Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Got here just in time

Wednesday August 29, 2012
Charlottesville, Virginia


Amazing that my friend Lynda emails me on Tuesday to find out if I am back in Charlottesville and to tell me that President Obama is coming to speak the next day at the end of his “college tour”.


WOW!  Color me excited!


She says she can get tickets for us and that  he won’t be arriving until about 3:00 but the tickets say the gates will open at 1:00.  Her office is just down the block from the open air pavilion where he is to speak so she suggests I meet her at her office at 1 and we will just go on down and sit and wait and talk.


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At about 12:45 here I am approaching Charlottesville’s downtown mall which is a gathering place in this town.  It is one of the longest pedestrian malls in the country at 8 blocks long, is bricked in and lined with shops, restaurants with outdoor seating ,a movie theater and an ice rink. 

The Omni hotel anchors one end and the open air Pavilion where we are headed the other.  City Hall is also here as is the beautifully restored 1930’s Paramount Theater where vintage movies and live touring entertainment perform.  There is a children’s merry go round, a Free Speech wall complete with chalk for stating your opinion and lots of vendors with tables.  It’s the old main street of the town and a very interesting place to visit.


Just walk on down and sit and wait…..


So here I come at the far end of the mall, 8 blocks from the pavilion.

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As I approach the Regal Cinema, one block in, I see it…. the line to get in is SEVEN blocks long.  Duh….it’s the President.  What WERE we thinking??

I hurry up to Lynda’s office, she gets her things and in the 5 minutes that takes, the line is another block long by the time we get back.






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But it is now 1:00 and the line SLOWLY starts moving forward.  It takes an hour to walk those 8 blocks.  LOL!  We go by the Free Speech wall. VICTORY is right since it is just steps away from the point at which we see why the line is moving so slowly.





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They take Our tickets and shuttle us through 3 secret service check points.  You have to have electronics on, so they can make sure they are real I’m told,  and all bags opened.  They take everything out of ladies purses.  HA!  I don’t want that job for sure.   I don’t take a picture of this “just in case”.




Well maybe this isn’t going to be so bad, look at the room.


At first it seems there is a nice open area under the tent cover so we go on in. A few other folks do too.  But mostly everyone is to the left.  We wonder why.   We have a fairly good look at what we think is the “stage” there in front of the American Flag.

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There is a Virginia Blue Grass group playing music there while we wait some more.  And wait we do.  Another hour and a half.

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We figure it out when the speeches start and someone about six feet tall says that the podium is in front of the camera  platform which we are BEHIND.  WAY BEHIND!  Another DUH here!!!

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Good thing it’s a friendly crowd.

This in fact is our spot along with ultimately 7500 of our closest friends and I do mean close as we are in the standing room only section.  This is what we get for not coming as about 10 folks did at 8:15 in the morning to make sure they got good seats up front

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But it’s not as bad as it could be, these are the folks behind us standing in the 86 degree Virginia sunshine.  Whew….glad we at least got under the tent.

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We stand for another hour and a half waiting and listening to UVA student speakers, the former very popular local congressman, the former governor now running for the senate.

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Finally a roar goes up and we know he’s come in

He shakes hands with  students in the bleachers set up for the cameras.  I’ve wisely brought my binoculars so that when the camera man on the platform leans to his left, I can actually see the President of the United States. 

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But this picture, taken with my camera,  is compliments of a man 6 foot tall standing to my side.  In my next life, that’s how tall I’m going to be, so that no matter how far back I am, I can still see!!


The President’s speech draws lots of cheers and is directed at the students, reminding them that they were very instrumental in his victory 4 years ago and that he has kept faith with them.  He promised he would tackle the student loan problem and he has, he promised he would deal with health care and his plan allows them to stay on their parents coverage until they are 27, time enough to get through college and even some graduate school.  He mentions green jobs as the real energy future and numerous other parts of his platform geared to the young and tells them that again he needs them to stand with him so he can finish what he’s started in trying to right an economy it took 8 years to move from a budget surplus we had in 2000 to the deficit we have now.  This gathering of people love him as he tells them that he loves to hear their chanting but what he needs is their voting!


We’re all energized by his enthusiasm and that of the people around us.

When he leaves people stream out looking happy and excited.  Charlottesville is a pretty small town for a Presidential visit.

