Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Louisville to Home – Trip Summary

To quote an old English Proverb, “All good things must come to an end”. So it is with our fall vacation.

Our final two days of travel took us across Southern Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Western Iowa, and finally Nebraska. The trees across Southern Indiana were turning fall colors nicely. Really pretty to look at as we drove west.

IMG_3630 IMG_3637 IMG_3639

We realized as we crossed this part of the US, that the further west we went, there was less of the red tinged trees. That is one of the things we miss from where we both grew up. If you get a chance to do Indiana in the fall, the hills of southwestern Indiana and Kentucky are worth the trip.

On the way across Missouri, we saw a bill board advertising a quilt shop. I think this is the first time we have seen a quilt shop bill board so of course we had to stop. It is located in Higgensville, MO, just a few miles off I-70. Katie says it was worth the stop.


One the way out of town we passed the Higgensville High School and couldn’t resist taking a picture.


Nice of them to root for our beloved Huskers, but the ICON is wrong……..oh well.

We arrived home, tired but full of memories of a nice trip. Total distance traveled is a littl over 3800 miles. Visiting our friends in Louisville was fun. It had been a few years since we had a chance to just sit and talk.

Traveling with Jill and Scot was fun. We saw a lot of really interesting places.

St Charles, MO


Louisville, KY and the beautiful Ohio River


Gatlinburg, TN


Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway


Asheville, NC with it wonderful areas and fun Segway tour.

IMG_3200 IMG_3218

Charleston, SC with Fort Sumter, the Yorktown, the area South of Broad, and the Gullah tour

IMG_3242 IMG_3274 IMG_3348 IMG_3386

The Outer Banks of North Carolina with the stilted homes and birds

IMG_3510 IMG_3516

And finally, the Wright Brothers First Flight Memorial at Kill Devil Hills.


Without a doubt a memorable trip. After a little rest and laundry we will be ready to go again. But that may have to wait for a while. But when we do travel again, expect this blog to continue.

Cheers to all!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mt Airy to Louisville


Nice day for a drive.  Clear with mild temperatures.  The drive was all Interstate which made for a relatively easy day.  The road is gently winding and hilly.  We drove North from Mt Airy across Virginia and West Virginia, turning to the West as we crossed West Virginia.  The road climbed to a little over 3,000 feet before dropping back down as we entered the Ohio River valley.  The road runs through tunnels in a few places.

IMG_3589 IMG_3592

The trees were starting to turn at the higher elevations and were showing some beautiful colors.

IMG_3597 IMG_3598

In West Virginia, near Beckley, is Tamarack, a place for displaying and selling of West Virginia crafts.  It is a building full of beautiful craft items made by West Virginia artisans.


Besides the displays of items for sale, there are studios with artisans in residence.  The quilt studio caught our eye of course.

IMG_3605 IMG_3606

For more information visit their web site at:

If you are in the area, it is well worth a stop.  There are meals available in the center, and is a good place for a driving break and lunch.

We drove through the West Virginia State Capital, Charleston.  The capital is visible from along the interstate, with its gleaming gold dome.


We are always intrigued by the road cuts and the rock layers that are exposed as a result.


And finally a last look at the rolling hills of Western West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.


We are laying over in Louisville for a day before starting the last two legs of our trip.  It has been fun and we have seen a lot of beautiful and interesting sites.

More in a couple of days.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Kill Devil Hills to Mt Airy, NC


Today was another perfect day for vacationing.  We have had almost perfect weather everyday of our trip.  Mostly clear skies, no rain, and temperatures between 50 and 78.  Who could ask for anything better.  Today was no exception to that.  We feel lucky because trying to vacation on the Atlantic coast or along the Gulf of Mexico this time of year can be problematic.  There was a storm that traveled up the east coast a few days before we got to the region, but it had cleared out by the time we arrived.  We did see a few high rivers and there had been some flooding in the area.

Today we started out at the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills.


This is a complex around the hill used by the Wright Brothers for their glider experiments and first successful powered flight.  They have a replica of the first Wright Flier.  It was built in based on the Wright Brothers plans.  Flights were attempted in it for the 100th anniversary but the results were mixed.  To me this indicates the Wright Brothers chances of success  required a lot of luck.


The original Wright Flyer was wrecked and abandoned in 1903.  There are replicas of the Wright shack and hanger that were built by the brothers.


There are markers for the takeoff point and the distance for each of their four flights on December 17, 1903


From there we drove to Roanoke Island and the town of Manteo.  We wanted to see the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse.  IMG_3564

As we visited the facility, we found out that this is a reproduction of the original.  And in fact it was not originally located on Roanoke Island, but on a small island in the area.  It was still fun to walk around it.


