Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rural Hall, North Carolina Delivery

After picking up the Winnebago View at the factory in Forest City, Iowa we hooked up the Saturn, packed our bags and ice chest and headed east to Rural Hall, North Carolina. It was foggy in the marshy area this morning. You could only see the tops of the trees.
Trying to find a local radio station is always interesting in the new units. This one has a combination AM/FM radio, CD player, and IPod input. The front is removable to prevent theft, but be sure the key to the ignition is removed or an alarm will sound! We made use of the CD player and listened to the audio book, The Widow of the South. This is the story of the Canton Plantation in Franklin,Tennessee that we visited on one of our earlier trips. Because we had toured the plantation we can visualize the places in our minds as they tell the story. In the interview with the author we found out that the house was closed up for many years and then the last owners offered to sell it for a tax break to the city/county. When they looked at it there were several rooms locked up and full of scrapbooks, correspondence, business papers, etc. The author took these and pieced together the story. It is fiction based on facts he found or heard about while living in the area and investigating the history of the Plantation.
Beautiful Day for a Drive
Fields of corn and soybeans everywhere you look along the Interstate in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. They have been very dry in Indiana. As we drive through southern Ohio the ground is rolling hills. Highway 35 has very little truck traffic today and the sunny weather makes for another pleasant day on the road. There are not very many advertising signs along this highway, which is pleasant for viewing the scenery. But signs are necessary when traveling and needing gas(especially diesel), motel, food or rest stops!! The further east we get we notice that there are less warning signs, too. The exit sign means it is here not 1/2 mile up the road! We also learned that with this unit you do not do fast starts--It has to shift slow and steady through the series of gears, but it is an easy to drive unit.
Bob Evans Highway
This highway is called the Bob Evans Highway. We have eaten in many of his restaurants. There is a sign pointing to the Bob Evans Farm. It is interesting to know that he and his wife started making sausage, selling it, and then had a restaurant on their farm. Over the years the business has grown and includes restaurants all over the states plus their processed food is being sold in grocery stores. Bob Evans and his wife, Jewell, raised their six children in the large brick farmhouse known as the Homestead. The Homestead, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was once a stagecoach stop and an inn, so the spirit of hospitality is deeply embedded in our company's history. Today, the Homestead serves as a company museum and historical center.
Kanawha River Valley
We crossed over the Ohio River and into West Virginia. The Ohio is navigable and many barges are moving up and down the river or getting filled or unloaded along the banks. We are driving through low mountains. The local roads are called Lanes or Pikes!
Highway 35 winds along the Kanawha river valley. There are bluffs on both sides of the river. We see dairy farms, some corn & soybean fields, hay fields, and assortment of small homes, trailer houses, nice farms, abandoned buildings, small businesses, little churches, small towns , an occasional mansion, and tobacco fields that are in blossom. The older houses are two-story perfect rectangle shaped with windows all same size and in a horizontal and vertical line with a chimney on each end.
Since the Kanawha River is navigable we see navigation lights on the banks. Charlestown is built along the river. It is definitely an industrial city. We see piles of coal that has been delivered in railroad cars waiting to be loaded on barges.
As we leave the city we are driving around tree covered mountains and through valleys. The
trees are not just pines, but an assortment of hard woods so will be a beautiful drive in the fall. We can see layers of coal in the rock cliffs that were dug through to make the highway. One of the towns advertises a Coal Mine Tour, but is closed for the summer.
We are in the Allegheny mountains. There are several tunnels to drive through and into the state of Virginia. Our stop for the night was the Super 8 Motel at Wytheville. Beautiful setting on top of a bluff above the interstate with mountains all around. Good Internet connection. A delicious supper at the Sage Brush Steak The ribs were exceptional. Some walking time around the large parking lot watching the pink/purple sunset.
We drove south to North Carolina through the foggy valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains on our last leg of our delivery in the early morning. Beautiful views from the ridges. Rural Hall is just north of Winston Salem. The town is built in the mountains so all of the roads do not connect. If you miss an exit you cannot always get off at the next one and drive back. We are speaking from experience!!!
Delivery is complete. Dealer is happy with the unit. We have unpacked our stuff from unit and packed in the Saturn which has been unhooked.
Exploring on way home
We headed north and west on state highway #421 and kept on state highways through the countryside to the Combs Mountain Parkway in Kentucky. On the way we saw fields of corn planted on the side of the hills and being cut for silage. As we looked at the trees in the distance they appeared to be in bloom, until we were up close and saw that they were covered with tent caterpillars. We met many trucks with cut logs, heading to a lumber mill or wood chip processing plant. Over the Eastern Continental Divide, past the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, crossed the Appalachian Trail, a coal train on a trestle bridge over the highway, a big blue tube over the highway that contained a conveyor to move coal from a mine to transportation, and saw hibiscus bushes are blooming in everyone’s yard. Interesting signs: Large Tracks of Mountain Land for Sale and an unusual combination, Blue Ridge Kung Fu.
The map said we were driving through Iron Mt's, Holston Mt's, and Appalachian Mt's. One of the the roads was a red line with dots and curves. As we drove the 20 miles of 2 lane blacktop road with no shoulders, we wound through a thick forest at 15 mph doing 45 degree and 90 degree turns. State highway # 23 in Kentucky is called the "Country Music Road". Many singers were born or grew up along this area and Bluegrass and Country Music originated in the mountains in this area.
The Combs Mt Parkway goes through the Daniel Boone National forest as we head to Lexington, horse country with miles of white fences around the pastures and stables. North to our Super 8 at Dry Ridge, Kentucky. Their breakfast rates high because they serve biscuits and gravy! This trip we used the points we had earned with the Trip Rewards program giving us several free motel stays.
The Creation Museum
The Creation Museum at Petersburg, Kentucky, which is just south of Cincinnati is our destination for today. We saw the billboard advertising it along I-75. See Why God Rested on the Seventh Day! Exit 11 on I-275
It is an impressive setting. The Nature Path winds around plants, flowers, bushes and over a couple of suspension bridges. There are water falls, a lovely pond, an area set up to be a rain forest, and covered picnic tables for a lunch or outdoor classes. The grounds are neat and clean and set up to handle large groups of people. The staff is friendly and helpful. We talked to a groundskeeper who identified several of the plants for us and explained the use of fog nozzles to create a rain forest area. It has only been open a few months. They are working on a map that will have the identity of each plant & tree for use as you walk the Nature Path.
The inside is also neat and clean with friendly staff and able to serve large groups of people. The latest technology is used to provide realistic displays, and easy to read and understand printed information. The Planetarium is a must see. We see only a small portion of what is in the heavens. Three theaters have programs running on the half hour all day. The Dragon Theater, The Last Adam Theater, and the Men In White Theater is a multi screen presentation that will engage all of your senses! Noah's Ark construction site is awesome. The Flood Geology Room gives scientific information proving the Flood including evidence in the Grand Canyon. Don't miss the Dinosaur Den! When did the ice age begin? How are fossils made?
We spent over 3 hours and did not have time to see everything. We talked to local people that come often and to summer vacation travelers who added this stop to their plans. The museum and grounds have some areas still under construction so new displays and programs will be offered. Check out their website .
Back home dodging some severe weather and thanking the Lord for traveling safety, some beautiful "on the road" days and for the opportunity to see His Creation in another part of our country.

Thank-you for traveling with us! Watch for our next delivery destination!
Prairie Schooner Travelers

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