Saturday, May 31, 2014

5/31 Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX

I am camped in Amarillo for the night, so I had to stop at the famous Cadillac Ranch along what used to be Route 66.  Here is a little of its history:

The problem is that it has become a graffiti mecca.  Which would not be so bad if the people adding spray paint to the art also picked up after themselves. 

There are piles and piles of empty spray paint cans and lids scattered around.  I cannot believe people cannot just take back what they brought.  The cans, lids, and plastic bags also blow around.  Whoever farms the surrounding fields must have to pick up before they plow or plant.  What a mess!

And here is the art piece at the campground I am staying at.  Appropriate, right?

I pulled into my assigned spot near the laundry, and found this sitting on the electrical box.  What is funny is that I have left two almost identical wrenches sitting in similar spots.  One I know of was in Texas, but I can't remember the other one.  (I use them to tighten the water hose because I don't have enough hand strength.)  Glad to know I am not the only one who leaves a trail of wrenches. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5/29 Tahlequah, OK - Cherokee Heritage Center

I spent today at the nearby Cherokee Heritage Center.  There is a museum displaying information ont the Cherokee Trail of Tears, but I could not take photos inside. 

I did, however, take photos of this sign (front and back).

There was a reconstructed Cherokee village next to the museum, and a tour is included with the admission fee.  Note that the buildings come in pairs--one round and one square, both owned by the same matriarch of a family.

This is the inside of a round, winter house.  It has no windows, only one door and a smoke hole in the ceiling, but the mud walls kept  in the heat in the winter.  Most work is done outside, do the lack of light does not matter much.  A fire is kept burning in the center so the mud walls absorb heat for the night.  The benches around the wall are for sleeping.  The young man in the photo is our guide.

The summer house is square and has open ends so air can circulate.

This is a covered weaving area next to a summer home.

This is the inside of the central winter council house.
The outfit in the background is made of turkey feathers and is worn by the tribal chief.  Not a good photo, I know, but it was very dark inside, and I had to use a flash.

And this is the matching summer council house.
There was a flint-knapping demonstration and one on pottery making, but somehow I missed taking photos of those! 


Sunday, May 25, 2014

5/24 West Memphis, AR

Crossed the Mississippi River a couple of days ago, and am now at a campground, watching the boats go by.  I needed a couple of days rest after two long days of driving.  It is very hot and muggy here, so I am very glad to have AC.  Have chatted with several neighbors, all of whom are older couples. 

The boats that go upstream, go very slowly, even with their motors running at full blast because of the fast-moving river.  You can hear them coming by the low rumble of their engines.  Here are two struggling against the current.
This one is headed downstream, so it is zipping along!
This paddlewheel cruise ship went past yesterday.  Its name is the Queen of the Mississippi, and according it its online schedule, is headed for a seven-day cruise to New Orleans.  I could not see anyone on deck, however, which I think is strange.





Thursday, May 22, 2014

5/16 Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

I had never been to the Biltmore Estate, so I stopped on my way through North Carolina to Georgia.  It is well worth a stop, but it was very crowded when I was there.  Next time I will stop a little more off-season and take the "backstairs" servants tour. 

You enter through a driveway and then have to park and go inside to pick up or buy tickets--which I thought were unreasonably expensive.  I bought them the day before and paid $49.  They would have been $59 had I bought them the same day.  That is a lot of money when you cannot take pictures inside of the house, I think!  Note that this building is still owned by the Vanderbilt family, one of the grandchildren of Cornelius Vanderbilt, George Vanderbilt.  (He is not from the same branch as Gloria Vanderbilt and her almost-as-famous son, Anderson Cooper.)

This is the gate house/ticket building.

Once you get your ticket, it is almost a five-mile drive to the main house, along very nicely landscaped roads.  The entire grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Central Park and Detroit's Belle Isle.  You are supposed to be relaxed by the time you got to the house. Frankly, I was just tired of driving a very large vehicle along curving, narrow roads meant for horse-drawn carriages! 

This is the front entrance.  It is a little hard to get far enough back to take a complete photo.

This is one of the formal terraces.

I was told that at one time the estate owned 125,000 acres, almost to the base of the mountains in the distance.  He must not have wanted neighbors.

This is the front of the house from the terrace.

After touring the house and not being able to take any photos indoors, I headed out to walk around the  gardens. 

This is just inside the entrance to the rose garden.  Must have taken a lot of gardeners, although the tour guide said there were only 33 full-time people working at Biltmore.

This is the greenhouse at the end of the rose gardens.

And some beautiful orchids being grown there.

 Wish I had photos of the indoor tour.  There are a few on the Biltmore web site:    I will someday go back when there are not so many school groups and tour buses that result in long lines inside the place. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

5/13 Pipestem State Park, Pipestem, WV

After a week in Michigan and a week visiting grandkids in Ohio, I am back on the road again.  It was a long drive from Ohio to Pipestem, but I was looking forward to this campground.  However, I am discovering that it is harder to get satellite TV in eastern states than it was out west where there were no trees.  Dish uses two satellites, and I could only get one here.  If the trees had grown a couple more leaves, I would not have even had that one satellite!  Nice full-hookup sites, however.

This is a large park in the Shenandoah Mountains.  I went for a long bike ride today, and stopped first at the very small nature center where I found this cabin. 

The road is wide and pleasant, but pretty empty during the week here because it is early in the season.  Nice thing was that it was 87 degrees out today!  Haven't been that hot in a long time. I actually had to run my AC at night.

At the recreation area, there was a golf course, pool, tennis courts, and this amphitheater.

I think this is a jogging track, rather than a go-cart track.

There are two big lodges in the park.  The smaller one is closed, but is down by the river and accessible only by this gondola.  Only problem is that it was closed until Friday, so I was out of luck.

Nice view, in any case.

Down by the bigger lodge, these deer were looking at my from the picnic area.  At first I thought they would run away, but it turns out they walked closer to me.  Apparently, they are used to begging to goodies.  Bad deer!  Bad people feeding them!

This is the bigger lodge, which was open, but very empty.

Great view from the lodge balcony!