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Well, not quite, we have another 10 hours or so, but this is the last time I'll be on-line. Did some more retail therapy yesterday - jeans, and a new giant roll-bag on wheels to carry all the new toys. Going out, we had two items of check-in baggage. Going back, we have all four, and I have a new lap-top bag that's MUCH bigger than the one on the way out and also has a handle, and wheels. The bears are being persuaded into the cases as I type.

The time not spent shopping was at the Amish Village - interesting, mildly informative, and makes me think that to understand what's going on there, I need a lot more information. As with anything else in life, it's more complicated than you think.

Crochet sock is round the heel (almost) and on to the straight bit before the toe. We'll see if a (blunt) crochet hook is allowed on the plane with me. Edit: yes, it was.

Plans for today include another shopping mall near Baltimore. I have no idea where we'll pack the results. We only managed this lot by throwing away half the worn clothes as being not only in need of washing but also worn out.

Oh yeah, since I have the link to hand for the last time, here's where we've been staying for the last few nights.

Dulcimers

May. 19th, 2007 10:03 pm
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Mountain dulcimers, that is. I've been saying they need their own post, so here it is.
Read more... )
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Not only does this motel not do breakfast, it does not provide a clock radio/alarm. What it does provide is this:
Motel early morning call, Amish style
Wakey-wakey, Amish-style.
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Thursday - finished going round the battlefield tour. Looked at one of the few museums we hadn't done before, Lee's headquarters. Some more shops at the "sutlers" end of town, then went for a look at "downtown" Gettysburg (see post about fused glass). Back to base early for some concentrated dossing, and web-searching for somewhere to stay. Trying to find somewhere in Amish country with internet access was ironic, in a way.

Friday - moving on. Picked up my pendant, then drove off towards York, and Lancaster (no, these are the American copies that bear no resemblance to the originals beyond the names, they are not at war). One museum on the way - the National Watch and Clock museum. Skipped both city centres. And on, via some minor roads and Amish communities, to our home for the last 3 nights of our stay - the Motel 6, near Gordonville. It's cheap, it's clean, the internet access is fine, but it does not do luxuries like breakfast. Free coffee, yes.
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Fused glass. I've done glass painting before, I've done copper-foiling, I've done lamp-working. Wentz Stained Glass Studio, in Gettysburg, offered 30-min workshops in fused glass, so I had a play.
Fused glass pendant
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A day in Gettysburg, shopping and dodging rain, plus History.
Read more... )
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No, only one more. We dropped into Boyds, you see. I was wearing my new Tshirt, the one that modifies the Virginia state motto to say that Virginia is for Steiff lovers. We met several floors of bears, but only one small one decided that we needed looking after. Before today, we had no bear to guard the Coke, and this obviously needed correcting. So Brody joined us.
Brody

Beer

May. 15th, 2007 10:31 pm
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Sitting in "the Pub" in Gettysburg, trying two different LA lagers. I've got Sharps, from Miller (Milwaukee), Dave has O'Doul's, from Missourri. The O'Doul's is sharper than the Sharps, despite the name, but in both cases I can believe it tastes just like the alcoholic equivalent without ever having tasted it. This is America, and by German standards they're both watery :(

Catch-up?

May. 15th, 2007 09:46 pm
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Oh good grief, it's Tuesday evening...

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday )

And now we're back from town and a meal at "the pub". Nice salad.
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Breakfast at the B&B as wonderful as I expected. I now know what red-eye gravy is, and have an interesting new way of doing eggs that I'll never use.

Then the Jeff Matthews Memorial Museum, where we met lots of stuffed animals including a HUGE bear and an armadillo, a dulcimer that claims to be 200 years old, and saw a sewing machine from 1859.

Lunch at the BBQ place, then back to the Rex for the "Scottish Invasion". Not very well attended, and the locals didn't seem to know what to make of very traditional Scottish ballads. Personally I was fascinated by the variations on ballads I've been reading about thanks to [livejournal.com profile] telynor: an American version of Gypsy Davey/RaggleTagle Gypsy, and something very odd done to Barbara Allen.

