The month of August is easy. August = nada. The un-month. We didn't do anything in August.
September will be a bit of a travel log. The "grown up" kids, minus Joseph, took a trip, and then later in the month, so did we.
Nicely, Ethan started dating Kaitlin Warrick in the late summer. I say nicely because it is best for any new relationship with a Rinke to start off with an induction into the Rinke camping life, and to be stuck with the Rinke brothers for a weekend. If you can survive you might have a chance of making it for the long haul. Even better, Joni was there to keep the boys from going too far with the hazing. Miracle of miracles, several months later, Kaitlin is still hangin' around.
Joni doubled as Kaitlin's guard and camp cook for the weekend.
This, however, is a Rinke camping tradition that the vegetarian cook was not responsible for...Spam. Gross.
Nothin' says Smokies like a couple of hikes.
A good-lookin' kid with great hair and big lips goes nice on a camping trip too. Bears pick that kid first. They start with the lips and work their way to the toes...which gives everyone else a chance to run away.
Clean hands is a must for all campers.
All's well that ends well. No one fell off the mountain or was bitten by a venomous spider.
George and I took one of our best trips ever. The scenario, as is commonly the case, was that a goat needed to be picked up in another state. We had four days in which to make it to Pennsylvania and back again. The first night was spent at the James River State Park in Virginia. I think that it's my all-time favorite campground. We are hoping to have a four day weekend there for George's birthday and Fathers Day next year. You are all welcome to join us...wouldn't that be a blast?! You can hike the meadow and river's edge, fish , paddle , ride horses, or just sit around and look at it all.
Riparian entertainment at its finest.
The campground was neat as a pin and the facilities were amazing! They even have an outfitter in the park. Best of all, it looks like no one ever uses it.
The morning of the second day we headed for Appomattox where Lee surrendered to Grant. It was so quiet and there were very few people visiting.
Desperate to squeeze every drop of history out of our location we headed straight for Monticello.
OH. MY. GOSH. What an amazing place! No bigger, in fact not as big, as many subdivision homes in Atlanta, Monticello is so homey. Looking at it on the five cent piece you would think it a marble crypt - not even close. I am frustrated by my inability to describe it all to you. There's the terraced garden built into the side of the hill...I said hill, I mean mountain.
There's the holding pond for locally caught fish for dinner. Why don't I have one?
There's the weather vane which is attached to the front porch ceiling so that you don't have to walk out in the weather to see it on the top of the house.
Underneath the house is an entire city! The house is on a berm of sorts. Everything you would need to run a revolutionary time period homestead is housed underneath: a room for the wine, the beer, the smith, the ice, the textiles, and on and on...but from the back lawn this is all you see of it. It's hidden in the earth from that perspective.
So well documented is the Jefferson line that family members are still being interred in the family cemetery. The sweetest thing is that Jefferson's closest childhood friend, Dabney Carr, and his family, are buried there too. The boys explored the site as boys and promised to be buried there together...and they are.
Jefferson built so much of his genius into this place. I simply cannot do it justice here... you have to go yourself. Please go. You. must. go.
Very late that same night we made our way to Abbottstown, PA, to the Altland House, a wonderful hotel (very affordable) which was built in 1790.
Our room was HUGE , and we had a wonderful night sleeping in a real bed as opposed to the tent.
Next morning we were off to Gettysburg. The museum and film were lovely, but the area was disappointingly commercialized. The battle field literally encompasses points all over town and is impossible to view from any single place at ground level.
Having grabbed the goat in Telford, PA we sped back to Virginia that night and scooted into the Shenandoah River State Park about the time that the night creatures were beginning to prowl. Too tired and blind to pitch a tent, I slept on the cold, hard ground in a sleeping bag under the most beautiful skyscape ever. George slept in the cab of the truck...with the doors shut. Had I been carried off by a bear he would have never known. Every camper for themselves I guess.
In the a.m. we were greeted by that beautiful old river.
We came home plum exhausted but having had such a great time.
And the goat from Pennsylvania died last week. Pneumonia this time. Let's hope he left some offspring behind...we'll know in May *sigh*.