The 2018 Road, Days 30-32: A Break from Driving

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June 24-26, 2018, Spring Hill, FL-

This is a photo-less,  nearly driving-free post.  I spent Sunday night in Ocala, a good stopping place en-route to/from the Nature Coast and points further down Florida’s mid-Gulf region.  Other than being tailgated around a church parking lot, by an older man who demanded to know what I was doing therpoe, Ocala was a friendly enough place.

I got to my in-laws’ house, in Spring Hill, around 10:30.  Fortunately, W was home and Mother was up and dressed.  These three days were largely spent watching old movies (TCM) and coddling the two dogs.

I did get a couple of dips in the salubrious pool, with Bella (younger dog) happily joining in the splashing and laps.  Her more cautious “older brother” was content to lay around and watch us.

The most momentous thing that happened was that I bought this laptop, its mouse and case. The device is lighter weight than the War Horse was, and thus easier to tote around.  Nevertheless, I found myself missing the Lenovo and hoping it is at least being used for peaceful purposes, if it is even still running.

The weather was a bit on the tortuous side, so none of us spent much time outdoors. W went to visit her horses, but unlike in December, I did not join her.  AC becomes addicting.  We took all of our meals at home.  Mother appreciated that part.

It’s been a peaceful break from the road. I will head out tomorrow again, with my goal being  the middle of South Carolina, by evening.

The 2018 Road, Day 29: The Cleansing Storm and Saturday’s Markets

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June 23, 2018, Tifton, GA-

After a short pass by Clemson University, which I found closed for the evening, I headed off to look for a campsite along  Richard B. Russell Lake.  Named for a conservative senator from Georgia, who was noteworthy as both a pragmatist and a parliamentarian, despite having misgivings about integrating whites and blacks at the Federal level, the lake, formed by damming the Savannah River, draws people of all ethnicities.

I chose the first campground on the South Carolina side of the river:  Calhoun Falls State Park.  The town was named for another senator, John C. Calhoun, who strode the floor of his chamber, orating in defense of slavery, whilst privately educating his own slaves back home.  Even the most seemingly venal of people can be complicated.

The Southland has always graced my camping efforts with a torrential rain, and last night was no exception.  Despite the cleansing downpour, with copious thunder and lightning, my tent and rain flap stayed put.  It also helped that the tent site is on porous ground.

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Here are some views of  the lake, looking towards the Georgia shore. Note that the soil along the shore is red.

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I made a stop at the camp store, for a bit of breakfast, before heading out.  Two sweet teen girls were minding the store and made sure I had fresh coffee and a scone, on this soggy morning.

Outside, the dock and its attendant were getting ready for a more promising day of sunshine.

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I took county roads to the town of Calhoun Falls, then to McCormick, before going on to Edgefield, the hometown of another of South Carolina’s more provocative figures:  J. Strom Thurmond.  Before Donald Trump, before George Wallace, Strom Thurmond stood for keeping things as they were, in bygone days- before coming to his senses in later years, and actually being mortified by those who cited him as an example of a man who could “keep the races apart”.

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I found numerous mementos of the Civil War, as was to be expected, and solid antebellum architecture.  Then, there was the turkey.  Edgefield’s more eclectic claim to fame is as the headquarters of the American Wild Turkey Association.  One of the men with whom I spoke had been to Prescott, and had hunted wild turkeys in our National Forest.

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I took in Edgefield’s tiny, but welcoming Farmers’ Market, purchasing a couple of gifts for my family in Florida.  Then I poked around a bit in Edgefield’s town square.

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Below, is the town’s memorial to its Confederate  war dead.  Being on the opposite side of the slavery issue, I nonetheless recognize that people of earlier times had to go through their growing pains.  Then, too, so do many of this day and age.

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Other memorials honour those fallen in subsequent conflicts.  This memorial stone commemorates World War II.

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I stopped in Park Row Cafe, for a muffaletta, which held its own with the more famous New Orleans versions of the sandwich.  I was greeted warmly by the young lady who I had met on the street, earlier.  The cafe’s manager, though, was a bit more guarded, wondering aloud about “the western Yankee”. She was quite glad to see me go.  Too bad, as the place has wonderful fare.

Down the road, and a bit north of the river, is Aiken.  It is home to another Xanga friend, who was not at home when I visited downtown.  I can see the attraction, though.  Aiken had a larger Farmers’ Market than Edgefield, and was considerably more vibrant.  I spent most of my time here in New Moon Cafe, a fortuitous discovery, as I was missing Artful Dodger.  I sat, nursing a Haitian pour-over, absorbing the positive energy.  I found this magnetic little cafe a great excuse for returning to Aiken in the future, even if Xanga friend is not around.  Here is a small hotel that might be of interest to those not inclined to camp.

