Julia and Janos and their Vacation Adventure
We met Julia on the way back from our Russian trip.  She was one of about 30 Russian and Kazakhstani students on our flight who were on their way to work as councilors in summer camps all over the US.  We spent much of the flight talking with her and others about what they might expect during their visit.  Here is a picture of some of them.   The organization that sponsored them is
Camp Counselors USA otherwise known as CCUSA.  We exchanged e-mail addresses and kept in touch with a couple of them through the summer.  

Toward the end of the summer we got a note from Julia asking if we knew of any camps where she could work for a couple of weeks in August.  It seems that her job was ending a little earlier than she expected leaving her more time on her own in the US than she had planned.  We asked the folks at Pikeville Science Camp if they knew of any jobs and came up empty.  We thought about it for a couple of days and decided to invite Julia to vacation with us.  We also asked her if she would like to bring a friend along to join in the adventure.  Arrangements were made and we met Julia and Janos at their camp in Du Bois, IL.  We stayed overnight in the staff cabin so we had a chance to see the camp and its facilities.  On the way back to our place we stopped at the Buffalo Trace distillery where we learned some of the fine points of making bourbon.  Here Julia is using a specialized stamp to imprint identification numbers on a barrel so that  it can be traced later. 

When we got to our house we walked down along the cliffs to the lake.  As we made our way down the trail they saw this overhanging rock that was about to fall.  They took turns holding it up.   They also scrambled around along the base of the cliffs and Julia found that a umbrella magnolia branch doesn't provide much protection under the waterfall that we have at the edge of our property.  We went out on a pontoon boat on Grayson lake.  Climbing the cliffs, exploring caves,  jumping into the lake, and a mighty thunderstorm added to the excitement there.  Other local stops were Bat Cave in Carter Caves State Park, an Hot Rod show in Ironton Ohio and a bluegrass concert at the Paramount theater in Ashland.  I don't have pictures but we also visited Walmart and the Barbersville Mall.

Then we set out on our grand tour.  At Tamarack in West Virginia we saw craftsmen producing traditional instruments, pottery, and glassware and an array of paintings, quilts, furniture and woodcrafts on display for sale.  A tour of a coal mine, miners shacks, the superintendents home, church and school as they were in the early 1900's was next.  A youth museum right next door had a great array of challenging puzzles.  Further along we came on this unique piece of architecture built in 1959 using 30 tons of coal.  The ranch style home in the background was also made of coal.

In Virginia we visited a museum/shop that was selling local products then went on to Natural Bridge park.  We hiked the trails and visited the demonstration Native American village there where we chatted with the chief about their current and ancient way of life.  Then on to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive.   Otter Creek was just like we remembered it from more than 35 years ago.  Wildlife was abundant.  We saw many deer and a mother bear with 2 cubs as well as smaller animals.  We stopped at Luray Caverns where we saw spectacular formations and heard the stalactite organ.  A museum next door was included in the price.  It had a lot of restored cars, motorcycles and a 3 wheel vehicle that was a unique blend of the two.


To continue the adventure to Washington, the seashore, Philadelphia, Niagara Falls and lots more click here.

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