Travel with the DonElee Report now! See where you can go!

Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Road Trip 2022 Day 10

Charleston WV to Lexington KY

Today we arise and once again get breakfast in the hotel. Complimentary breakfasts have become the norm and are much more economical than going out to restaurants! So then we pack up and head out.

This morning we head into downtown Charleston to find the Capitol building as we hear it is open to the public, not like the protected buildings in California where the lawmakers are terrified of the public they have created. We even find free parking! So after asking questions of some very friendly locals, we find the correct door to go in and our cameras are happily clicking away (after a quick x-ray security scan, of course).

White marble walls and floors and Elee thinks she is back at work, LOL. Photos of the Rotunda amaze even the simplest of camera lenses and pristine hallways shine as we stroll through them. Senate and House Chambers with chairs aligned and inkwells in order await the politicians return to their lawmaking duties.

We soon amass as many photos as we can and step back out into the sunshine and find our car and drive off in search of new places to see. Deciding to move on, we head towards Kentucky and set our Navigators for Lexington. In about an hour we come across the sign that announces “Welcome to Kentucky”. It catches us by surprise and we want to take photos of it. So we double back and drive by it again. This time I manage to get a photo of it but Elee misses it. So we double back again. Why? You ask, is this photo so important to Elee’s camera? Well, the simple answer is that this completes Elee’s quest to visit all 50 States. So the double back is that important. And the third time is the charm, this time Elee gets the photo and all is well!

An hour later we roll into Lexington and find a hotel. We check in and find a dinner restaurant near downtown in an eclectic area called Chevy Chase Circle. The restaurant is called “The Sage Rabbit” and the food is good.

On a side note, Lexington is the Horse Capitol of the World. Kentucky is my 48th State as I still have 2 more to complete my quest to visit all 50 but that is the subject of another blog page.

Until tomorrow my friends….

Road Trip 2022 Day 09

Day 09 Roanoke to Charleston WV

This morning we wake and have breakfast and hit the road with the intent to make it to Fayetteville WV. We have been a little disappointed with Roanoke as we thought we would have found more American History there but it seemed to have fallen short of our expectations. But we move on.

As we enter West Virginia, the scenery noticeably changes. The landscape is quite mountainous and green and lush which we like a lot and so do our cameras. We stop at the first Visitor Center and aquire as much info as we can and keep moving on.

We come to a small town of Beckley and stop to visit a Coal Mine and are just in time for an actual tour into a real Coal Mine. Quite the experience guided by Don Barnett, an actual Coal Miner of some 35 years in the mine. He regales us of the stories of the mine and has us singing songs such as “Sold Our Souls To The Company Store” and “Working In A Coal Mine, Going Down Down Down” among others and told us of how it was like virtual slavery as a coal miner. He had our hearts as he told us how it was. We also meet with “Ron Dawn Trucking” in the coal mine and we had to have a photo with them!

But the trip moves on and we do also. We head north towards Fayetteville and the “New River Gorge National Park and Preserve”. We cross the bridge, which doesn’t seem like much when you’re crossing it and stop at the Visitor Center on the other side. Then we take a short hike to photograph the bridge we crossed and the bridge is massive, easily as big as the new bridge that spans the gap across Hoover Dam.

We are shown the road to take that goes to the bottom of the Gorge and across the river where you can see the bridge from below and we head out on the 45 minute drive. Once at the bottom, we walk across the one lane bridge at the bottom to photograph the Gorge Bridge and are not sorry we took the drive. It is a simply gorgeous view!

Once back up on the highway, we head in the direction of Charleston, West Virginia, and shortly into the drive, torrential rains hit us and thunder and lightning surround us. We find out later that half dollar size hail also surround us but we are lucky not to experience that. Driving becomes difficult but we brave the storm and carry on. Within an hour the storm abates and we arrive in Charleston and check into our hotel, a Wyndham, near the Coal River.

We locate a restaurant, “Angela’s, On The River”, for dinner and it is a quaint place right on the Coal River in the Historic Chilton House. It was a quite lovely place and after dinner, Angela herself met us and chatted with us for quite some time, having heard that we were almost finished with our quest to visit all 50 States. She was quite a charming lady and not short on hugs! If you ever find yourself in Charleston, West Virginia, you would be well served to look her up and be her guest!

But it’s that time of day again where we bid the daylight adieu and lay our heads on our pillows for the night! See you all tomorrow!

