It has been a while since I’ve posted a new show. To those who have been waited with bated breath for the next show, I do apologize. I will explain below. But, first, I want to introduce this very short, but very important video.
You’ve all seen the online challenges: you know, the ones with the pristine picture of a log cabin in the woods, asking if you could live there if you had to give up the electronic medium of the day. Here’s just one example.
Well, I’d like to think that I could, and would – and they wouldn’t have to pay me a million dollars. But, then I realize that I would not be doing anybody any good living like that. So, I decided to come up with my own challenge, one that will give you an idea of the direction I’m hoping to take my show and my life. Here’s the challenge:
This came about as I realized that in 2017 the US saw a number of national calamities, forest fires in the West, hurricanes in the East. I had just retired, and realized that I’m still in pretty good shape (for a guy my age), and I could not just sit here and do nothing. So, I volunteered to help in the disaster response to the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. I can’t begin to share with you what that week-plus meant to me, and how great it felt to be bone-tired at the end of every day, but fully satisfied that I was doing something that was making a real difference in the lives of people in desperate need of help. If you’d like to talk with me about that, contact me through my e:mail address: Rocky@RockysRamblings.com . I’d be happy to chat with you and share my experience.
I want to share another quick video clip, this one from Samaritan’s Purse about a relatively new project reaching out to help the Rohingya refugees pouring – literally pouring, by the thousands – from Myanmar into Bangladesh. We help support a nurse with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE), who shared this with my wife and me. The hospital where she works is partnering with Samaritan’s Purse to meet this tremendous need. Here’s the video:
If you are interested in donating, click on your choice of organization:
So, what is JDM, and what does it have to do with the auto market? Come along with me to the Duncan Imports and Classics Showroom and find out! Once you’ve seen this video, you’ll need to ramble out to see it for yourself!
If you are interested in seeing cars that you won’t see in other showrooms, this is definitely a rambling opportunity for you!
And, as you head out, make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.
Your Defensive Driving Tip for the Week:
Whatever brand and/or style of vehicle you drive, make sure that you have a mechan with the right tools and training to work on your car. Today’s cars are so finely-tuned, that with out the right diagnostic machines and the right training, your vehicle will never operate the way it was designed to. As an old-school, backyard mechanic in my youth, this was a tough realization. But, in this modern, high-tech world, this is the best way to make sure that you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle that will get you there and back safely.
Until my next episode, here’s wishing you Safe Rambling!
I recently rambled out west to Colorado Springs, Colorado to visit my old stomping grounds and visit family and friends. I drove to the top of Pikes Peak, ducked into Santas Workshop and toured The Garden of the Gods, all of which were favorite rambles as I grew up in Woodand Park, just north of Pikes Peak. Today’s episode is a look at what you can expect when you ramble out to see these three sites on your own – which I highly recommend!
On the show, I had an impromptu opportunity for an interesting interview with Prickly Pear, an Old West tour guide for Adventures Out West, a company that provides a number of ways to tour the Colorado Springs area. Check it out!
In the show, I mentioned my surprise that the elevation of Pikes Peak is now recorded as 14,115 feet above sea level. Growing up in Woodland Park, Colorado, in the northern foothills of Pikes Peak, we knew the elevation to be 14,110 feet above sea level. So, I went looking for an explanation. Here is that explanation, along with some other interesting stories about America’s Mountain: Pikes Peak Fun Facts.
The comparison of perspectives of Crystal Lake is an interesting way to show you the effect of elevation. From the top of Pikes Peak, at 14,115 feet above sea level, you are looking almost straight down on a blue crevice. Each thousand feet drop from there makes the lake more more flat, and what we are more used to seeing. Note that this is not about the relative size of the lake in each picture. Pay attention to the perspective. Then, the last photo looks back up at Pikes Peak from the shores of Crystal Lake. By the time I got back down to that level, the peak was obscure by clouds. So, I borrowed a picture from Ron Pate Photography, with Ron’s permission. It’s a great shot, and he has lots more pictures from his travels on his website, http://patespage.com/. I encourage you to look through his gallery.
