Summer 2010 update #1

We are currently located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley just outside Luray, VA and we’re surrounded by mountains and gorgeous rolling ranch and farm land at our RV park.  We initially came here for a couple of days and when we leave later this week, we will have been here for over two weeks!

As a quick recap of what we have been doing for the last month we have been on the road, we left our little ranch in the Texas Hill Country on tax day, April 15 and headed for the Mineola (the Mineola Civic Center) to attend a Winnebago rally.  Mineola is a very nice small town in NE Texas and

J&J in Mineola

John made an ugly little girl

it was quite the contrast to the hill country with its pine trees and sand.  The civic center was quite nice with great banquet facilities and the catered food was really tasty.  As a bonus, there were very large open fields where John got to fly a plane he brought along.

After leaving Mineola, we made a beeline for Chippokes Plantation State Park in tidal Virginia which happens to be across the James River from Jamestown and Williamsburg.  We were meeting up with our RV (and boating) friends Bob and Judy at the park and we were going to do

Jane and John at the visitor center

Jane and John at the Jamestowne visitor center

some more volunteer work there.  John takes care of the park’s weather station and helps out doing some computer maintenance there and other odd jobs.  Chippokes Plantation State Park is about a 1200 acre actual working farm with nice camping and period houses for rent.  While at Chippokes we actually managed to play tourist this time (last summer we worked the entire 10 days we were at the park) and visited Historic Jamestowne.  Getting there is a little fun (at least for the first couple of times) since you have to take a free ferry across the river.  We stayed at Chippokes for about two weeks and left for an RV park in Luray, Virginia which is very near the Shenandoah National Park.

John thought there would be some good sightseeing in the area and sure enough there was.  The Shenandoah National Park was created by the CCC in the 1930s (like many, many other parks and public works) and was designed primarily for automobile sightseeing along the mountain ridge.  We drove this 105 mile long “Skyline Drive” and the scenery was very nice – not spectacular, but nice.  It was good to visit there.

Next on the sightseeing list was the Virginia Military Institute’s “Hall of Valor” civil war museum in nearby New Market.  During the New Market engagement of the civil war, the VMI cadets were called upon to augment

Civil war monument

Monument to the 54th Pennsylvania - New Market battle

the regular Confederate solders and saw action.  10 VMI cadets were killed in this battle.  The New Market story was quite interesting and is certainly worth reading about.

Another popular attraction in the area is Luray Caverns – billed as the “Largest Caverns in the East.”  We have been to the granddaddy Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico years ago and didn’t think anything could top that and weren’t particularly interested in visiting Luray Caverns, but we did anyway and weren’t disappointed.  Luray Caverns is quite a bit smaller, but interesting nonetheless.  There is quite the oddity in the caverns – an organ that strikes the stalactites to make the musical notes.  This project was one man’s dream and obsession and after we heard the organ play a recorded piece, we weren’t very impressed.  The music was a little weird sounding – don’t think this will catch on in other caverns 😉 .

John has been eager to finally rebuild our website and it actually happened over the last seven or eight days and he just put the finishing touches on it today.  He has been banging and fussing away at the keyboard for what seems like an eternity.  Also there are more pictures added to our gallery, so with this blog entry, we are pretty well caught up!

We leave here later this week and head for the Annapolis area where we will party with the Rohanes/Topleys/Josselyns/French celebrating Quinn Rohane’s graduation from the Naval Academy.  Should be lots of fun during commissioning week.

That’s it for now!