We have completed the preparations for our summer trip and are ready to start out. We packed the trailer and prepared the house to leave. We tried to clean the garage gutters but Bob stirred up a nest of bees and got stung three times, on his
shoulder, ear and lip. We decided to leave the bees and gutter alone until we returned from vacation. We left the house around 1:00 and started driving toward Charleston. As we were driving, we noticed that the trailer started fishtailing a few
times. We decided to see a camper dealer in Charleston to see why it was fishtailing. Bob also decided to keep the speed between 55 and 60.
We arrived in Charleston about 8:30. We found the campground and set up camp in the dark by flashlight. When Bob tried to turn on the air conditioner, a fuse blew. (The next day, we switched from 30 amps service to 20 amp service and the air conditioner worked fine.) At 9:30 we went to TGIF to have dinner. After dinner we went to bed at11:30.
When we got up, we showered and ate breakfast. Bob called Dave Bowie, an architect who Bob worked with in Geneva, Illinois. He had recently settled in Charleston. We arranged to meet Dave for dinner.
We drove to Charleston. Our KOA campground is in Mount Pleasant, which is across the Cooper River Bridge east of Charleston. First we toured Charleston by car. We drove through historic Charleston looking for places we saw when we visited Charleston in the past. We drove past Rainbow Row and the Battery. When we drove past the Market, we decided to park and walk through the Market, which is an open air market which spans four city blocks. The vendors are mostly artists and craftsmen that rent a vending space. Before the Civil War, slaves were sold here. At the end of each block there were four or five African Americans sitting and weaving and selling baskets from sweet grass. We walked through the city and stopped to read some of the historic plaques. One of the churches, a Congregational Church, which was called the Round Church, had a cemetery. One of the markers we read was a woman who had lost three children aged 1, 2, and 9 at different times in her life. Talk about a difficult life!
Along the Cooper River is the Waterfront Park which spans about four or five blocks. At the front of the park is a fountain in which children play and have a lot of fun. Going straight back from the fountain is a pier. Along the pier are small tables and porch swings. The six porch swings are so popular that people sit at the tables waiting for their turn to sit in a swing. We sat at a table eating our sandwiches. When we were almost finished with our sandwiches, we got our turn at the swing. As we sat in the swing feeling a nice breeze from the river, we could look out over the river and see Fort Sumter. We decided to find out how to get to Fort Sumter. We drove to the Visitor Center and found out about the tour to the fort. While at the Visitor Center, we viewed a display of pictures that show how they worked to restore the city after the Civil War, an earthquake, and Hurricane Hugo. We decided to see a short movie about Charleston. While in the theater, we discovered that we were both sleepy. We both struggled to stay awake.
We drove back to the campground about 3:00. Susan slept for two hours while Bob worked on the computer and worked crossword puzzles. We received an e-mail from Dave with the directions on where to meet. We drove there following his very detailed directions. We ate dinner at the Noisy Oyster where Susan ordered fried oysters (YUMMY!)
When we arrived back at the campground, we checked e-mail and went to sleep.
This morning we worked on the computer and organized our website pages and email mailing list. That took most of the morning. We had lunch in the camper. Originally we planned to take a tour of Fort Sumter this morning, but because of the
time, we decided to drive to Edisto Beach State Park instead. We will see Fort Sumter tomorrow morning.
We had considered stopping at Edisto Beach earlier on our trip. The camping sites are very difficult to get because they are very popular. They have electric and water hookups and are located on the beachfront. Edisto Beach is approximately seventy-five miles south of Charleston. While we drive, we are listening to The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. Bob read the book earlier, but wanted to hear the audio book version. Sue has not heard the story.
When we arrived back at the campground, a full fledged thunderstorm was starting. This is the real advantage of a popup camper over tent camping. We enjoyed a glass of wine and dinner "at home." We are using Cingular wireless internet connections to send and receive email and to update our web site.
Today is the day we finally visit Fort Sumter. We have been to Charlestown twice before, but have never gone to the Fort. The beginning of the Civil War began here. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union and the first battle
took place here in Charleston Harbor.
On the way to Charleston, we stopped at the Charles Pinckney National Monument. Pinckney was a founder and signer of the Constitution of the United States. The monument consists of a few acres of the original plantation and none of the original buildings remain. A farmhouse was built over what is believed to be the original plantation home.
The National Park Service has an exhibit building and pier in the harbor. We arrived around 11:00 AM for the noon tour. Fort Sumter is located at the mouth of Charleston Harbor, approximately two miles from Charleston. The ferry ride took about thirty minutes.
The Confederacy shelled Fort Sumter, which was not completed, and under armed and understaffed. The Union forces shortly surrendered and they and their families were allowed safe passage to New York. After the Confederacy took control of the fort, the Union later blockaded Charleston Harbor and shelled the fort for the duration of the war. The Union shelled seven million pounds of metal at the fort during this time. The Confederacy finally abandoned the fort to resist Sherman's "March to the Sea, but they were never defeated at Fort Sumter.
