Summer Vacation 2011 - Traveling Around the USA
     

During the summer of 2011, we were fortunate to be able to take a road trip around the country with Mamaw and the grandkids, to see the sights of our nation and spend time with family. We were on the road for approximately 4 weeks, going coast to coast. We saw a great deal of history, experienced new adventures, and spent some real quality time together.

Haley and Charlie kept journals as we traveled through this adventure - this is a collection of our rememberances of our travels as they occurred - hope you enjoy!'

 

<click> on image to view album Days of the trip: • Day 1-2Day 3 Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8-9Day 10 • Day 11 • Day 12 •

 

 

Day 1 and 2 - Start of Our Summer Adventure...

Posted: July 1-2, 2011 - in Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania

The afternoon of June 30th, 2011 we headed out of our driveway on a 35 day road trip to see the USA. Our goal was to go coast to coast with the Grandkids and Mom and see as many sights as we could in month. We also planned to meet up with Hadie and her grandkids for a week along the way. The journey started out innocent enough, the car was packed suitcases loaded on the top of the Montana mini van, a cooler in the back. We were ready. Our first major point of interest was Gettysburg - we planned to spend the 4th of July there and it was a good 2 day drive. I had purchased tickets to see battle re-enactments while in Gettysburg. This was going to be fun.

As we started down Hwy 19 - we stopped at McDonald's to grab some dinner, and then pushed on headed for Arkansas - that was my goal for the night. We weren't more than 20 mins down the road and I noticed that the car temperature on the engine was running hotter than usual. I mentioned it to Melody, and somewhat dismissed it and didn't pay too much attention. We hit a afternoon thunder shower not long after and that seemed to cool the car off. We pressed on into the night and made it over the Arkansas border some way before stopping for the night.

Next morning (7/1) we continued and crossed over into Tennessee and stopped in Memphis - home of Elvis and BB King. I noticed as the heat of day rose, so did the temperature on the car so I stopped and put water in the radiator - it was low so I chalked that up to the reason it was running hot. We continued to press on driving throughout the day, and got up into Virginia where we stopped for the night. At this point, the car was continuing to run hot, and I had no clue what the cause was - I was thinking a faulty thermostat, I would try and find one the next day.

July 2nd we continued driving north towards Pennsylvania, cutting through Virginia and Maryland. We attempted to stop in Maryland and get the car looked at but given it was Sunday, the only auto place I could find open was a Sears auto store and they were already booked for the day. We decided to press on - the car was running hot but not completely overheating. We got up into Pennsylvania and started running into more rural roads as we got closer to Gettysburg. We found out Hotel (the Eisenhower Motel) and checked in. I put more water in the radiator (it was low again), and we drove into town and spent the late afternoon at the Gettysburg National Park Visitor's Center to get our bearings for the next day's events. This had been re-built (2008) since the last time we were here with our kids 15 years ago and they have done a great job on it. For dinner, we found a Pizza Hut and then returned to the hotel to let the kids go swimming and turn in for the night.

Charlie Journal Entry (6/30):

I had to pack toys, clothes, shoes, and toothbrush. Papa and Grandma took me to the store to buy green lantern toy to take on the trip. We put a big bag on the top of the car to put my suitcase in, and put ropes with hooks to hold the bag down. We got in the car and went to McDonald's and started our trip. We went from Canton TX to Arkansas. Then we got a hotel and went to sleep.

Haley Journal Entry (6/30):

We packed, and when Grandma got back from the dentist, Grandma said we need to go to Walmart to buy a toy. I got a Barbie doll and Charlie got a green Lantern. But we had to wait for Papa until 3:30 - when papa came home from work, he had to pack his clothes. When Papa got done, we got in the car and drove to Arkansas. We went to go get gas and took a bathroom break, and we took a picture. We watched movies because Mamaw brought TVs in the car. I watch diary of a wimpy kid, Gidget, and Spongbob. I played with my Barbie doll, and we got a hotel and went to sleep.