Back to the B&B to chill on the porch. Crocheted sock has the cuff complete, and I'll be on to the foot tomorrow.

And back into town again to the StringBean. High Tea around 7:30 (memo to self, white tea is very nice, American "scones" are more like shortbread), then a band in for dancing. Again, surprisingly badly attended. Only one person dancing in the first half. We got talking to people, Dave and Derek (the owner, chef, local radio announcer, town councillor, and general Nice Person) got chatting about Civil War stuff, and after a bit I got taught to "flat-foot" aka "clog". Well, sort of. I know one basic step, done at half speed. But it was fun. And for the last dance, Derek and his wife and their two sons (one not yet walking) had finished their duties for the evening and came on to the floor: I think there were 7 of us out there, at varying levels of ability (I was better than the non-walking baby, but not by much). A good evening. We'd like to come back again.
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A little town that's supposed to be the centre of the music around here, so that's where we headed, via a farmers' market.
and this is getting a bit long, so here's a cut
shopping, bears, music, all under here )

Thursday

May. 12th, 2007 12:20 am
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Drove the Blue Ridge Parkway from Cherokee to Ashville. It was very beautiful, and I'll do some pics on Flickr once I get time to edit them.

Got very confused by Ashville's one-way system, and the habit of not telling you you need to change lane until it's too late to do so. Lunch at "Three Brothers", very close to the Ashville visitor centre and the Interstate, then, after studying flyers, skipped Ashville itself and headed for Black Mountain, advertised as a quaint little mountain town. There we met yet more dulcimers, though still no books for [livejournal.com profile] telynor, and just about refrained from getting a dulcimer kit. Did buy a CD, though. The CD-box in the car is getting quite full...
The plan for the rest of the day was to make up some miles up the Interstate and stop when we felt tired and found a motel and eatery. So we did that. Ended up with BBQ pork in a place that should have had a buffet, but was closing it as we arrived.
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I have now had the Taco Bell experience. The salad wasn't bad at all. But one of the accompaniments was an Unidentified Food Object. Small red strips. Brittle. Vaguely savoury.
Taco Bell
Any guesses?
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The Unidentified Food Object from breakfast is now a known quantity. This place labelled everything. It's sausage gravy, and I had a nice chat with a lady from Ohio about different gravy types. Apparently I should look out for "red gravy", made from cooking ham, and also served on "biscuits" (those things like scones - yes, I had identified them correctly).
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We met a New Bear in Pigeon Forge. Well, we met a lot of bears, but only one decided to adopt us. [livejournal.com profile] soren_nyrond told us to "Meet intersting bears", so we did. This one is called Smokey, which would have caused some confusion if he'd stayed in the shop, but is fine as long as each bear goes to a different Human.
Smokey Bear
He's enjoying the travelling, and the view from the car window.
Bear on car door
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Knoxville is the gateway to the Smokey Mountains. So we ignored Knoxville itself and headed south, reading the guidebooks and marvelling at all the things we would also want to avoid/ignore. Dollywood, and the entry price. A quote about one town: "no-one ever went bankrupt by underestimating the taste of the American public". We did go through Pigeon Forge, which is meant to be a bit higher class if not by much, and the main strip at least was incredible in its naff-ness. But it did have a nice little olde-worlde bit, where we found a Bear (will post pics in a bit) and a Dulcimer shop or two (more on Dulcimers later, they deserve their own post). And we learnt about Taffy.

Then on over the Smokeys, stopping to admire/photograph the view, and down into Cherokee country. Did a museum (will add links later), and stayed in yet another motel - Fairfield this time. With, sadly, a duff Wifi connection, which is one reason why I'm behind in updating LJ. Do not stay in Cherokee unless you want to go to the casino. Next to nowhere else stays open in the evening. We had a choice of burgers, burgers, or Long John Silver (American equivalent of a fish&chip). LJS was quite nice as fast food goes.
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It's now Thursday night, and I'm having trouble remembering what I did on Tuesday.
Stones River battlefield. More about the battle here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stones_River


Back to Blockade Runner, got some new Union sack coats. Then the long drive to Knoxville, and after some navigational and communication troubles, a Mexican meal in good company. We didn't even start looking for accomodation till after that.
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We started early, having found that the places we wanted to do opened at 8. A lovely fresh morning, clear skies, not too hot (yet). So off to Rock City, which is beautiful, if not as big as we'd been led to believe. We took lots of photos, but they'll need a bit of work before they go public. Then Ruby Falls - fairly small and basic cave system, with a spectacular underground waterfall at the end. Excellent guide (he's called Daniel, if Ruby Falls management are listening). Fast-food lunch there.