We left Charleston, SC at 9:00 AM and arrived at Cedar Island, NC at 5:00 PM. This is the terminus for the ferry to Ocracoke Island. The drive took us along the eastern coast and was a very pleasant trip. We finished the audio tape of The DaVinci
Code just before we arrived.
There is a motel, campground and a visitor center in addition to the ferry dock - and that is all. We have a campsite at the Driftwood campground. It has a nice view of the bay, cool ocean breezes and few campers.
Ocracoke Island is one of the islands that make up the Outer Banks. The island is bordered to the west by Pamlico Sound and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Ocracoke Island is also accessible to Hatteras via ferry. We plan to take the ferry to Ocracoke tomorrow, visit Ocracoke and Hatteras, and return to our campground at Cedar Island. If we can get a campsite on Hatteras, we will return with the camper Tuesday.
Tonight we decided to continue to Williamsburg, Jamestown, Richmond Fredericksburg and Manassas Virginia, possibly Washington D.C. and Gettysburg Pennsylvania. From there, we will pass through Columbus Ohio and Indianapolis to Danville, Illinois. Sue's mother will be moving to an assisted living apartment July 1, and Sue wants to be with her during the move.
After that, we will decide the destinations for the rest of our trip.
We decided to take a day trip to Ocracoke Island. We wanted to see the island and the campground in order to decide whether we wanted to spend more time there. We quickly ate breakfast so we could depart on the 8:15 ferry. The ride took
two hours and fifteen minutes. The sea was calm and overcast. Later, the clouds would be replaced by a sunny day.
After seeing the island and campground, we decided to return tomorrow with the camper. Bob bit the bullet and purchased a Golden Age Passport to the national park system. Sue stayed in the car and hid beneath the dash. She didn't want to be seen with someone that old. Individuals over sixty-two can purchase the pass, which is a lifetime membership. The cost is ten dollars and allows entry to all national parks, monuments, forests, etc. In addition, any fees, such as camping or tours are reduced by fifty percent.
We had lunch at Captain Ben's, the only year round restaurant on the island. After lunch we drove to the Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry . Along the way, we stopped at a parking area to the beach. The beach is large, very scenic, and extends nearly the entire length of the island. Except for Ocracoke Village, the entire island is a national seashore, protected by the federal government. A short distance from the beach area is a horse pen. Years ago, horses were brought to the island and eventually escaped, bred and became wild. The horses are supported by public donations.
On the way to the ferry landing, we stopped at the Ocracoke Lighthouse. It is the second oldest operating lighthouse on the southeast seacoast. Sue has come to enjoy the lighthouses, even though they are interesting and different.
We left Ocracoke Island on the 3:00 ferry and returned to Cedar Island. Sue loves fried oyster, so we stopped at the restaurant so she could indulge in her favorite meal. She would pick that for her last meal, not stir fried rice! (family joke ).
We took the 8:15 AM ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke Island with the camper. We arrived at 10:30 and proceeded to the Ocracoke - Hatteras ferry. The ferry to Hatteras took forty minutes and the drive to the Frisco campground another 15
minutes. We set up camp on the high ridge overlooking the ocean side. We signed up for two nights and will consider staying longer or moving Thursday.
After setting up, we went to see the campground at the Hatteras Lighthouse. On the way, we went for a short visit to the lighthouse. We plan on returning tomorrow for a longer visit and climb to the top. The campground was flatter and less scenic, but had a better breeze. After that, we went grocery shopping, and found a USAToday for Bob. Also, we have cell phone service again. We have been out of touch the last several days at Cedar and Ocracoke Island.
We needed to do the laundry! We found a "laundromat" in Frisco. One of the two washers was not connected and the other looked dirty. We decided to look further, but there were no other laundromats in town. We found a directory and phoned the tourist's center. They gave us the location of one in Nags Head, approximately sixty miles north on the cape. After visiting the lighthouse, we will journey north. On the way, we will stop at the Wright Brothers memorial at Kitty Hawk.
Today started out pretty simple, but soon the day took a life of its own. Yesterday, the tourist's center gave us the location of a laundromat in Nags Head, approximately sixty miles north on the cape. After we ate breakfast at Diamond Shoal
Restaurant, we started out for Nags Head. We took a leisurely ride up the cape and started the audio book Demons and Devils by Dan Brown, the author of The DaVinci Code. We arrived at Nags Head around 10:00 AM and found the laundromat.
It had many washers and dryers and advertised hours from 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM. However, no one was in and it appeared to be closed. We then drove to Manteo, located off the cape. While driving, we spotted a Speed Queen laundromat. It too
was not open, and appeared out of business. Next door at a grocery, we asked about the Speed Queen. The checker told us it was down several stores next to a gas station. We at last found something open and did our laundry.
