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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Friday, February 17, 2012

440 Miles Today and Still Haven't Hit Georgia

Hi again, Friends!

Today's photos actually start with the sunset last night as we reached Harrisonburg, Va. But right after that are shots of the Blue Ridge mtns from the Shenandoah Valley as we continued south on 81 in Virginia.  We came to an electric sign warning us that there would be blasting at MM 121 at 1030 am. We passed the construction on the edge of the world at 1020!  It took us about seven miles to figure out that MM meant mile marker 121--well, we were already past there so no delays for us.

 It is so interesting to see the various places to explore that we haven't seen before since, we have, like Stonewall, criss-crossed back and forth across the mountains to see various things but don't seem to have ever stayed on one side or the other.  Today was not much different since, around Blacksburg, we left 81 for the first time since Binghampton and headed southeast on 77 toward Charleston, NC. I tried to take pictures of the forests of rhododendrons as the understory of Carolina piney forest. Unfortunately, I'm not used to this new camera yet so several of those shots are as blurry as the shots across the valley from the height of the Blue Ridge. The climb is always so subtle that you don't realize you've done it but boy the ride down is very noticeable--and the emergency turnouts for runaway trucks are very impressive!  I bet those guys pray they never need to use them.

Once we reached the other side and hit North Carolina the temperature rose quickly into the 60's.  NICE!  Charlotte is a lovely city and easy to get around.  By the time we reached there the traffic on 77 was doable but it sure was a change from 81!  About 25 miles north of Columbia, SC I began to notice the sky--first the clouds were fish scale but then they began to thicken and curdle forming real cauliflower head formations around the sun. Then I noticed a very distinct demarcation between them and a solid mass of cloud. Soon that mass sorted into a series of wispy horsetail cirrus. Though the clouds' movement was hardly noticeable the  rapidly changing formations indicated that things were at truly high elevation and there was definite agitation going on.  Then, I saw a sun dog--the small patch of rainbow to the right of  the sun. I'm sorry if my multitudinous shots are boring but the changes were so fascinating I couldn't resist. Then, for who knows what reason, I stuck my head out and looked right above us and there it was--a rainbow circle around the sun. The ice crystals in the cirrus served as tiny prisms and created a beautiful sight that I've learned about in meteorology class, taught my ninth graders about but never saw before. It left me speechless--it was so beautiful!

Then we were at Columbia and I had to resume navigation and choose our stop for the night. We decided an early stop is really nice so here we are in Orangeburg, SC. Not quite Georgia, but tomorrow is another day--we'll surely make New Smyrna before dark tomorrow. For tonight, we are full of fried tilapia and fried oysters washed down with Amber Bock. What's on tv? I'm ready to kick back and relax.

Hope you've enjoyed the trip so far--until tomorrow--goodnight.

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