This blog is a reprint of my internet journal from 2001 to 2002 in which I documented my "vagabond" solo journey in a Chevy Conversion Van tracing my roots. I not only traced their paths and found their homes and final resting places, but I did extensive genealogical research in court houses, libraries, historical societies, genealogical societies, cemeteries, and talked to the local people. I traveled with a laptop to upload my notes and photos, and use e-mail. It was a fantastic journey which lasted two years. I had no other home except my van to sleep in...just a bed and video player. My household goods were put into storage for two years. My mail was delivered to me at general delivery when I phoned "MailBox, etc." and told them where to send it. At night I stayed in campgrounds, motels, friends' backyards, friends' homes, and those of the few living relations I've tracked down. As I traveled I collected so much genealogy information, that I had to get rid of items that I had originally thought essential to my travels (like a microwave oven). Between ancestral sites, I visited any tourist sites I could find and got to know alot about the USA. This was a trip of a lifetime and I'm still sorting through all the wonderful memories, photos and invaluable genealogical data I found. I will post to this blog as I can - one or a few days at a time of that journey from 2001 to 2002

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

10 MAY 2001 Thur - Blue Ridge Parkway,Virg HARBISON / THORNBURG

-Continuing my "vagabond journey" to track down the roots of my ancestors -

     I sorted out my Virginia Travel brochures last night. There are so many places to visit in Virginia. I have one more night around the Blue Ridge Parkway as I travel north before I get to Bev's house near Wash DC.
     I started the day at the continental breakfast with a Krispy Kreme donut. I don’t usually eat donuts, but somehow this seemed the right thing to do. Something just made me eat that doughnut!! Mmmmm good. Got more gasoline – and headed through Bedford, VA, a town with some big houses with lawns so big you could graze your cows on it. There are no fences between houses. Lots of rolling hills. Virginia is a fantastic state.
     After 15 miles I came to the Blue Ridge Parkway and two Whirlybird helicopters. Today was the start of the campaign to eradicate the Gypsy Moth, which is destroying many of the trees along this part of the Parkway. The caterpillar of the moth eats all the leaves. The helicopters have spray nozzles to spray the trees like a crop duster.
Was this like my ancestor John Harbison's
or Amos Thornburg's cabin?

     I backtracked a little so I could get a good view of the Western side of the Parkway, towards the rest of the Appalachian Mts. Parts in this valley area were homesteaded by my Harbison ancestors. John Harbison was born about 1747 in Botetourt Co (or Craig Co) VA. Later his family moved to Kentucky and his brother James was killed by Indians. His daughter Rachel, married Amos Thornburg.  It’s beautiful land, but no doubt difficult to carve a farm out of the forest wilderness. I saw many cabins only 100 years old, which were falling apart and abandoned many years ago.
     At the Otter Peaks Visitor’s Center I took a hike along a stream. What a beautiful area. And as I drove along the quiet Blue Ridge Crest I heard Lee Greenwood on the radio and I can echo his words: “There ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA”
Shenandoah Valley and James River
     Blue Ridge Parkway ends after a hundred and some miles and the Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive continues up north. The speed limit goes down to 35mph and there is an entrance fee. So the Drive had very few cars.
     But I did see several deer in various places along the way, also lots of squirrels. There was some construction on the roadway but didn’t cause a delay. Skyline Drive is less pastoral than further south on the Parkway, but with tremendous panoramic views.
     I got off Skyline Drive to spend the night at Day’s Inn in Luray, VA. I wanted to find a place with TV to see the last episode of "Survivor After the Outback". After the final show of Boot Camp next Wednesday I’ll be able to give up on this TV thing. I skipped dinner, expected to open a can of mandarin oranges, but couldn’t fine my can opener.

1 comment:

  1. This is fabulous. I love to travel so it's fun to see where others have been and what they have experienced.


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