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Saturday, April 13, 2013


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Two nights ago, the Sheriff put me up in the Weight Room of the Jail.  Just want to assure all that I enjoyed a comfy night...and the entire staff was just super to SAM and ME.

Yesterday, the 7 miles from CHARLOTTE COURT HOUSE, VIRGINIA to the tiny village of PHENIX nearly did me in.  Accustomed to 4 miles an hour, I stupidly tried to maintain that intense humidity...climbing and descending many steep hills...with heavy traffic on a narrow roadway...and drinking far too much water.

The Town Office came to my rescue by offering SAM and ME to move into the town's new open-air facility for the night.  We enjoyed a clean, tranquil, and convenient afternoon - much of which I slept -, and night...ALL of which I slept.

Before dawn, we were up, packed, and sitting in Robbie's Restaurant for breakfast. 

By 7:30 am, SAM and ME walked West on Highway 40 out of Phenix ... destination, the town of BROOKNEAL, some 12 miles distant.

The coming 12 miles were constant and continuous rolling hills...some steeper than 8 %...most 1/8 mile long.  We approached each hill with intense study...agreeing (my body and I always - together - agree on the manner in which we walk) to reduce our walking speed from the usual 4 miles per hour down to 2 miles per hour if necessary.

We crossed over at least 20 difficult hills in the 12 miles to Brookneal.  We WALKED uninterrupted up and down - i.e., without hesitation or stopping to rest - ALL of those hills. 

The normal 3 hour (at 4mph) travel time for 12 miles, took us from 7:30 am
to 12:30 noon...a total of 5 hours.  HOWEVER...

we stopped to chat with:

BILL ELLIOTT:                                    for 25 minutes
CONVENIENCE STORE VISIT:       for 15 minutes
GARY and BRANDY:                          for 15 minutes
HERMAN SCHMIDT:                          for 10 minutes

i.e., 65 minutes we spent visiting = total travel time 3 hours 55 minutes.

Therefore, by slowing down to a speed eliminating perspiring, labored breathing, or sore muscles, we easily walked 12 miles of intense hills in only a bit over our normal speed...and by doing so, enjoyed the journey today so very much more.

The building in which we slept yesterday afternoon and all last night in the town of Phenix, Virginia.

SAM contemplating Highway 40.

The colorful bags hanging from SAM are insulated plastic bags which we are testing by adding ice-filled containers to find the best way to keep water cold and food from spoiling during the long distance crossings of North Dakota, Montana, and Washington States.

Betty's "container" gifted yesterday at the height of my painful journey...filled with only ICE (no water), the ice lasted nearly 10 hours, cooling the new insulated bag and furnishing ice water for drinking...a much welcome treat.

Please say HELLO to BILL ELLIOTT. 

Bill greeted me with a trash bag full of bottles and papers he had gathered from the roadside of Highway 40.  Out policing the roadway along his property line, Bill had some unkind words about passers-by.

Bill and I got to chatting...not watching the time...for nearly 1/2 hour, about his ranch home up on the hill...about his Son's ranch nearby...and about his daughter's ranch up the draw SAM and ME crossed a mile back.

...of course, I also added by two bits about walking...

a most enjoyable time-out.

Vineyards are beginning to appear...this one particularly well maintained.

Click click to much steeper than appears from this vantage.

Churches, after ranch houses, are most prevalent along Highway 40 (and throughout the South of the USA, for that matter).

Yes, that is a down grade...having a bit of difficulty getting the "steepness" to register in my photographs...will keep working on it.

Many beautiful homes along Highway 40...and throughout the South.

We are nearing the Blue Ridge Mountains...prelude to the Allegheny Mountains some 80 miles to the West.  Still, some expanses of pastureland as well as corn and cotton are found in this region.


Herman is on his way to a motorcycle meet-up on the Blue Ridge Highway somewhere South of the City of ROANOKE.  ..."...never pass up an interesting looking guy...", says Herman.  He was a FORWARD OBSERVER Marine in Viet Nam before getting wounded...

