Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rural Hall, North Carolina Delivery

This was a “fast one”! Started checking for a unit Monday AM. An hour later there were 4 that we could choose from. Picked the unit, a View, up at noon in Forest City. Had about 3 hours to pack it up before our 7:00 Bible Study on Revelation. Finished last minute arrangements before bed.

The "View": $119,000 list price. Slide out with sofa bed, Euro Recliner w/ottoman, overhead bunk, recliner,large flat-screen TV, satellite radio, cherry cupboards, beachcomber tan walls & carpet, silver & opal exterior paint. Pretty smart looking unit. Diesel engine getting about 12.5 mpg.

Next morning we were on the road 5 AM headed east. When daylight finally dawned on the horizon we noted the clouds—reason for late sunrise! It was a good thing—no sun in our eyes. Very windy from the North making for a bouncy ride.

Through the Windshield:
Across southern IA, central IL & IN were acres and acres of corn yet to be harvested. Most of the bean fields had been combined. Driving in intermittent rain! Chose to drive through middle of Peoria to avoid road construction. Great new highway. Interesting city skyline with the older architecture of buildings mixed with the modern office buildings!

Brown landscape with an occasional accent of green grass in the ditch & some late color in the leaves of some of the trees until we headed south toward the Kentucky border—more green and more color! Wooden fences outlining corrals indicating we are nearing horse country.

Lost an hour as we drove into Indiana (eastern standard time) and we lost some $$$$ because we did not get gas before the border!!

This should make you chuckle! We had our first experience with a touch pad radio. Yes, you can imagine the interesting conversation as we tried to figure out what to press when! The tiny screen on the dashboard displays the camera’s eye view from the back of the vehicle (like a rear-view mirror) and the radio controls!

Long John Silvers, (they do have grilled meals), Walmart Supercenter, checking Goodwill store for audio books & DVD’s, bookwork, checking tomorrows route, reading & sleeping in another “doll house” make for our evening before delivery!

On the road by 4:45 and thru Louisville, KY in the dark with very little traffic. Sunrise showed blue sky above us, but clouds to the east. The highway runs through rocky ledges covered with green leaved shrubs with accents of the colored leaves remaining on the taller trees.

Rolling hills with brown or white wooden fences surrounding the green pastures indicate it is horse country. The fences divide areas into smaller corrals with their own small building for the horse’s protection from the weather. Large mansions dot the countryside. The radio newscaster tells us that Eastern KY is very dry and experiencing fires. We have not seen evidence of any along our route.

Into WV : Our view from the interstate looks down on the rooftops of the cities that have grown up in the valley along the river. The familiar gold dome of the capitol building in Charleston is brilliant in the sunlight! The yellow, gold, & rust colored leaves on the trees along the bank of the blue sun sparkled Kanawa River makes a striking picture. The mountains ahead are covered with trees, but only the oaks still have their leaves. The sunlight highlights the brilliant red/rust color.

NOAH weather warning test interrupts our music CD. Great to know that we can be warned of severe weather.

Checking our miles and the time. We can make it to the dealership today! Through the East River Mountain Tunnel and into Virginia and the Appalachian mountains. Green pines are interspersed with the rust/red of the oaks in this area. Clouds are coming over the mountains and we drive into rain!

Last Miles --Tension

14 miles from the NC border we are stopped in a traffic back-up due to an accident a mile marker 3 ahead of us. We call the dealership to let them know what is happening and to see how late they will be there. The receptionist tells Jim that if they know we are coming they will wait. They close at 5:30. We ended up in that traffic back-up for over 2 hours. But we drove through the rain and wind and was at the dealership 10 minutes before they closed. We unhooked & unpacked the unit, locked it, and found a motel for the night.

(The accident—was mostly cleaned up when we got to it. As we passed in the one lane traffic beside the mountain, the semi trailer that had been torn apart was parked and end loaders were cleaning up debris. Later we found out that often there are accidents in that area because of the severe cross winds.)

Watching the news we learned that the wind was gusting up to 40 mph and there had already been up to 3 inches of rain in this area. Rain & wind was due to Hurricane Ida and would continue until Saturday.