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New Moon is all about power!

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I took this photo from a discrete distance as, underneath the signage, another patron was relaxing with coffee and the paper.

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Leaving salubrious Aiken, I wanted to make fairly good time getting to north Florida, before turning in. So Augusta, Lake Oconee, Macon and Andersonville all wait for another time.  I made a mental note, as to the exquisite beauty of Oconee and its Reynolds properties.  There is much also that Georgia has to tell, regarding the struggles of men with one another.  Americus showed the way towards amity, whilst Andersonville chronicles the flip side of Maryland’s Point Lookout, being the site of a POW camp for Union soldiers, just as the latter was for Confederate POW.

So, I stopped here, in Tifton, just off I-75, enjoying chicken salad at a Zaxbe’s.  I still am determined to make it at least to Ocala, tonight.

 

The 2018 Road, Day 28: Falls Park Afternoon

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June 22, 2018, Greenville, SC-

I spent several days here, in and around this small, but bustling, commercial hub of western South Carolina, in late February and early March, 1987.  One of my brothers and his family lived near here then.  I can recall the Museum of Christian Art, at Bob Jones University, and Falls Park on the Reedy, as highlights of that visit.

My journey today, led me back to Falls Park, to meet an old friend from Xanga days. K is a military veteran, whose son is currently serving as well.  She lives in a city not far from Greenville, and so agreed to meet for lunch and a walk around the park.  It took several minutes for us to find one another, with confusion on my part, as to what she meant by the “park entrance”.  There are actually three, so I went to the one closest to the West End Historic District, where she found me.  We enjoyed a fine lunch at Smoke On The Water, overlooking the Reedy River, and swapped Xanga tales.  Then, it was time to revisit the park, in earnest.

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There are multiple places for people to cool off, in the running water.  This fountain, on the grounds of River Place, drew several families, as the day was heating up.

This footbridge leads into Falls Park, from the north.

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Here is a view of West End, which has been revitalized since I was here last.

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We enjoyed this, and other, views of the Falls, from Liberty Bridge.

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With many people taking one another’s photos, including us, K and I were glad to be in this one selfie.

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That led to another shot of the Falls.

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The flowers at Falls Park were not at their peak, but diligent care has kept the gardens well-balanced and adorning the grounds.

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The lower park, closer to the water, is always among my favourite parts of a river walk.

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Nature offers some strange scenes, of suffering and resilience.  Looking at the trunk of this tree, from this vantage point, I can almost discern a face.

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We continued to head back to the park entrance, as K had to avoid afternoon traffic.  Above the falls, the river offers as much beauty, as below.

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These cataracts, close to Liberty Bridge, help control the flow of water, in times of flooding.

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Ten Artispheres, by John Acorn, commemorated the tenth anniversary of Greenville’s Artishphere Festival, in 2014.

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After K left, I spent some time along the river, close to the place where I had parked.  Ducks and geese were more plentiful, in the serenity of upriver.

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This view of downtown shows the variety of architectural styles is present, even in a smaller city.

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Near an overpass, I spotted the testimony of the timeless.

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These geese were also glad to find the shade of the bridge’s underpinnings.

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The Peace Center Amphitheater and Wyche Pavilion was empty, this afternoon, but is sometimes used for weddings and other special events.

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Greenville has polished itself a fair amount, in thirty one years, and like many former textile centers, has used the rivers which once generated their mills to generate a thriving economy, based on tourism and other outdoor-based enterprises.

NEXT:  Camping in the Rain and Two Saturday Markets

 

The 2018 Road, Day 27:The Flow of Kindred Souls

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June 21, 2018, Hemingway, SC-

I did accomplish a goal of three years’ running:  A simple dinner with a young woman who is like a daughter to me.  C and I met up at Jenna’s Cafe, Virginia Beach, after I negotiated a busy, but peaceful causeway from Williamsburg to V.B., via Norfolk.

After a couple hours of encouragement from me, it was time for her to head back home and prepare for another day’s work.  She has the wherewithal to go far in her field, and to continue doing a fine job with her children.

I found a reasonable motel in Newport News and rested well, preparing for a southward journey.   My next goal would be Louis Gregory Baha’i Institute, Hemingway.  The center is used for spiritual education and gatherings. It is named for an early African-American Baha’i, who was a prominent attorney.  He chose to move to the South, in the midst of the Jim Crow era, and whilst abiding by the laws of the time, he worked behind the scenes to gradually ease the discrimination, which hobbled oppressed and oppressor, alike.