We need to come back some day because there is a lot of early settlement history on the Island.  It was a permanent English Colony at one time – the lost colony.  Everyone disappeared without a trace.  Lots to explore at another time.

By this time it was getting late morning and we had to head west to Mt Airy.  En-route we drove past and over the Alligator River.  the trees are reflected in the clear still river.


We drove into a different type of trees since we were climbing out of the low country.


And we saw  Pilot Mountain.   Do you remember Sheriff Andy Taylor talking about going to Mount Pilot?  There is a town called Pilot Mountain….


Andy Griffith is from Mount Airy, and the town is full of Mayberry lore.  There is the Andy Griffith museum, Floyd’s Barber Shop, and Aunt Bee’s room.   We didn’t visit any of them.  Maybe next time…

Tomorrow we continue west to Louisville, KY.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

North Carolina Outer Banks


After a day off from blogging here is an update on our last two days.  Actually, I didn’t blog last night because there wasn’t much to report.  it was a driving day, from Charleston, SC to New Bern, NC.  We made a short stop at Myrtle Beach for a walk on the beach and a little shopping at an outlet mall.

It was a beautiful day to travel, with sunny skies and mild temperatures (upper 60s).  We had not been to Myrtle Beach before.  The sand on the beach is very fine and almost pure white.  Very pretty.  Of course there are lots of hotels along the beach.

IMG_3421 IMG_3422

That evening we had an enjoyable meal in downtown New Bern.  It would be fun to explore this area more because they have a lot of older buildings in the town.  There is a Segway tour that is available, but we didn’t have time to take it.  Maybe next time.

Then this morning we got an early start.  We needed to be at the Cedar Island ferry boat port to catch a 9:30 ferry.  This particular ferry only runs a few times a day and the trip is about 2 hours long.  So reservations are almost a necessity.  The maps said almost 2 hours for the drive and we needed to check in 30 minutes before the departure time.  Hence we were on the road at 7:00 AM this morning……even before the sun came up.

Cedar Island is one of the jumping off points for the Outer Banks.  While waiting for the ferry we explored the area a little.

IMG_3434 IMG_3439

As I indicated above, the ferry trip to the south end of  Ocracoke Island is about 2 hours.  The trip was uneventful with smooth seas on a comfortable boat.


En-route we passed an island that was full of cormorants.


Our first stop after the ferry was at the Bicycle Rental and Ice Cream Shop.  Among other things they serve Gelato.  YUM!


We went by the Ocracoke Lighthouse.  This lighthouse is still operational, so we couldn’t  climb to the top.  It is a short but very pretty lighthouse.

IMG_3459 IMG_3468

Next was lunch at Howard’s Pub and Raw Bar.  Nice place to eat.  My meal was Mahi-Mahi fish and chips.  We also noticed a few college pennants of interest.


IMG_3470 IMG_3471

I think Scot had a really good lunch!


We then drove to the North end of Ocracoke Island and took the free ferry between Ocracoke and Hatteras Island.



The Sea Gulls performed for us.


We were intrigued by the houses on the Outer Banks.  As expected, most are built on stilts.  But it gives them a strange look.

IMG_3457 IMG_3493

No trip would be complete without a stop at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.


It is a really pretty lighthouse that has a long history.  It wasn’t too many years ago that a major effort was made to save it by moving the entire light house a few thousand feet inland.  We saw part of the movie of the move and it was a major engineering project.


We made a stop on our travel North to walk a little bit of the beach on the Atlantic side of the island (Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge).  We watched the birds for a while, including the sandpipers and pelicans.

IMG_3514 IMG_3516

Our last stop was a quick view of the Bodie Island Lighthouse.  By the time we got there it was closed, but it was being worked on.  It was still interesting to stop and see all of the scaffolding that had been erected around it.


The boardwalk goes out to an overlook of the marshes and water channels in the area.  It is hard to get a picture of the area just because of the expanse of the areas. 

IMG_3528 IMG_3530 

Dinner was at Millers Seafood & Steak House.  Good food and a nice atmosphere.  On our menu was stuffed flounder and shrimp & scallops.

IMG_3535 IMG_3536

Tomorrow we are heading west and back home by early next week.  We have been traveling with Katie’s cousin Jill and her husband Scott Hersberger since Gatlinburg, TN.  It has been fun to share our adventures with another couple and they are great travel companions.  Thanks Jill and Scott for joining us.

Tomorrow night we will be in Mt Airy, NC (Mayberry, home of Opie, Sheriff Taylor and Aunt Bea).