August 19, 2017
At 5:30 the next morning, my alarm woke me with a start. I got up and started getting ready for the day. It was Reese’s 21st birthday!
One of the first things I did was get the camera battery and charger and get them put in the camera bag. I got to it before Annabelle’s phone alarm went off!😉 At last some people made their way to the living room with their stuff. We warmed up and ate our pre-made breakfast sandwiches that Karen and I had made the night before we left.
At Aunt Fran’s house in the morning.
….I played around with it in Lightroom!!!
We got going after saying good-bye to Aunt Fran.
This was the sunrise as we drove.
First we stopped for gas. I read my Bible before drifting off for a nap. I had gotten up an hour early! From Ohio we drove on through Pennsylvania to West Virginia.
But wait. It’s not that easy! It took us FOREVER to get through Ohio! Anyone who has driven through it knows it takes way too long. When we traveled when I was younger, I would ask, “Are we out of Ohio yet?” Always, except for the last time, the answer would be “No.” Now I just say, “We’re still in Ohio, right?”
When we were nearing the Staddons’ house in West Virginia, I stopped reading and looked around the town. We drove until we got to Buffalo Calf Road. That was the Staddons’ road!
We had only met James Staddon before and that was when he stayed at our house about 8 years ago! But we never met the others except on Skype many years ago. Needless to say we were nervous and excited! We drove on Buffalo Calf road for the longest time. It is a very narrow one-lane road with a ton of drop-offs, lots of curves, and more curves. It was different from the roads I’m used to in New York, but it was beautiful.
We pulled in at the Staddons’ house around 10:00 A.M. Faithful, their dog, came out to greet us.
David got her and put her into a side building. We were glad to get out and stretch. We met Mr. Staddon, Donald, Esther, Jonathan, and David. Then James and Jonathan loaded their stuff into the van while we talked with Esther and drank some cool water. She took us for a walk down their beautiful long lane to get all the kinks out of our legs! Faithful took a water bottle out of my hand and Jonathan tried to get it back from her for the longest time! We didn’t know him really at all, then, and I was feeling bad. But then he finally got it! 😌 When we got back, they were ready to take off. After a prayer, we all piled into the van.
For the first two hours, James drove.
We stopped at a McDonalds and got $1 ice cream cones. 🍦It was a really hot day, after al!😁😋 After we all ate our cones under a tree and chatted, we girls got bread, cheese, lunch meat, and mayonnaise from the cooler that was now covered with stuff in the back of the van. At last we found everything, including a knife to spread mayonnaise with. We made sandwiches and passed them out as we drove.
An electronic billboard had a count down for the eclipse.
After another while, we stopped at the New River Gorge Bridge spanning the New River. We all piled out and, of course, James and I grabbed our cameras. We walked on a board walk to a place where we could view it.
It was massive and very impressive.
We went to another lookout where we could see down over the bridge.
This is the view from that look out.
We continued to travel all afternoon. We went through Tennessee and got to North Carolina. James and I compared cameras and he taught me a ton of valuable photography knowledge! (He’s a professional photographer and a great photography teacher. If you ever want some good training or inspiration and encouragement in photography, go to lenspiration.com!!!) I learned a lot on the trip, even though at the time I was having a hard time digesting it all! We sang and told stories and they told us the names and ages of the Neelys. And, of course, we slept!
A huge tunnel through a mountain.
When we came out, we were in Virginia!
We stopped to switch drivers every 2 hours. Once, we switched at a place that was a reststop/butterfly observatory. It was pretty.
The last switch was at a gas station. James was driving and somehow we got into a neighborhood that was all up or down with lots of curves. We finally found our way out!😄 Soon it got dark and we were on another curvy road. It was hard to tell exactly where the next curve was going to be!
Finally we pulled in at the Neelys’ house. We got out and walked up the walk to the door. We Parfitts had never seen these people, let alone met them! Mr. Neely came to to the door and when he saw who it was he said, “Oh, it’s you,” and closed the door.😄 After a bit, he opened it again and let us in!😂 We met them all in the kitchen while we had a snack. The girls all looked so alike at first, I was having trouble remembering the differences! At last we all went out and got all our stuff from the van. After we all had our stuff, we went to bed.
by Naomi Parfitt