Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Friday, June 01, 2007

KY to WV to VA and back :).

Some people called it Blogger's block. I call it laziness. No matter what name you give it, it means I haven't been updating my blog as frequently as I regularly do. Well, no excuses, after all this blog is mine and this is how I am :-D.

I have a backlog of posts to complete including a tag, but first I have to finish a post on the trip we took for memorial day long weekend. We had been to a couple of places in West Virginia and Virginia states. The total drive was something like 20 hours (don't be horrified, it includes the trip to and fro + roaming around :-D). As usual, here's the sketch of the drive we took :).

26th May 2007:

After humming and hawing on whether to actually take the trip or not, we finally left Lexington at around 11:30 AM on Saturday. Well, we didn't have many places to cover and even if we couldn't go to a place it was our wish and will anyways :-D. Sri drove for 3 hours to reach Beckley in West Virginia where we had decided to halt for the night. On the way, it was a bit cloudy, so it was nice to see light and shadow patterns on the roads :). I really love it when I get to see these :).

After checking in to the hotel, we drove to a place called Bluestone State park which is home to the Bluestone Lake. The road to the place was long and winding (ghat section), but the place was worth it :).

The lake was beautiful, very calm and soothing :). There were lots of people who had brought their own boats and were enjoying rides. We had a nice time walking around and taking photos :).

While leaving we also stopped at the bluestone dam. The bluestone lake is kind of a reservoir and the dam is what makes the lake :).

The opposite side of the road was a huggge wall of red stone..

Then we went back on the topsy-turvy road to the hotel to retire for the day.

27th May 2007:

Sunday very early morning (I got up at 5:30 AM!!), we had breakfast and started driving towards Richmond, Virginia. I drove for the first 2 hours on high mountainous roads. Very scenic roads with lots of greenery :). Later Sri took over and drove for the next 2 hours. Meanwhile we stopped at a scenic view point. Wow, what weather, what scene, what mountains!

We reached Richmond by about 11AM. Our main purpose of visiting this place was the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Its been more than 2 years since I saw a botanical garden (Pamplemousses botanical garden in Mauritius :-D) and I haven't seen one in the US at all in all the places we have been to. This one sounded interesting enough to plan a trip around it :-D.

After paying a fee for the entry, we were let in. They had lots of plants and the garden is pretty big. The best is the hugggggge greenhouse in the center (though the Lalbagh, Bangalore one is probably bigger ;-) :-D).

They also had a couple of beautiful modern art fountains which certainly contributed to the beauty of the plants surrounding them :).

Next we headed to the interior of the greenhouse. Inside were a wide variety of plants and flowers..

I don't even know the names to some exotic flowers :).

There were varieties of colourful orchids...

..., Cactus flowers (a more lasting and colourful kind of the Brahma Kamala we have in India)..

..., Gardenias, Lillies and loads of other flowering plants :).

As most gardens usually do, they had an exclusive garden for roses :).

There were pink roses..

..., red, yellow and peach ones (whose photos I'll not be putting up here just to save space and effort :-D).

After enjoying the rose garden, we went for a stroll around the garden. Had a good time walking around the small lake..

We stopped at a couple of other places which had ponds with lillies and lotuses :).

Overall the garden was wonderful. But we finished seeing it in about 2 hours, well maybe we missed a few nooks and corners. Since our plan was to be there for the whole day, we needed to come up with some other place for the noon..

After lunch at an Indian restaurant (food was so-so), we had some rest in our hotel and then left on a 2 hour drive to a place called Virginia Beach. Sri drove, but due to some circular roads which led to some confusion, we ended up driving for an extra hour :(.

We reached our destination, the First Landing State Park, only at about 7 PM in the evening. The park has its name due to the fact that it was the first place where members of the Virginia Company landed. It lies at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay which goes on to join the Atlantic Ocean. Yup, that meant a beach :-D.

We had a gala strolling around, sitting on the sands on the beach. It was a really lovely sight with a sunset, lots of pelicans and the beach all-in-one :).

Moreover there are several bridges across the bay which actually at some mid point become tunnels undersea! I have seen this in New York before, but you can't really make out the "going under the river part" from a train. Here we were traveling in our SUV across one of the bridges, so we were able to see the tunnel going down :).

Anyways we drove back to Richmond and reached our hotel at around 10:30 PM in the night. And so the day ended..

28th May 2007:

Monday morning (again pretty early, got up around 6:30 AM) after breakfast, we started driving back. I took the wheel for the first 2 hours and then Sri drove for another 2 to reach Beckley again. We had lunch of subs and pizza and stopped at a place called Twin Falls State Resort Park.

We walked a bit to see the Marsh Fork falls.

There were no people around at all, so it was very calm, cool with only the forest sounds :). The falls was a bit scanty, so we could actually walk over :).

After this, we walked about a mile to see if we could reach the second falls which is known as the Black Fork Falls. But the trail didn't have any distances marked and we didn't really know how long it was. Since we had another 3 hours drive ahead of us, we decided to skip that and return :).

Again I took over and drove for about 1.5 hours and Sri drove rest of the way :). We reached Lexington at around 7 PM after encountering a long traffic jam :-p. And so another trip came to an end :).

As usual here's your moment of zen:

Hehehehe. Sharkey and Farmers are 2 different places in Kentucky :). I found "Sharkey Farmers" really funny as it could mean farmers who look like sharks or farmers who grow sharks :-D. We also encountered the same Hurricane, WV that we had seen in our North Carolina Trip. There were loads of other weird named places - "Gum Springs" and "Mossy" in West Virginia, "Crows" and "Croaker" in Virginia, but sadly I was driving when I saw these, so no snaps :(. Well, it would have probably made for a new post altogether :-D. Maybe some other time ;-).

Also looks like no McDonald's representative took my suggestion :-p. Alas!! I saw 100s of "McDonald's Next Exit" boards along the way :-p ;-) :-D.


accidental diva retorted...

nice travelogue again...whenever I visit the US this shud be useful:):)
good to know u r from udupi(another coincidence) mom's from there the gudbud icecreams there:)
oh ya ur looking real nice in the pics:)

Harish Suryanarayana retorted...

Fantastic again ! I love all the pics :) Have fun !

Deeps retorted...

Dee, thanks :). You have lots of better places to see in US, these are the last remaining ones we haven't covered on the east coast :-D.

Harish, thanks a lot :).

Orchid retorted...

Looks like a nice relaxing weekend..hope you are all charged up to get back to blogging?

Chickoo retorted...

Nice pics, I love Virginia Beach too. It is a 2 hour drive from my place. There is another vintage town Williamsburg, this an hour from Virginia beach, go there next time you will like it I am sure.

Deeps retorted...

Orchid, I feel I am. Hopefully the posts will keep coming :-D.

Deepa, hmm have to check that out. Thanks :).