By now it was noon so we stopped at a local park on the sound. We ate our sandwiches and took some pictures. On our return, we stopped at the Bodie lighthouse. The present lighthouse is the third building on this site. The original was build on a weak foundation and was torn down. The second was destroyed by the Confederacy in the Civil War. This building was constructed in 1872. The name "Body" was inscribed in the lighthouse because that is where the bodies washed up from the shipwrecks. The spelling is disputed, but the pronunciation is the same.
We drove to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and visited the Visitor Center. We wanted to climb to the top of the lighthouse but there was an hour wait time. We decided to try another day.
We took a ride up the cape and shopped at the market.
Today was the day to climb to the top of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. We knew that the lighthouse opened at 9:00 so we wanted to be there when it opened. We wanted to climb while it was still cool and before there was a long wait. Cape
Hatteras Lighthouse, built in 1870, is 208 feet tall, the tallest in the United States.
When we arrived, we went to the ticket booth. The man at the ticket booth warned us that it was windy. Being fearless, we said, "No problem!" When we arrived at the base of the lighthouse, the ticket taker informed us that it was windy at the top. Being fearless, we said, "No problem!"
We started climbing the stairs. At each landing, Susan had to stop to enjoy the view outside the window. (She really wanted to rest.) About halfway a young perky ranger let us know that we were halfway there. Of course, not wanting to be rude, Susan stopped to talk to her. (That was another great opportunity to rest.) We finally made it to the top. The people who were in front of us when we started at the bottom were now starting to come down the stairs.
It was windy at the top, but it was "no problem." The view from the top was grand. We walked all the way around the top, enjoying all the views. Bob commented that he was glad Alyssa was not there. Bob is not afraid of heights for himself, but was always terrified when Jenny and Rob were at high places.
After walking down the stairs, the ticket taker pointed out the museum that was open. We walked over and viewed the exhibits.
We shopped at the market on the way back to the camper.
When we arose, we had breakfast, showered, and were on our way to the Wright Brothers National Monument in Kitty Hawk. When we arrived at the toll booth to the monument, Bob showed his Golden Age pass to the girl on duty. She looked at
us and said "Whose is this?" Bob said that it was his pass and he had the proof to show her. She said that he did not look that old. He gave her a high five and smiled for the rest of the day.
Several buildings on the site included a visitor center and an exhibition hall. First we explored the exhibition hall and then walked to the visitor center where they also had an exhibit. One of the exhibits included portraits of the aviators that have influenced history. George Bush Sr. was included as the only president who ever piloted an airplane. Both buildings had a replica of the plane that the Wright Brothers flew.
The Wright Brothers owned and operated a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. They utilized their mechanical ability learned at their bicycle shop to create an airplane. They traveled to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina because they wanted an open, sandy field for their experimental first flights. Not successful on their first try, they continued to build and experiment. On December 17, 1903, the first flight lasted twelve seconds and flew 120 feet. On their fourth attempt, they were able to sustain flight to fly 852 feet for 59 seconds.
Leaving the Visitor Center, we walked past the camp buildings that the Wright Brothers used. There was a hangar and living quarters. We proceeded to the site where the historical flights took place. There were markers to show the distance of the four flights.
Walking across the field in the opposite direction, we walked to the memorial built to honor the Wright Brothers. The memorial was built at the top of a steep hill overlooking the site where the historical flights occurred. While at the top of the memorial, we noticed an airfield to the side where a pilot was preparing to take off in a Flying Tiger. We walked over to watch. After he took off, Susan asked Bob to walk back to the car and drive over to that area where we could eat our sandwiches at a picnic table.
On our way back to the campground, we drove to the Currituck Lighthouse in Corona. We walked through the grounds but chose not to climb to the top of the lighthouse.
Today is a relaxing day for us. After breakfast at the Diamond Shoals Restaurant, we returned to the campground to rest. It is a cloudy cool day. We both read a lot. Susan finished reading a book about literacy centers. Bob finished reading
Leadership, the book about Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York.
Our car is making a clunking noise when the gears shift so we are leery of driving it very far. We have decided to drive to Williamsburg tomorrow to try to get it fixed. We are also going to see a camper dealer to see about the fishtailing.
When we got up, we packed up the camper and started driving to Williamsburg. As we were driving we noticed that the car was having a problem shifting gears. We talked about how to get it fixed.
We arrived and checked in at the KOA campground in Williamsburg about 1:00. After setting up camp, we decided to go to a Coleman Camper dealer in the area to check on the fishtailing. We found out that a sway bar could be installed. We talked to the man who installs the sway bar. He suggested that we could inflate the rear tires about ten pounds each time that we pulled the camper. We decided to try that.
As we were heading back to the camper, we stopped at a grocery store in Williamsburg to get groceries for supper. We bought a steak we cooked on the grill attached to the camper. A neighbor came over to ask us about the grill. His wife was curious about the grill because she had not ever seen one before. He also asked us where we lived in Cobb County, because his daughter lived on Sandy Plains Road in Cobb County. We told him that we lived about five miles from Sandy Plains Road.
