2020s, Five Shots of..., photography, Virginia

5 Shots: Acclimating to Virginia

We have lived in Bedford, Virginia for several months. Trying to set up a home, receive family, and begin a new job has me in a flurry, but I am happy we moved. Here are a few shots from the summer to last weekend to give you an idea of what’s up in my corner of the world.

Central Virginia has a plethora of vineyards to explore.
Ruby loves the grass — can’t do this in Arizona! The Peaks of Otter are part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway 10 minutes from home. Stay tuned for leafing shots. Fall has just begun.
winding roads with hills and endless creeks
Exploring the history–Appomattox Court House is forty-five minutes away.
Our backyard with new pionies and a Maple tree with cows in the back pasture.
Besides grass, trees, water, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, we moved to be around the new wave of grandchildren.
Smith Mountain Lake — Summer days on a pontoon boat. Awesome.

Now that I’ve settled into my new high school and feel a rhythm of routine, I hope I can resume blogging on a more regular basis.

2020s, adventure, nature, photography, travel, Virginia

Goodbye, Arizona

You might be aware that Jim and I have spent the last eight months preparing to cross the country by heading east to Virginia. My family prods me to make a post chronicling the adventure before we forget. Are we nuts? Some people think so. I can’t complain I’m bored!

September 2021. I daydreamed of living on a high hill overlooking a gorgeous view. For the past few years, we vaguely discussed returning to Virginia. Daughters and sons bore babies, four under the age of four. My son relocated to South Carolina, and his son is a toddler. Five grandsons. That’s the reason for moving back to the east coast. A new generation to watch grow up. Jim said to me, “Yes, let’s go.” So began our adventure.

October 2021. Taking advantage of the housing market, we sold our townhouse far above what we paid for it. In two days. Yes, crazy! Three estate sales later, ninety percent of our stuff was gone. I loved discovering what truly mattered to me. Donating/selling the clutter was like downing a detox drink. Clear and absolved, we tucked away our emotional treasures in a storage unit.

November 2021. The closing arrived a day before Thanksgiving. Where will we live until the end of my teaching contract? Jim happened upon an excellent 2003 Monarch Class A motor home. Should we pay cash for it and sell it at the end of May? Or, rent an apartment for several months? With a dog, that’s hard. Rent rates are astronomical here. We chose to purchase the motor home. We happened upon a great RV resort on a hill overlooking Sedona Red Rocks. An effortless solution.

December, January, and February. I needed a job before we could buy a house. How many times did we love a potential house only to give it up because I did not have a contract to prove I’d pay the mortgage? Researching towns. Researching areas. Shrinking the region of southern Virginia, until one day, I got a job offer at a high school in Lynchburg. I found a house on the edge of a neighboring town on a quiet cul-de-sac abutting a hilly cow field with the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding us.

Jim and I learned a lot about ourselves. We wanted acreage for a garden. We wanted trees and a view and a fireplace and a garage. After compromises, we bought a house with more square footage than we’re used to. It sits in the middle of half an acre. We’ll have to plant some trees and bushes and flowers. That’s fine by me. Jim gets his garden. I get the location at the edge of town with a view.

March 2022 We bought the house unseen! That’s crazy. We used live-time technology to walk around the grounds. We found a marvelous real estate agent, employed an inspector, and Jim’s son did the final walk-through making sure all was in order. Emotionally, it was painful to rely on others to ensure we were not buying a lemon. What about the town? The neighborhood? My mind was in Virginia while my body was carrying out the responsibilities of my workday. Split time is painful. Anticipation sucks. I kept my complaints to myself, for the most part.

Backyard view on top of the cow field courtesy of Jim.

It is not a fancy house. It is an affordable house that reminds me of my rural Illinois hometown. Bedford, Virginia is in the Southwest part of Virginia between the cities of Lynchburg and Roanoke (Virginia Tech University). I like it because the interior is redone with fresh paint, flooring, bathrooms, and windows. It’s waiting for our personal stamp. We bought a new fridge and washer and dryer. It makes me happy to enter my new home with the three appliances I use constantly. A house gift of sorts…

April 16. Supposed to have shoulder replacement surgery. The doctor canceled. I’ll have to take my bad shoulder with me.

April 28. Our four-year anniversary! I am grateful for Jim’s adventurous spirit and hard work ethic. How did you pack, store, unpack, arrange and make it all happen at age 72?

April 27. We sold the RV to a couple who saw our advertisement the day before. Yes, after one day, we sold the motor home 2k more than we bought it for. Crazy!

April 29. I moved into my daughter’s apartment (Vanessa and Milly) and slept on a blowup mattress. It was satisfying to discover we three girls had a harmonious time.

April 29. Jim escorted Ruby the golden retriever and the Uhaul while towing the VW Beetle. He set up the house while I completed the school year. Three weeks is my limit away from him. I don’t like being apart for that long. But, why make a mortgage payment and rent an RV lot?

May 27. It’s the girls’ turn to do the Rt. 40, 2,000-mile journey. Vanessa’s new job is the innkeeper at the Glass House Winery and B&B outside of Charlottesville. She starts on June 1st. I have a side job starting on June 1st, too, for a week grading AP history papers. We will leave Friday and arrive, we hope, by Monday evening.

Country roads take me home…

Stay tuned for new photos and posts after we settle in. Settle in? Did I tell you we’re going to South Africa on June 26? Jim’s daughter and family live by the Kruger National Park. Let’s go see the big 5!

Crazy? You bet.

1 Shot Wednesday, 2020s, nature, photography, Virginia

One Shot Wednesday: Cold Mountain

Blue Ridge Mountains, Virgina

We recently returned from a visit to see family in Staunton, Virgina in the Shenandoah Valley. Allegheny Mountains to the west, and Blue Ridge Mountains to the east, the 140 mile (225km) valley is one of the prettiest drives in the country. Here was our view one morning. By the way, one of my favorite films, Cold Mountain (2003) was filmed in Virginia, not North Carolina.