of these houses have been converted into apartments and we have seen several in the process of being restored again I would assume that apartments were going to be the end use.
We got into the Pittsburgh suburb of Indiana and found a nice parking spot and then decided that the motorway noise was too high so we drove 11 miles South to Keystone State Park and even though it is the height of the tourist season found a camp site easily what we thought was a very low price, for occasional use that is! Our campsite is right on the edge of a lake with electricity which was very nice last night for the air conditioner use.
Wednesday, August 10
On on South through the Laurel Highlands and the Ohiopyle state Park where the world-famous house with the title Fallingwater designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1936 and if it wasn’t for the obvious dating of the metal around doors and windows the rest of the building is timeless.
We see deer crossing the road on a normal basis which of course is down to the type a country were driving through, with forest either side of the road and mountainous. We carried on down the scenic Road crossing and to Maryland and we decided to stop for the day at Oakland. Very hot!
Thursday, August 11
It was just a short drive out of Maryland and we were in West Virginia so we drove all day across the state going up and down hills all the way surrounded by forests and very thankful for the air-conditioning in the cab of our RV. We got to Front Royal and it was straight into the Shenandoah National Park where we paid $20 entrance fee and started driving the skyline drive. We found a very restful parking spot that seemed to have a tremendous number of butterflies some were coloured yellow others black and brown I’m sure we have a good photographic collection of these rare species should anyone wish to purchase world wide rights of these images.
Friday, August 12
it was back on the Shenandoah National Park 105 mile drive through it called the Skyline Drive, it has 75 overlooks with fabulous views and Luda made me stop at each one of them. We caught one view of a black bear scampering across the Road a couple of deer and saw a sign at one of the overlooks which said don’t worry if you can’t see any of the animals because they can see you.
We saw one sign which warned of a bad tempered bear on the route, and then we saw another sign urging you not to feed the animals, I have course wondered what would happen if the bad tempered bear took a bite out of you would a Ranger then arrest you and give you a fine?
When this drive finished was right at the beginning of the probably longest drive in this country called the blue Ridge Parkway, it runs for 469 miles along the crests of the southern Appellations and links the 2 Eastern National Parks the Shenandoah and the great Smoky Mountains and again it’s something that should be driven in probably a months time with the autumn toning is but the green toning is absolutely magnificent and again there’s lots of stopping points where you can walk and view waterfalls and cascades.
About 4 o’clock we pulled into a parking area and it looked nice and quiet with a beautiful little stream running beside it was all the magnificent trees that was nice shade so we thought this would do us for the night we thought it would be nice and quiet, but when darkness fell all of the cicadas started talking to each other creating one hang of the racket, but we think there must been some rule in the park like with RVs running generators that they cannot do that after a certain hour because all of a sudden all the cicadas stopped as if a switch had been turned off.
Saturday, August 13
Today we carried on down the blue Ridge Parkway travelling through magnificent forests and every mile is so reaching a viewing point looking down onto the magnificent valleys below. The forests are so green at the moment but a few weeks they will be all the magnificent colours of autumn which is really the time to be doing this travel.
We stopped for the night at Rocky Knob campground at mile 170 on the Parkway.
Sunday, August 14
The blue Ridge Parkway is a magnificent drive and it would be absolutely breathtaking in the autumn. We drive along the top of the mountain ridge with viewpoints to the left and to the right and the siting of deer being the normal rather than anything else.
, August 15
We carried on South down the blue Ridge Parkway through magnificent scenery, it is a very winding Road with a speed limit of 35 to 40 all the way and then when you program in all the stopping points it is really a slow scenic drive, but unfortunately our time has run out which is one of the reasons to start our drive back to Tucson and the other reason is the next part of the Road has 3 tunnels which if we drive through them or convert our RV into a open-air camper.
Tuesday, August 16
Today was the start of the 3200 km drive back to Tucson and for all of this distance was going to have to be motorway and began have to forget about the scenic routes. Our drive started off by going North into Tennessee to get to one of the main routes and then south.
Wednesday, August 17
We carried on South through Tennessee countryside observing the LED signs over the motorway telling us that 69 people had died on Tennessee roads in July then it was around the outskirts of Chattanooga and then crossed over the border into Georgia briefly before we ended up in Alabama where we found a state Park with a good Sam campground and turning our clocks back one hour settled in for the afternoon and night with plenty of electricity and air conditioning.
Thursday, August 18
We carried on South East down Highway 59 and knew when we are getting close to Birmingham and were getting close to a major city with the traffic jam on the major motorway. At turned out that the traffic jam was the result of a 5 car pileup, cars looked pretty bad condition no idea what happened to the occupants but we carried on South and got several other traffic jams due to Highway reconstruction and crossed over the border into Mississippi stopping for the night at Meridian where we found a parking spot and a campground with electricity so we can escape the heat and humidity.
Friday, August 19
We moved on to Highway 20 and travelled on through Mississippi crossing over the River of that name and being amazed at how little water was flowing down the river. When read of floods at that reach assumed the River would be bank to bank. We pulled into a rest area which contained a building that was labelled as a tornado shelter and also the promise of information on what to do about tornadoes, but we carried on South very quickly passing into Louisiana.
As we crossed over the border we could see very black clouds ahead of us and we wondered a little bit about the tornado warning, but we drove on very soon crossing over a line ahead of us on the motorway where we were driving through torrential downpour. That lasted about 15 minutes and then we were into clear blue sky again for about 30 minutes and again another downpour. The land either side of the motorway was forest but it was all flooded and the bridges that we went over that were over a River or a Lake contained wall-to-wall water on the muddy brown colour which was a very similar sight as to what we passed over at the beginning of our trip in this state.
