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

Henry David Thoreau

A Virtual Walk to Jefferson’s Rotunda

Monday July 6 & Tuesday July 7, 2015                                                                                 Previous Post:
Charlottesville, Virginia                                                                                                     Jumping Ahead Through Life’s Complications



Thank you so much for all the encouragement and information about the cataract surgery you all put in the comments on yesterday’s post.  It is so wonderful to have such helpful readers.  I emailed a couple of you, whose email addresses I have, about specific questions.  If others of you have had the surgery and now have 20/20 distance vision and wear glasses only for reading, or if there is anyone who doesn’t need glasses at all now, could you send me an email to RVDreamlife@gmail.com so I could ask you those same questions? 

Now onto something hopefully more interesting.



Monday July 6

Today is alignment day and the day to pick up Winnona.   The former goes off fine.  This time I am at Settle Tire at 7:15 and it still takes 2 hours before I’m driving Ruby away.  I ask David why so long.  He has no idea.  He says an alignment should take 20 minutes or so.  This is a 4 wheel alignment so does it take 40 minutes and then 80 minutes to do whatever……   Anyway it’s done and I hope that is going to take care of my constant need to use the compressor to top up her tires.

Another fly in the ointment for Winnona.  Andy says they have been unable to get the Brave decal for the back of the coach.  Winnona is a 2004, before full body paint.  This repair required painting the lower half of the coach and thus removing the Brave decal.  We have purchased the decals for the coach before but it appears they no longer make them.  Andy is contacting a custom decal company to see if they can duplicate it.  So poor Winnona has to stay sitting in the blazing sun.  The temperatures have definitely gone up.  In the 90’s today.


Tuesday July 7


I have my pre-op appointment at 8:15 after having done the blood work on Friday.  Everything is a go.  Now if I can just decide what I want to do, I’ll feel a lot better.

The high today is going to be 89 so as soon as I get back from the doctor I head out for my walk.  I’m going to walk a few miles through Charlottesville from Mason Lane, down Rugby Road, through the 10 UVA gardens and back.  That should result in plenty of steps for the day.


Climbing the hill up Mason Lane I see a variety of houses. First the smaller houses and then the larger ones.  Even in the heat of July, lots of things are in bloom.





I have to laugh that the traffic cone and the house are nearly the same color. 
The yard is totally ivy.  No grass to mow here.











I enjoy this beautiful crepe myrtle when I reach the top of Mason Lane and wait for the light so I can cross Rugby Road.  




On the other side there is a very large Magnolia tree.  Its blossoms smell heavenly.  Only in the south can you enjoy these magnificent trees and their flowers. 

That can also be said for the Crepe Myrtle.  Only in the south.  My mother tried to take a crepe myrtle home with her to Ohio from my home in Virginia Beach but it would not grow there. 




Walking down Rugby Road I pass homes set back on very large lots with a variety of gated entrances.  Several of these are homes of professors at the University.  Not sure who lives in the others these days.  But to buy one here is a price tag of a million or more.











Even the mushrooms on Rugby Road are big and beautiful.




This is one of my favorite homes.









This is a new house built since we left 5 years ago.  It has a bit of a southwest flavor.  Unusual for Jefferson Country and Monticello influenced architecture.








Two churches have prime property on Rugby Road.  This one is the Unitarian Church which has had a marriage equality banner hanging by its front door for nearly 20 years.






The small garden adjacent to the fellowship hall has a window in the brick wall that just makes you want to go over and peek through.






On the spur of the moment, I decide to take a detour around to the back of the church where I know there is a labyrinth in the “Green Sanctuary”.







Looks like the labyrinth has been a bit neglected.   That’s a shame.  But I’m sure I can still walk it and I set out to do that.  This is a classical 12 circuit labyrinth as opposed to a Chartres Labyrinth named for the Medieval Cathedral in which the first one in modern times was found.  Labyrinths are wonderful for walking meditation. 

