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May 28

Our 2015 RV Travels – Part 1

Lexi and Suzi

We’ve been “on the road” now for almost two months and are currently in northern Michigan, heading for Wisconsin and points west.  Accompanying us on our trip are Lexi and Suzi!  Lexi is our trusty 30 foot B+ Lexington Coach (also known as a caravan to non-Americans) and Suzi, our Saturn Vue tow car (also known in RV circles as a “toad”!)  We’ll keep you up to date occasionally with highlights like this and provide links for those who want more information.

Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island Hotel

Jekyll Island Hotel

We spent part of Easter weekend in Jekyll Island, Georgia, which was once the elite winter playground for the rich and famous such as the Rockefellers, Morgans and Pulitzers.  The Jekyll Island Club is the centerpiece of the Historic District and we were particularly interested in one of the private meeting rooms where a secret meeting took place in 1910 to establish the Federal Reserve.  Far from being a “Federal” enterprise, it was established by a few wealthy families in New York with the ultimate aim to protect their financial interests.

IMG_3917It is a fascinating story – and quite an eye-opener – and is available in print and audio at Amazon and  www.realityzone.com.

IMG_3938Our day ended with a visit to Driftwood Beach, where a ghostly forest of huge dead trees and driftwood creates a wild, beautiful yet surreal sight.  A great photo op!

Monticello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Front of Monticello

Front of Monticello

Heading further north, our next stop was Monticello,   Thomas Jefferson’s home near Charlottesville, Virginia. Thomas Jefferson is known as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence as well as the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom.  He was the third President of the United States and the Founder of the University of Virginia.

We started at the Visitor Center and watched an informative film about the life and times of Jefferson.  He was a very accomplished and well-traveled man.  Thanks to his time living in Paris, it is believed he introduced the following delicacies to America:  Ice Cream, Macaroni and Cheese, French Fries and Waffles!

It is interesting to note that despite the fact Jefferson included the words “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence, he believed that black people were biologically inferior to whites and felt the two races could not live peacefully together in freedom.  He owned about 200 slaves during his lifetime and only freed a small number in his Will.

IMG_3963Bill loves to know “how things are made” and was in his element at an Exhibit showcasing how Monticello was built.  Completely self-taught, Jefferson’s knowledge of architecture and construction was amazing.  He designed and built every detail of the house and garden starting at age 26, and continued to redesign and rebuild for 40 years.

We visited on a cool but sunny spring day.  The guided tour of the house was pretty fast paced but we were able to appreciate the décor as well as the special innovations that Jefferson incorporated, such as the double pane windows and an ice house filled with blocks of ice in the winter for use in the summer.  His enquiring mind resulted in redesigning and changing many inventions of the day.  We saw the first copying machine… a device with two pens.  When Jefferson wrote with one, the other pen made a copy!    In the dining room there was a special dumbwaiter to bring wine directly from the cellar as well as a revolving cupboard where the food was brought up from the kitchen and rotated so the butler could place the platters on the sideboard.

Monticello LibraryBeing an avid reader, Jefferson kept his library of 6,700 books in a room in his private apartment.  In 1815 he sold his library to the country to pay debts that he had acquired.  This became the basis of the present Library of Congress, the original one having been destroyed by the British in the War of 1812.

A walk around the grounds and the fruit and vegetable garden led us to the Graveyard where Jefferson and other members of the family are buried.

By this time we were ready for a break and headed into town for a beer and lunch at South Street Brewery, Charlottesville’s longest running brewery and pub.  We were not disappointed!

Monticello

Jeffersons Monticello

Next time you pay for something with a nickel, take look at Monticello on the back of the coin!

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