Monthly Archives: October 2016

Oct 21, 2016 Stone Mountain, GA

After our short stay in Hendersonville NC we headed south. On the way both to and from Hendersonville we passed the Eastern Continental Divide which separates the waters flowing to the Atlantic Ocean from those flowing to the Gulf of Mexico. The divide runs from Pennsylvania to Florida. It crosses Virginia from Carroll County at the North Carolina line to Giles County at the West Virginia border. Rainwater in southwestern Virginia flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Before 1760 it was the boundary between British and French colonial possessions in North America. It was also the line separating the Thirteen Colonies from the west. Sure didn’t know this until I saw the sign and looked it up!
We passed through South Carolina, which had the cheapest gas, and endured gusty winds and a major Friday afternoon traffic jam outside of Atlanta. We were glad when we reached our destination, the Stone Mountain RV Park.
Stone Mountain is an exposed quartz monzonite dome rock 825 feet tall and more than five miles in circumference at its base. It was formed during the formation of the Blue Ridge Mountains around 300-350 million years ago. Stone Mountain continues underground for nine miles at its longest point.

On the north face of the rock is an enormous rock relief carving of three Confederate figures: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. It is the largest “bas-relief” in the world, larger than Mount Rushmore!!20161022_194316
Stone Mountain is surrounded by a family oriented theme park. We were not too attracted to the touristy stuff but did spend a morning riding the train on the five mile scenic loop around the park and then took the Summit Skyride. 20161023_12164320161023_13202220161023_131126The Skyride is a high speed cable car which carries visitors to the top of Stone Mountain. As we rode up we had a nice view of the Confederate carving. 20161023_130904At the top we walked around and enjoyed the beautiful views of the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlanta skyline.  It is only a few miles east of downtown Atlanta.20161023_13242520161023_132737
On Saturday evening they had the last laser show of the season. It was very chilly and we had to really bundle up for the 45 minute nighttime show. With videos and high-powered lasers the mountain became a nighttime canvas. With the last laser show completed they began preparations for their Snow Festival season.  20161022_205344IMG_1413IMG_1415IMG_141720161022_20534620161022_205416There were already snow machines making snow and snowflakes hanging from light posts.20161023_114139

Sunday we drove into Atlanta to see the capitol building and visit the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

The capitol is modeled after the U.S. capitol building. The roof is covered with gold leaf mined in northern Georgia.20161023_171008
In keeping with our goal to visit as many presidential museums as possible, we toured the Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum. 20161023_145748We began with a short film and then proceeded through several galleries beginning with his early life, navy career, political life as governor and president including a reproduction of the Oval Office, and concluding with his life today. 20161023_16092820161023_16095020161023_162008These days he spends a lot of time at the Carter Center, even maintaining an apartment there. The Carter Center, founded in 1982, is a nongovernmental, not for profit organization in partnership with Emory University. The Carter Center works to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering.20161023_162748

We saw this picture of President Carter and noticed how it is made from smaller images to produce the contrast and contours.20161023_162810

Notice here how his head is made from the fifty state flags.

In 2002, President Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work through the Carter Center.20161023_16365720161023_16364720161023_163435

We enjoyed visiting the Carter Presidential Library and Museum and found it was very well done.

I had to laugh at a sign on the door saying “Worst President”. A closer look showed they were advertising a lecture by a guest author who wrote a book on who he thinks was the worst president: James Buchanan.20161023_164126

Oct 18, 2016 Hendersonville, NC

We left Waxhaw and traveled to Hendersonville, NC located in the western North Carolina Mountains between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains.  Hendersonville is twenty-two miles south of Asheville and fifteen miles north of the North Carolina/South Carolina border.
While in Hendersonville we enjoyed meeting Bill’s friend Alan, his wife, daughter and granddaughter for dinner.  Many years ago Bill and Alan’s family attended the same church in Orlando, FL and Bill and Alan were leaders in the same Boy Scout troop.
Bill and I enjoyed exploring Hendersonville.  Inside the Hendersonville City Hall were very nice statues of General Andrew Jackson, James Knox Polk (11th President and born in NC) and Andrew Johnson (17th President and born in NC).  Johnson was the only sitting senator from a Confederate state who stood with the Union and did not join the Confederate States of the Union.  He became President when Lincoln was assassinated.20161019_134600
The Hendersonville County Courthouse, built in 1905, has atop its copper dome a six foot statue of “Lady Justice”.  The statue is the Greek Goddess Themis, goddess of divine justice and law.  She does not have a blindfold and is holding a sword in her right hand and scales in her left.  It is believed this is one of only three statues of Themis in the United States without a blindfold.  The blindfold is meant to show that Justice should be impartial.20161019_133810
We drove to Jump Off Rock which has a scenic overlook of the Blue Ridge and Pisgah mountain ranges.  There is an Indian Legend about Jump Off Rock which says that over 300 years ago a young Cherokee Indian Chief fell in love with an Indian maiden.  They would often meet on top of the rock ledge.  When the Chief went off to war, the maiden promised him she would wait for him at the rocky ledge.  When she received news he had been killed in battle, she jumped off the rock.  Her body was found by tribal hunters below.  Indian legend says that on moonlit nights you can see the ghost of the Indian maiden on Jump Off Rock.20161019_14370020161019_14373320161019_14404320161019_144502
Another day we visited DuPont State Recreational Forest.  Many scenes from the movies “The Hunger Games”, “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Max” were filmed in this park.  We hiked to High Falls.20161020_12384120161020_130123