After dinner we worked on the computer and did puzzles and relaxed before we went to bed.
When we awoke, we ate cereal for breakfast and then drove up to the office at the campground. When we checked in yesterday, we noticed that they had a sign that told us that they sold tickets to Colonial Williamsburg. The sign said that you
could save time by not waiting in line so we decided to buy our tickets at the campground.
We then drove to the Visitor Center where we learned that we still had to wait in line to get our tickets validated. They entered our name and address in the computer. The lady who validated our tickets asked us if we wanted to attend some of the special free events for which we would need to get the tickets at that time. We decided to attend the 3:30 performance of "A Conversation with Patrick Henry". She also suggested that we start our visit by viewing a movie about the Colonial Days before the American Revolution. We walked to the theater where the movie started. Afterwards, we walked to the shuttle bus area where we boarded the bus to historic Williamsburg.
When we arrived at the settlement, we walked down the street past the Governor's Palace. We decided to see the Governor's Palace later. We then walked down the area called the "Palace Green," a grassy commons in front of the palace. At the end of the commons was the Bruton Parish Church, which was open. Many prominent men such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry attended this church, which still serves a congregation. The original church building is still standing.
Since our car seems to be making the clunking noise more often, we have decided to get it repaired. Bob got up early and went to the Ford dealer that is close to the campground. He waited for them to open at 7:30. When Bob talked to the
service manager, he was told that they would not be able to service the car until next week. Bob asked if someone could just look at it and tell him if it was a serious problem or not. The service manager said no. Needless to say, Bob was
While Bob was at the Ford dealer, Susan stayed at the campground, updating the journal. We had not written in the journal for a while so there was a lot to be done.
When Bob returned to the campground, he called several transmission dealers. He decided to take the car to the Aamco dealer in Newport News. We drove there together. We waited for the service man to test drive the car and do some diagnostic testing. When he finished, he explained that the mounting block was cracked so the transmission was sliding and clunking. He informed us that they did not have the mounting block in stock so they could not repair the car until tomorrow after they received the part.
We drove back to the campground. While Susan did the laundry, Bob worked on the computer in the game room where there was an internet hookup. He looked at e-mails, sent e-mails, and uploaded the journal pages to our web site.
About 5:00, Susan received a phone call from her brother, Dick. He wanted us to know that Susan's mother had been injured that afternoon. She is soon to be 84 and has arthritis in her knees so badly that she does not walk well. She was carrying branches to a hill behind her house. When she tried to throw the branches down the hill, she slipped and fell down the hill. She caught a root and held on to it so she would not fall to the bottom. No one was around. When she screamed for help, no one heard her. Finally, Kay, a neighbor heard her, found her, and called the rescue squad. The neighbor also called my brother, Dick. The rescue squad put her on a head board because they did not know if she had broken her neck or any other bones. They took her to the emergency room at the local hospital, where she received X-rays. Fortunately, she did not have any broken bones. She left the hospital to go home about 9:00. Susan's mother is one tough cookie!
We had fresh blueberries for breakfast. Yum! After breakfast Susan continued to update the journal. After writing the journal pages, Bob edited and added the pictures. We are a great team!
About 10:00 Susan called her mother to see how she was doing. She was still in bed and feeling sore from her fall. She said that D'Anna had called about fifteen minutes earlier with car trouble and said that she would be late.
When Bob called the Aamco dealer to see if they had received the part, he was told that they received the part, but it was the wrong part. They hoped to receive the correct part tomorrow. Since we could not get the car repaired, we decided to go to Jamestown today.
When we arrived at Jamestown, we parked and went into the newly built Visitor's Center. After buying tickets we realized that this was not the original site of the Jamestown colony. This re-creation was built by the state of Virginia. We viewed a movie about the beginning of the colony before walking to the re-creation of the Jamestown colony. Walking down the path, we first saw a Powhatan Indian village. The Powhatan village contained houses used for sleeping and storage. Both men and women were responsible for securing food. More than half of the food was obtained through farming. The children who visited the village today were asked by the tour guides to help with the garden. The children were then shown the different plants that they wanted to grow in the garden. They had corn, squash, beans, and pumpkins growing in the garden. The guides asked the children to pull the weeds. At one area, there was an animal hide stretched on a frame between two trees. Two children were scraping the hide with shells to remove the fur.
Walking down the path further, we came to the fort and the dock where three ships were docked. The ships were replicas of the original ships that landed at Jamestown. The three ships, Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, left England on December 20, 1606 to travel to the New World in the spring of 1607. One hundred and four settlers arrived in Virginia after a 4 1/2 month voyage. This is the first permanent English colony in the New World. We walked through all three ships. We took a lot of pictures of the three ships.
