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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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July 23, 2013

Sophia comes to Huntington!

And this post will be mostly pictures taken with my I-phone while we were out and about.  Sophia is 7 years old and just a delightful little girl.  She enjoys life to the fullest and that makes her a fun visitor.  I met her parents in Covington, VA to pick her up on a Thursday and by the time we got home that day was pretty much over so we just got her "bedroom" fixed up.  I had bought a set of those "peel-off" wall decor things and a set of sheets for the air mattress (which we always put down in my bedroom) and she was quite tickled with those.  Here's what it looked like after she got them put up (of course, she had a pillow too!)

She was here for 8 whole days not counting the coming and going day.  The first thing we did on Friday was go to the "paint your own pottery" place so her creation would be ready to pick up before she left.  Always in the past with Johnny and Sophia both, we had to have the items mailed to them which wasn't much fun.  So, she painted a very spotty dog that turned out really cute - I'm always surprised after seeing the unfired item and thinking "oh, dear" to see how nice the fired items look.

We also went to the library, of course, and stocked up on books and a Wallace and Grommet movie (I introduced her to W&G early in her visit and she enjoyed them a lot), went to see the movie "Turbo" which was cute and fun, did more than was healthy probably of eating out - we have a lot of "favorites" we have to visit when my grandkiddies visit.  One is the world's finest pancakes (my label) at one of the local Tudor's and we always meet my friend Jamie there for lunch.

Another neat place that I tend to forget about is the Griffith and Feils Drugstore in Kenova, WV.  It's been a family owned store for many, many years and still has a soda fountain and good soda fountain food.  There's a jukebox too which you don't see too much anymore.  My pictures from there aren't very good but the folks there were nice and gave Sophia a couple of nice postcards as souvenirs.

 And there's sweet Sophia with a great big wooden bear outside the drugstore.

And of course we went to Hillbilly Hotdogs.  In fact, we went twice - once to the downtown one where you can sit in a bathtub and once to the original place that is now pretty much world famous from being featured on the TV show "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives".  It was jam-packed with people!  We went there with my friend Peggy and her granddaughter Julianne and afterwards went out to Peggy's house where there's a swimming pool and I discovered that Sophia is part fish!

No swimming pictures, but here are a couple from Hillbilly Hotdogs:

Two pretty girls...
and two silly girls!

Our big outing was to Carter Caves State Park in eastern Kentucky.  I had taken Johnny there on one of his visits and hoped Sophia would enjoy it also and she did.  We made a nice day of it.  Got there a little before the 11:30 cave tour and visited the gift shop where we bought a bag of sand that had various "treasures" in it to find when you go to the sluicing trough and sluice out the sand.  We did about half the bag and I promised that we'd finish it after the tour and lunch which is just what we did.  It was an absolutely beastly hot and humid day and the very cool cave was a welcome relief although it was also quite wet and we were occasionally bombarded by splats of water.  Fun, though...

These first pictures were taken on our way to the caves.  I'm going to try to remember to take myself to the park in the autumn because it's a beautiful, wooded place with various hiking trails which would be enjoyable if you didn't have to worry about melting.
That tiny speck of blue is a man you'll meet later.
Sophia pointed out to me that this tree was growing out of a rock and we both pondered on that for a while.  I wasn't able to come up with any good ideas on how they live with no soil.  But isn't it something?!
 This one just shows how tall a tree can grow even when it's growing out of a rock.
 A man and his dog - he told us the dog hates having a bath but loves wading in the water.
Sophia spotted this bug on a rock so we needed a picture of that.  Then it was off to the cave.  And again, remember the pics are not only with my phone camera but also in a dark cave with bright spotlights and fog here and there!

What we have here is a LOT of crickets with the big mama cricket watching over the activity. 
And this one shows a formation that Sophia pointed out looks like the head of an alligator and, by darn, she was right!  The guide had been pointing out various formations that looked like this or that and I thought it was pretty neat that Sophia "discovered" one.

At one point on the tour, you leave the cave and follow a path outside to another entrance and wow! going from that almost chilly atmosphere out into a steambath just sort of takes one's breath away and sure fogs up one's glasses!  Pretty, though...
And this is totally out of order - it's the big room where you first enter the cave with the lighted area at the back being where the tour gets going.  You can see some fog here.  The guide told us this area was used by the original owner of the cave as a place for square dances!
Clusters of very small bats...
Part of an underground stream.  There was also an underground lake that was located under a hole to the outside so that trees were reflected in it but after three pictures I gave up trying to get one good enough to post.

But poor pictures or not, it was something we both enjoyed I'm pretty sure.  When we were all done we drove a little distance away to "the world's largest Subway" and had lunch and then, as promised, came back and finished our sluicing.  Sophia got a lot of shark's teeth, some amber, some petrified wood, various fossils (or at least that's what I call the rocks that have the imprint of a creature on them) and a couple other things that we identified from the card but that I can't remember now.  She was quite pleased with her haul.

I also taught Sophia the joys of playing Crazy 8's at Starbucks and the Thursday before she left, we there to play and they were getting ready for their weekly "concert" at Pullman Square where the "Dawg" is always in attendance and Sophia had to have a picture with him, obviously.

She's a hoot, that girl.  And I imagine I've forgotten a few things from her visit, but I've enjoyed sharing what I do remember with you.

Now I'm over in Virginia, having dropped Sophia off at her house.  Stayed with January and Maggie Saturday night and then came over to my son's home.  Will stay here til Thursday, then back to January's for another overnight and then Friday morning, Chris and I will serve as witnesses to January & Maggie's legal marriage at the local Justice of the Peace.  After that, it will be out to a seafood restaurant for a wonderful lunch (at least the menu certainly looks wonderful!) and then up to Heather's for the weekend to visit with them.  Probably back home on Monday...although I've been pondering maybe stopping overnight in Lewisburg, WV and wandering around in all their nifty shops, getting home Tuesday evening.  I really need to learn to not just drive like a maniac over and back to the kids...


Jamie said...

wow! Looks like you girls had a great time! So glad I got to eat pancakes with you. She is a delightful little girl and definitely full of life. I wrote Heather and told her she has done a great job with both of her kiddies! Safe travels and give January and Maggie my best. I'm sure it won't be as much fun as the "first" wedding! Love ya, J

Christopher said...

Might just need to take ME to the caves next time I'm over... seems quite interesting!
And yes, I think you should break up your drives with fun side trips, even if it means an overnight in a little motel... You've got the road genes I don't, but man, that is a long, kinda dull (but often pretty) drive! ;)

January said...

I think for a phone in a cave, your pictures turned out just fine! And Maggie and I are looking forward to Thursday/Friday! xox

Diane Adams said...

Your grand-daughter looks like she has inherited her grandmothers adventuresome spirit.

Chinch said...

What fun it all looks to be and have been!! Except maybe a couple of cave shots that look kind of scary -- maybe it's just the darkness of the pics. I'm sure you'll be eager to get home at the end but it would be nice if you stopped in Lewisburg just to not have so much driving all in one day. Love to you and all the kiddies.

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