And then off to find the Jack Daniels distillery: and that's where sat-nav got interesting. You see, the flyer gave us a zipcode, but no more detail besides the town. So we fed it a zip code, then had to pick a street by guesswork. "JD Lane" sounded like a good guess. Well, no. It turns out that American zip codes cover a HUGE area, and this took us to some little country lane miles from where we wanted to be, via a very interesting and scenic route - all very nice, but when you're in a hurry and trying to squash a lot into one day, not what you need. The distillery was.... well, we've been round them before, in Scotland. Much the same, with added charcoal and weird local laws on alcohol (it's in a "dry" area).

Then to a sutler Dave had seen on the web, noting that if they closed at 5, we were going to get there about 5 min too late. And we did, but they were still open, and happy to see us, and friendly, and helpful, and we're going back this morning... "Blockade Runner". Have a free advert. We like them.

The plan had been to get all the way over to Knoxville Monday night, to meet a friend I met on KnightFight (he's account sitting two of my knights at the moment), but what with the delays and the new mobile phone having run out of battery without us realising it, this wasn't going to happen. Instead, we're in a Wingate Inn outside Murfreesboro, next to a Cracker Barrel, and with the Stones River battlefield next door. And, we discovered, we'd shifted a timezone during the day - that's why Blockade Runner were still open!

It's now Tuesday morning - back to Blockade Runner, then the battlefield (or other way round), then head over towards Knoxville. That'll be a base for the Smokey Mountains, we expect.
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Breakfast included an UFO (Unidentified Food Object) this morning. No picture, because it looked like... well, it was a sort of creamy-grey glop, with bits in. The bits tasted like bacon, and the whole thing was unexpectedly delicious.

Morning first at the Visitors' Centre, where we got sold tickets for many things, then round the Aquarium. Penguins very disappointing after Tenerife, but the seahorses, otters, jellyfish, and and many other things, were good.

Brunch was eggs Benedict over crabcakes - yum!

Then back 15 miles to find a sulter the Visitors' Centre had a card from. They were shut. They reopen on Thursday.

And on to Lookout Mountain itself, to use the Incline Railway (steepest passenger railway in the world), and the battle museum at the top.

Dinner at TGI Friday.

Tomorrow we finish off the tickets for things we bought today (an rock garden and a cave system), then head for Distillery Land.
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Morning - a lie-in, a late breakfast, and a visit to "the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw" to find out about "The Great Locomotive Chase" and other things rail-roady. The Chase is a great spy story that happens to be true.

Onwards, stopping at a Cracker Barrel for lunch, and there buying cheap Tshirts (mine proclaims that I haven't lost my mind, just temporarily mislaid it, Dave's is secret till Xmas) and the Cracker Barrel Puzzle.

I've been reading as Dave drives, and have now finished "Edge of the Wood". Need to think about it and mail comments to [livejournal.com profile] telynor.

Visited our first battlefield of the trip: Chickamauga. An interesting battle. Lessons to be learnt (Union):
1) if someone says there's a hole in the centre of your line, verify the report before shifting units to fill it
2) do not make mistakes when Longstreet is around to exploit them
and for the Confederates, if a subordinate has just won you a major victory and the enemy, including their general, is routing, follow up!

We're at the Hampton Inn in Chattanooga tonight and tomorrow night. Dinner was at the Big River Grill. Plans for tomorrow include Lookout Mountain, and the aquarium. We've discovered that it has penguins. It looks as if the zoo has Snow Leopards, so we'll have to visit them, too. After all, as I realised back when I was doing a sponsored walk to save them, Snow Leopards are really alynxes.

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