We then walked back to the fort. We realized that the camera had a low battery so we were not able to take many pictures of the fort. The earliest Jamestown colonists lived inside a triangular-shaped palisade with three bulwarks at the corners for defense. Houses probably were made of waffle and daub with thatched roofs. As many as five or six men may have lived in a house. Public buildings were also inside the fort, including a storehouse, guardhouse, and church. Most colonists belonged to the Church of England and were required to attend services twice a day.
Hot and tired, we walked back to the Visitor's Center. We bought some books and other materials at the Gift Shop. Susan asked at the Gift Shop about educational materials, teacher's discount, and a web site. They had no educational materials, no teacher's discount, but they did have a web site. It is www.historyisfun.org.
After leaving the re-creation of the Jamestown Colony, we drove to the original site of the Jamestown Colony owned and operated by the National Park System. The interesting sight that we saw here was the digging and working of archaeologists. The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities supports these archaeologists. Their web site is www.apva.org. Some workers said there was information on their web site for classroom use.
When Susan called her mother about 8:30 to see how she was feeling, Mother said that she was not feeling well and thought she would go to bed. This is unusual because Mother usually stays up late until midnight or later. Since Susan was concerned and did not know what to do, she called her brother Bill in Toledo, Ohio. He said that he would call Mother to see what he thought. When he called, Kay, Mother's neighbor, was there because Mother had, called her. Kay told Bill that Mother was experiencing chest pains and sweating. Bill told her those were symptoms of a heart attack and that she should call 911 as soon as he hung up the phone. For the second night, Mother was taken to the emergency room at the hospital. This time the doctor decided to keep her overnight.
When we got up, Aamco called us to let us know that the correct part had arrived. We drove the car to the Aamco dealer, where he replaced the mounting block.
As we were driving back to the campground, Susan received a phone call from her brother, Dick about her Mother. When Mother's doctor came to see her that morning, he said that he was concerned and wanted to send Mother to St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis for a heart catheterization. They took her in an ambulance. Dick and Peggy drove to Indianapolis. My brother, Bill and his wife Barbara, in Toledo, Ohio packed up and left for Indianapolis. We packed up and left for Indianapolis. As we were driving through West Virginia, we learned that Mother had had a heart attack when she arrived at the emergency room at St. Vincent's Hospital. When the doctors did a catheterization on Mother, they learned that she had two arteries with a 70 % blockage. The doctors felt that the blockage could be treated with medicine (Plavix). it was stormy as we drove slowly through the hills of West Virginia. We stopped at Beckley, West Virginia to get a motel. We had to go to several motels before we found one that had a vacancy. We stayed at MicroTel and walked over to Cracker Barrel for dinner.
After we checked out of the motel, we went to the car and found that we had a dead battery. We had left the trailer hitched up to the car with the refrigerator operating on the car battery. We had to call AAA to come out to give us a jump start. When the car finally started, we drove to Indianapolis, arriving between 4:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon. We checked into a motel across the street from the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital, Bill, Barbara, Dick, and Peggy were there to see Mother. After we visited for a while, the six of us went to dinner at Outback Steakhouse.Sunday, June 27, 2004-Indianapolis, Indiana
We had breakfast at Panera's before going to the hospital. Mother told us when we arrived at the hospital that her right hand where the IV had been inserted, had really started hurting her during the night. The night nurse had removed it from
Bill and Barbara came to see Mother before they left for Toledo, Ohio. Dick and Peggy called from Danville to see how Mother was doing. They decided to stay at home and relax. Bob and Susan spent the day with Mother.
Susan called her cousins Marilyn and Cathy, who both live in Indianapolis. We had not seen each other for a long time. Marilyn and her husband, Randy, was at the family farm in West Lebanon, Indiana. Cathy and her family were at a nearby lake on their houseboat. She called us from the houseboat and said that she would be back in town in two hours. She came to see us at the hospital. We went to dinner with Cathy.
After checking out of the motel, we ate breakfast at Panera's and then went to the hospital. The nurse informed us that Mother would go home today. Unfortunately, she was not released from the hospital until 2:00 in the afternoon. Mother slept
most of the way back to Danville. Susan called Dr. Sodhi, Mother's doctor, to verify which medicines Mother should take.
Bob drove the camper to Kickapoo State Park outside of Danville and set up camp. The nurse at the hospital said that someone needed to stay with Mother for the next few days. Susan stayed with Mother while Bob slept at the camper.
Mother slept quite a bit most of the day. Susan called utility companies to discontinue service at Mother's house and have service started at her new apartment. Next, we needed to get things ready for Mother to move to her new apartment.
During the day, a man called and wanted to look at the basement to seer if the house were structurally sound. His visit upset Mother quite a bit. There was minimal damage, which was easily corrected.
Today Mother saw her new apartment for the first time. When we took her up to the apartment, she was very pleased. Seeing the apartment helped her visualize her furniture and belongings in her new home.
