Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

A Short Walk on the Appalachian Trail

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia – 29 August, 2006

We drove up to a high overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway last night to pick up cell signals for the phone and the laptop. In the dark, I drop the inverter into a cup of cranberry juice and tonic water. When I plug the wet inverter into the cigarette lighter of the Toyota it blows the 15 amp fuse. We need the Toyota lighter receptacle to power its braking system air pump when it is under tow. The fuse is impossible to fix in the dark. In the morning I locate the fuses (bless Toyota for including a fuse puller and spare fuses) and buy a new inverter at Wal-Mart.

We drive the Blue Ridge after dark for nearly 100 miles and catch dozens of deer, badgers, a possum and a skunk in the headlights. The speed limit on this beautiful road is 45 MPH…no commercial vehicles allowed. I took some shots of Roanoke after dark from a mountain top. The 500 mile road was constructed as a make-work project on orders from President Roosevelt during the depression. It’s lined with hardwoods which must be even more spectacular in the fall.

We saw the National D-Day memorial in Bedford today. It can’t compare to the roses, white crosses, sea view and statuary in the American cemetery in Normandy. More boys from Bedford (per capita) were lost from the 116th infantry division than from any other American community.

We drive on to Lynchburg. Mrs. Phred asks me innocently if the name comes from lynching people. I hum "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday. But I suspect that the town is named for a man…probably a man who made a difference. There is almost certainly is a man named Lynch in the city history…The local High School football team possibly carries on his name as the “Lynchburg Raiders” or the “Lynchburg Patriots”. Maybe he operated a tavern for tired travelers….perhaps a bawdy house… I hope he is not a banker or a merchant…or a tobacco planting slave owner. I imagine a Colonel John Lynch raising and training a local militia and organizing an insurgency with hatchets and flintlocks against the hated redcoats, sowing the local roads with improvised explosive devices; or maybe a Doctor Thomas Lynch fighting tuberculosis and yellow fever with soldiers from both sides in a quarantined hospital in unimaginable conditions during the Civil War, sawing off blackened gangrenous limbs and comforting the dying.

We visit a winery in the remote hills of Appalachia. The wines are what one would consider dessert wines, made from a variety of fruits and even hot chili peppers…personally I prefer Sauvignon Blanc, but I buy six bottles of pear, blueberry and apple wines. They still fly a tattered Confederate flag here and display other politically incorrect symbols.

Here are some pictures from the 2,175 mile Appalachian walking trail…I didn’t walk the whole thing.

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