Charlie Journal Entry (7/1):

I got up at the hotel and brushed my teeth and combed my hair. I ate cereal at the hotel in the lobby. Then we got in the car and drove, and drove, and drove some more! Going into Tennessee we went over a bridge, and stopped at the welcome center. We tried to pick up a giant egg, and we saw a big statue of Elvis and BB King. Then we drove some more. We stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel - I had a grilled cheese sandwich and applesauce. I got to play and watch movies in the car, I watched Sponge bob and Narnia.

Haley Journal Entry (7/1):

On Friday we got up at 7:58am to go get our bags and put them on the van. After that we went to eat breakfast, and then we got on the road. We had to go get gas and take a bathroom break. We took a picture of Elvis and BB King and we tried to pick up and egg - it was hot and heavy! And that means we were in Tennessee so when we were in the van, we played with our toys and we were on a mountain so I had to put earphones in my ears so they would not pop. We went Cracker Barrel and I had a Dr. Pepper. So did Charlie. Papa, Grandma and Mamaw had tea. And when they took our order, she said they had a special on fish - and my grandma said she thought she said French fries! And she said no, its because I have a strong accent. I got a hamburger (so did Grandma). And after that we went to Starbucks. And after that, we went to a hotel and went to sleep.

Charlie Journal Entry (7/2):

I had to help Papa put the suitcases on the top of the car. I had to get on top of the car and hold the belts. We got in the car I ate a pop tart and juice. We were in Virginia, then we went through West Virginia, then to Maryland, and then to Pennsylvania. In the car I watched movies, listened to the iPod, and saw big rocks and trees out the window. Every-time I went to a new state, I got pamphlets about the state and took a picture at the welcome center sign. In West Virginia, the man gave me a free backpack. We are spending the night in Gettysburg. We are learning about the civil war guns, cannons, and Abraham Lincoln. I had my picture taken with some soldiers at the welcome center. After dinner I went swimming at the hotel and talked with Mama and Daddy on the phone. Now I have to do my school work packet page.

Haley Journal Entyry (7/2):

On Saturday we left the hotel and breakfast was over. So we ate breakfast in the car. All of us had a pop tart and juice. We went to go get gas and a bathroom break. We were on our way to Virginia and watched movies like Gidget. Then we were at West Virginia. We stopped at a place and took a bathroom break, and we took a picture. So we got back in the car and it was hot, super hot! And then very hot! So we went to Burger King to get an Icy Coke, and we were in Maryland and we ate lunch. Next we were in Gettysburg, PA. We went to see the civil war. I saw cannons and we took pictures of the Civil War people. We went to a store and got a book about the Civil War people. We ate dinner - we went to Pizza Hut and we got back from the Civil War. We got back to the hotel and got on our swimming suits and went swimming. We came back to the room and went to sleep.

 

 

Day 3 - Gettysburg Battle Re-enactment, Cemetery and Museum

Posted: July 3, 2011 - in Gettysburg, PA

On Sunday we got up and headed for a farm just outside Gettysburg, where they hold annual re-enactments of the Civil War battle. I filled up the radiator with water and coolant to try and make sure the car wouldn't overheat. Being a Sunday, not too many places were open so we had to be careful moving around - as long as the car kept moving with air going over the radiator, we would be ok. Get stuck in traffic and we'd overheat for sure. This year was the 148th anniversary of the battle which took place on July 1-3, 1865. The farm is split with parking on one side of the road, and the battlefield on the opposite side with vendors and such stationed at the openings. This is a big event, with plenty of spectators and participants. Many people walking around in costume which reminds me of a renaissance festival or similar. It had rained in the area the last few days so things are a little soggy in the fields, it made parking more interesting. They had a couple tractors at the ready to help pull cars out that got stuck in soft spots. Luckily, we were able to find a solid area to park in without incident.

