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DSC_0027_edited-1 So, I finally made it to Monticello.  It is a truly amazing house that is quite stunning and certainly much more tasteful than the other mansion I visited.  It is always odd to ponder the contradictions of this great man, and his house is no exception.  It is a strange thing to think that a man who gave such an eloquent defense of liberty in the Declaration of Independence and even argued for the abolition of slavery in the colonies should have excavations of slave cabins on his land.

It was also amazing to see his vast array of little home inventions, including my favorite, the fireplace wine bottle dumbwaiter that would bring wine straight into the dining room from the wine cellar.  They also had his fabulous writing reproduction machine out as well which is a stunning piece of engineering.   All in all, this really was an amazing highlight on my trip and is well worth a visit to anyone in the area.

DSC_0078_edited-1 From Monticello, I got on the Skyline Drive which at a blazing 35 mph takes you though the beautiful Shenandoah National Park.  From there, I connected with US 50 and started heading west though West Virginia.  I have to say that while beautiful, the extreme poverty of this state is a little disconcerting.   I don’t think I saw a nice coat of paint on a building in the entire state.  However, the country side is beautiful and I camped for the night at the very nice Tygart Lake State Park.

The next morning, it was off through the flat farmland of Ohio and Indiana.  It’s amazing how much corn there actually is in the Midwest.  ;)  I camped for the night at a little recreational area in central Indiana.

DSC_0102_edited-1 The next morning, I did a little hiking around and took a few pictures of the area.   However, I was starting to feel tired of the road.  I was starting to drive for distance and not stopping to see the sights.  Instead of pushing on, I decided that my vacation should be about doing what I want.  So, I took off for home and arrived early yesterday evening.

All in all, it was a heck of a trip and just what the doctor ordered.  The vacation was great, but it’s great to be home and I’m looking forward to getting back to work tanned, rested and ready.