On this summer solstice, I chose to bypass Richmond, and drove a straight shot through North Carolina, to which I will return, next week. A leisurely drive into South Carolina’s pine woods brought me to LGBI,

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES just in time to meet the caretaker, before he closed up for the night.G generously gave me accommodations for the night, for which I offered a nominal contribution, this being a place that operates on a shoestring budget. LGBI was established in 1972, to assist the large number of people in northeastern South Carolina, who had shown interest in the Baha’i Faith.

Here are some scenes from around the small campus. The first three are from the Main Hall.  The patchwork quilt was made by junior youth, ages 11-14.

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Mr. Gregory is shown below, with his English-born wife, Louisa.  Theirs was one of the first interracial marriages performed legally in the United States.

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After settling into my night’s lodging, I made a visit to downtown Hemingway, for dinner, finding the lovely and welcoming Fish Net Seafood Market.

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Across the street from LGBI is a Baha’i- affiliated radio station, named-what else: WLGI!

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I find my accommodations for the night quite refreshing, and another unfinished goal from 2007 is realized.

NEXT:  Return to Greenville

 

Burned, but Not Broken

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August 4, 2018, Prescott-

As I stood, gazing at the sunset, this evening, admiring just how beautiful this city is, I think of different people here, and also realized:

You the disaffected one, silently snarl,

and greet me sullenly,

no longer by name,

just a perfunctory “Hello“.

You’d like me gone,

because I’m not who you want me to be,

WHAT you want me to be.

I’m still here,

as it’s the Universe,

not human beings,

deciding what I am going to do,

and where.

You, the gym managers, greet me by name,

because you see my heart,

and your only agenda

is to love and serve.

You, the busy entrepreneur, make time for me,

when it fits your schedule.

That’s okay, as

I was brought up

to honour people’s privacy.

You, the children and youth, smile

when I walk in your space,

or into the classroom,

because we share

a tenderness of heart.

You, my co-workers,

know of my undivided loyalty,

and support,

because we share a love

for the youth we serve,

and all else is secondary.

I have no real enemies,

just people who read me  wrong.

I suffer no lasting injury,

just the temporary wounds

which those in dire pain

want so badly to share.

As I looked at the sunset,

I realized the wounds are healing.

The 2018 Road, Day 26: A Yorktown Meander, Part 2-The Grounds of Surrender

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June 20, 2018, Yorktown-  

Having seen the coastline along which the final major battle of the American War for Independence played out, I turned to the equally critical interior locales of the struggle.

Yorktown Battlefield is the end point of Colonial National Historic Park, just as Jamestown represents the beginning.

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From there, the auto route of the park leads to Yorktown National Cemetery and the Grand French Battery.  Whilst  I was here, a few boys were engaged in Hide and Seek, along the redoubts.

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The scene of the cemetery itself was more subdued.

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A bit north of the park, on the way to modern Yorktown, is Yorktown Victory Monument.

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Doubling back towards town, just a bit, I caught this glimpse of Main Street.

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I am always glad to see the intense forest growth in the Tidewater area.  Some groves are impressive, in their height.

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Redoubts 9 and 10 were scenes of brief battles, with the French capturing the first and the Americans, the second.  The British ceasefire occurred three days later.

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These sharpened stones bore no significance, but they captured my attention.

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Next on the route was Augustine Moore House, where the British surrender was negotiated, on October 18, 1781.

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The York River flows just east of Moore House.

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Here is the Surrender Field, where Cornwallis’ army laid down their arms.

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This is the Untouched Redoubt, abandoned by the British on September 29, 1781.  The Allied forces arrived the next day, and left the position as it was.

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With this loop tour, one gets a well-rounded view of the final major clash of our nation’s first struggle towards respect in the family of nations.  There would be much to be done, internally and externally, before we would reach a dominant position as an economic and military power.  I wonder what it will take, to reach similar prominence, spiritually.

 

 

 

 

The 2018 Road, Day 26: A Yorktown Meander, Part 1- Shore and Town

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June 20, 2018Yorktown, VA-

I had this flight of fancy, at one point this week, about “doing” the Hampton Roads area, in three days.  That is not how I’m wired, though, and it came as no surprise that Jamestown took the better part of a day and Yorktown, pretty much all of the following day.  After a lovely breakfast at Capitol Pancake House, I took my leave of Williamsburg, and headed to the place where the British Army found itself outmaneuvered by a Colonial force that was trained by the Prussian General von Steuben and bolstered by the French, under Marquis de Lafayette. Yorktown has a wealth of both coastal and woodland sites that figured in the deciding battle of the American War for Independence.

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The Coleman Bridge spans the York River, going to Gloucester Point, which was one of General Cornwallis’ “fall back” camps.