When Bill arrived about noon, Bob and Bill started taking loads of clothes up to Mother's new apartment.
Susan took Mother to see the physician assistant at Dr. Sodhi's office. Mother's hand looked infected from the IV. He prescribed medicine for her hand.
Today is moving day. The movers arrived early before 8:00. They packed up the furniture and some of the boxes and took them to the new apartment. The rest of the day Bill and Bob carried boxes to the new apartment. Julie, Rob, and Alyssa arrived in Danville about noon. Bob went with them to the campground to get settled in. Julie came back and helped unpack some of Mother's boxes. Bob, Sue, Rob, Julie and Alyssa stayed the night in the camper. Dick and Peggy invited all of us for a cookout at their house. We had hot dogs and potato salad.Friday, July 2, 2004-Danville, Illinois
We moved more boxes today and unpacked. Julie arranged Mother's apartment while Bill and Sue took Mother to see Dr. Sodhi. We needed to arrange for cardiac rehabilitation and an appointment with a cardiologist.
When we were at Mother's house, we packed everything that we wanted to take to Mother's apartment. We couldn't get all of it in the car so we left some things and were going to come back later for the items. We had arranged for a man, Mr. Calhoun, who sold things at estate sales to come in and take everything we left. While we were gone, Mr. Calhoun came and took everything out of the house, including the things we wanted. We called Mr. Calhoun and arranged to meet him in the morning.
For dinner, Mother, Bill, Rob, Julie, Alyssa, Bob, and Susan went to Pizza Inn. Alyssa liked the electric trains that went around the ceiling of the room. Since Susan knew that Bill was planning to leave in the morning, Susan suggested that Bill, Dick, and Susan meet in the morning to resolve some issues about Mother. Susan called Dick to let him know that we needed to meet. We agreed to meet at Dick's house.
Bob and Susan got up at 5:30 to meet Mr. Calhoun at the house. We followed him to his place of business and retrieved the things we wanted. Bill called and met us for breakfast at McDonald's. Julie, Rob, and Alyssa agreed to meet us at
After breakfast, Bill and Susan went to Dick's house and we discussed what to do about transportation for Mother and her medicine.
Julie and Rob, who had been staying in our camper, decided that they wanted to spend their last night of vacation at a motel. They checked in at Comfort Inn. Bob spent the afternoon with Alyssa and Rob and Julie.
Susan went to Mother's apartment to meet her cousin, Marilyn, who drove to Danville from Indianapolis. Susan, Mother, and Marilyn spent the afternoon visiting. At dinner time, Mother went downstairs to eat at her apartment.
Marilyn went with Bob, Susan, Rob, Julie, and Alyssa to the Beef House for dinner.
Rob, Julie, and Alyssa left Danville to drive home to Marietta.
Bob and Susan slept late and drove to see Mother before she went to church. When we arrived, Mother said that she had decided to stay home because she didn't feel well. We checked that Mother took her medicine, visited a while, and then left.
We arranged to eat dinner with Mother that evening. We stopped by Dick's house to return some things. Dick and Peggy decided to eat dinner at Mother's apartment also.
We drove to Champaign to do some shopping. We relaxed for a while at the camper. Then we went to dinner at Mother's apartment. When we left, Bob suggested that we stop at the Custard Cup for one last splurge. Of course, Susan did not argue.
When we got up, we packed up the camper. We went to see Mother one last time before leaving Danville. We left Danville about 11:00 and started driving. We had decided to continue our trip where we left off before Mother had her heart attack. We headed east. About 5:00, we stopped at a Red Roof Inn in Columbus, Ohio. Susan called her niece, Pam, who lives in Columbus. She was not at home but Sue left a message.Tuesday, July 6, 2004-Laurel Hills State Park, Pennsylvania
When we left the motel, we stopped at McDonald's for breakfast. We have decided to go to Fallingwater, a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in southwestern Pennsylvania. Bob thought it would be good to get reservations so Susan called and
made reservations for the following day.
We arrived at Laurel Hills State Park and set up camp. There are not many campers in the campground, but it is a pretty campground. It is a lush green forest. Since we needed groceries, we went shopping in a town nearby. On the way back to the campground, Bob called his mother and sister.
After dinner of steak and salad at the campground, we went for a drive to get a signal on our cell phones to call Susan's mother. After we hung up, Jenny called us.
We woke up and had a fast breakfast of cereal and left for our 8:30 reservation at Fallingwater. We arrived at 8:20 and checked in. We waited for our group to be called. We left the Visitor's Center and walked toward Fallingwater. As we
walked along the path, we could hear the water rushing in the stream.
The guide explained that the house was a weekend home for the Kaufman family built in 1933-1936?. Mr. Kaufman owned a department store in Pittsburgh. He asked Frank Lloyd Wright to design his home near the waterfall. When Mr. Wright saw the site, he immediately wanted to build the house over the waterfall. The Kaufmans expected the house to have a view of the falls. The house was supposed to cost $35,000.00 but was built for $150,000.00.