We had a good night of rest, repacked the car, good breakfast at Waffle House, got windshield wiper replaced at an auto parts store (buy 1 and get 1 free), filled Saturn with gas, drove back to the RV dealer & checked in the motor home.

Leaving the storm behind:

The forecast was for continued high winds and rain as a result of Hurrricane Ida. Even though the leaves were beautiful in North Carolina, the weather was not allowing us to stay & sightsee. We headed west for Virginia. Listened to audio book: One of Brock & Bodie Thoene's Gallaway Chronicles while we drove through rain & watched the clouds hover over the top of the mountains.

West Virginia and blue sky and sunshine! We started looking for something to “tour!” Had found a plantation museum along the Ohio River, but a sign along the interstate stating “glass factory tours” grabbed our attention.

Blenco Glass Factory:

We followed the signs. Our destination was the Blenco Glass Factory Visitor Center in Milto

n, WV. What a variety of glass ware is displayed for sale. Everything from marbles to 3 ft high vases & pitchers. Even glass cowboy hats!! Upstairs are examples of stained glass windows made with their glass. Artisans like to use Blenco Glass because its colors are consistent.

Outside are baskets with glass blocks for sale. Use them in landscaping edging or inserted in a wooden wall. From the 2nd floor of the Visitor Center, You can walk to the factory past the “oops” piles of colored broken pieces. Inside the factory is an area for you to stand and watch the glass blowers work.

Plan B:

We tried to find the Jenkins Plantation Museum near Lesage, WV. Could not!! (later found out that we did drive far enough North and that it was closed for some re

novation) So for plan B crossed the border and headed south on Hwy 23 known as the Country Music Highway. The highway borders a long area of industry, some scenic areas through the mountains and many small communities. Paintsville, Kentucky is our destination for the evening and a great supper at Bob Evans Restaurant!

Natural Bridge State Resort Park:

After all the rain we appreciated a bright sunny day heading East on the Combs Mountain Parkway through the Red River Valley and to the Natural Bridge State Resort Park. The Combs Mountain Parkway, named after the governor who is credited with getting the road built in 1963, was originally a toll road which opened up travel to eastern Kentucky.

Through the windshield: Occasional oil wells scattered in the mountains; homes of various sizes , shapes & state of repairs scattered along the valley beside the highway; horses, puppies for sale, chickens, and an occasional farm where valley was flat & wide; very steep & curving driveways; painted quilt blocks on the barns with so

me complicated designs; Forest areas have bare trunks and branches that allow you to see further into the forest; rocky ledges; red sumac; shadows made by the peaks of the mountains; large towns & commercial areas for several miles along the top of the peak and road work signs that indicate the "blasting zones."

The Natural Bridge State Resort Park has motels and cabins for rent plus a commercial area for tourists in the summer. Only the motel is open at this time of year. Surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Forest it has 18 miles of trails in the park, a lake for fishing & boating and awesome sandstone rock formations.

The Kentucky Union Railway was built in 1882 to haul lumber and coal out of Eastern Kentucky but went bankrupt in 1891. Newly organized L & E bought the railroad at a foreclosure sale, finished development of a railroad resort and opened the park to the public in 1895. For many years the railroad was the only way to reach the Natural Bridge. The trains would drop the tourists off at the lodge. (As we climbed the rock steps to the "bridge", we thought of all the people over the years that had climbed the same rock steps!) Later the Louisville Nashville Railroad acquired the property and in 1926, donated the lands around Natural Bridge to the state park system. Visitors could ride the excursion train to the park until the line was dismantled in 1942.

Natural Bridge is composed of what is known in geological terms as Pottsville conglomeratic sandstone. Large blocks of stone falling off either side of a narrow sandstone ridge caused the first opening that began the transformation of the sandstone outcropping into an archway. The weathering process, along with the root systems of plants, continued to develop the unique archway that makes up Natural Bridge. The arch spans 75 feet and is 65 feet high.

The skylift was closed for the season, but the rock steps & wooden railings made the .75 mile climb easy. On the way down we met a gentleman with a cane climbing! The view from the top was spectacular!

A day and half drive back to the Prairie!

Thanking the Lord for a safe trip plus the opportunity to see His creation both through the hands of the artist and in the outdoors!

Thank-you for traveling with us,

Prairie Schooners

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