October 27 – Rest Day
We fed chickens, walked dogs in Fighting Creek Park, shopped for groceries, did laundry, and puttered on our computers. As I write, it sounds more like running errands than resting, but it was a relaxing day.
October 28-29 – Shenandoah National Park
I borrowed Jennifer’s car and enjoyed a leisurely tour of this park; her sporty Volvo was perfect for the road. I started at the southern end. Skyline Drive connects to the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway; together these two roads provide almost 600 miles of scenic driving, though at 35 mph, plus stops, that would take a long time. I spent almost a full day traversing the lower two-thirds of Shenandoah. Needless to say, I made numerous stops for photos. As was the case down near Ashville, the viewpoints on the east side were a bit better than the west, so making a south to north drive perfect for me. I also took two hikes, one on a bit of the Appalachian Trail where a sign warned of copperheads, the other to Dark Hollow Falls where a sign warned of nuisance bears. I saw neither. My favorite was the popular hike to the falls, though on parts of this trail the sound of the stream was overpowered by the sound of rangers with leaf blowers. Nature is not what it used to be.
Late in the afternoon, I exited the park and drove a short distance to Luray where I stayed in the very cute Mayneview B&B. I was pleasantly surprised to find live jazz at the restaurant recommended by the owner. After dinner, another guest, a former San Franciscan, and I watched the beginning of game six in the World Series; we both gave up after a few innings. The resident tabby cat, Molly, followed me up to my room and spent the night curled up at the foot of the bed. I look forward to being reunited with Timbre and my other critters soon.
I had planned to do another hike in the morning, but it started to drizzle at about the same time I reached the parkway. Instead I drove through the upper third of the park, stopping for a few photos in the increasing rain, then headed back to Powhatan where I enjoyed a delicious dinner, Mediterranean tacos, prepared by Jennifer’s partner, Michael. Afterwards we all watched the Giants win the World Series. Though I rarely watch games, it was fun surrounded by avid sports fans.
October 30 – Charlottesville
Jennifer and I spent much of the day in Charlottesville, about an hour away. We took a four-mile walk on the Saunders-Monticello Trail. This accessible trail, on crushed rock and boardwalks, goes though a beautiful forest. We didn’t visit Monticello, as we’ve both toured there before (I was here with Joe and the boys in the late ‘90s). Instead we headed over to the mall in the historic downtown. A lone street musician braved the chilly breeze and played a piano. The outdoor tables were deserted, but I can imagine this as a lively scene at another time of year. We ate lunch and browsed in several cute stores.
October 31 – Powhatan
I spent a leisurely last day with Jennifer. We walked around Powhatan and watched the Giants victory parade on television. I sorted photos while she took care of chores. In the evening we drove into Richmond, where she treated Michael and me to dinner to celebrate the sale of her condo in San Francisco; it looks like she’s here to stay.
November 1 – Home
I fixed fresh eggs for breakfast and then Michael gave me a ride to the airport. The temperature was dropping with overnight frost predicted, so I left at just the right time. It took about twelve hours door-to-door to get home. After my laptop died, I entertained myself taking pictures out the window. I look forward to the time when electrical outlets are standard on planes. I don’t have any trips planned for the next few months, so I probably won’t post again until early next year. I hope you all enjoy the upcoming holidays.