Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Virginia Visit

New England Asters blooming by the roadsides
in Rockbridge County, Va. 

Virginia Visit--Back to See the Family

Dana & Kenny Koogler

Thursday Oct.2 -Sunday Oct. 5, 2014

   We had been trying for some time to get back to Virginia which is our home state to visit
our family.   We finally got the time to go and while neither of us is a fan of the five hour drive it is
always worth it.  The drive was very pretty and Autumn color is coming to the Old Dominion.   
The beautiful Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains were living up to their name.  Ribbons of
winding deep blue to either side of I-81 were hard to take your eyes off.  

      We pulled into Lexington, VA and coming off the ramp onto Route 11 --The Valley Pike--
I was overwhelmed at the sight of House Mountain.  I got a lump in my throat and just whispered
how good it looked. Kenny reassured me "We'll hike it one day."  I was pleased just to see that 
dear landmark.    We grabbed a quick dinner in Lexington before we headed out to the farm.
We did not want to wait too late to eat and did not want Ma to have to fix dinner tonight.
She is getting over pneumonia.  

     We got out to the farm and visited a little bit and then went to bed at 9:30 pm.  
I slept well.  We enjoyed breakfast with Ma Koogler and lingered over coffee.   We finally decided we'd all go out to dinner that evening. Today we'd take a ride on some old country roads. It was a scouting mission
to see if Kenny could find a shorter access route for hiking to the Jump Mountain Summit.  I was
ok with hiking the 9 miles, but he believed he could find an easier way.  Turns out I was right and the way is to simply hike.    I doubt he will go with me, but he might.

     The backroads were beautiful and quiet.  Autumn color is creeping in and we saw some pretty leaf color.
The sky was overcast and Jump Mountain's summit was in a black thunderhead the entire time.
I saw something I did not even know existed. We passed Hayes Mill.  It is yet another old grist mill in our area. I may have been past it before, but if so I do not recall.    It is quite scenic.  I got out and walked around. The mill was dated 1901 on its corner stone. 
Corn fields out in K├╝glerville.  Its kinda like Hooterville on Green Acres only its even more rural than that!
Corn. Cows. Trees. And a whole lotta nuthin.

 Hays Creek Mill
 Mill Wheel at Hays Creek Mill
 Hays Creek behind the mill itself. Very pretty spot.
Hays Creek Mill founded 1901 according to this stone. 

Maury River in Rockbridge Baths, Va.  
 Driving down dirt roads.
Beautiful rolling hills of Rockbridge County Va and Jump Mountain with its head stuck in the clouds.

    Back at the farm we were treated to Ma Koogler's wonderful cooking for lunch.  Virginia is heavily influenced by German immigrants cooking.  Out here we are in mainly Presbyterian country. 
We decided to all go out to eat at the Mill Street Grill.  I had oysters that night for the first time in a long time.
Delicious!   Ma had a list of things she needed help with that Kenny and Chris were going to help her with.
They finally convinced me to take Pops truck and head down to see my mother.   My sister Val Graham works at Shear Dimensions Day Spa . Mom went and got a hair cut and I got a massage from my sister.
It was much needed. I'd been suffering with a shoulder injury since March and she fixed it!  Why did I wait so long to get it looked after?

       I went shopping a little while with Mom.   We hurried home to get ready to meet everyone for dinner at Mill Street.  While we were waiting to be seated we ran into Dale and Michelle Gregory! More family!  We had a good time catching up with them.  It was date night for them so we tried not to monopolize their time.
We had good food, a warm, relaxed atmosphere, and good conversation for our meal.

       Saturday we took Pop's truck back to the farm and visited with Ma a little. Emily, my niece rode along.
We went out to Wades Mill and bought flour and products.   This is grist mill country I'm telling you!
That mill is only about five miles from my old house as the crow flies.   Pretty countryside out there.
Saturday night Mom fixed lasagna for dinner and it was perfect!   We attended a concert by Terra Voce at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.   Here is a video clip of my favorite tune they performed.
Two encores!  They are really something. Not at all the regular orchestra music, but very lively.

 Terra Voce performs Arrasta Pe.  "Drag the foot". A Brazilian choro composition.

   Sunday we all went out to breakfast together at Cracker Barrel in Staunton.  It was good to see Jim
and Debbie my in laws and my nephews and nieces.  Matthew Koogler my 17 yr old nephew is cancer free and he was there. I told him I was proud of him and hugged him. I also told him next time I saw him I wanted him to weigh three hundred pounds!  He laughed.

     We hated to go, but it was back to Tennessee that afternoon.   The drive back was uneventful for us
which was good. The air was growing cooler and the mountains were pretty again today.
I thought on the difference in my life between the time I lived in Virginia and the time I lived in Tennessee.
We don't really want to move back.  We've made a life for ourselves and a home in Tennessee now.
I do miss our crazy, wonderful family sometimes though.   My brother in law Jim is still out of his mind.
No one does inappropriate comments better or sneaks them in more unexpectedly than him.  He will have you in fits of laughter. 

     Its always good to go. Its good to come back.

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