Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

We apparently dodged the bullet here at home. As you can see from the photos taken yesterday and this morning, there is no discernible difference in the landscape.

Pre-Sandy, by Judy Parsons Smith
Monday, October 29, 2012 - around 5:45 p.m.

Post-Sandy, by Judy Parsons Smith
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - around 8:45 a.m.
Friends to the north weren't so lucky, a number without power and possible damage to homes and offices. Our prayers are with them as we move forward to recover from this natural disaster.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Covered Bridges of Patrick County

Having been inspired by a posting on Facebook by one of my friends about the existence of Covered Bridges in Virginia, My mother & I began our adventure before 6:00 a.m. We gathered our camera equipment and hit the road for Patrick County and the covered bridges there.

Even with the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy we struck out on our journey. Our route took us along Route 360 West, Route 58, and Route 8.

Along the way, as my dad was out hunting turkeys elsewhere, we saw eight turkeys of our own in a field near the road. Passing through Basset, VA we watched a couple of fisherman out in the river fly fishing.

We reached our first destination, Jacks Creek Covered Bridge around 10:30.

Jacks Creek Covered Bridge, by Judy Parsons Smith
Jacks Creek Covered Bridge
The plaque just inside the bridge reads:
This 48-foot span bridge build of oak crosses the Smith River. It was constructed in 1914 by Charles Vaughan of the Buffalo Ridge area and designed by Walter Weaver of Woolwine. This historic landmark, a silent reminder to the past, has been bypassed by a modern bridge but has been preserved by the County for future generations
The bridge was a little disappointing at first, as it is so close to the roadway that a guardrail had to be place virtually across part of the entry on one end. The bridge however, is extremely accessible and has multiple vantage point from which to shoot photos. One of the interesting aspects of the bridge can be found by taking a stroll through the bridge, inside there is graffiti from across the years the oldest (that we found) was a pair of initials carved and dated 1916.

Back into the car and down the road only a little over 2 miles is the Bob White Covered Bridge. It is off the roadway and is tucked behind an old home.

Bob White Covered Bridge, by Judy Parsons Smith
Bob White Covered Bridge
The plaque inside the entrance reads:
This 80-foot truss constructed over the Smith River was built in 1921. It served as a connection between Route 8 and Smith River Church of the Brethren on the south side of the Smith River. Bob White Covered Bridge, designed and constructed by Walter Weaver of Woolwine, served traffic for more than a half-century.

There were multiple places along the pathway and off to capture this beautiful covered bridge from multiple angles. The river here is seemingly very shallow. Walking across the bridge from the Route 8 side, as you come out the opposite end there are mountain rhododendron on the side of the hill. The odd angle that is now present at the exit to the bridge makes one wonder how any vehicle or wagon ever was able to pass through.

Covered Bridge, by Judy Parsons Smith
Privately Own Covered Bridge crossing the Smith River.
Heading back along our route we spied a third covered bridge behind a home near the Jacks Creek Covered Bridge. The longer lens let us get a few shots from across the field and we even went so far as to take a few photos from the roadway in front of the property.

From what we could tell about this particular bridge a barn door appears to have been added to the rear so that it is only able to be used as a bridge when the owners open it up. Behind the back of the bridge is a hay field.

Fall Foliage, by Judy Parsons Smith
Beautiful Fall Foliage near the Smith River.
Between this bridge and the Jacks Creek Covered Bridge are a couple of fields at the edge of one this stand of trees has been planted. The foliage beautiful against the overcast sky.

Having accomplished our mission of seeing the Covered Bridges we turned to exploring other places of interest in the area.

Fairy Stone State Park was along our route, we popped in for a brief stop and found out where we would be able to hunt for fairy stones. If we had been able to stay in the area it would have made a great afternoon excursion.