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We later hear that he actually walked down the mall and stopped at the recreation center and made a surprise visit to the Democratic campaign office also on the mall.  Imagine what the secret service thought about all of that.  But good for you Mr. President!  

We are pretty happy too that we were able to hear the President speak just by being willing to spend some time waiting.  Well worth it say we both.  But maybe we should have milled around some more.  Who knows??

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Love those foothills

Monday August 27, 2012
Charlottesville Virginia


It is a lovely morning at Zooland as we pack up to get back on the road.  We are in no hurry so we take another stroll around the grounds.

Back on I-74 it is again a beautiful easy drive on a very nice road.  There is almost no traffic until we get near Greensboro.

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We negotiate easily around the city and pick up US 29 which will take us all the way to our destination for the day.  Another lovely driving road in North Carolina   Again the road is nearly empty.  Leaving after 10:00 and arriving before 4:00 seems to be the ticket at least here.


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Soon we cross into our 4th state in 4 days.  This is a first time experience for us at this much driving in such a short time.


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The road continues to be easy with light traffic and lovely green views as the hills begin to roll.


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David decides about 1:00 that he wants a big breakfast.  So I set about trying to find a restaurant in the Lynchburg Virginia area that

a) serves breakfast all day and
b) has a parking lot Winnona towing Ruby on a dolly can get in to.  

I’m hoping we won’t have to get off Route 29.


LOVE internet on the road!!   I discover that Denny’s, Bob Evans and Cracker Barrel do serve breakfast all day.  None of them is on Route 29 but the latter two have restaurants in Lynchburg not too far off the road.  We end up at Bob Evans where David has a decidedly non-vegan breakfast. 


I take my camera in and totally forget to take a picture of him with his breakfast of choice.   But I do memorialize the occasion.  He doesn’t have a long sleeve shirt on because the weather is so cool in Virginia but because the air conditioning is so cold in Bob Evans. 

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Why do SO many restaurants and stores have their air conditioning up SO high?  Clearly they are not concerned about their utility bills or the excessive use of energy.


After Lynchburg, we are on the last leg today.  We move into the beautiful foot hills of the Virginia Mountains.  They do not disappoint.   This is familiar territory to us and do I get a wonderful feeling being back in this gorgeous countryside.


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Not only is this the foothills of Virginia but it is the home of a lot of small family farms.  We lived in small farm country for years but I’ve never seen this piece of equipment moving at tractor speed down a 4 lane divided highway.  Gotta love these country folks!



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They are really rolling now.  So green, So beautiful!!


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We pull into our Moochdocking spot in Charlottesville about 3:30 and get Winnona set up.  She’s got her tire covers on for the first time in 4 days.  This was our longest drive -  214 miles.  We are now officially out of the running for PDD.  Winnona’s ready for a bit of a rest and so are we.  We’re also definitely far enough away from Hurricane Isaac and that’s great!   Thanks Winnona!!


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Here we are at Zooland

Sunday August 26, 2012
Zooland Family Campground
Asheboro, North Carolina


67 last night felt wonderfully chilly.

Such nice sleeping weather here at Jolly Acres.  What a difference 8 or 10 degrees at night makes. 

We debate about whether to go out for breakfast this morning but David decides Monday morning would be better than Sunday morning so we pack up and head out.


Back on I-95 the road pavement North is much better than the interstate pavement between Savannah and Charleston.

David drives and I call to check in on my father and my daughter as we travel up I-95 88 miles to our exit heading west toward the foot hills.  At that point we were on state routes for about  65 miles.  Very little traffic, only a few towns.  The roads are two lane but it’s fine.

At first it’s flat cotton country, old barns and buildings along the roadside.

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As we start to climb into the foothills toward Cheraw, the trees line the road. 


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I wonder if this two lane road will have a Welcome Sign but as we pass into North Carolina, there it is.  David says folks have to know whose jurisdiction is whose and the sign does that.  But I wonder how every single road that crosses a state line could have one.  Still, this is our 3rd state sign in as many days.  A really unusual feat for us.

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Oppps, both mapquest and google maps got this one wrong.

We should have picked up Route 220, a 4 lane highway just before, not AFTER, Rockingham but our directions don’t show that and we see it JUST as we pass it.  This is a rare situation where neither of the mapping programs was right.  We don’t dare trust the unreliable Garmina (our garmin gps) she’s only right about 30% of the time and up until now the others have been pretty much spot on.