We trekked out of the parking lot and over to the battlefield side, taking in the sights. It was starting to get hot and the air was very humid and muggy. There were cloth tents set up everywhere like an army encampment In some of the bigger tents, there were Generals (actors) giving detailed descriptions of their battle plans for the day. There were many tents for the vendors who were selling their wares. I believe the term they used was "sutler" for persons selling goods and materials. We walked through the grounds and tried to find the grandstands where our seats were. I had bought the tickets for this event some time back to make sure we'd have a seat. The soldiers spread out across the field and took their positions, and a loud announcer narrated the events as the armies began to simulate different charges, close quarters fighting, taking ground, and then giving it up. They sword fought from horseback, and shot their guns. It was a interesting experience, but obviously not the same as actual war. Sitting in the heat was a little rough, but we made it. When the battle concluded, the different armies rode by and saluted the crowd and visa versa. We then walked through the tents, got some sarsaparilla and icees, and headed to the car. I was a little concerned about driving around given the temperature was up and the crowded parking lot but it turned out ok - we were one of the early ones to leave so we didn't get stuck in the big traffic jam to leave. There was an afternoon battle presentation as well so many were staying for that.

We next headed to the Gettysburg Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln have his famous Gettysburg Address. Its a really neat place - well kept and neat. There many cannons and memorials across the grounds, and because its near Independence day, a flag was at every grave stone. Its a moving experience to walk the grounds and realize what took place here.

Next we visited the Welcome Center and the Gettysburg Museum again, to really get to spend time and see all the displays. We were very fortunate, that Robert E. Lee and his wife were in the museum to greet visitors so we got our picture taken with them. The museum had a nice display of uniforms, and other war gear - well preserved and documented. Of course cannons, flags, and such as well. There was a amazing painting on display as well of the battle - the detail was very striking. I like the style and methods that the national museums have changed to for presenting the historical items and background information - its really good. I think the kids got a lot out of seeing this. Afterward, we headed out for dinner and back to the hotel so the kids could go swimming before bed.

Haley Journal Entry (7/3):

On Sunday we woke up and got dressed and we went to the Civil War and we walk around and got a snow cone - and it was hot and we were waiting in line. Because we got a blue wrist band because we were going to see a show about the Civil War re-enactment between the south and the north. We looked around and we got drinks - Charlie had lemonade, papa and Grandma got birch beer (sarsaparilla). We went to see a card lady and we got a few and went to get tickets to see a movie and after that we went to a museum and we went to the graveyard and we went back to the hotel and we went swimming. We met this girl named Haley and her name was spelled like mine. We got out of the pool and we got on our pj's and went to bed.

Charlie Journal Entry (7/3)

I watched the Civil War. There were cannons, guns and soldiers. They were pretending to fight. They shot a cannon. It was really hot. Then we went to the Gettysburg Visitor Center Museum and saw a statue of a soldier on a horse. I saw a movie about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. I got my picture taken with General Lee.

 

 

Day 4 - Touring Gettysburg, PA

Posted: July 4, 2011 - in Gettysburg, PA

On July 4th, we spent most of the day in downtown Gettysburg. We walked through the streets of the older parts of the city where they now have shops and dining. We signed up to take a bus tour but needed to kill a couple hours until our scheduled time. We ventured through the nearby shops and saw some pretty amazing things - collectibles, clothing, hats, etc. Everything you could ask for that was civil war era. If you wanted to outfit yourself to participate in the re-enactments, you would have no problem finding the goods for it. We strolled by the house of Jenny Wade, a significant figure in the battle of Gettysburg. The story of her being the only resident of Gettysburg to die during the battle is interesting. A sharp shooter's musket-ball felled her in her own kitchen (info). We did some more shopping and the kids got some goodies while We stopped to have a snow cone at Rita's while waiting for our tour across the street - it was really good.

Finally our tour time arrived and we boarded the bus - riding on the open top of a double-decker. The tour rides around the city and outskirts with a audio tour tape playing that points out significant locations and battles across the city and countryside. I think its a great way to to get to imagine what it was like. We took this same tour about 15 years earlier and it was just as memorable this time. After the 2 hour tour, we went and had dinner at the historic Dobbins Tavern in downtown and then went back to the hotel so the kids could swim (again). I had to find a repair shop in the morning to look at our car and get a new thermostat. Funny thing - we were in such a famous place on 4th of July - and I don't recall seeing anything about fireworks in the area, no displays or anything downtown or in a park that I could find. Thought that was strange.