We also hiked to Triple Falls.20161020_140227

Scenes from “The Hunger Games” and “The Last of the Mohicans” were filmed at Triple Falls.
The days are warm and the nights cool.  We still are not seeing much fall foliage to our disappointment.20161020_125910

Oct 16, 2016 Waxhaw, NC

We left the charming town of Mt Airy, the hometown of Andy Griffith and headed south. Just as an observation, once we crossed the Mason Dixon line from Pennsylvania into Maryland the people became friendlier, the food better and the gas cheaper. Just the way it is in the south, folks!
Our next stop was Waxhaw, NC, just south of Charlotte. We stayed at Cane Creek Campground, a county owned park, and even though leveling the RV and getting satellite tv was a challenge, Bill worked his magic and got it done.
Bill’s sister Janet lives in Waxhaw and we enjoyed getting together with Janet and her husband Bryon for brunch. Waxhaw is just north of the North Carolina/South Carolina border and we passed back and forth from one state to the other on our way to meet them.20161016_125851
On the way back we stopped at a cornerstone border rock which designates the border of North and South Carolina. There seems to be a discrepancy between the date of 1818 on the rock and 1813 on a nearby sign.20161016_14213620161016_142349
We also stopped at the birthplace in South Carolina of our 7th President, Andrew Jackson. Both North and South Carolina want to take credit for his birthplace because at the time of his birth in 1767, the border between North and South Carolina was unmarked. Today the site is in South Carolina.20161016_13534420161016_14015620161016_140313 During the Revolutionary War Jackson was captured by the British at age 13 and mistreated. He was an orphan at the age of 14. In 1806 he killed a man in a duel over the honor of his wife Rachel. When he ran for president in 1824 he failed to get a majority and it went to the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives gave the presidency to John Quincy Adams. Jackson claimed corruption between Adams and the Speaker of the House Henry Clay, when Clay was appointed Secretary of State under Adams. Jackson’s supporters founded the Democratic Party. He ran again in 1828 against Adams and won by a landslide.20161016_140536
Also while in Waxhaw we drove a few miles north to Matthews, NC where we met up with three cousins I had not seen in over fifty years. Yes, I said fifty years. We had a lovely dinner at my cousin Tammy’s home and celebrated several October birthdays. We promised not to wait another fifty years to meet again!20161016_18183020161016_193420
Quotes by Andrew Jackson:

  • “It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes.”
  • “Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
  • “One man with courage makes a majority.”

Here are some of the displays about President Jackson presidency.20161016_14060620161016_14061120161016_14061720161016_140623