The house is remarkable. Frank Lloyd Wright wanted to integrate nature with the house. He used cantilevers to build the house over the falls. He even built in much of the furniture. Dining room table, desks, and storage areas were all designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and made of dark maple. The Kaufmans and Frank Lloyd Wright became friends. The Kaufmans were given gifts of art by Frank Lloyd Wright. They shared similar tastes of Oriental art.
We returned to the campground where we relaxed. Susan worked on the journal and caught up with her writing. In Danville, we were so busy that we did not have time to work on the journal.
We started packing the trailer after we got up. After we packed, we showered, left the campground, and stopped for breakfast. We drove to the Visitor Center to see about the campground. Bob was hoping that they would have a national park campground, but they didn't. We drove to the Little Round Top Campground, which was about three miles from the Visitor Center. After setting up camp, we drove back into town to find a restaurant. We ate at D Tavern. The building was built in the 1800's and was used for the Underground during the war. A display showed where the African Americans hid in a secret part of the house. After dinner, we returned to the campground and relaxed for the evening.Friday, July 9, 2004-Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
We got up, ate cereal for breakfast, and showered. Then we headed for the Visitor Center. We walked through the Visitor Center and viewed the exhibits. Next we saw the Electric Show, which showed the sequence of the three days of battle.
As the narrator spoke, lights on a large map of the battlefield would turn on and off to illustrate troop movements and areas of battle. After the Electric Show, we finished looking at the exhibits. Next we walked through the book store. We
purchased some items for school and a CD audio tour of the battlefields. We decided to start the audio tour today and finish it tomorrow.
Robert E. Lee took his Army of Northern Virginia to Pennsylvania to take the war to the Union states and away from Virginia. The armies happened to meet at Gettysburg. Lee wanted to create a diversionary attack along the North's northern flank and a major attack on the North's southern flank at Little Round Top from Seminary Ridge. He wanted the Union to move troops to the flanks and weaken the center of the Union defenses. Lee could then overrun the Union at the heart of their defenses. This strategy would fail. Ultimately, he would mount his major battle at the center of the North's defenses at Cemetery Ridge with Pickett's Charge. The charge failed and Lee retreated back to Virginia. Gettysburg was the "High Water Mark" of the Civil War for the Confederates. From this point, they would fight a defensive war until the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
The audio tour started outside the Visitor Center and took us to the different sites of the battlefields. These battles took place on the Northern 's northern flank on the first and second day. Culp Hill and Cemetery Hill were among the fiercest fighting. Tomorrow we would visit the southern flank at Little Round Top and Devil's Den.
All along the side of the road were memorials set up to honor the different regiments and troops from different states. Of course, there were more northern memorials than southern memorials. After the war, the southern states did not want to honor the defeat they suffered here. Later, they built their monuments to the fallen soldiers.
As we drove from one battlefield to another, we could imagine the men marching through the fields to battle. It was a somber trip to realize how much suffering took place here. We finished about half of the audio tour and decided to return to the campground. We stopped at the grocery store to do some shopping.
When we returned to the camper, we cooked steak on the grill and salad.
We decided to walk to the main battlefield along Cemetery Ridge before finishing the audio tour. We started at the Visitor Center and walked on the High Water Mark Trail near The Angle on Cemetery Ridge. We walked by a house that had been
one of the many that were used as hospitals. We walked over to the battlefield that took place on the third day of the battle, Pickett's Charge. We could see where the South started marching over the field from Seminary Ridge . It appeared that
the South did not have much hope of winning the battle since they were marching over a mile wide open field to where the North were behind the wall of rocks on Cemetery Ridge. The Confederates had to cross Emmitsburg Road, halfway across,
which had fences that slowed them down. The Northern artillery destroyed many troops as they charged, some at point black range. "The Angle" was the farthest advance of Pickett's Charge, thus the high water mark of the battle for the
Confederates. Many men died here that day, many during hand to hand combat.
After completing the walk, we again started the audio tour. We ate a picnic lunch at Seminary Ridge, one of the stops on the audio tour. We drove to Little Round Top and Devil's Den on the Union's southern flank, where fierce battles took place on the second day. This was the major attack Lee planned, but General Longstreet's troops did not mount the attack until late afternoon, too late for a coordinated attack at the center and northern flank.
Little Round Top was the most strategic area of the battlefield and both sides had possession of the site during the three day battle. However, the Union maintained their positions there. This high ground was important because it had a view of the entire battlefield and artillery could reach any part of the battle.
We returned to the camper where we grilled pork chop on the grill. After dinner, we knew we could not procrastinate anymore. We did the laundry. Ugh!
We were planning to leave Gettysburg this morning but decided to stay one more day so we could see the National Cemetery where Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg Address and the Eisenhower home.