A labyrinth is NOT a maze.  A maze is NOT a labyrinth.  A labyrinth has one way in and one way out and if you follow it, you will not get lost.  There are no choices to make so you can just put one foot in front of the other, release your mind and you will still end up in the center.  A maze is designed to fool you, to confuse you, to keep you out of the center.

There is a World Wide Labyrinth Network where you can locate them throughout the country if you’d like to walk one.



The entrance here is in the most overgrown section and isn’t hard to find but the first turn three rounds up on the left is a bit difficult because the bricks which form the circuits are overgrown with grass.  So this, unfortunately,  will not be walk in which I can turn off my mind and pay no attention.  If this were not going to be such a hot afternoon, I would get a hoe and clean it up for walking.   Surely I can’t be the only one who would enjoy using it all spiffed up.



In walking the labyrinth, usually one does not look around but rather looks down in silence and contemplation.  Here is some of what I see when I look down.








Here’s how you know to turn. Time to turn left and back around the loops.


But today some of the clarity of the bricks is compromised.  I have to scrape the grasses off the bricks with my shoes to see what to do next.


The labyrinth takes me up and back, in and out as I make my way to the center.





When I have left the center am part way back out toward the beginning, I begin hearing what at first sounds like a loud car with muffler problems.  It keeps coming nearer and nearer.  I know I’ve heard this before but I can’t place it.  It’s very distracting.  I’ve picked the wrong time for a contemplative walk that’s clear. 

And then into my mind pops “street cleaner”.  That’s what it is I’ll bet.  Where did that come from?  I haven’t seen a street cleaner in years.

I look around to see if I can spot the noise which has moved from the back to the side.  But I can’t.




I can’t until I’m finished and walking on beyond the church.  On the corner of Rugby Road and the side street next to the labyrinth there it is hooking  up to a fire hydrant to refill its water I guess.   I would bet that Los Angeles and other western cities are not using their water to clean their streets.






Looks like his connection to the hose is not all that tight.  Lots of water spraying out.


On down Rugby Road I go.  This house looks like something you might find in the Cotswolds in England.




I’m nearing the university and apartment buildings and Greek fraternity and sorority houses are lining the road.  Nice plantings for student apartment houses.







I wonder who lived in these large old houses before they were acquired by the Greeks?





Well not all of them are large and old.  But most of them.





All around Charlottesville every summer university buildings and other affiliated groups’ buildings undergo renovations. Not sure which fraternity this is on the corner of Rugby and Gordon Avenues but it’s getting a lot of work done while the boys are away.






A little further down, about two blocks from the University end of Rugby Road is the first official university building.




Across the street from it is my new favorite tree in Charlottesville now that the Tarlton Oak has been removed for what I thought were suspicious reasons. 

This tree is in the front yard of the Presbyterian Church and is giving the church’s brick fence a little shove.  Hats off to the church family here for protecting this beauty.







You knew this had to be coming.  If the other pictures didn’t make it clear, here you should be able to see that this is a BIG tree.





I’m now approaching Beta Bridge, a University Community tradition. 

Beta Bridge is nicknamed for the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house and located on Rugby Road. Beta Bridge serves as the University’s ultimate display of freedom of expression. The first known paintings appeared in 1926 when students splashed green paint over the bridge. Students began painting the bridge consistently in 1967. Painters make sure to include thanks to the Beta fraternity house (“THX BETA”) before leaving their newly painted messages for passersby to see. 

I think this bridge gets painted at least every week or 10 days.



This week sadly Theta Chi seems to be saying good bye to Quent.  The dates 1993-2015 follow his name.



Here you can see the traditional hand prints and THX BETA.




The other side of the bridge is advertising Sir Paul McCartney’s visit to the JPJ Arena on June 23.  Too late to get tickets now obviously.  Carrie, tell Joan I’m sorry I didn’t let her know, but I didn’t know.




There are so many layers of paint on this bridge, they are falling off from their weight.







I’ve reached the corner of Rugby Road and University Avenue.   I’m at the Rotunda.




