Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Virginia is for historians

The state of Virginia has posted informative signs near historic places in the state. And there are plenty of them. The Battle of Chancelorsville (20 minutes from Christy's house in Fredericksburg, Va.) was "Lee's 'perfect battle' because of his risky but successful division of his army in the presence of a much larger enemy force," according to Wikipedia.

A replica of a cannon used in the Battle of Chancelorsville (Va.).

A proud rebel has carved the flag in one of the trees in the wilderness area where Stonewall Jackson was shot by friendly fire in May 1863. He died a few days later.

On my drive from Chancellorsville to Jefferson's estate, Monticello, I passed the town of Gordonsville. I was attracted to this tiny library along the main street. When I went inside, I learned it was no more than 1,000 square feet. It had a main room consisting of shelves along the perimeter and two stacks in the middle, creating 3 aisles of books. A shoot-off room had the children's section. One librarian on duty, one comfy chair to sit in, one computer to search the collection.

Trees envelop visitors as they approach the entrance to Monticello, meaning "little mountain."

The one photo I managed to take while inside the house, this is the dining room. I love how Jefferson managed to get so much light into his home.

Leaving the house after the guided tour, I turned to shoot the door my group had just emerged from.

Walking in the back yard among the gardens, I paused to take a self portrait. I like the shadow of the tree on my face.

The stairs on which I sit lead up from the back yard of the house.

On the grounds is this Fish Pond. I imagine enslaved kitchen workers coming here to "fish" for the evening's dinner. The pond itself is pretty scuzzy-looking now.

This group of Mormon missionaries was on the grounds that day. I loved the contrast of their suits to not only the casual clothes most of the visitors were wearing but the trees, grass, and flowers.

The house itself is up on a hill. This cemetery, the African-American graveyard as it's called today, was at the bottom near the road to town. There were no headstones that I could see.

Here is a list of some of the names of those who were enslaved in service at Monticello.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

... at the Lake Eden Arts Festival

Roommate Francine, right, greets the parade as it started up the hill during the Lake Eden Arts Festival in Black Mountain, NC.

We caught the parade just in time. Here, a juggler concentrates.

Gourd heads, for some reason, were popular on the parade route.

Drummers dressed in bright colors kept the beat.

Set up in the middle of the vendor area was this web of string. Anyone could come and wrap string around the existing structure.

Necklaces for sale at the Lake Eden Arts Festival in Black Mountain, NC.

Francine roomed with me at the Motel 6. Here she is among scarves for sale. She'd just bought the leather hat and was happy with the price.

These two guys were selling naturally flavored chocolate, meaning it had no sugar. It was gross. I told them I did not like it, and the guy on the left said I was the first person to tell him that. I tried to give him constructive criticism: it was crumbly and had a biting aftertaste.

These clothes are hanging on racks made of old plumbing pipes.

I've gotten three henna tattoos from this woman. She lives in Raleigh with her husband and is adamant that henna is an actual art.

Me and my henna. I love it.

A girl next to me had just gotten an Oriental symbol on her shoulder blade. I took the photo so she could see it. I kept it because I think it looks cool.

Petrified Forest, AZ

Petrified Forest National Park came upon me suddenly on the drive from Santa Fe to Amarillo. These rock formations are called teepees.

The hotel within the park offers spectacular views (sounds like I'm writing the press release).

Behind the hotel is this trail, leading down into the rocks.

These petrified tree stumps are the reason this national park exists. Scientists believe a flooded river washed huge trees from the north into this valley in Arizona. Elements such as iron infiltrated the trees and solidified them.

I wanted to illustrate the size of this fallen log. Not sure why, but it surprised me that the petrified forest is comprised of fallen -- not standing -- trees. :)

Chemicals within the logs give them their colors, such as yellows, reds, and purples.

This is Savannah, a military nursing student. She and I kept running into each other along the stops in the park. At one point, my camera battery died and she was able to recharge it in her car for me.

More rock formations within the park.

The best part of my visit was sitting in the sunshine, contemplating the view. Savannah shot this one.

It was getting late in the afternoon when I left the national park.

Road tripping

With a jam-packed car, I've been adding miles on Interstate 40 heading east from Vegas to Asheville, NC.

Cousins Julie and Danielle stop in a karaoke bar in Vegas before the latter began the trek east.

San Miguel church in Santa Fe, NM, is the oldest church in the country, according to the signs.

The windows of oldest house in Santa Fe, NM, are boarded up.

Outside Amarillo, TX, is this cemetery. What I like about it is the flat Texas skyline goes on indefinitely.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Cadillac Ranch

It's not a restaurant or a whorehouse but a work of art. Word has it an eccentric Texas millionaire bought Cadillacs, planted them nose-down in a field outside Amarillo, TX, and paved the way for tourists to spray paint them.

The state of Texas sanctions the graffiti. Just make sure it's on the right side of the fence.

These 10 Caddies stand in the middle of Texas farmland on Interstate 40.

I take a can of white spray paint and add a little something to one of the cars.

My graffiti was to add, in white, this "no" symbol. Please don't try to analyze my choice.

It really is in the middle of nothing.

Looking toward I-40 from one of the tires.

Someone had cut out "OK" into one of the tires.

People from all over were tickled to tag the cars.

Kolob Canyons

Jessica, Amanda and Danielle on a bench at a stop at Kolob Canyons, part of Zion National Park.

Danielle, Jessica and Amanda pose as hiker Ethan, below, snaps their photo. It was a breezy, blue-skied day.

Ethan and his girlfriend were about to embark on a hike when we stopped him to take our photo.

The "crevice," as we called it, is visible in the rock.

We stopped by Aunt Judy's in Ivins, UT, to drop off some furniture for her garage sale. I dig her "Garage sale goddess" shirt.