Our trip has been varied so far -- we started out in Atlantic City, where I had the best roll of my life in craps (and it wasn't even that good) -- and I managed to win a little money. The secret to winning at craps is to find a table where a little old man, preferably with really thick glasses, has the dice and just bet your heart out -- he'll make the point! Dave had fun too, but ended up in the red so not quite as much fun as me! When we left our cushy AC room in Caeser's, we headed towards Gettysburg, via Pennsylvania Dutch Country. It was so pretty out there, and in the Amish Town of Bird in Hand, we randomly spotted a wonderful spinning and yarn shop called Labadie Looms, which was completely stocked with hand-dyed, hand spun local fibers. I bought some multi-colored locally grown roving to play with, and almost left with some hand cards but managed to resist.
Dave is obsessed with history, and so we had to stop in Gettysburg. We found a monument to Fair Catch Corby, and also stopped at The Gettysburg National Cemetery. It was amazingly peaceful, with tall, wonderful trees (Gingo Biloba, Sassafras, Magnolia, Cypress, Maple, etc., etc.) and birds and just a very respectful place. The battlefield there is huge and within sight of the town, but I was even more moved by the battlefield at Antietam, site of the bloodiest day in US History. It was beautiful -- fields and farms and sheep (yes, sheep!) but spooky for it's pastoral simplicity when you think about what happened there less than 200 years ago. It was so well restored to the time of the battle, it was just too easy to picture the bodies piled in the fields, and the men shooting at each other at close range.
We moved on to Charlottesville, VA, home of TJ's Monticello and UVA -- one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen (yes it gives ND a run for its money). Then onto the roughing it part of the trip, when we camped in the Smoky Mountains. We saw a bear sleeping! Not in our campground though...It's amazing to camp out in the middle of a national park, where birds wake you up with the sunrise. So different than the city! The diversity of bird calls is really cool -- you can count the different birds just lying in your tent, listening to their voices -- starting with the owl just before the sun comes up, followed by one after another variety of call.
Next on to New Orleans -- I'm not sure who's more excited about that part of our trip, Dave and I, or Becca and Ryan, who are at this moment excitedly and generously preparing a list for us of what to do, where to eat, drink, etc. in the Big Easy.