But I won’t be walking up the steps to the front of the venerable building.  Jefferson’s famous Rotunda is getting a 40 year face lift.  News to me.  The information says the renovation started with repairing the dome room roof in 2013.  These current renovations to this historic structure began in May of 2014 and are scheduled to take two years.   Guess I haven’t been down here since 2012.








My walk isn’t over yet though.  I’m going to walk on down toward the beautiful University Chapel and over to the West Gardens.  Jefferson placed ten gardens behind the Pavilions in which his professors lived on the Lawn with the students housing in between.  This was and is the Academical Village, as he termed it.  I love to start on the west, walk through those five gardens, cross the lawn and come back up through the five east gardens.

But this post is already too long.  So I’ll show you their beauty in my next one.


  1. What a beautiful walk in a beautiful area. Loved it. Wishing you well on your surgery. I'll have to have it done in a few more years, so by then I'll ask YOU how it goes. Take care, Sherry.

  2. I like the Beta bridge. There is a "graffiti bridge" in Pensacola (actually the 17th Ave railroad trestle), and it was always fun to see the ever changing "artwork". Nice that the police let things like that slide occasionally.

  3. Such a beautiful and pleasant area!

  4. A nice walk, complete with a tree hug. Doesn't get much better than that. ;c)

    Have you thought about getting the decal painted on? Bet it would be competitive in pricing with a custom decal.

  5. Attended UVA my first year of college. The grounds in that area are beautiful.....and much quieter when the students aren't here. LOL

  6. You always find such fun stuff just about everywhere;o)) Can't wait to see the Gardens!!!

  7. Love the Labyrinth! They are hard to find but soothing to walk. Nice tour of the buildings and homes.

  8. There is a private, by appointment only labyrinth within 5 miles of me. How interesting. Nice tour of the walk from Mason down Rugby. Some nice houses there for sure. I remember all that...including the marriage equality flag on the church. Sir Paul..well, well. :) Lovely pictures!

  9. Thats a pretty town and I enjoyed the tour.

    I did a little research on lens implants since you got me thinking I'll be making those same decisions soon. I sent them to the old email address I have for you though I'm thinking you no longer monitor it. Let me know if you need me to re send them.

  10. Walking around town is a fun adventure, especially one as beautiful as Charlottesville. But sure isn't the same as hiking a trail. I am walking around town now, as well, and the gorgeous St. Lawrence River is with me as I walk around. I love the Crepe Myrtle and Magnolia of the south:)

  11. We have magnolias and crepe myrtles in SoCal, but likely not as lush and fragrant as the ones in the real South. Love the spire on the church, and their lengthy commitment. Oh that labyrinth must have loved the feel of feet following her neglected path! One of my favorite meditations :-) I was wondering how thick that paint had to be until you showed the pictures of it. When it finally pulls away it would make and interesting project for their art department.....if they have one. The closer you got to the university the more I was hoping to see the gardens again - nice cliff hanger!!

  12. Only you can bring life to a walk that would have been drab. I enjoyed the tour of your town. And once again I learned something new today. It is about the difference between a maze and a labyrinth and how to follow it. Very interesting. Lovely captures of flowers and homes!

  13. The Rotunda is a crazy mess, isn't it? I think it will be wonderful when it's finished, but poor students who had to graduate with it looking like that. It underwent renovation when I was a student . . . 40 years ago!!!

  14. I really enjoy your Charlottesville rambles -- makes me look forward to going there next spring. I hope the magnolias will be in bloom -- it's one of my favorites of the southern flora. Your photo of it is lovely. There's a labyrinth here on Lopez Island made entirely of herbs. It makes for a wonderful scented meditative walk.

  15. Hard to believe an alignment takes so long. Poor Winnona not having the proper decals. Maybe you can make your own. A lovely neighborhood for walking with so many blooms. A shame the labyrinth is so overgrown. Love seeing you hug those beautiful big trees. Thank you for sharing this neighborhood.

    Trying to catch up on your adventures.


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