They left the Grove long ago for twenty-acres east of Jump Mountain.
In town we visited he grave of Traveler, Robert E. Lee’s beloved horse. The General lies inside the chapel next to it. So do his embroidered slippers and his blue-tinted glasses.
The Red Hen restaurant is three blocks away. It made world news a few weeks ago when Sarah Sanders was refused service because, as one local put it, “She's the spokesperson for the lying fascist that is destroying our country”. Others, who disagree with this opinion, were protesting outside.
"I dreamed I supported the Red Hen in my Mango Republic t-shirt"
Dylan and Natalia, on their own camping adventure, joined us for two days. They fed us exotic mangos as hummingbirds flitted around the Fevrier porch.
When it got hot we floated down the Maury River.
The Fourth of July was a busy day. We kicked it off at "Natural Bridge", once owned by Thomas Jefferson.
In Galax, Virginia, we enjoyed a parade featuring stock cars, fire trucks and Appalachian Shriners pretending to be hillbillies (easy for them!).
The next day we finally began driving west through Tennessee. Camping in our new van for the first time went well. The walk down to the lake, not so. We were re-introduced to chiggers, the lil’ bugs latch on and don’t let go for a week. Ouch!
At Nashville International Francesca jumped on a Colorado jet. Her son and his wife live in Boulder.
Entering Missouri, Pi and I crossed the Mississippi next to St. Louis’ McDonald’s Monument. We stared at it long enough to
almost hit the car in front of us.
The two of us camped one hundred miles west in Graham Cave State Park. Pi and the cave
The ranger there, Graham Harris, told me the cave, and the 500 acres around it, has been in his family for 200 years. They bought it from Daniel Boone’s son in 1816. The Harris family gave the cave to the state in 1930 after 10,000 year-old artifacts were discovered buried inside.
The Graham family had been using it to shelter hogs.
The park itself seems undiscovered. Out of 95 camping sites, only five were occupied in perfect summer weather. It was just the opposite of the Miami-Style park traffic jams we encountered later in Yellowstone.
As a bachelor on the road, I spent the next night resting at a Kansas rest stop. Evenings spent next to an Interstate bring out the hobo in me. Twenty others were doing the same thing along with a dozen truckers, a motorcyclist and and a family of five holed up in an SUV. I chatted with a toothless old man who accepted my sandwich. He offered me his last Pepsi.
I played catch with a hippie boy named “True” and watched another man curl up in a sleeping bag on the hood of his car. Sharing a bathroom with him in the morning, he told me it was good for his back.
impressed by old-school playgrounds and
"The Big Easel" in Kansas.
I am not one for presidential libraries but here I was passing through Abilene, Kansas, the home of President Dwight Eisenhower.
Pi and I walked around the 20-acre grounds that include his boyhood home. After that, I offered to take her to the Greyhound Hall of Fame across the street.
The next day I rolled into Colorado to re-unite with my darling wife. We took the kids to a tea house for dinner, enjoyed a waltzing lesson on the plaza outside, and walked the dog next a tumbling mountain stream. If we had lingered two more days, we could have witnessed the annual Raft to Work Day there. It’s a Boulder thing, wearing a suit as you ride an inner tube down a freezing river.
But Wyoming was calling and by dawn we were gone. Heading north we can almost see the buffalo.