No sooner had we reached our parking spot for the afternoon that we started getting thunder and lightning and very heavy rainfall which fortunately we did not have to drive through, earlier today we saw a sign on the side of the road morning of bears, with the heat that were experiencing as we pass through the state I’m sure we would not recognise the bears as they are probably put their fur coats away for the winter.
Saturday Sunday Monday 22nd
Last 3 days were been driving across Texas and a somewhat equal to driving across the great Plains of Kazakhstan or Nebraska. The land is absolutely flat limited agriculture here and there, when one thinks of Texas one thinks of Longhorn cattle and the likes but we have hardly seen a cow in all of our Texas travels.
We have however seen two cowboy churches lots of American and Texas flags everywhere lots of ordinary churches for the Baptist Methodist and Lutheran and one very large sign which said “God’s message to America” REPENT !!!!!!! I’m not sure how the message was delivered but nevertheless it was there on a very large sign.
We have course are all aware of just how dismal the American knowledge is of the rest of the world so it was with some surprise that we saw 2 billboards stressing that the product being advertised was World-Famous! What I guess had just boils down to the question of how big it is your world?
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 25
We carried on across Texas towards Tucson and we have always considered Texas to be cow country, okay the Texas bighorn country but all the way across Texas we only saw 2 small herds of cows out in the field as we got close to the New Mexico border we started seeing very large feed lots packed with cows, large store of hay, and it was obvious a team of accountants had all worked out, minimum investment in land, because of the small space minimum investment in staff, automate the supply of feed, and the return per cow per acre is maximised.
Yesterday we crossed over into New Mexico, we are now quite close to the Mexican border, twice today with been through a border checkpoint miles away from the border, the 1st one want to see our passports and Visas and the 2nd one looked at us and waved us on, some may say they make call of racial profiling but then who knows what he was looking for.
As we were close to the white sands national monument we drove out there have a look at
white sands which are actually deep layers of gypsum.Gypsum is an abundant naturally occurring mineral with many beneficial uses in agricultural and horticultural industries. Originating from the drying out of ancient seas it's quarried or mined in many parts of the world.
To get there we drove through the white sands missile range which is where they tested the 1st atomic bomb be it 100 miles north of where we were today.
As we entered the park we had our 1st viewing of a Road Runner dashing across the Road front of us.
Friday 26 August
We carried on driving without any really noticeable difference in the scenery we crossed from New Mexico and Arizona, is so hot during the day we decided to check in to motor camps and plug into their electricity and utilise the air conditioner that we have in the motorhome.
Saturday 27 August
We decided to find out what all the fuss was about the gun laws in this country so we did a side trip to Tombstone and watched at play on the gunfight okay Corral or something like that, it was quite modern and so much as one of the gunfight said if you don’t want to settle this we will go to Judge Judy, but in the end they decided have a shootout which was really the whole point of the exercise.
Driving back on the main road we passed a monastery that had a RV camp attached so we stayed the night there was very quiet and a very good price. And it had a 80 foot Celtic cross as a feature in the centre of their monastery, evidently a private person had this at his house and he got so much problems from his neighbours he made a donation of it to the monastery.
As part of the establishment of the monastery they were deeded a part of the true cross, evidently a founder of the monastery, one of his forbearers was fighting for the Vatican I guess hundreds of years ago, and as a token of their gratitude they gave him this relic which was part of the true cross, this was enough to established a monastery in the desert near Tucson.
Sunday 28 August
We finally arrived in Tucson and went to the Lazy Dazes campground and booked in there for the next week until we both flew out in the different directions.
I was returning to New Zealand and Luda was flying to Minneapolis spending time with her daughter and grandson and then going on to Russia to spend time with her other daughter and grandson and to supervise her father was having cataracts done on his eyes and also sorting out anything that needed to be done which cannot be done from New Zealand.
Age and arthritis has finally caught up with me and this will be the last trip that I will attempt so likewise is probably going to be the last newsletter, but as we have covered the majority of North America and unless we drove south there would be nothing that we would really like to see in the North and the thought of driving south was just too much for me to consider, I should really have started 10 years earlier but that falls under the heading of coulda, shoulda, so we won’t go there.
This means I have another motorhome to dispose of in America it is in storage at Tucson and like most American motorhome is has everything and it including the kitchen sink, generator, air conditioner, TV, DVD player, about 50 DVDs, Rand McNally GPS with all the campgrounds in America, I would throw in a computer with software that you can draw a map of where you have been, this had been ideal issue machine for three or four people to buy as a timeshare and if anyone is interested I have a plan of how this would work.
The motorhome is set up for two people with all the blankets towels sheets crockery pots and pans knives and forks that you will need. Just arrive with your suitcase unpack, put your suitcase in the very large storage area and drive off to see the world. The motorhome is designed to sleep five or six people so to do this you would need extra bedding et cetera.
At the moment it is in storage in Tucson and before the new owner takes possession it will be checked over by the garage at Camping World in Tucson they have done work for me for the last three years and intent is that the motor is checked over, tyres, new batteries, refrigerator, water heater, and anything else that they can find faulty would be fixed. The buyer would be involved with the garage and be able to ask any questions that they wish. Full details will be on my website at http://www.ivan.co.nz/A23.html