Monday, October 3, 2011

Cross Country Chronicles - Part 5

So we now (...finally) at a temporary two-week "layover" in Dahlgren, Virginia before heading up to our final destination - Newport, Rhode Island.

In CCC - Part 4, I left you all in Knoxville, Tennessee.  This is how we drove from Knoxville to Dahlgren.

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Day Ten.  Mile 2170.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its biological diversity.  Over 100 species of native trees.  Over 1,500 other flowering plants.  200 species of birds, 66 types of mammals, 50 native fish species, 39 varieties of reptiles, and 43 species of amphibians.  This vast diversity also won the park international recognition from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

We unfortunately didn't have too much time to enjoy the park.  But here are some photos from our stop at the state line and along the Appalachian Trail. 

The leaves are just starting to turn.

As you can see, it was FREEZING!  I don't think any of us were prepared for this type of weather!

Day Ten (Continued).  Mile 2240.  Asheville, North Carolina.  Seeing the Bilmore mansion for the first time literally made me gasp.  This house is HUGE.  The grounds are stunning.  But I was glad that the estate tour exceeded my expectations because the tickets were so ridiculously expensive!

No photos were allowed inside the mansion.  But this is Charlotte on the back balcony.  She cracks me up.  Here she is peering through the railing.
Justin and Charlotte walking along the Italian gardens.

A close up of Charlotte in the Italian garden.
This photo was from Antler Hill Village.  This is a random Biltmore wagon along the path to the barn.  Charlotte thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Justin and Charlotte in the tractor outside of the barn.

I'm not quite sure why but I found this photo amusing. 
This one is funny for more obvious reasons.  :)

Day Eleven.  Mile 2510.  Natural Bridge, Virginia.  We saw signs for the "Natural Bridge" while driving north on Interstate 81.  Justin remembered seeing paintings of a natural bridge at Monticello years ago and wondered if this was the same bridge.  So we pulled over and took a look.  I'm glad we did.

The Natural Bridge is almost 20 stories high and was formed when a cavern collapsed and left the span that stands today (or so the website says).  George Washington surveyed the site for Lord Fairfax and he allegedly carved his initials into the stone.

Part of the Lee Highway (US-11) even runs across the top of the natural bridge!

A view looking straight up.

George Washington's initials are allegedly inside that white box...

In the background are the Lace Falls, named so because they delicately fall over the rocks.  Justin says that is a euphemism for Lame Falls. 

Charlotte was so exhausted that Justin and I had to carry her back to the car.

Day Thirteen.  Mile 2710.  Falls Church, Virginia. Our final stop before Dahlgren was Falls Church, Virginia to visit some friends who moved back east about two years ago from San Diego.  Wait, that's not true.  We actually drove through Shenandoah National Park en route to Fall Church.  But since Charlotte was having an epic meltdown, there are no photos to share...  But anyways, as I was saying...

They have the most adorable five-month-old baby boy.  We did nothing but eat, drink and talk.  It was the perfect end to our very long road trip.  To Patrick, Sandi and Grant - a million and one thank yous!!

Day Fourteen.  Mile 2770.  Dahlgren, Virginia.  And after fourteen days and over 2770 miles, we finally made it to Dahlgren, Virginia.  Jusitn and Charlotte are clearly relieved...

So in Dahlgren, Virginia we will stay for another two weeks.  And then...Newport, Rhode Island!!  Stay tuned!


  1. what a road trip! you probably don't know what to do with yourselves now that you get to stay in one place for 2 weeks. i really love the photo of justin holding charlotte, she looks so at peace :) safe travels to your final destination!

  2. Wow, glad you've arrived safely to Virginia. Take care of yourselves and enjoy your downtime.

  3. Linda - I'm actually loving just being in one spot (at least for the time being). We spent our days at the park and library. Just perfect. Misty - we will certainly enjoy the down time. Let's see how long it takes for me to get antsy. I'm hoping two weeks. :)

  4. Ooooh, the Biltmore. I saw it once at Christmas, when the entire thing is decorated to the nines and it's lit only by candlelight, complete with carolers in the entryway. So worth the ridiculous entry price! I do hope warm clothes are packed in there somewhere, since you're moving to where's it's stupid cold during the winter!! If not, let me know, I'll cast on for warm woolie hats for all right away!

  5. Ooo, I would love seeing the Biltmore during Christmas time! And how did you know that we are totally unprepared for east coast cold! It rained when we were in DC on Saturday/ Sunday and I cried a little cause it was so cold!

  6. Great photos! Erik lived in Asheville for a few years (and grew up near there) before he moved out here. We go to Asheville every time we go out there! We also drove through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park a couple summers ago. It is beautiful out there!


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