Charlie Journal Entry (7/4):

We rode a double-decker bus. I rode on top. They told a story about the Civil War and drove around where the war was fought. I saw where soldiers were buried and cannons. We ate dinner, then I went to the store and got a play gun and a toy cannon. Then I had to journal. Now I am going to play with my toys in the hotel and go swimming. I had a good day today.

Haley Journal Entry (7/4):

On Monday we went back to the Civil War because we got a tour bus and it was at 2:30 so we walked around and I got a cool water carrier and a basset Hound statue and we gota snow cone. Then it was time to head to the bus and we were on top. and I saw Jennie's house and I saw statues and at the end this lady and her father buried anybody that was dead and she was 6 months pregnant. And after that we went back to the hotel and I am going swimming.

 

 

Day 5 - Gettysburg, Visiting Hershey, and the Amish Country

Posted: July 5, 2011 - In Gettysburg, Lancaster, and Hershey, PA

Tuesday morning we got up early and left the Eisenhower Inn and headed to a local car repair shop in Gettysburg. I was hoping this would be a quick stop, just get a new thermostat and we'd be on our way. Nope, not gonna happen. Long story short, we needed a new water pump and thermostat on the radiator. After about 2 hours, we were on the road headed to Lancaster to see the Amish Community. We stopped into a place called The Amish Experience, a demonstration of what current modern Amish life is like. We toured the house and surrounding grounds seeing what a typical Amish home would be set up like, and a school room as well. We learned more about what current technologies Amish are allowed to take advantage of and what they still don't. Afterwards on our way out of town, we stopped at a local Amish Souvenir store and saw some incredible wood toys, and handmade goods. It was really neat.

Next we headed for Hershey, PA to tour the famous Hershey Chocolate factory. We didn't go to the amusement park. The Chocolate Factory Tour is pretty neat, you ride around and see how they make all the different kinds of candy. Then at the end, you have to walk around a store that has so many different types of candy - it will make you sick. You have to buy some, you know you do. Downtown Hershey has street lights shaped as Hershey Kisses and the factory is really the history of the town. Unfortunately, we got to Hershey later than I hoped so we didn't get to go to the history museum. We ended up eating dinner in Hershey at The Grill restaurant, across the street from the factory. After dinner, we drove to Morgantown to get closer to Philadelphia which was our destination for the next day.

Haley Journal Entry (7/5):

On Tuesday something happened to the car, it was overheating so we went to go fix the car and he said to wait for 1 hour and then other people came and Papa was talking to them until 1 hour and then it was time to go. So we were on the road and we were in Lancaster County to go see the Amish and we saw buggies that the Amish people ride. We got tickets to go on a tour on the Amish school and house and I got to sit in the desk. We went to go in the shop and there were no kid stuff so my Grandma ask a lady if there is a kid store and she said yes so we went there and I saw a doll but it was a $100.00 So I got doll clothes and we went to Hershey PA and we went on a Hershey tour and we got candy and I got a cup and Charlie got a bear with candy and then we left and had dinner.

Charlie Journal Entry (7/5):

They had to fix the air conditioner. Then we could leave. I got some chocolate kisses, yum! We bought more chocolate. We went on a go kart ride in the candy factory (Hershey's in Hershey PA). They baked the chocolate and wrapped some of the candy. Some more candy was not wrapped.

We went to Lancaster PA, where the Amish people live. We went through a Amish house, they had marble toys, and a chicken running around outside. They had a 1 room school house and I sat in a desk. The telephone was outside! It was in the garden. They drive buggies and horses, no cars. They wear black pants and straw hats. We drove past several Amish farms and stopped at Lapp Toy Store. I got a wood horse and buggy!

 

 

Day 6 - Visiting Philadelphia, PA & Washington DC

Posted: July 6, 2011 - in Philadelphia, PA and Washington DC

Day 6 was a long day. We started out early from our hotel in Morgantown and headed for Philadelphia to spend a majority of the day there. We found a parking spot downtown and started walking to the historic district a few blocks away. First up - we found the Independence Visitor Center where they display the Liberty Bell. Its right across the plaza from Independence Hall where it once hung. They have archaeological digs going on around the Visitor Center site to uncover ruins from the 1700's which was pretty neat to see. On the outside of the Visitor Center is a lot of information about the declaration of Independence, and different historical facts about happenings around the 1770's. As we all know, Philadelphia played an important roll in our Nation's history and its well documented here. We went inside and learned all about the bell, how it was cracked, that at one time it traveled around the country (I believe on the 200th anniversary?) but won't do so again due to its fragility. What an amazing piece of history to see. The kids also learned how to use a feather fountain pen to write their name using calligraphy.

