Sunday, July 31, 2011


So... we got a little behind with updating the blog... Oh, well!
First thing day 3 we went to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's house.  It was BEAUTIFUL!... and very crowded.  We got there at 9/10AM ish to get tickets.  We wanted to go on the tour that takes you into the rotunda on top.  The lady at the ticket counter said that the only way we could do that would be if we would still be there tomorrow afternoon... the tickets had sold out that quickly!  Oh, well.  The "regular" tour was good, too.  Unfortunately, we couldn't take pictures inside the house, but here's some information about the inside
  • He invented a clock that not only tells time, but days of the week.
  • The rooms in his house were painted BRIGHT colors like yellow, lime green, turquoise (Kathryn loved this, Chris not so much.)
  • Two of the beds in his house are set into walls.  Jefferson's was open on both sides... he could get up in his workroom or bedroom, depending on his mood.
  • There is a dumwaiter that he "invented" after seeing some in Europe.
  • He also brought from Europe double doors that open at the same time when only one is opened manually.
The outside was beautiful with tons of pathways and "original" plants.


Special Colonial recipe chocolate that you had to eat a special way: Take a bite; savor it.  There were tons of flavors including orange, pepper, and cocoa.  It was kind of chalky, but good. 


Fireplace left from the blackmsith's house.

His tomb.  There are 6 people burid under this one monolith: him, his wife, two daughters, and two son-in-laws.
Jefferson's actual height: 6'2''

This was a crazy fly that WOULD NOT get off Chris's hand no matter
what he did, touch it, fling his hand, it stayed there...  

This was supposed to be a picture of us in front of the house again, but the
sun got in the way... it's kind of artsy, so I just kept it around...

One of the many "lookout" points around Jefferson's property.

The front of Monticello

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Road Trip 2

Day Two

Today was spent mostly in the car again.  We drove to Roanoke for lunch.  This town was REALLY neat, especially the downtown.  There were lots of restaurants and shops.  The neatest thing, though, was the visitor's center.  There was a section devoted to Mr. Loewry, who designed the Roanoke train station.  He has been lost in history, but shouldn't be (we don't think so, anyway).  He used his art skills to design some well-known artifacts of Americana.  He modernized the design of the refrigerator, the Coke, Shell, and Exxon logos, modern trains, planes, Greyhounds, and the Studabaker.  He also worked for NASA.
When we left Roanoke we took the Blue Ridge for an hour or two, headed to Natural Bridge.  After looking more closely at the information on the "natural wonder," we decided it was too touristy (Which is a shame... this nautral wonder should have been left... well, natural.).  We decided to take local highways to Charlottesville and see Monticello.  We drove through tons of neat little towns full of huge farms, plantation houses, and old motels and diners.  We saw lots of neat things along the way (see pictures).  We got to Charlottesville too late to visit Jefferson's house, so we will do that tomorrow, then get back on the path to D.C.!

We thought this really colorful train car was neat, but couldn't get the camera out quickly enough... Still shows the color, kind of... I guess...

Roanoke coal train.

On the Blue Ridge.  If you don't have a gorilla pod, we HIGHLY recommend getting one... It is a tripod with "spidery" legs that stand firm or wrap around something to take pictures of you AND the background... No more head-only-kinda-background-arm-showing pictures!

View from Blueridge.

A sight along the local highway... This man has control of the crazy tourist business... This one is advertising Dinosaur Kingdom... "realistic" dinosaurs fighting... Civil War soldiers! He has also designed Foamhenge, which is a "realistic" recreation of Stonhenge (A guidebook said the most realistic in the world!).  He also has a haunted house... CRAZY!!!

Chris happend to catch a sign pointing us in the direction of this marker... Glad he did, that's pretty neat!

In downton Charlottesville.

1/2 of the "chalked wall."

Downtown Charlottesville.

Our supper restaurant... Himalayan Fusion.  Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan food...  It was yummy!