Kids of all ages enjoy visiting Santa’s Workshop on the way up the mountain to the Pikes Peak Toll Road. They will thank you for taking time out from your touring opportunities to do something they will enjoy.
The Trading Post’s website does not identify private events, other than Motor Coach Tours. But, with my inside informants…I can tell you that if you contact them, they’ll make accommodations for your special event. Tell them that Rocky sent you!
As always, I encourage you to ramble out to see Pikes Peak, Santa’s Workshop, and the Garden of the Gods. And, make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle when you do!
Defensive Driving Tip
When you’re driving in mountains, or any terrain with steep hills and lots of twists and turns, don’t let your speed get away from you. Use you transmission to save your brakes from getting hot. But, use your brakes to keep your transmission from getting too wrapped up. Above all else, take your time and give other drivers lots of extra room.
Until my next post, here’s wishing you…Safe Rambling!
If you’ve ever been confused between the story of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, you’re not alone. But, you’re in luck, because the good folks at Booker T. Washington National Monument will help you with that. Park Ranger Betsy Haynes explains…
Here is the link for all sorts of information about: Booker T. Washington. That is your key to everything and all the contacts you need, especially for attending special events or setting up a special tour.
The third (3rd) Saturday of June every year is their , the day the park commemorates the news that Booker T. Washington, his mother Jane, and the rest of the plantation were informed of emancipation – the dissolution of slavery – and sent Jane taking her family to West Virginia as free people. The day is commemorated with children’s activities, food vendors, and a living history recreation of the time news of emancipation came to the Burroughs Plantation. The day is capped off with a free Gospel Concert in the evening. This year’s headlinners are: The Joybells, Darrell McFadden and the Disciples, Perkins & Envision, Larnell Starkey & The Spiritual Seven, We are DMD, and The Appointed Messengers for Christ.
History Comes Alive at Booker T. Washington National Monument! Come experience craft and farm demonstrations by expert living history reenactors. Children’s activities, food vendors, and horse-drawn wagon rides compliment a fun and educational family event you will not want to miss! This event is FREE!!
An evening event with living history of a Virginia Christmas in days gone by – including the celebration of the Yule Log!
We also discussed volunteering in the park. If you’re looking for such an opportunity, contact the staff at Booker T. Washington NM, or any other specific park. Or, you can tap into a nation-wide effort to unite potential volunteers with host sites. Click here: Workamper
You’ll definitely enjoy a ramble out to this great park. AND, it’s free to the public!
As you go about your rambling, make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle to get you there and back safely.
Defensive Driving Tip for this Week:
Leave your attitude at home. Road rage causes accidents. Monitor your mood. If you are running late, just had a fight with the boss, or the spouse – or just sorta fed up with humanity on a day, check that mood and remind yourself that you still want to get to your destination safely. Imagine the mood you’d be in if you killed someone because you drove under the influence of a bad attitude.
Until my next episode…Here’s wishing you SAFE RAMBLING!
Beautiful in the Spring, and Unprecedented in the Fall, Mabry Mill may be under-appreciated as a place for a mid-summer ramble. The fact is that sites along the Blue Ridge Parkway can be 10 degrees (F) lower than the nearby lowlands. So, there just isn’t a bad time of year to visit Mabry Mill.
Along the way, we stopped at Lover’s Leap to shoot the show’s introduction and then out to Rocky Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway to shoot the ending. The two-dimensions of a flat screen just can’t do justice to those incredible views! You’re gonna have to ramble on up the Parkway to see for yourself!
My wife and I had lunch while we were filming the show – in fact, the experience is part of the show! We’ve eaten there before, and we’re never disappointed with their down-home southern meals. They also have unique souvenirs, some made by local people and even some of the their own employees. Check it out in the Mabry Mill Restaurant and Gift Store website.
I hope you’ll ramble on up and see it for yourself!
And, when you do, make sure that you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.
Your Defensive Driving Tip for the Week
Know Before You Go – Before you head out on your day of rambling, check the weather, road conditions, know your route and how long it will take to get where you’re going. Check the DOT website for the state(s) you’re driving through to see if there are any construction zones or road closures along the way. Know what kind of shape your vehicle is in, check the tires, the lights, fluids, etc. Check your first-aid kit, warning devices. And, make sure that someone knows where you are and how to get hold of you if they need to.
