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

Monday, November 22, 2010

21 May 2001 Monday - Harper’s Ferry, WV

Camp ground

Birds and squirrels are all over this campground at Harper's Ferry, very pleasant....with big trees and few people. I spent the morning doing more organizing of my stuff so I know where everything is. The sunscreens I bought for the windows worked very well last night to keep any prying eyes from peeking through the windshield or front windows. The other side and back windows have installed blinds.
I drove (way over) to the restroom (like 100 ft) in the van, in the morning and plugged in a little pot for hot water. It worked very well to make coffee back at the van.
I went into the WalMart at Charles Town looking for a cigarette lighter adapter to charge my GPS.  Not finding that, ate a quick hamburger there, then I bought 4 lithium batteries at a nearby Radio Shack store for the GPS. Still a lot to learn about the GPS. Finally I re-entered the Harper’s Ferry National Historic Site and did more walking around the streets. It was raining on and off. A train passed over the bridge on the Potomac River nearby. Canadian geese were shepherding their babies around on the grassy areas. Little flowers grew up the walls of the spring houses and root cellars and it was so pretty. Very few people were in the town and there was so much to see. Finally I caught the shuttle bus back to the Ranger’s Visitor Center and took my van back to the Campground.  

I listened to my radio and occasionally watched the van’s TV (on the van's battery). The reception for NBC comes in very well, but the other stations are poor. I was prepared this time, for a cold night, and slept very well in the van.
Railroad bridge over Harper's Ferry street

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