Saturday, August 29, 2009
New Orleans--This neighborhood was flooded but the homes did not suffer extensive structural damage. The interior would probably still have to be gutted. During the rescue operations it was reported that the SPCA had sent volunteers down to look for stray pets. As the spray painted message noted a dog had been found in the backyard on 9/28. The animal was gone the following day. The pink "X" on the door shows no numbers indicating that the house had been searched but no people or bodies were found.
During my day in New Orleans I thought it would be nice to have lunch in the French Quarter. I call a friend of mine in Fredericksburg who had lived here and she was able to zero me in to one of the local "watering holes." Napoleon House had just reopened but was still not able to offer its usually extensive fare. This menu was taped to the front door. The first item on the menu--MRE--means "Meals Ready to Eat" which are military field rations. Saw a lot of these during my travels. On this occasion I ordered the Red Beans & Rice. It was very good. I was joined for lunch by some representatives of FEMA.
We can't leave New Orleans without a shot of the French Quarter. You will note the absence of people. I had the unique opportunity to see this famous neighborhood without the usual throng of tourista. Other than some of the locals there was only myself, the local police and the Louisiana National Guard.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
"One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon--instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our window today."
Lottsburg--The Holley-Graded School established by Sallie Holley in 1868 to teach the children of former slaves. This was the third school on the site. The money was raised within the local black community and was run by an eleven member Board of Trustees from the African-American community. Fund raising started in 1914 and this school opened in 1933. No longer in use the building is still owned by the trustees.
My little brother is a graduate of Washington & Lee High School just down the road from here. This was (and I expect still is) the after school hang out. "Hey guys let's breeze the Freeze." My brother is three years younger than I am and is now a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps.
The American Legion Post outside of Montross. This is a typical post building but I would call your attention to the "mailbox" at the end of the sidewalk. It is for "Flags to be Retired." So if you find yourself in Westmoreland County with an old American Flag don't worry about getting it in before closing. Here you have an drop off box with no late fees.
Rt. 624 in Westmoreland County. A narrow two lane road with corn on either side and a deer crossing sign. Now you understand why when you are driving through rural Virginia you see shotguns in the back of pick-ups. This photo also provides me the opportunity to correct a previous post regarding corn. I've been advised that the corn about to be harvested is feed corn which tastes like (expletive deleted). Sweet corn has already been picked. Its amazing what you can learn over a cup of coffee at Hyperion.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all.”
Break out the atlas. Spent Friday on the road. Starting in Colonial Beach then on to Locust Grove, then Partlow, to Stafford and home.
The first three photos were taken on Rt. 205 between Colonial Beach and Oak Grove. It is a route not traveled much unless you live in the area. There were threee memorials within a mile of each other..........
To the Statesman.........
Monument making the birthplace of James Monroe in Westmoreland County. Statesman, U.S Senator, President of the United States. On the signage on site, and on the monument itself, lists President Monroe's offices and accomplishments--except for one. It does not note that James Monroe served on the Fredericksburg City Council. I have big shoes to fill.
OK, another abandoned home. This one happens to be in Westmoreland County. But look at the gingerbread work on the gable and you've got to love the beautiful wrap around porch! And the flowered bush to the left! Come on.....at least I didn't enhance it.
A close-up of the World War I memorial in front of the King George Courthouse which was dedicated in 1935. It list those from the county who served in the armed forces during the war. Of interest is that the names are segregated into two groups. On top is the list of white servicemen. The bottom group lists "colored" men who served.
One aspect of my road trips through the country that I truly enjoy is that you can still find little architectural gems. I've always wanted a house with a porch. But in this case it was not the lattice work or the dental molding on the porch which caught my attention. It was the tin shingles still on the roof. Don't get to see that everyday.
One has to ask how much time and effort was wasted placing, No Trespassing, No Parking signs, a guard rail, and finally a Road Closed sign where no road exists. And unless VDOT (The Virginia Department of Transportation) is prepared to knock down two rather large buildings it is not likely that a road is ever going to be built. Did I mention that Rt. 3 is located about 30 feet to the right. Based on my seven years in dealing with VDOT plans ARE probably moving forward to build a road here. But fear not VDOT only plans and plans........and maybe 50 years from now asphalt will be laid from the intersection to the guard rail and the project will be touted as another VDOT success story.
Coming into Oak Grove along Rt. 3 in Westmoreland County. The stone work on this home is shall we say, "interesting." Note that the stones used get progressively smaller as you go up the wall. I have to say the vehicles in the yard, the satellite dish, and the corrugated sheet roofing truly adds to the charm.
Traveling along Rt. 3 east going to Colonial Beach this is pretty much what you will see during most of the 30 or so miles down the road--corn and soybeans. I'm told that corn harvesting is soon to begin. Time to break out the butter, salt, pepper, and for the high brow types--the cob holders.
Friday, August 7, 2009
“I love to travel but hate to arrive.”
It is time to carry you back to old Virginny. Today we are heading down the Fredericksburg Turnpike to Bowling Green. This is part of the route taken by the combined Continental/French army under Generals Washington and Rochambeau on their way to defeat the British Army under General Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781.
The Old and the New
A farm located just off the turnpike in Spotsylvania County. If you look in the background you will see a new housing subdivision. My guess is that in the next twenty years the houses will be closer in or the farm will be replaced by a shopping center. Progress marches on. Not saying whether it is good or bad. Just facing the realities.
The GM Powertrain assembly plant is closing as a result of the restructuring of the company. This facility made the national news. In all reports is was said to be located in Fredericksburg. It is actually located in Spotsylvania County. Spotsylvanians get a bit upset when they are lumped in with the city. So I'm setting the record straight.
The statue honoring the sons of Bowling Green who fought for the Confederacy located in front of the courthouse. This scene is repeated through out Virginia except for Fredericksburg. Have yet to find out why the city never dedicated such a monument. May have something to do with the fact that Fredericksburg was devastated by the war.
Minarchi Road in Caroline County. Reminds me of a rural road in Ireland-- Except for the fact that there are not any stone walls or hedges right up to the road edge and the 25mph speed limit as opposed to the 100km an hour (50mph) limit in the home of my ancestors.
What I enjoy most in my back road travels is that your surroundings can transport you to another time. On a dirt road you can almost expect to run into a Confederate picket line. In this case our trip back in time is measured in decades as opposed to a century and change. Sorry, couldn't resist the button.
Monday, August 3, 2009
I have returned from the family wanderings in Ireland. And to my credit, I am told; I turned in the rental car with the mirrors intact, with only very minor scratches to the finish on the passenger side, and only missed one turn on a roundabout. With me I have brought back roasted barley from the Guinness brewery in Dublin, slate from the Cliffs of Moher, 361 photographs and 113 video clips. And now a quick travelogue and then its back to the back roads of Virginia………………
Impressive on the outside. Too touristy on the inside. Located only a few miles from Shannon Airport. This is a major tourist hangout.
My First Pub
My travel companions crashed soon after our arrival. Having nothing better to do I put down a few pints at the local pub which is a converted creamery--thus the name. I must say I left a bit disillusioned when I saw Budweiser and Coors Light on tap and were informed they were quite popular in Ireland. The Coors Light being quite popular with the ladies. This fact and the realization that there were more Yankee than Boston fans in Ireland were the two greatest shocks during my visit.
An Abandoned Church Yard
Located directly behind our hotel was this abandoned church yard. The cemetery is still in use. I did notice that a few distant cousins have been laid to rest here.