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

Saturday, January 15, 2011

23 May 2001 Wed: Harper’s Ferry, WV – Harrisonburg, VA

After three rainy days in the Harper's Ferry, WV campground, the sun came out and the weather was perfect for a camp -- so I am leaving... go figure! Well, I can't let the weather dictate where I want to go, and I decided to go back to the Shenandoah Valley and see some more of the great state of Virginia. I was possibly tracing the route of my Harbison, Thornburgh, Polson, Bryan, King, Haywood and Hope families before the Revolution as they moved south and eventually went throught the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky.  It was a fine day. The squirrels were out, almost coming into the van. Also the people began emerging from their big motor homes. There weren't any Appalachian Trail hikers. Too wet I think.

I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to stay - but knew it would be at a motel, as I wanted to connect back to the internet and recharge all my batteries –the jump-start power battery, Video Camera, Cell Phone, and Laptop batteries. It was a beautiful day. Heading down south into the Shenandoah Valley I came to Winchester, I ate at Shoney’s breakfast bar and even got a discount for being elderly! $5.49 –I had eggs, bacon, hashed brown potatoes, strawberries, pancakes, French toast, chicken, mashed potatoes, I left all the nutritious food alone, I guess. I decided to travel further down and perhaps stay at Strasburg or New Market, but pushed on south to Harrisonburg. I needed to stay at a town that had a “local call access“ to dial up the local AOL access phone number for my internet connection.
I chose Harrisonburg's Day’s Inn because they advertised having data ports, free local calls, and refrigerators. Truth is, not all the rooms have data port phones or fridges, and there was a $1 phone access. I couldn’t get onto the internet in the first room I got, so insisted I change to a room with a data port phone. Then I called AOL and got some help, and connected with a new AOL access number – one with a slower speed I guess. Well, after all that work, I headed for the jacuzzi and got a wonderful water massage on my poor neck. Carefully watching the time, I was out of the jacuzzi for the start of the last episode of “Boot Camp” on television - now I can rest in peace, the girl, “Whitlow” won the $500,000 and I don’t have to watch any more evening TV. The TV in my van gets good receptions for some channels, but uses the van battery, which I want to be careful about – so I don’t drain it. I spent a couple hours online and answered e-mail and enjoyed hearing from friends.