11 August and we're back in Virginia. Our trip is almost complete.
We went swimming this morning in a bathtub-warm swimming pool before departing Charleston as quickly as possible. Maybe if we'd spent an extra day and done white-water rafting on the Kanawha River it would have been fun, but we didn't (figured the boys are too small yet, though I think they'll love it when they're about 5 years older) so we left.
We divurged from our regular drive along I64 and took Route 60 for a while through the foothills of the Appalachians. By the end Ian and I were both considering throwing up with all the twists, but it was a route with little towns and interesting stops. Early on we climbed rocks to reach "Cathedral Falls", a tiny spray of water with great photo opportunities. Unfortunately I'm still not adept with the new camera so all the photos we've taken are OK but nothing special, which really bums we out. What I did realize is there is greater zoom on the tiny Canon S400 (that Katherine is using) than on the Canon Rebel lens I have currently. Since I greatly prefer close photos to vistas, this presents a problem for me. Nothing is coming out the way I want. I'll either get over it or beg Ian for a new lens for Christmas. Of course, if the photos still don't turn out right, then I'll know it's lack of talent and not the wrong technology. Won't that be a blow to the ego?
So, I didn't get great photos at the waterfall. Can't fix it now. We continued on and stopped again at the The Mystery Hole. Don't think it's something cool like a gravitational oddity with water swirling the wrong way. The kids liked it, which is all that matters, but the 10 minute "tour" is entertainment for the 10 and under crowd only.
Honestly. Not that everyone is swarming to visit, but if you have the opportunity, save your money. The website is misleading and it's a carnival sideshow without anything mysterious or amazing. What you're given is a room where water runs uphill. That might seem cool, but the entire room is tilted. It's a vertigo nightmare where everything is built on a slant to throw off your balance and make hanging items seem to hang on an angle and shelves seem to tilt up while the actually are geographically tilting down.
We didn't buy a souvenir.
Lunch was at a scenic overlook, the Hawk's Nest State Park, where we also bought a bottle of blackberry wine (to drink at the beach this weekend). The view wasn't that great, as it hasn't been for most of our drive through the mid-south. There is a haze hanging everywhere, I assume from the oppressive heat, and without any promised rain it seems we'll miss seeing the true beauty of the Shenandoah Valley as we pass through.
But for tonight we're in Charlottesville, Virginia. Back home... kind of. The Hampton Inn is right on Main Street so we walked down the street for dinner to a string of little restaurants. Rebecca wanted a sub, Nicholas wanted pizza, so we chose Basil Mediterranean Cafe. Not until the end did we learn that it opened yesterday and today was our waiter's first day (and he was considering making it his last). The food was excellent and even though it was much too hot inside and took nearly and hour to get our meals, we were happy and left a hefty tip.
While waiting we all chatted about college. Nicholas simply won't accept that one day he'll move away from home. He said it would be OK to go to a college next door to home, but there's still the problem that he can't read. I told him that he'll learn in Kindergarden and not to worry about it. Rebecca, Nicholas and Jonathon were all discussing what they'd like to be (Nicholas said a waiter... every day of this trip he's said something different for what he wants to become, I think it's great) and we talked about how many years until they even need to think about it. I asked Rebecca if she would be a rebellious kid, climbing out of windows, wearing black eye make-up, smoking and getting tattoos. She looked frightened and offended at the thought. I'm not out to frighten and offend, but I do want her to know that we're not going to be surprised by or accepting of certain things. How did the topic get so heavy? Sometimes it just does. I worry about Becca. Katherine was talking to Ian and she thought the college kids in the restaurant were SO cool. She's already getting herself worked up about making a group of friends. Ian's worried she'll be tempted by peer pressure to fit in.
Do they have to go?