We then started touring around the plaza where Independence Hall is located, many statues and memorials, and several historic buildings. They have stations around the different courtyards where story tellers present unique happenings from Philadelphia history during revolutionary times. There were 12 stations around the city block where you walk. We tried to hit all the different stations which took us to Independence Hall, several buildings near by. We toured many of the buildings which were very interesting - saw some pretty neat things. Independence Hall was being renovated outside so there was a cloth facade depicting what the building looks like behind the construction scaffolding. We also strolled to an old cemetery where Ben Franklin is buried - Philadelphia's most famous citizen.

Once we finished our tour of Philadelphia, we got back in the car and headed for Washington DC - arriving around dinner time. We found our hotel and checked in to drop our bags off. We then went to Penn Station and bought tickets for a night time bus tour of Washington DC. While waiting for the tour, we had dinner at a Johnny Rockets in the train station. We boarded our tour bus at dusk, and headed out around the city to see monuments, buildings, and memorials. Luckily it wasn't too hot so it was enjoyable to walk around and see the sites at the multiple stops. I've found over the years that bus tours can give you a really good overview of a city, so we try to do them if we've never been to a place before. I'm sure some day we'll come back and spend more time here with the kids. The tour ended around 10pm so we headed back to the hotel after a long day of walking and sight-seeing. I don't think it took too long for everyone to fall asleep :-)

Charlie Journal Entry (7/6):

We drove to Philadelphia, PA - I saw the Liberty Bell. It has a crack. It was bigger than me and Papa! I took pictures of it with Mamaw's camera. Haley and I walked all around and listened to stories about America. I got a flag and stars. In one of the stories my name was Pierre. In another story I was an American Revolutionary soldier. I marched, hid behind a tree, and shot the British. I went to the first library, Carpenter's Hall. It was made by Benjamin Franklin. I went into Independence Hall and saw the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Then we drove to Washington DC. It was night time. We rode a bus and looked at buildings. I saw Abraham Lincoln, President Obama's house (the White House). It was very late when we got back to our hotel.

Haley Journal Entry (7/6):

On Wednesday, we drived to Washington DC (uh - I believe this should have been Philly?) and we saw president Obama's White House. and then we went to the Liberty Bell and after that we are a hot dog and we got a flag and we had stickers (stars) and we had to fill up and you had to get all 13 of them (for the 13 colonies at the different story time stations). You had to listen to a story and then we had to get on a bus because Papa got tickets for Independence Hall tour. We went on a bus tour and we saw Ben Franklin and the Lincoln Memorials and we saw the national cemetery and we saw George Washington's White House and we saw Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

 

 

Day 7 - Fords Theatre and National Zoo in Washington DC

Posted: July 7, 2011 - Washington DC metro area

Thursday morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel, and then headed out to find Ford's Theatre in Washington DC. This site is famous as the location that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated right after the end of the Civil war in 1865. The Theatre is still operating today puts on current plays and shows. There is a museum underneath the Theatre which outlines the events leading up to Lincoln's assassination and some of the current events of that time period surrounding Washington DC, Lincoln's cabinet, and the perpetrator's of the conspiracy to kill Lincoln. I found the museum to be insightful and informative - I really like to style that the Smithsonian uses at the renovated national monuments and museums - its really good. Once you've completed the museum tour, you are allowed to walk up and peek in the opera booth that Lincoln occupied the night of his murder. Its still draped with the American flag and has not been occupied since the night of his death. Part of the tour also includes walking through the house across the street where they took Lincoln after being shot. Unfortunately for us, that house is currently being renovated so the kids didn't get to see it - maybe next time. After our tour we stopped and got drinks at a local cafe near the museum.