The National Cemetery was a site dedicated by President Abraham Lincoln months after the battle. He delivered his Gettysburg Address here to honor the fallen soldiers. Edward Everett, a popular orator at the time, was the main speaker and spoke for two hours. Lincoln followed Everett with his two minute address. Everyone attending was surprised and disappointed at Lincoln's short speech. Lincoln himself was disappointed with the crowds reaction and felt that he did not rise to the occasion. Everett however recognized the eloquence of Lincoln's words and told the president. Who of us has not memorized that great speech?
The cemetery was much different than we expected. Next to the National Cemetery was another public cemetery, Evergreen Cemetery. As we approached the area, we assumed that Evergreen was the National Cemetery because we could see the headstones. However, the National Cemetery had no visible markers. Instead, there were footstones level with the ground. The footstones were arranged in a symmetrical semi-circle grouped by state around the Soldier's National Monument. In front of that was the Lincoln Speech Memorial. On the Lincoln Speech Memorial, visitors had placed pennies, which has the head of Lincoln.
Some footstones in the state areas had unknown soldiers. Other unknown soldiers from unknown states were buried in their own area. No Confederate soldiers are buried here, but were removed to other Confederate burial grounds. After the Battle of Gettysburg, the citizens of Gettysburg had buried the soldiers in the battlefield. Later, the soldiers were reburied in the National Cemetery. The simplicity and elegance of the area was moving and created a sense of reflection and sadness.
We purchased tickets to the Eisenhower Farm and had lunch near the Visitor Center. We boarded the shuttle bus and took a short ten minute ride to the farm. The Eisenhowers purchased the 189 acre farm for $45,000 in 1950 as a retirement home. This was the first home they had ever owned. The renovation cost Ike $200,000, since Mamie kept changing her mind about the design. Before they took possession, Ike was appointed head of the new NATO forces in Europe. Upon his return in 1952 , he ran for the presidency and was elected the 34th president of the United States. The farm was used as a weekend retreat, a place to entertain foreign visitors, and as the temporary White House during the recuperation from his heart attack. After his tenure as president in 1960, the Eisenhowers retired to the farm.
While the farm had a formal living room with many mementos, their favorite room was the sun room. It looked out over the grounds, including the putting green and the flagstaff that held his five star general insignia along with the United States flag. Eisenhower became an amateur painter late in his life and many of his works of his family were on display in various rooms in the house. Wood from an earlier Revolutionary War era building at the farm was used for the floor boards and ceiling beams in his den. In the walk-in fireplace was a Dutch oven. We asked the ranger how it worked, but we couldn't understand his explaination how it worked.
When we got up, we started packing up the camper. We drove to Big Meadows Campground in Shenandoah National Park. When we arrived to register at the campground, Bob told the ranger that we had camped here many years ago with a tent
in a walk-in site. The ranger with a gray beard said that he had probably been here. He suggested a campsite and said that he thought that it was the best campsite with a view of the valley. We found it and set up camp.
We noticed a trail along the edge of our campsite. Later we discovered that it was the Appalachian Trail. We noticed hikers walking along the trail. We also saw deer very close to our campsite. The deer at the park seem to be accustomed to being around people. They just look up and then continue eating. There was a violent thunderstorm late in the evening, around 8:00. It was nice to be in our camper instead of a tent.
We arose and showered. We had to pay four quarters to take a five minute shower. We both rushed through our shower and had a minute to spare. Bob wanted to eat at the lodge nearby. He had good memories of eating breakfast at the
lodges of the national parks on our western trip two years ago. We both ordered pancakes with blackberry syrup. Bob said that he wanted buckwheat pancakes like his mother made for him.
After breakfast, we drove to Monticello, where Thomas Jefferson lived. We parked at a Visitor Center and bought our tickets for the tour. While waiting in line for the shuttle bus, Bob suggested that we get a sandwich at the snack bar. Bob ordered a salad and I got a ham sandwich. We walked to the picnic tables and ate lunch. We got back into line, but it was a longer line. When we arrived at Monticello, we were told to get at the end of the long line to wait our turn for a tour guide.
The front entry was filled with a variety of memorabilia from places all over the world. Directly in view as you enter the front door were Native American artifacts sent to Jefferson from Lewis and Clark. Interestingly, there was no grand stair way. We walked to the left and went into a sitting room. The next room was called the Cabinet, Jefferson's office. He had many books. Susan learned that she had something in common with Thomas Jefferson. He said that he could not live without reading books. His bed, built into the wall at the head and foot, was the divider between the Cabinet and his sitting room.
We drove to President James Madison's estate in Montpelier. The house was being restored and parts were open to the public. Some areas were still being excavated and were visible as we walked through the front yard. The gazebo looked like new.Thursday, July 15, 2004-Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia
We stopped at Appomattox Courthouse. This was the location where Grant and Lee signed the agreement to end the Civil War.