Herman and I exchanged addresses for future follow-up between a couple old guys.

Please say HELLO to (l.-r.) GARY, BREALYNN, and BRANDY.

As SAM and ME walked past their lovely home, Gary was in the front yard...filled with 50 or so golf balls...practicing his "chip shot". 

Looked interesting, so pulled into Gary's driveway (I have golfed most of my life), and struck up a conversation.  Seems Gary golfs with his buddy...who just happens to the the Son of my new friend Bill Elliott.  Small world.

Brandy assured me that neither she or hubby Gary have travelled more than 50 miles from their home...both parents being nearby...and have no intention to do so. 

Daughter boldly walked up to me, held out her hand and introduced herself in a very adult manner..."...hello, my name is Brealynn..." much to Brandy's beaming smile.

Local river the bottom of a VERY steep climb to the rather large town of Brookneal, Virginia.

Please say HELLO to first name...just PRICE.

Price invited me to join him at his lunch table as I entered the local restaurant.  ..."...say you yesterday in Phenix...and again this morning as you were walking out of Phenix after breakfasting at Robbie's..." says Price.

Didn't think you would arrive in Brookneal so soon, says he...with a smile.

..."Well, I stopped a few times on the way...had to chat with Bill Elliott and..."...oh, you know Bill?   He and I are long time friends.

Crimminy...everyone 'round here knows Bill...says I.

Enjoyed chatting over lunch with Price...especially the exceptional Salad Buffet offered by...

...Say HELLO to hostess for lunch...

Maxine, too, is a local...and filled me in on some local lore...including that the motel - run by that nice Egyptian lady was only a mile up Highway 501...the roadway SAM and ME will walk in the morning.

Please say HELLO to "MAMA -------"... could not get the rest, as Mama spoke only a handful of American Words.

After a bit of bickering, Mama and I agreed on a $$ for my room for the night...she not entirely thrilled as she wanted much more. 

By means of lots of sign language, Mama assured me my new bed had no "bugs", and she insisted on helping me move SAM into my room and unload.

...this only AFTER I managed to communicate that I have been in her home town - CAIRO, Egypt...which I greatly admired. 

Mama thereupon turned up the fridge colder...replaced the two burned out light bulbs...checked that the shower water was HOT...and insisted on a particularly INTENSE hug.

My room.

I checked into Mama's Motel at 2:30 pm this afternoon.  It is now 6:00 pm, having been at my computer collating photographs, selecting pictures for my story line, uploading the images, and narrating without any forethought...just let the fingers do their job.

As with most jobs I undertake - and having undertaken years on end -, I mentally PREview my thoughts, reviewing and rearranging elements over and over until it feels comfy...THEN, I embark on the actual performance of the deed...whether building a house, driving to Detroit, designing a display, or creating the blog for today.

Seems whatever I do...wherever I DejaVu...have run options through my mind so much, that the actual "doing" is like experiencing that which I have  (many times over) already enjoyed.

In the morning, will leave SAM in our room...walk back into town to enjoy breakfast to Maxine's Restaurant, return for SAM, and head North on Highway 501 toward the city of LYNCHBURG...some 19 miles distant, where we might just find another motel...

From Lynchburg, we will hang a left on Highway 24, walking the remaining 80 miles to the city of ROANOKE, before heading again North on Highway 220 toward the town of CLIFTON FORGE...thence West to COVINGTON...then...

Whoa....slow down...thems mountain country...

Wonder who we meet tomorrow???..

Oh, by the way, Karen...have discovered a number of "HOLLANDS" still live around Brookneal


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to your visit to hurricane ev seinor center
I Heep telling the center about your travels.

Tonya Riley said...

It was very nice to meet you today (Sunday April 14th)!! Safe travels & stay hydrated!! I am forever a friend, Tonya!!

dallas lovejoy said...

Good to see your comments