Road Trip 2022 Day 08

Boone to Roanoke VA

Today we get up around 8AM and get breakfast downstairs. We decide against driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in the interest of getting to Roanoke in a timely fashion. So we head out towards the highway. About the time we decide we need to fuel up the car, we see a winery off the highway and it is also nearing lunchtime.

We fuel up and head for the winery. Upon pulling in, the first thing we notice is that the grapevines look very sad indeed. The winemaker confirms our observations and tells us they had very bad luck with the grapes. So they turned their operation into a distillery instead. This they had quite good success with and their flavored moonshines are delicious. We get a tour of the distillery an we even buy some to bring home! Those close to us may even get to try some in the near future!

We travel on and make it into Roanoke in the early afternoon and find the travel info center and the attendant gives us useful info and we head out happily into downtown on a walking tour, our cameras happily clicking away. We find a restaurant, “Fork in the Market” and stop for lunch and a brew. We then resume our walking tour and get back to our car some time later.

We have been told to check out the “Roanoke Star” and we locate it on top of a hill. It is a 30 foot tall white star that is illuminated at night. We take some photos in the day and then go find dinner at another downtown restaurant, “Awful Arthur’s” that turns out to be not so awful. By this time it is getting dark and we make it back up to the “Star” where we take more photos of the illuminated Star. At one point, a fun lady, Yolanda Ramos, poses for a photo and holds the Star up in the air! What a fun lady!

Alas, the night wanes and we head back to our hotel to retire for the evening. See you all tomorrow!

Road Trip 2022 Day 07

Cherokee to Boone NC, The Blue Ridge Parkway

We find the town of Cherokee pretty much closed down on a sleepy Sunday morning and nothing is open. We do find gas for the car but that is about all. Then we find the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway, actually, the end of the Parkway, Milepost 469, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and head on our way. The Parkway is very foggy and rainy for a lot of the way but there are sporadic views as we drive along the ridge. It is quite the drive and the road surface is in quite good repair.

We make it all the way to Asheville where we exit the Parkway and break for lunch where we find our way on a super highway for a short distance before finding our way back onto the Parkway where the driving is much more pleasant. Even though the views are not much more than fog and rain, it is a much better day of driving than a super highway.

We get all the way to mile marker 290 before getting off in Boone, NC for the night and find dinner at the “Coyote Kitchen” for some ‘Caribbean Mexican’ food and find a room for the night. So we made it a total of 179 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway today. Seems to be enough for the day. We’ll get some more miles in tomorrow. See you then!

Road Trip 2022 Day 06

Cherokee to Cherokee via Great Smokey Mountains NP

We get up this morning and once again have the complimentary breakfast before heading out into the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, a short 8 minutes to the Park Entrance. We arrive before the Park opens so we just drive in. We spot some elk just inside the entrance and keep going. The traffic is sparse, just to our liking. The weather is overcast and spitting rain but that doesn’t deter us. As we climb into the hills we get glimpses of foggy overlooks and we hope for the sun to come out. Not to be had, at least this morning. Foggier and foggier it gets as we climb. So this is why they call this area the “Great Smokey Mountains”! The fog appears like smoke and is beautiful to look at!

We come to the road to Clingmans Dome, an overlook from the top and the border of two States, along with the route of the famous “AP” (The Appalachian Trail, which yours truly has hiked 400 miles of in my younger years although not this section) but we choose not to go to at the moment due to severe fog and we drive on towards Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

We get to the Sugarlands Visitor Center and acquire the info that we missed at the other entrance that was closed when we entered this morning and we decide to drive to Cades Cove and go through the loop there. It’s a long yet enjoyable drive that is quite scenic. Once in the loop, the traffic comes to a halt and it turns out it is because of a mama bear and 3 cubs that we never get to see. Once the traffic gets moving again, a half hour later we get stuck behind 5 cars again because of a young bear. We get to see this one, but alas, we get no photos as the bear is too quick and the camera angle is too difficult.

So we get moving again and head back across the pass and this time the pass is clear and we stop at Clingman’s Dome and walk the half mile trail to the top and access the tower there for views of the valley below right before the fog and storms cover it up. Elee even stands on the marker that shows her in both Tennessee and North Carolina at the same time! So we hoof it down to the parking lot before the rains set in and head back to Cherokee for the night.

We find an American Indian Restaurant for an IPA and a cold Cider and Dinner and we are tucked in for the night! See you all tomorrow!