Oct 12, 2016 Mt Airy, NC

20161013_141409Last month I was thrilled to visit Jamestown, NY, the birthplace of Lucille Ball. We visited the Lucille Ball museum and a re-creation of the Desilu Studios. I was once again overjoyed to learn we would be visiting Mt Airy, NC, the hometown of Andy Griffith and the inspiration for the town of Mayberry. 20161013_105345The Andy Griffith show is one of my all time favorites, second only to I Love Lucy. Bill has his love of Star Trek and Dr Who. I have my love of I Love Lucy and Andy.
We stayed three nights at the Mayberry Campground, just outside of the Mt Airy town limits. Luckily we had a reservation because the campground was full of people escaping the flooding in eastern North and South Carolina from Hurricane Matthew.20161013_104647
We had fun touring Mt Airy. The outskirts of downtown have many chain stores and restaurants. But the charming historic downtown area is like going back in time to the days of Mayberry. None of the show was actually filmed in Mt Airy. We saw in various places in the city: Floyd’s Barber Shop, Walker’s Drug Store (where Miss Ellie sold Andy, Barney and Opie ice cream sundaes), Wally’s Service Station where Gomer and Goober worked, the Darlings’ cabin and truck. Many of these were built for the tourists and resemble the show. We had lunch at Snappys Diner. In one of the episodes of the show, Andy suggests to Barney they grab lunch at Snappys. The diner is known for their “pork chop sandwich” which Bill ordered for lunch. I had a nice BLT for the exorbitant price of $2.25!20161013_12332320161013_12334120161013_12330020161013_13194320161013_12501320161013_13311020161013_13321920161013_13323020161013_13330620161013_13334620161013_13363420161013_13374120161013_13380820161013_13391220161013_13401520161013_133029
We walked to the Mayberry Courthouse where Andy and Barney worked. We were both thrilled to see the inside looked just like the set on the show. And we both ended up in Andy’s jail. We were also thrilled to see the police car like Andy drove!20161013_10443820161013_12010120161013_111818
We also visited the Andy Griffith museum where they had exhibits on Andy’s life and career. They had Andy’s police uniform shirt, and the suits that Barney and Goober wore on the show. They had Goober’s service station hat which had been bronzed. They also had the suit Andy wore as Matlock. At the entrance to the museum they had a statue of Andy and Opie going fishing. Just inside the door they had Barney’s sidecar that he bought in an episode in season 4. Such fun!!20161013_10565920161013_11002520161013_10460620161013_110906We found this production pictures of the making of the TV show’s opening credits where Andy and Opie are going fishing was filmed.20161013_110608

We finished the day by driving by Andy’s home place where he lived as a child until his high school graduation. It is now owned by the Marriott and they rent the house out to tourists! You can go to Mt Airy and sleep in Andy’s house!20161013_135904
Betty Lynn, who played Barney’s girlfriend Thelma Lou, visited Mt Airy during the yearly Andy Griffith festival and loved the town so much she now makes her home in Mt Airy.20161013_104713
We even found some geocaches in Mt Airy!  Can you tell how much we enjoyed visiting this sweet little town?

Oct 10, 2016 Staunton, Virginia

20161010_145704As we traveled south we passed through the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and stopped for a few nights in the area. In keeping with our quest to visit as many Presidential Libraries as possible, we toured the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton, Virginia. Nearby was Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace where he was born in 1856, the son of a Presbyterian minister.20161010_14574720161010_150200

There is a nice museum detailing Wilson’s presidency.  In the basement of the museum is a recreated Great War (first World War) bunker.20161010_15124520161010_151340
Wilson was our 28th President, serving from 1913-1921, the first Southerner elected president since Zachary Taylor in 1848. Wilson was seen as a leader of the Progressive Movement. He reintroduced the State of the Union address which hadn’t been done since 1801. During his time as President he oversaw the passage of progressive legislative policies including the Federal Reserve, Federal Trade Commission, Clayton Antitrust Act, and the Federal Farm Loan. His Revenue Act of 1913 introduced the federal income tax. Wilson favored an international policy of neutrality which some blamed for later causing us to enter into the Great War. Woodrow Wilson won a second term as President, the first Democrat since Andrew Jackson to win two consecutive terms. His second term was dominated by the United States entry into World War I in 1917. He loaned billions of dollars to Britain, France and other Allies, raising income taxes and borrowing billions of dollars through the public purchase of Liberty Bonds. In 1918 he endorsed the 19th Amendment which was ratified in 1920, giving women the right to vote. Like all Southern Democrats at that time, he supported segregation. He pushed for a League of Nations and was in favor of the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty was opposed by Republicans and while promoting the treaty he suffered a severe stroke and the treaty was rejected by the Senate. It is said that Wilson’s Presbyterian background infused morality into his international affairs, leading to what is known as “Wilsonian”, an activist foreign policy calling for the promotion of global democracy. Because of his work on forming the League of Nations, he was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize. After his stroke, many say that his second wife, Edith, ran the White House and made many major administrative decisions. Wilson was initially against equal rights for women and some say it was Edith who actually had the 19th Amendment passed. His illness was kept from the public, but once it became known, concern was expressed about his fitness to serve as President. This led to the 25th Amendment which details the succession to the presidency in case of illness.
Prohibition also began in 1920 during Wilson’s presidency.20161010_155737

Also in the museum is Wilson’s 1919 Pierce-Arrow car. The car was part of the Presidential fleet and when he left office his friends purchased it for him.
After his presidency ended, he and Mrs. Wilson lived in Washington D.C. until his death in 1924 at the age of 67. Mrs. Wilson lived another 37 years, dying in 1961 at the age of 89.20161010_150239
We enjoyed our very short time in Virginia visiting family and friends. With temperatures going down to 36 degrees at night, we hurried towards our next stop in North Carolina.