The top is Chris's: Tikka Masala (chicken in a creamy curry sauce over rice). 
The bottom is Kathryn's: Saag Paneer (spiced spinach and cottage cheese squares over rice)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Road Trip 1

Day One

We spent most of today in the car.  We left Clinton at 3:30 AM (after going to bed at about 1:30), drove to Tuscaloosa for breakfast, then drove straight to Bristol, TN/VA.  Our first stop was Bristol Motor Speedway.  Neither of us particularly like NASCAR, but it was REALLY neat to see the track and how huge it all is.
We then visited downtown Bristol where you can see the split between TN and VA.
Bristol is a pretty neat town with a lot of history (it is the official birthplace of country music, has a historic railroad, and lots of Native American and natural science wonders), and we enjoyed our short time here.

1/2 of our road trip gear... admittedly most of it is mine (Kathryn's).

The odometer pre-trip... let's see how high we can get it!

A "REAL" mini-cooper... there were tons along the intersate around Chattanooga... Must have been a convention somewhere.  Look at how tiny this thing is!

Bristol Motor Speedway

The bank at the oval ends was CRAZY high!  It looked nothing like it does on TV.

Chris's very artistic shot at the downtown railroad.

Sign in downtown Bristol marking the Tennessee and Virginia sides.

Sign at night.

This is our supper.  We ate at Macado's.  The menu was HUGE... the waiter told us there were 76 different sandwich combinations!  The one on the left is Kathryn's... a Sherlock Holmes: turkey, slaw, cheese on wheat.  The one on the right is Chris's... a Carpetbagger: steak, onion, lettuce, tomato, 1000 island dressing.  It was SO hard to make a decision, but I think we made good ones, and I would recommend this restaurant (It was also cheap!).

Friday, July 8, 2011


So... Vodka is pretty good because you can mix it with anything and not alter the flavor, right?  It also comes in SO many flavors now that you can make any drink imaginable.
Well... I was watching the talk show Steven and Chris (a flamboyant pair who come on WB) and they made BACON vodka.
My first thought was ECK!... but then they made a bloody mary out of it... and THAT sounded good!
I have not tried it yet (I think I will after vacation, though... Chris likes bacon, so it may become a family hit), but I wanted to share the recipe. 
Maybe someone else will try it first and let me know that it is/isn't worth the effort!

Bacon Vodka
Ingredients: bacon, vodka

Step 1.  Cook the bacon (SAVE THE DRIPPINGS).

Step 2.  Put vodka in a jar; add bacon; add drippings. Stir.

Step 3. Let sit for 4/5 hours infusing.

Step 4. Freeze for 2/3 hours (this is to solidify the drippings and bring them to the top); remove drippings.

Step 5. Strain vodka several times before using.

Bacon Bloody Mary
Ingredients: bacon vodka, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato or clamoto juice, bacon strips, celery salt

Step 1. Pour however much bacon vodka you want into glass (they strained it into the glass... may be a good idea!).

Step 2. Add some drops of hot sauce and Worcestershire (however much you want).

Step 3. Fill glass with juice.

Step 4. Garnish with bacon strips and celery salt.

I am going to try this... I may make Chris drink it first, but I think it's such an interesting idea.  Anybody up for a weekend brunch complete with Bacon Bloody Marys in August?  =)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Packing Diagram

Don't get me wrong when I post this...  I love to travel and I get excited knowing vacation time is almost here, BUT let's compare packing techniques below.  We are leaving Saturday.

Me (Chris):
I will pack my suitcase and backpack Friday afternoon when I get home from work.  The planning will be in my head as I go thumbing through the closet. Done!

She started packing her 3 suitcases today (one for clothes, one for shoes, and one for jewelry).  Please note the photos (she also diagrammed her packing plan).
Page 1

Page 2

We may have to rent a UHaul.


Connected by MOTOBLUR™
Lunch: lemon and herb whole grain chicken helper... pretty easy and pretty good.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Past Adventures

Before our trip, we decided to share some stuff from previous trips.

Trip #1, Honeymoon - Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada (we named our pup Lou after Lake Louise)

A lake that we hiked behind to a waterfall coming from the glacier in the back.  VERY cool hike!

On a glacier!

View from the mountain biking trail.

Trip #2, Anniversary 1 - Cruise to Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Chichin Itza

Mayan Ruins

Cozumel Port