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.

Five Shots of..., five shots...., hiking, nature, photography, travel, Virginia

5 Shots: Shenandoah Valley, VA

When visiting a brother-in-law last week, he procured blueberry moonshine for us to sample. It was a sunny day and the drive to his place tucked in the Shenandoah Mountains lifted my mood. I was intoxicated as though I had drunk half the bottle of his moonshine. No, it was just the sunshine and the air filled with the scent of hardwoods. Which shot do you like best?

Lake Laura at Basye, Virginia.

It was a quiet afternoon hiking around Lake Laura.

Moss.

 

Down the road from Basye, there’s a hamlet called Orkney Springs. Shrine Mont is an Episcopalian worship and retreat center. I worked in the kitchen many summers with some authentic country ladies who taught me a lot about cooking. The summer music festivals they have on the lawn is a popular venue.

Fall colors are coming.

Meet our new puppy! Jim and I had no desire to get a new dog after the passing of Bear. But the buyer for this little gem bailed. Our son and daughter-in-law asked if we wanted her. Who could refuse a face like this? I returned to AZ to work, and lucky Jim gets to bring her home on the plane this weekend.

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For my friend Pete who is a Civil War buff. This is one county. If you like U.S. History, Virginia is a living museum. More military events and key people from the Colonial period lived here than any other state.

 

 

2010s, family, Five Shots of..., five shots...., nature, travel

5 Shots: Virginia Countryside

1. A morning walk after a night of rain.

It has been seven years since I moved from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to Arizona. This past week we traveled back to visit family. Traveling down country roads that seemed to lead nowhere, my eyes were full of the beauty of the Virginia countryside. Add the sounds of Americana music, the smell of fallen leaves underfoot, the chore of raking up the spiny husks fallen from the Chestnut tree, and playing with a litter of eight puppies truly filled my heart. Which shot do you like best?

2. Pups out to play

3. One puppy

4. Country roads running parallel to the Allegheny Mountain Range.

5. Downtown Staunton

6. 1790s Home by the Creek

Listening to Mandolin Orange in the truck on the backroads is a fine way to spend some time. Are you a fan?