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Sunday, August 4, 2013


    We've driven 6000 miles visiting friends and family this side of the Mississippi. They live on farms,in charming towns, and busy cities. There is a lot of variety in their lives as well.  Some raise children, one does genetic research, and another attends War College. 
    We've made new friends too.  Janet and Greg Burns were easy to meet as we both trying to camp in the same spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway (yes,we worked it out).   

The "Burnsmobile" is the last VW camper made, a 2002.
    They could be the Alabama's only white liberals. That's probably why they're on their way to Labrador.  Just retired,  Janet taught AP high
school biology and Greg finished a 35-year stint with NASA.   Teaching earth science to astronauts, he had some good stories.  Here's one,

Yes, the Americans and Russians share the space station but they're still very different. Our boys have to travel light but the Russians?  They go up with vodka, cigarettes, and a pistol.  They say they need protection 'cause they parachute down in the Urals.  They're worried about being attacked by wolves.

  New friends share all kinds of things.  I broke out my new camping plaything, a crank up radio/flashlight.  It is incredible. Y

ou spin the handle like crazy for a minute and it plays the station of your choice for 60 seconds. 

 It takes almost that long to find a decent station.  When I finally found Buddy Holly singing "Not Fade Away", it faded away.   
Life is filled with amazing moments like this.

    In Saluda, North Carolina, former Miamian Dave Prudhomme gave us a tour of his latest project, renovating "Twin Lakes", a lakeside retreat.  He helped acquire the 22-acre plot for the local land trust.
 Dave told me his trucker hat and cheap sunglasses let him fit right in with the North Carolina Culture.
He and his friends have already fixed up the dock, the 50-year-old water slide, and the picnic area.
 Now all they have to do is rebuild the dam and re-fill the "fishin' lake".

 "I love this stuff", Dave told us, "When I'm gone this will still be here for everyone to  enjoy".

Next stop was the 
Friday farmers market.  Its one of many we've enjoyed on this journey.

   Heirloom tomatoes were selling for a dollar a pound.  We'd like to fill our van with them before we descend from these mountains manana.
   Wouldn't it be great if we could take all of this trip's mountains, friendly people, and cool air home.  Unfortunately, our van isn't that big.  We'll have to  be content with notes, photos, and memories.

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