Next we decided we would go to the National Zoo next. It was quite hot that afternoon so Mom and Melody stayed in the car with the AC while I took the kids into the Zoo and took in the sights. We had a quick lunch at the cafeteria and got animal lunch bags and souvenir cups then started walking around the park to see the animals. I was hopeful the panda bears would be out on display but alas, it was not to be. instead we got to see some gorillas, some young lions sparring with an older male, a big octopus, prairie dogs, and lots more. The National Zoo is nice zoo, I hope that Washington continues to take care of it. We were getting tired from the heat after walking around for a couple hours so we headed out to the car and found Mom and Melody napping. Figures. We got on the road and headed south for Williamsburg, VA stopping for dinner and to find a hotel for the night.

Haley Journal Entry (7/7):

On Thursday we got up and got out of bed and got breakfast and we whent to the ford's theater where Abraham Lincoln got shot and we saw the house that he died and there was a museum and we went to go get a drink and then we went to the zoo and we ate lunch there and we went to see a panda but there were no pandas so we went to see the lions and there were running around and we were done for the day so we got back to the van and we were going in the hotel and we are at the hotel and I am going to play games.

Charlie Journal Entry (7/7):

Today I went to Abraham Lincoln's theater (Ford Theater). He got shot in the back of his head with a little gun. There was wood on the floor from a city that broke down after it got shooted in the war. I saw Abraham Lincoln's clothes and pillow.

Then we went to the National Zoo. I saw gorilla and a orangutan that had a hole in his chest. Inside the zoo we didn't see any pandas. They were getting some shade. I saw an elephant. They're make the sea lions some water so they can take a bath. I saw an octopus. The lions were playing. We didn't see any snakes. The lion was roaring at the other lions because they did something wrong I think.

It was a hot day. Now its a dark day. I am going to play and go to bed.

 

a

 

 

Day 8 and 9 - Williamsburg, VA - Take a Break...

Posted: July 8, 2011 - Williamsburg, VA

On Friday, we decided to take a break. We'd been on the move for 7 days straight and could use a day to rest. We went out for breakfast, and then returned to the hotel for the day to swim and do laundry. It started raining so I'm glad we decided to spend the day at the hotel. We went out for dinner in town and then returned to the hotel to turn in early for the next day - touring Colonial Williamsburg.

Saturday started early with breakfast and then heading to the Williamsburg site. Once you get on the grounds, its like your transported back in time to the 1770's when this was a major part of the newly formed British colonies. We started with a tour of the Govenor's house, a majestic building oozing with style and decor from the period. The entry way was filled with armory (swords and guns) mounted in a fashion to show power and might. There were offices, bedrooms, parlors, etc. in the house depicting what it might have looked like way back when. Its really neat to see. When we finished the house tour, we saw the gardens and the cook house where meals were prepared. They discuss the menu and what types of food they may prepare for the Govenor and his guests. We also got to see their wine cellar, and the privies.

We walked around the grounds and took in some other exhibits. One house the kids got to participate in what chores a child of that time might have around the house - tending the garden or fetching water from the well. Trying to give them a sense of what life may have been like. We went inside the house and Melody and the kids learned how they danced back then. Quite elegant. The we moved on to find out how they managed their money - using shillings, have pents and such. We also visited the armory for the colony where the army kept their military supplies and guns. As we walked the streets of the colony, you see shops and buildings that encompased the town, with horse drawn carriages and such - like it was back then. Very well done.

For lunch, we stopped in at a Tavern with an outside porch and had a sandwich and hot dogs, and listened to a fiddle player. we then continued our tour of the town and saw the blacksmith, carpenter, and some other vendors selling their wares along the street. Wde spent some time in court, the kids ended up in the stockades, and we went and watched the army perform their final cerimony for the day (shooting off the cannon). On our way out of Williamsburg we stopped off at a theater to listen to a townhall speech from Patrick Henry - he was quite the speaker to end our visit with. As usual, we concluded the day with the kids in the pool - the daily ritual.

Charlie Journal Entry (7/8 and 7/9):

Its a rainy day now, I played games at the hotel, I ate dinner at Golden Corral abd lunch at iHop. I went swimming two times. Today Papa went swimming with me and Haley one time. We walked to 7-11 and got an icee coke. Then I played with my truck in the hotel before going to bed.

