchoppy, Fl.

In downtown Ninety Six

The reason we were in Ninety Six was to visit the Ninety Six National Historic Site. The first land battle of the American Revolutionary War fought in South Carolina took place at Ninety Six in 1775 and you can walk the battlefield, and see the Star Fort. It's another one of those battles that no one has heard of, but it's an important part of our history.

After leaving Ninety Six we continued on to Charlotte where I dropped Don off - I'm now a solo traveler for the next week. After seven months in the van we parted still friends and have a ton of great memories.

Today, while in North Carolina, I had an experience that sums up my "no plans" philosophy when traveling. I looked up and saw a hot air ballon - someone with a plan or schedule to keep would enjoy a moment - I followed the ballon for over an hour, even talked to the ground crew. Up, up and way!



Along the road still pretty nice color



Wednesday, October 28

Strange Sighting

We actually saw the sun today! Don got so excited he's out setting up his hammock, at our lakeside campsite on J. Storm Thurmond Lake in Georgia, as I write this post. Update: an hour later, no sun and a light drizzle - Don still in hammock!

Because of the nasty weather the last 8 days, we zoomed (for us) across New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia - being cooped up in the van because of all the rain, it just seemed better to keep moving. Because we covered so many miles we are now very close to ending our adventure - I will drop Don in Charlotte, NC, tomorrow and I should be back home (Bardstown, KY) this time next week. A few more posts still to come, so stay tuned.


Sunday, October 25

Day 5

Another rainy day - we've now crossed two states (Texas and Louisiana) and are into a third (Mississippi) without a glimpse of the sun. Rain and flooding have been wide spread, which has put a damper on our outdoor activities. Today we did manage to do a little (very little) walking in Vicksburg, Mississippi, - we looked at murals painted on the levies along the Mississippi River and then stopped by the Vicksburg National Military Park - the site of a pivotal Civil War battle. Sorry, no pictures of the Park - it was raining big time. The town and park both deserve more time, but that will need to wait until next time.

Vehicle and Railroad bridges crossing the Mississippi at Vicksburg




Saturday, October 24

Maybe Next Time

Tonight we are in a very nice state campground in Delhi, Louisiana, having crossed (West to East)) the entire state of Texas without ever seeing the sun, plus lots of rain. On the positive side - maybe I will make it back to Texas and will have plenty to see next time around.


Thursday, October 22

Still More . . .

Rain that is. Only thing we accomplished today was to move 241 miles east while trying to get out of the rain - no luck, it's still pouring as we sit in Henrietta, Texas. Maybe better tomorrow, so stay tuned. Here is the only photo I took all day.


Wednesday, October 21


We've been in wide area rain event (flash flood warnings all over the place) so this post will be a little short on photos. Between showers, we did manage to visit Fort Garland before we left Colorado. Then, down the road, we walked around downtown Taos, NM, and had a great lunch. Then a overnight stop in Las Vegas (NM not Nevada). Today we had heavy rain, and saw some snow on the roadside, so we just kept on moving and tonight we are in Plainview, Texas. Just didn't make sense to stop in the rain.

Taos Lady



On the way to Plainview



Tuesday, October 20

Lots And Lots Of Sand

We've just left the campground in Great Sand Dunes National Park - this park is home to some of the tallest sand dunes in North America - the tallest is over 700 feet. Don did a three mile hike and climbed some dunes, I took a leisurely walk out to the edge of the dunes and watched the sunset. I had less sand to empty from my shoes.

Just before sunset, the sun reflecting on the sun


Monday, October 19

Riding The Rails

Yesterday we drove the 35 miles from last nights campground in Mesa Verde National Park into Durango so we could catch the train. The Denver & Rio Grande Railway (a narrow gauge system) started hauling both passengers and freight in July of 1882 between Durango and Silverton, Colorado. From the very beginning, the railroad was promoted as a scenic route for passenger service although the line was constructed primarily to haul mine ores, both gold and silver. Today's train hauls mainly tourists, has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and has been in continuous operation for 133 years. A long but enjoyable day.

We splurged and had a nice enclosed car with a narrator - good decision, it was a bit chilly