Oct 1, 2016 Gettysburg, PA

Our last stop in Pennsylvania was at Gettysburg Farm – Thousand Trails about thirty minutes from the Gettysburg Battlefield.  This campground is a charming working farm and we were delighted to interact with some of the friendly farm animals.  They anticipated being fed and would come running when they saw people.20161001_14003920161001_14005520161001_14004320161001_14011820161005_16252920161005_16232920161005_16241820161005_16245020161005_162458
20161004_154229We were last at Gettysburg in 2010 for a long weekend.  At that time we did an extensive tour of the battlefield using an auto driving tour.  So on this trip we were interested in seeing the Eisenhower National Historic Site.  Dwight and Mamie only owned one home, the Gettysburg Farm they purchased in 1950 at the end of his thirty year military career; he rose to the rank of five star general.  20161004_141319During his two terms as our 34th president they used the farm as a weekend retreat.  World leaders and dignitaries from around the world visited them where President Eisenhower used the laid back charm of the property to encourage friendly talks.  During Eisenhower’s heart attack in 1955 the farm served as a temporary White House.  When President and Mrs. Eisenhower left the White House in 1961, it became their retirement home where the President enjoyed painting and raising Angus cattle.  They gave their home to the federal government in 1967 with the understanding that they both be allowed to live there until their deaths.
After buying tickets at the Gettysburg Visitors Center we rode a bus for the fifteen minute trip to the farm where a guide met us for part of the tour.20161004_141858  The view from the farm was absolutely beautiful.  We saw the helicopter landing field where dignitaries would land and be greeted by Eisenhower in his golf cart.  He would take his guests for a ride around the farm to “break the ice” before heading to the house.20161004_13213420161004_13323720161004_135717
The house today is much like it was when the Eisenhowers lived here, and Angus cattle still graze in the fields.  The house has eight bedrooms and nine bathrooms and Mamie’s favorite color, pink, is throughout the house.  Even though the house has many bedrooms and baths, it did not feel that large and had a modest look. Most of the furnishings are original and the living room showcases the many gifts received by the Eisenhowers in the White House.  At that time of the 34th President, gifts received while president could be kept.  20161004_13351320161004_13345920161004_133530The Eisenhowers spent little time in the living room, preferring to stay on the porch, his favorite room where they watched TV and Eisenhower pursued his hobby of oil painting.  It is in this relaxed homey room that he entertained Khrushchev and De Galle.20161004_134223
The farm also includes a Secret Service Office, a guest house, a small putting green, an 1887 barn, several farming sheds, a cattle show barn and a garage with his presidential limousine, a station wagon he drove around Gettysburg, and several golf carts including the Surrey With the Fringe on Top golf cart he used to show guests around the farm.
One funny story is Eisenhower was always chauffeured around during his military career and presidency.  He did not get a driver’s license until the age of 70 after he retired.  Evidently he was not a very good driver.  Before he and Mrs. Eisenhower would leave to have dinner at their favorite restaurant in Gettysburg, he would call the restaurant owner and have him go outside and block off several parking spaces in front of the restaurant so the President would not have trouble parking.
President Eisenhower died in 1969 and Mamie continued to live at the farm until her death in 1979 at the age of 82.  They are both buried at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas.
20161004_16193720161004_16212120161004_163453After completing our tour of the Eisenhower Farm, we did spend the rest of the afternoon driving around some of the 24 miles of the Gettysburg Battlefield. It is such a beautiful, peaceful place that it is hard to comprehend the suffering and agony that occurred on this hallowed ground. The battle began on July 1, 1863, continued for three days, and the casualties were high. On July 3rd, Confederate General Robert E. Lee lost over 5,000 soldiers in ONE HOUR. When both armies marched away from Gettysburg, over 51,000 soldiers were dead, wounded or missing. 20161004_15461520161004_15472520161004_165404More men died during the Battle of Gettysburg than in any other battle on American soil before or since. At first the soldiers were buried in hastily dug graves, or not at all. Four months after the battle, re-interment began on seventeen acres that became known as Soldiers’ National Cemetery. On November 19, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg for dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. There he gave a speech which became known as the Gettysburg Address.20161004_15023020161004_150336

The nights are getting cooler and we are anxious to head south!