Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer 2017 Road Trip ~ Day 7: Salem, VA to Roanoke Rapids, NC (Thursday, June 8, 2017)

This is a little confusing as started the day right outside of Roanoke, VA and ended the day in Roanoke Rapids, NC!

I had a good night although I woke up a lot due to the large Diet Coke I had drank in the afternoon.  Consequently, I decided to sleep in until my daughter woke up and actually she woke up before I did!

As usual we had breakfast at the hotel since it's included in the price of the room. This morning they had egg white omelets available so I had one, along with 1/2 an English muffin, a light yogurt, and an orange.  I bought a banana and the other half of my English muffin along as snacks, as well as a cup of coffee to drink in the car.

My daughter drove for the first part of the day and I drove for the 2nd part.

The first part was from Salem, VA to Monticello, right outside Charlottesville, VA.  The drive started under cloudy skies, but soon the sun was shining, although we always had a cloud cover.  We drove on interstates so it wasn't all that interesting, but we did stop at a "scenic stop" to look at the valley.

We thought we'd spend 2 hours at the most in Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, but we ended up spending 4 hours there. It was busy but since they take you to tour the house in small groups and assign you to a specific group, it went smoothly.

We first had a quick snack at the Visitor Center, and then decided to walk to the house instead of taking the shuttle. It was an easy walk but it was uphill, so we definitely got some exercise!  We also walked back after the visit. I ran my RunMeter app since there was cellular signal and we walked a total of a little over 3 miles, including our visit of the house.

Most of the trail was in the woods but was easy to walk, although it was on an incline.

The walkway from the cemetery to the house, also uphill!

My daughter needed to take a break halfway to the house.

That bird found a good spot for its nest.
 It was my 2nd time visiting Monticello, but my daughter's first. She enjoyed it.  We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside the house though. It's not a huge house.

We heard from the tour guide about another tour about slavery at Monticello (and there's also yet another one about the gardens at Monticello) so we decided to also take that tour. It was a 45 minute tour that was very interesting.  People don't realize (or don't want to acknowledge) that the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence and said that slavery was an abomination, actually himself owned 600 slaves during his lifetime and only freed 9 of them.  Personally, I ended the tour feeling that he was a complete hypocrite, luxuring in his maps and books and artefacts from all over the country, but not even providing education to the slaves who worked for him as he told a friend that he saw value in a slave knowing how to read but that he didn't think they should know how to write.  Ugh. He was a brilliant man, but also kind of dim...

We got to sit in the shade (although it was overcast that day so it didn't really matter to us) at different stations while we listened to the tour guide on Mulberry Row, where the slaves' work stations for the plantation were located.

It overlooked the garden so, as I listened, I took pictures of the garden. I wish I had a garden like this!

I was entertained by this bird who was walking around and flapping its wings at nothing in particular!

By the time we were done, we passed by his grave (where people had thrown coins and dollar bills - why?!) and we didn't even feel like stopping there to pay our respects, quite honestly.

During the tour they mentioned that James Madison and his wife Dolley were frequent guests of the Jeffersons and that reminded me that I had uncovered some connection during Greg and Dolley Madison when I was working on his genealogy.  So tonight I fired up my laptop and checked my genealogy program: it's a little convoluted but Dolley Madison's sister married one of Greg's first cousins (6 times removed, of course).

While we were waiting for the tour to start, I checked my email and saw a message from Greg earlier in the day about 2 kittens that had been found at work and for which efforts to find a home had failed. So I told him to take the kittens in.  He didn't reply right away but when he did, he wanted to know if I was serious because he was sure I would have just said "we have enough cats!".  How can someone be married to you for 16 years, be owner of 6 cats that his wife has brought home and then think that she's going to say no to 2 more adorable and orphaned kittens?!?  Well, he didn't get them. If they don't have a home by next week, we're going to have to take them in. Seriously.  Also, I miss my kitties really badly right now.

After we had returned to the Visitor Center, we bought ourselves lunch there and ate on their patio. I picked a veggie wrap.

Then I drove us to Roanoke Rapids, NC.  We only stopped to use the bathroom and got here at about 6:30 p.m.  Driving on I-95 is boring and we miss the Blue Ridge Parkway!  Also no one in Virginia knows how to properly merge into traffic... they all slow down instead of speeding up so as to enter the traffic flow smoothly and not create problems for those of us trying to let them merge. Arrgh, I was so irritated the whole time I was driving in VA!

Back in NC!

After we settled ourselves in our hotel (we parked next to a car that is also from Florida... from our county no less, and that has a faculty sticker from the state college my daughter attended!), I called Greg to chat with him about our day on his commute home from work, and then we went out to dinner at Ruby Tuesday, just next door to our hotel.  I had the Hickory Bourbon Chicken with Zucchini and Rice Pilaf and also got the salad bar for extra veggies and some servings of fruit.

Back in our room, I planned the next day, as usual, and booked our hotel for tomorrow night, in Plymouth, NC.  That all took a while, and now I'm ready to go take a quick shower and continue reading my library book before falling in Morpheus' arms :)


  1. I have been to Monticello a couple of times and found it very interesting because of all of the innovations for the time.

    Two more kittens?! I can see you now with five kittens sleeping all over you. :)

    1. The house was interesting, it would have been nice to spend more time in it. I was surprised that there wasn't any bathroom. Privies, but no bathroom, nor was the bedroom furnished with any kind of washing basin... maybe they just didn't want it to be broken by visitors.

      I'd need a king-size bed if we had more kittens but oh, it would be so fun to have little kittens again! But party-pooper Greg said we couldn't adopt them. So why did he send me the email? He just likes to torture me.

  2. I can't get over how green and lush everything looks! I haven't been to Monticello; it would be an interesting place to visit. Jefferson was very much a man of his time, wasn't he, when it came to various matters.

    1. Yes, a man of his time who masqueraded as a visionary, IMO. He didn't even free all of his children by the slave who was their mother!

  3. Actually, today may be the best part of the trip for me. I loved this tour of Monticello and your description of the property and of the man. It would have been the best day ever, if you had been able to drive on one of the scenic routes like the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    1. The drive through Virginia is pretty too, I just wish we had gone into Lexington because Greg and I went there and liked it a lot.

  4. How cool about the connection between Greg and Dolley Madison!

    1. LOL, it's like finding out that your butcher's friend's cousin's first wife once saw Rod Stewart in real life, but I was pretty excited too :)


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