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Yorktown has two small gardens, near the riverside.

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This garden honours the sacrifices made by African-Americans in colonial Yorktown.

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General Cornwallis had his troops hide in this cave, as the joint American and French forces advanced on Yorktown, by land and by sea.

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This statue depicts the surrender of General Cornwallis to General Washington.

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I headed a bit west, to the Poor Potter, site of the factory operated by William Rogers, an expert artisan, who operated colonial Virginia’s largest pottery operation, between 1720 and his death, in 1739.

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Here is a view of the actual factory. One may see shards of pottery, through the windows to the right.

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Yorktown is very much a modern city, and York County Courthouse had plenty of visitors this morning.

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I headed over to the Battlefield and its mementos of the American, British and French contributions to Yorktown’s prominence.  In Part 2, the focus will be on the auto tour of these far flung sites.

 

 

 

The wave of nationwide strikes, protests and uprisings in the cities of Iran — Freedom Star

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This article is based on reports and videos sent by PMOI/MEK activists inside Iran Iran, July 31, 2018 – Tuesday has been the scene of numerous protests and demonstrations in cities across Iran. Strike, Protest in Isfahan: Beginning this morning, Tuesday, July 31, truck drivers and owners as well as large group of people and youth in […]

via The wave of nationwide strikes, protests and uprisings in the cities of Iran — Freedom Star

The 2018 Road, Day 25, Part 2: Williamsburg at Twilight

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June 19, 2018, Williamsburg-

In 2007, the three of us took in downtown Williamsburg, just as the sun was setting.  Whilst there was no opportunity to take in the interiors of various historic buildings, the ambiance of Williamsburg at twilight is nothing short of divine.

That being one of my sweetest memories of the 2007 journey, I checked into a reasonable motel here:  Bassett Motel, east of downtown.  After a hearty pasta dinner, I headed to the twilight of 2018 Williamsburg.  Here are several scenes of downtown, and of the College of William and Mary.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDespite the light rain, many families were out and about, this evening.  Like them, I am captivated by historic buildings in amber glow.

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The College of William and Mary was founded in 1693.

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This is a statue of Norborn E. Berkeley, who was Governor of Virginia at the time the College was chartered.  Below, the College campus shared the enchanting ambiance of downtown.

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This magic again captured in a bottle, my thoughts turned towards Yorktown, which also escaped our attention, eleven years ago.

 

 

Janus in July

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July 30, 2018, Prescott-

I will return to the chronicles of my summer road trip, in a few hours. First, though, I want to note this month’s activities, closer to Home Base.  The three weeks following Independence Day were mostly relaxing, yet had their share of joyful activity.  We celebrated the birthday of  a generous and humble friend, in what was supposed to be a surprise.  Our efforts came as no surprise to her, but she was nonetheless delighted.

I learned that my left knee does not take kindly to being idle for long stretches on the road, at least while my carcass is undergoing chiropractic adjustment, between now and March.  There is some connection between the two, so with Fall coming, I will need to get in at least one vigourous walk per day.  That will give my knees the workout they seem to crave.  Planet Fitness and Deep Blue ointment are also helping.

I have, at long last, taken the time to pay a few visits to Firehouse Coffee and Black Dog Coffee Shop, virtually completing “discovery” of our town’s java joints.  Both are fine purveyors of brew, but Firehouse wins the cinnamon roll contest.  Black Dog focuses on scones.  The Saturday after I got back was my son’s 30th birthday.  After wishing him a great day, long-distance, I went to Game Night at Wild Iris-enjoying Uno and a dice game, with the regulars at this event.

This past weekend, though, was a special cap on this bountiful summer.  I did three days’ Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) service at Bellemont Baha’i School, west of Flagstaff.  All three days featured “gully washers”. Saturday had the added excitement of a heavy hail shower.

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Even with a borrowed tent, and large tarpaulin, there was much to be done later, as I had to use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to siphon the small pond that had threatened to ensure no sleep that night.  As it was, I had a dry tent, by nightfall, and slept very well.

The service in question was on behalf of over 50 middle school-age children, from the Phoenix area. Many of them had not been out of the metro area, so being in the woods was a fabulous experience,  to say the least.

The camp was open for a half day, today, but I came back to Prescott, last night.  Three days of preparation and “welcome back” gatherings at Prescott High School will get another year of concerted effort at learning underway.  So, it’s ten months of joyfully getting up at 4:30, knowing that we will provide at least some stability and learning opportunities for eight young people who, rather like me at their age, cannot count on their own bodies to remain calm and focused, without assistance.

2018-19 will be a monumental academic year.