Thursday, October 15, 2009

Waterfalls and Wet Feet

Today is Day 2. Up at 7:00 am to see the sunrise. Rain, clouds and no sunrise, so back to bed. After a nice breakfast at the lodge with some critter friends (squirrels, chipmunk and birds) we drove down to the actual waterfalls (where the moonbow occurs). It was raining too hard to attempt the hike. According to one of the workers, the water was up 2 1/2 feet is anticipated to crest in a couple of days. In order to get to the lower viewing spot, we had to forge water filled steps and dodge gigantic raindrops falling from the trees. Therefore, the jeans were rolled up, the shoes came off and the umbrella was opened.
Sometimes folks say....anything for a photograph. I do hope to return one day when there is a full moon to try to capture the moonbow. I must be absolutely amazing!

Following meditative time at the waterfall and surrounding area, we headed out toward our next destination - Blacksburg (home of Virginia Tech). Once again, we took the scenic route (US 25, US 58, and Virginia State Highway 61 - along with a few others). What a drive! Foliage was colorful and crisp, but still wet. Several of the pictures in the link were taken from the car. Even the two tunnel trips were photographed from the car.

You know, when you take the highways, state roads and back alley ways, you see a very different part of the country. You also see unique names of towns and local streets. We drove through Mossy Gap, Sally Gap, Snowflake, several other "gap" towns and "ville" towns. As we drove through Snowflake we noticed the street names were labels, Bobsled Drive, Icicle Drive, Blizzard Drive, Glacier Drive, Reindeer Drive, get the jest of it. We drove through a town call Dot....yes.....Dot. Just zoom in on Google Map sometime, it is crazy what some towns are called!

Another unique feature to traveling the backroads are the church signs. Okay, so here are some of the sayings that we encountered:
1. Under the same management for 2,000 years.
2. Is that your final answer?
3. How would Jesus vote?

Interesting! We also drove by a church called Hanging Rock Community Church. I think I would have picked another name for that one!

Highlights for the day:
1. Breakfast with the critters.
2. Cumberland Falls
3. Driving through 2 tunnels.
4. Driving parallel to New River as we drove through Narrows, Virginia.
5. All the colors that are springing forth (even though its fall).

What's up tomorrow? We will head up Interstates 81 and 66 to D.C. Should be about a 5 hour drive. Looking forward to staying at the JW Marriott and seeing Reb and Josh!

Here is the LINK to the pictures from today!

Till tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 1 - New Adventure and New Posting

Yes, I know.....haven't posted in over a month. Therefore, I will re-begin (this is known as a Lulu word) with a posting on our first day's adventures on our trip to Washington D.C.

Up early to deliver doggies to their hotel, remaining garbage to waste center (we always called it the dump) and Vandy vs Georgia tickets to son-in-law (which he much appreciated). After a quick run through Chick-fil-A (yum) we were on the road. Weather? You guessed it! Rain.

Took Highway 127 north (very scenic drive I must say) and cut over to journey through Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (located around Oneida, Tennessee). The area encompasses about 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau. It has miles of scenic gorges and natural/historic features. It truly is a beautiful area - even in the rain! We saw several wild turkeys and deer. The leaves are beginning to peak and the shades of yellow, orange and red were amazing.

Once through Big South Fork we head east/southeast to Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. This area is known as the "first gateway to the West." There was a great Visitor's Center which offered a road leading to the Pinnacle Overlook. Part of this gap is located in Virginia and part is in Kentucky. Not many folks visiting today. Hmmm......could it be the weather? Anyway, made it up to the overlook. Wow! Have a look at this at the following pictures. The first one is what we should have seen and the second one is what we actually saw. I know you can barely see anything but, that was our view. I found it rather humorous.

Onward we go. Headed west, then north for our final destination at Dupont Lodge located at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. The lodge overlooks the Cumberland River winding through the hillside. Cumberland Falls is known for its magical moonbow which is visible on a clear night under a full moon. There are only 2 known naturally occurring moonbows and one is right here. The full moon isn't until next week, so we will not be able to partake of this wonderful scene. Dinner was buffet style and we had some raccoon critters outside the dining room windows. They were probably about 2 feet away and paid no attention to the dining guests. They were quite adorable (will have to upload the camera phone picture later).

Highlights of the day:
Chick-fil-A breakfast (for me especially)
Winding backroads (with some interesing housing facilities)
Beautiful leaves beginning to peak
Wild turkey critters
East Rim view in Big South Fork
Sort of seeing the Cumberland Gap (through the fog)
Both visitor centers we visited

So, I am attaching a link (here) of the remaining pictures that I took today. Since our internet connection is a bit slow here at the lodge, I decided to link instead of posting a slideshow.

Tomorrow? Well, more rain is projected, but I will be up early to see if the sunrise will peek through the clouds and then we will attempt to trek out to Cumberland Falls. Will then make our way to Blacksburg, Virginia for the second night and reach Washington D.C. on Friday. So, tomorrow holds another grand adventure for Lulu and Bob! Enjoy the pictures (see link above).