Philpot Lake, by Judy Parsons Smith
Back along the way we followed the signs to the A.L. Philpot Dam. It was a great side trip the overlook area provide a terrific view of Philpot Lake and Dam. From the observation area we were able to see the lake as well as the mountains in the distance. To view the dam we drove around to the base of the spillway. Another visitor to the area arrived and told us of a 8-point buck that had crossed his path as he came down the road.

Other things along the roadside that caught our interest were old buildings, the awe inspiring views, fall foliage - full of color, even some old vehicle - some rusty and ready for someone to find them and give them new life.

The Big Chair, by Judy Parsons Smith
Waiting for a new occupant!
We did a drive through of Uptown Martinsville. I couldn't resist adding a Romney-Ryan campaign poster to The Big Chair. I didn't leave it there, but then again maybe I should have.

Our final stop on the way back home was in Danville. I was specifically after a shot of the the mural honoring The Old No. 97. We did get the opportunity to go down to the river and shoot some photos of the bridges and falls.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

Fall along the highways and byways of Virginia and North Carolina, during my weekend wandering with Bounce.

The original journey was to have been a visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but we all know how things happen sometimes a series of unexpected incidents caused a changed in plans. So having already mentally committed to getting out of Richmond for the weekend a new plan was hatched.  Instead of heading off to the shore without Bounce, it would be the mountains with him. He was thrilled that he was getting to go. I don't think I've ever seen him make a faster bee line to the car door than he did on Friday morning.

Bounce having fun a the lake.
On the first leg of our journey we were off to explore places along Route 360 West. We found two state parks that I had never been too before - Twin Lakes State Park and Staunton River Battlefield State Park. Bounce enjoyed getting out and exploring.  As you can see from the picture he took great pleasure in wallowing around the edge of the lake. He was so funny to watch trying to "smack" the water with his paws. Even though he's 100% bird dog, he was having a great time playing with the water. 
We also took the time to meander down the Business Loops to see those small towns that are normally passed along the way. There are some quaint shops, rail yards and parks that are tucked along those by-passes. Well worth the extra time to discover what is hiding there.

Our second leg was spent fully in North Carolina - visiting Hillsborough, Chapel Hill, Jordan Lake and Durham. Special thanks to my North Carolina tour guide for spending Saturday chauffeuring me around and even lapping the block a few times so that I was able to take photos. I even learned a thing or two about the area as well from my well versed tour guide.

Canon on the front porch - wonderful way to protect your home.
The UNC campus at Chapel Hill is beautiful. One could speed days just wandering the campus and capturing the architecture and elements of campus life. . Along one of the roads along the perimeter of Jordan Lake yielded the great home shown - what an interesting home security system that they have, a canon on the front porch ready to hold off intruders. I would surely think twice before even showing up if I was a door-to-door salesman. While in Durham I was impressed with the new courts building, I could have done a lot of interesting shots there utilizing the changing light throughout the day - the churches, old and new government buildings. 

Fountain on the James River at Lynchburg
The third and final leg our return trip home, took us into Danville and Lynchburg. The architecture the historic districts, of both of these cities, was impressive. It is amazing what you miss by taking the by-pass around a city. Both city have been busy developing their river fronts and old warehouse districts.

The diversity of architectural styles in the older homes in Danville was astounding. Even on the same block you can see five or six periods represented. The warehouse and mill district are being revitalized. I didn't make it along the whole trail along the Dan River, but the portion that I was on was nicely laid out and gave the opportunity to have a nice level walk along the river.

Lynchburg was a real surprise. I have whizzed past many times on my way further West never thinking about stopping. Sunday was different and I am glad that I decided to make the journey through the historic district. They have a great river front - parking near the railroad tracks (active) the James River has a terrific fountain producing rainbows during sunny days. Definitely not something that I was expecting to see. The old churches are remarkable in their design, the steeples painting the landscape each unique in style and presence.

I'm looking forward to making another trip back with the expressed purpose of just visiting several of these unique locations.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Road Trip - Colonial Parkway

Starting out with a little inspiration this morning, I loaded Bounce into the car and headed off for a drive down Colonial Parkway.

