"There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up."
– Booker T. Washington
Good morning from Kindards, South Carolina!
Steve and I finished our week at the Escapees Rally in Marion, North Carolina and had a great time. This rally was really for the Eastern chapters of the Escapees RV Club to meet and also to have several educational sessions. We met some really cool people from Ohio and joined the Ohio chapter of Escapees. We also learned about the importance of correct weight distribution in our trailer (for towing reasons), several computer programs for managing pictures like Picasa and Photo Story, and about several organizations that we could volunteer for like Angel Bus (RVers who volunteer to transport medical patients from one place to another), MASA (medical air service) and C.A.R.E. (a place where elderly RVers can go and get daily care for considerably less money than a nursing home). We ate well and met some great like-minded full-time RVers like us and gathered more information that will help us along our travel journey. If any of you are thinking about going on an extended RV trip, I highly recommend joining the Escapees RV Club. You not only get discounts at a good number of RV parks across the country, the organization also provides other services for full-time RVers - - like mail forwarding, inspection and weighing of RVs, and the C.A.R.E. organization mentioned above.
Aside from our time at the rally, I really don't have much to say about our stay in North Carolina other than to share with you our visit to the Biltmore Estate. Steve and I had been there about 10 years ago but that was in the fall when the flowers were not in bloom. This trip, we got to see the gardens in all their splendor and man was that a sight!!! For those of you who know me, I am a gardener and love flowers so you can imagine my delight. Steve got some great shots of these flowers so take a look in the gallery. It is interesting to know that the Vanderbilts originally owned 125,000 acres of land surrounding the house. The land you can see from the house was all professional landscaped by renowned landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmstead. He planted some 1,000,000 trees on the property, which he designed to provide a different feel and color from every vantage point at varying times of the year. In addition, he added numerous walking paths that lead from the house through the various gardens - - the shrub garden, the italian garden, the spring garden, the walled garden, the rose garden, and the azalea garden. So, so pretty! At the present time, two of George W. Vanderbilt's great grandchildren live on the property which is now only 8,000 acres in total. The remainder of the acreage was donated to the state of North Carolina as part of their state-owned and operated preserves.The house, as you can imagine, is quite overwhelming. It is the largest privately-owned residence in the country and was built by George W. Vanderbilt in 1895. He lived there only 19 years as he died young from complications of appendicitis. Anyway, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside the house so we focused on the architectural details of the outside and the gardens. If you are interested in seeing what this grand home looks like from the inside, go to Google Images and search under the Biltmore Estate. You will get tons of pictures to peruse through. Let me just say, however, that for all the money these people had, some of the rooms are decorated very oddly. The color combinations chosen were odd, in my opinion, and some were actually garish. I guess when you are decorating 175,000 square feet and 250 rooms, a person can run out of color options. :) Anyway, if you are in the Asheville area anytime in the future, take time to visit the Biltmore Estate. You will not be disappointed.
Okay, that's it for this week. Steve and I are in South Carolina for the next few weeks. We are in Kindards this week and will be exploring outdoor activities in the Sumter National Forest and some revolutionary war historical sights here. After this week, we will be in Charleston and then off to Darlington for the Nascar race.
We hope you guys didn't get any of that snow we heard was headed to the north and please pray for Terry and Jill as they are headed right into that storm as they continue their trek north to Maine.