I went to Williamsburg, Virginia. I got water out of the well with a bucket and rope. Then I watered the vegatable garden. I learned to dance. So did Grandma and Haley. I saw soldiers shoot guns and a cannon. They marched and played the drums and flutes. I heard a man (Patrick Henry) talk. He has the same name as me (Patrick). We went back to the hotel and went swimming.

Haley Journal Entry (7/8 and 7/9):

On Friday we got up breakfast and then we got in the van and we whent to Kmart and then when we got back from Kmart we whent swimming and we played and we got hungry so then we whent to dinner and then we whent in the van to go to the hotel and we went swimming and then we went to seven and got a icey coke and next I am going to do my homework.

On Saturday we whouck (woke) up at 9:00 and we got in the van and at breakfast and whent to Colonial Williamsburg and we had to get tickets so we could get in the bus and then we got off the bus. We went to this place but it was a giding tour and it was cool and then we whent to this kid place and then this girl taught me and Charlie to dance and we saw a bedroom and we saw how to make money and to get water from the well and we planted a garden and we went back from the bus and we ate dinner and we went back to the hotel and swim and now we are in the hotel.

 

 

Day 10 - Appomatox, VA to Pigeon Forge, TN

Posted: July 10, 2011 - Appomatox, VA, Pigeon Forge, TN

Sunday morning we left Williamsburg headed for Appomattox, VA, the place where the Civil War ended with the South surrendering to General Grant. We we arrived around lunch, we had a picnic on the grass in front of the car. The overheating problem was still occurring so I checked the fluid levels to see what the situation was like. Things were ok so we planned to proceed once we finished our tour.

Appomattox is a neat place - the buildings are not the originals, but they have been restored very well and give a good idea of what it may have been like in 1865. The park program is talk with a soldier that was present at the surrender ceremony, and he explains what happened and what it was like for the soldiers. There's also a demonstration of how you load and fire a single shot rifle like what was used during the Civil War with the gun powder packets, the shot, and the firing pin. It was pretty neat. The small museum they have there has lots of old photos of soldiers from the war on display, and a map outlining the final battles around Appomattox that lead to the surrender by Grant. They also have a small cemetery nearby with soldier's graves and you really get a sense of walking on hollowed ground.

Afterwards, we hopped back in the car and kept driving, we were about 5 good hours from Pigeon Forge where we were scheduled to meet up with Hadie and Kalyn, Haley and Alex. We stopped for dinner at Long John Silver's and then kept on driving. The car started overheating again but we pressed on. We limped into Pigeon Forge and found our hotel for the night. It was late, but the pool was still open so we all went down to watch the kids swim and converse. There were a lot of kids in the pool. All of a sudden, someone spotted it floating in the water - a tootsie roll of the worst kind was in the pool! We quickly got the kids out of the pool, and informed the management of the hotel - who proceeded to do nothing as far as we know. We headed to the room and got the kids all hot showers and put them to bed. What a start to a week in TN! Given the car situation Melody and I had decided we were going to trade our van in as soon as possible. I found a Car Max in Knoxville (about 40 miles away) that had another minivan for sale. My plan was to head for Knoxville in the morning.

Haley Journal Entry (7/10):

On Sunday we went to Abimadickes and we looked at houses were the civil war ended and we had a picnic and we had to go back to Tennessee to go see Alex and Haley so we got in the van and we went to Tennisee and finilly we got a hotel and Charlie saw Alex and I saw Haley and everybody went swimming and then we got out and went to bed.

Charlie Journal Entry (7/10):

Today we went to Appomattox. I ate lunch at a picnic. I saw a toy gun. I saw a soldier shoot a gun. I saw the house where the two guys signed the paper. It stopped the civil war.

 

a

 

Day 11 - Knoxville and Pigeon Forge, TN

Posted: July 11, 2011 - Knoxville, TN and Pigeon Forge, TN

 

Charlie Journal Entry (7/11):

 

Haley Journal Entry (7/11):

 

 

 

 

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