We dipped into several of the plantations along the way, stopping at the Berkley Plantation was awesome! On the road into the house there was a lovely pond on the side of the drive, with this colorful goose gliding along. I couldn't pass it up.

I hopped out and the next thing that I know he has swam right over to where I was. Not only did he just swim over to the edge of the pond, he climbed right out and walked over to me. All the while honking and carrying on, basis sass mouthing. He was quite intent on getting my attention and nearly came beak to camera lens. I could not have asked for a better subject.

All the while, poor Bounce is having a fit in the car. I can hardly blame the poor thing for wanting to get out and 'play' with this new creature. Finally getting back into the car, I was the one who was surprised. My new found friend didn't want us to leave. In fact he chased the car down the road for a short way. I felt sorry for him.

After checking out the plantation house and starting back up the drive, back past the pond and our friend. We arrived to find him holding a carload of visitors hostage. The driver had pulled all the way over in the opposite lane to go around, but he had moved out into the center of the road and was right next to the passengers door.

I hopped back out of the car with camera in hand which caused him to run right over. I really do think that he liked having his picture taken. So while I was pretending to take more photos of him, the girls were released from their captivity and passed by laughing as he 'talked' with me on the side of the driveway.

Having completed my mission, back to the car I went followed closely behind by my friend. I started down the drive and he ran along side the car - I was doing 10 mph and he was keeping pace. I gunned it just a hair and he started flapping his wings. I thought for sure that he was going to take flight and follow me all the way out.

Bounce settled back and really seemed to enjoy the rest of the trip. We stopped at a little beach area along the Colonial Parkway to allow him some stretching time. He hadn't ever been near the river or on sand before. Oh my goodness! He had a blast.

You would have thought he was practicing his football moves. He had his front paws spread apart and then zig zagged from side to side, broke to the left, ran down the beach, ran up and tried to bite the wave coming to shore, jumped in the air and shot back the opposite direction.

The biting the waves part was the most amusing thing he did. He'd dive right in to the water, try to bite it and then jump sideways back out of the water. I could tell him to get the water and he'd actually repeat the process. I nearly cried from laughing so hard.

We made it all the way to Yorktown, but there were a few too many people there. Not if it had been just me but with Bounce it was better with smaller crowds. I did make a stop back to the beach area on the return trip where I was equally as entertained as the first time.

The last BIG experience on tap for Bounce was a trip on the ferry. He did great getting onto the ferry yet he was sitting in the back seat shaking until I got him out and walked him around the deck. He did so well and was quite popular with a number of the other passengers. He received loads of compliments on how handsome he is.

Once finally back home, he promptly plopped on the sofa and has been sleeping like a rock since.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gunshot to the Head

Linda Burnett, 23, a resident of San Diego, was visiting her in-laws and, while there, went to a nearby supermarket to pick up some groceries.

Later, her husband noticed her sitting in her car in the driveway with the windows rolled up and her eyes closed, with both hands behind the back of her head. He became concerned and walked over to the car.

He noticed that Linda's eyes were now open and she looked very strange. He asked her if she was okay, and Linda replied that she had been shot in the back of the head and had been holding her brains in for over an hour.

The husband called the paramedics, who broke into the car because the doors were locked and Linda refused to remove her hands from her head. When they finally got in, they found that Linda had a wad of bread dough on the back of her head.

A Pillsbury biscuit canister had exploded from the heat, making a loud noise that sounded like a gunshot, and the wad of dough hit her in the back of her head. When she reached back to find out what it was, she felt the dough and thought it was her brains. She initially passed out, but quickly recovered.

Linda is a blonde, a Democrat, and an Obama supporter, but that could all be a coincidence.

The defective biscuit canister was analyzed and the expiration date was in 2008, so it was determined to be Bush's fault.