Oh well now we’re stuck and have to go into the down town area and around some blocks to get back onto the correct road.  David does a super job of taking Winnona with the dolly and Ruby in tow down some streets that probably have never seen such a vehicle before and luckily on a Sunday just after church, have no cars parked on them.   I’m thinking how glad I am that I’m  not driving for this part.  No pictures, I am too frantically looking at the map to figure out how to get back to where we want to be.


SUCCESS, everything turns out fine, of course.

SUCCESS and with the white knuckle error behind us, we are soon on I-74 which looks like a brand new interstate.  I had no idea any state had the money to build new Interstates at this point.  But what a dream road.  New pavement, new “welcome center”, almost no trucks. 

We drive 205 miles today and pull into Zooland Family Campground about 3:30, our usual time for stopping.   The office is only open Sunday through Thursday from 9-3:00 but the woman is just leaving and tells us to pull into site 33 and pay her on the way out in the morning. 


Winnona has a nice long pull through.  Perfect for an overnight.  No need to unhook!

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The site is grass, no concrete pad.  But the ground is firm and there is some gravel.  This particular site requires more leveling than we’ve had to do in a long time.  But it’s manageable.   Not sure why the  sewer connection is at the extreme rear of the site.  But if we didn’t want to keep the dolly and Ruby on the back OR we had about 10 more feet of sewer hose we’d have been fine.  But we’ll  work it out when we leave the morning.  We paid $15.75 for this 30 amp full hook up site using Passport America.

The park is under new management since last September and the lady in the office said they had totally redone both the bath houses, removed 280 stumps from the sites and put in a completely new septic treatment plant.  Apparently Zooland had a single house septic field which North Carolina thankfully would no longer allow for the 135 site park.


What is it with these private campground speed limit signs? 

Is this a trend?  At Quail run it was 9 1/2 mph and here it is

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David takes a nap after we get set up and I start on this blog.  We watch the weather predictions that the Hurricane is now headed for poor New Orleans,  have some dinner and take a walk around the park.  We have NO idea how much we are going to see.


David really likes the park’s trees and kitschy old metal signs on all the buildings.


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We check out the “lodge” and find  TWO pianos, a giant checker board on a table, books selves, magazine shelves. Facing the fireplace are a comfy sofa, and chairs. Nice place for a rainy day.

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Outside a large deck is attached to the lodge and a BBQ grille stands at the ready.  I’ll bet this is a hopin’ place on week-ends and during the summer. 

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As we walk around, I see why they call it “Zooland”. 

The park is close to the North Carolina Zoo for a day visit so it appears they have taken advantage of the idea.  Zoo animals as garden art in front of the store/registration office. 

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And as the tiny miniature golf course theme.  Too funny!

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This place has LOTS of places to PLAY.

Next door to the miniature golf course,  we walk by a big pile of sand with buckets and shovels in front of a really BIG blow up jumping pad for kids (hope it’s not a law suit waiting to happen).  We see a father and son on bikes and after we are walking away they get on the pad and jump.  The poor little boy is thrown WAY up in the air.  His father is too heavy.

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Next door to the office we find a Game Room with pool table, old fashioned table hockey, pinball and other sorts of video games including a Star Wars game.  With the Lodge and the Game Room there is plenty indoors to keep folks entertained if it rains.


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There’s also a playground, a basketball court, a swimming pool and what I assume is a fishing lake. 


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Zooland Asheboro NC 034Catch and release – meaning tear up their mouths throw them back and do it again???


In addition to the fishing pond there are other nice natural areas.

On the lower side of the park we find  two woodland trails and a lovely little river.  This really is a “family” campground.  I am imagining some party here over Labor Day.  But I won’t be here, party girl that I am of course.


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Just missed my kind of bingo last night, DARN!  The price is right!


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Zooland is a really interesting Passport America park with any sort of hook ups you want.  And about anything you might like to do.  There is even a covered bridge just down the road.  It’s located about 36 miles south of Greensboro so if you should ever be over in this neck of the woods and want to stay here I doubt you’d have to leave the park to keep busy.  Looks like everybody can be be a kid and have fun. 

We’ve had a great time checking out this park.  It’s definitely a rustic family kind of place for kids of all ages.  We return to Winnona and with the wonderful cool temperature I know it’s gonna be another good sleeping night.


Speaking of when we were kids, are you old enough to remember “lick em’ N’ stick em’”???


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