Warren & Emily SwanTrips → 1991

We hope this to be the only vacation that ever had a day 0, in which the net miles traveled is none, and no sightseeing is done neither.  We got only 5 miles from home when the van died and would not start.  We had it towed home.  A do-it-yourself tune-up by Warren and brother Frank had caused a wire to be slightly bent in the distributor.  We got it fixed and ready to start out for day 1 on what should have been day 2.  This trip would partially include a guest, Emily’s sister’s son Max Keefe was to join us for about half of the trip.  We’d pick him up in Chesapeake, VA. 

It was very hot and moist this summer.  We visited Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace at Hodgenville, Kentucky.  One night we stayed with Warren’s aunt Cynthia Eaker, and family, in Chattanooga, TN.

Stone Mountain, Georgia We visited Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, Georgia, and took the train ride around this mountain that is just a giant rock.  This is a picture of the megalith taken from the train ride.  Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson are immortalized in stone (I think no pun is intended on the latter part) on the side of Stone Mountain.  →

We do not share the view of some of our homeschooling friends that these gentlemen are to be considered noteworthy for much honor in our country.  Christians they may have been.  But just as wrong in their views of the sinful institution of slavery as any man can be.

We also took the tram ride to its top and looked out over the countryside.  This is a little scary, since there is no fence.  So you could just walk until you slip off.  And it is a long way down! It rained hard just after we got off the rock.

While staying with Emily’s sister Wilma’s family for a few days we visited Kitty Hawk, with its momentous site of man’s first sustained self-propelled flight by the Wright Brothers.

They also took us to Colonial Williamsburg on a very hot but enjoyable day.  We spent the whole day there.  So by the time we dropped over to Jamestown it had just closed.

We now took cousin Max with us and headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We saw the usual historical & natural sites here in and near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, like Oconaluftee Pioneer Farmstead; the Smokemont Nature Trail; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Cades Cove; Mingo Falls; Balsam Mountain Auto Road; and the “view” from Clingman’s Dome (just stare at a white paper and you’ll see this typical view – fog!).

There was one thing we hadn’t planned on seeing.  One morning at about 4:30 we hear this from the lady two campsites away, and the man in the campsite between us:
Lady (about a minute later): “GET OUT OF HERE!”
Man: “Do you have your whistle?” [i.e. bear whistle]
Lady: “Noooo”
Man: “I have my bear siren.  Just a minute.”

“Bye, bye, bear!” A siren sounds.  Pause.  Muted whispers.  We’re still in our tent. 
Warren, calling to man in next campsite: “Where’s the bear now?”
Man: “In the trap.” (The trap hasn’t sprung yet.)
Warren is getting up to show the kids the bear. 
POW! “We got him!”

By now everyone is awake in the campground.  While breaking camp we stopped to take a picture of the rangers hauling the bear away in the mobile trap.  →

We now headed to Cass, West Virginia.  Emily’s parents from Pittsburgh, PA would be staying at a hotel nearby, and her sister Olive would be camping with us, so we could all attend the final main event.

At Whitaker Campground near Cass, WV ← Just for kicks, I threw in this picture of a typical campsite.  Aunt Olive is staying in brother Everett’s borrowed tent at left.  Cousin Max, by the van, is staying in our little pup tent Warren & Emily used on our first 2 vacations (honeymoons).  Then there’s our big Eureka! tent by Willow Creek. 

This 1986 Astro van eventually attained over 225,000 miles before we gave it to Warren’s step-brother, who is still using it at the time of this writing!

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park On the Cass Scenic Railroad, at each switchback in the tracks, the engine changes from pushing us (initially), to pulling us, and vice versa.  Here the crew hurriedly brush off all the stack grit from the first open gondola after the engine has pulled us.  An unknown tourist watches them and the fire prevention high-railer bringing up the rear.  →

The altitude at Bald Knob in this state park is so high that the climate, flora, and fauna are similar to regions of Canada far North of here.  We spent some time at the museum store and other shops here.  The town was built by the original logging company and railroad for the workers.

Now we let Emily’s parents and sister return to Pittsburgh, while we continue the trip with cousin Max, who will stay at our home for a couple of weeks after the trip.

Babcock State Park ← Unfortunately, Emily had car sickness by the time we got to Babcock State Park.  Warren took this picture of Heidi, Cousin Max, Olive and little Daniel by the mill, which we’d had a beautiful, framed commercial picture of for years. 

We’d camp one more day, at Scioto Trail State Park near Waverly, OH, before returning home.

visited 10 states (20%)
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