Put it all together with this mental thought: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.
Until my next post, here’s wishing you…SAFE RAMBLING!
You don’t have to travel great distances to enjoy great outdoor recreation opportunities, especially if you live in southwestern Virginia! (OK, if you live in downtown Chicago, LA or New York City you might have to do some traveling.) Right here in the Dan River Basin, we have many great opportunities. Rocky spoke with Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) Program Manager Brian Williams about such opportunities. We also discussed DRBA’s efforts to improve the quality of life within the Dan River Basin, and how that is unique among environmental organizations. Watch the show and then look through the references below, and enjoy our wonderful natural resources!
Map of the Dan River Basin:
All the things we discussed are highlighted in Dan River Basin Association’s Website. I would urge you to consider membership, if not getting involved. Your membership will help the group provide more recreation, which will lead to more appreciation of the wonderful natural resources of the basin.
And, we discussed the Citizen Scientist program. You don’t have to be a trained scientist to use your observation skills to monitor water conditions in the area.
If your company, community, organization, or family would like to support DRBA, consider a larger membership or contact them through the contacts at the bottom of their Corporate Membership page.
We also discussed the financial assistance from outside entities. Foremost in that arena is The Harvest Foundation. There are others, and need for more.
As always, as you ramble about, make sure that you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.
Your Defensive Driving Tip for the Week
Defensive driving is really a choice; a series of choices, to make better decisions to take smarter before and while you are behind the wheel of a vehicle. The three key concepts to driving more defensively are to: Pay Mor Attention, Drive More Cautiously and, Drive More Courteously to others on the road. Granted there is more to those three keys than just saying them. But, defensive driving starts with the realization of the importance of using these keys. To learn more, find a defensive driving course in your area, of go online and find one.
New Bern, North Carolina is a wonderful place to Ramble. There are a lot of things to do and places to see. The most magnificent of them is the Tryon Palace, . Just what the Tryon Palace is, its history and what you can expect out of your own visit is the focus of this week’s episode of Rocky’s Ramblings. I hope my interview with three of the directors who run the site will encourage you to ramble on over to New Bern, North Carolina to see The Tryon Palace for yourself. Below the video, as always I have put links, directions and other information that will assist you in planning your own rambling expedition.
First, here is the Tryon Palace Website, where you can begin learning about the palace and what there is for you to see there.
Next, let’s look at aspects of the Tryon Palace that we were not able to fit into the show. As I remind you all the time, we can’t fit everything into a half-hour episode, and there is so much more than we can show on a 2-dimensional screen. So, you will simply have to ramble on over to New Bern, North Carolina and explore this site for yourself – you will not be disappointed.
You can scroll through the special events at their Special Events at the Tryon Palace page. Here are some we discussed – off-camera – that would be well worth your rambling time. There are more, so check out the webpage.
This is fascinating! While I was going about filming the grounds for the show, my wife headed over to see the costume workshop, where Leslie Lambrecht, whom we interviewed on the show, oversees the building of all the costumes for the site. This special opportunity is offered from time to time, so check out the special events calendar to see when the next one will be.
All you gardeners out there will want to put September 16 (10 a.m. to 11 a.m.) on your calendar to hear Craven County Master Gardner, Jennifer Knight discuss the incredible gardens on the Tryon Palace grounds.
If you have never been to one of the historical sites at Christmas time, you have no idea what you’re missing. Holiday tours at the Tryon Palace begin at the end of November and run through December, with the Saturday evening Candlelight Christmas Celebration Saturday evenings. Check the calendar for details and ramble on over to see this historical look at Christmas.
All-in-all, the Tryon Palace is a special place for your next ramble! I encourage you to do so. I also encourage you to make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle to assure that you get there and back safely.
Defensive Driving Tip for the Week
Make sure your brakes are in good shape. Your brakes should stop you firmly, quietly, evenly and straight. If your braking experience is anything other than this, or if you brake pedal seems to be spongy, take you vehicle in to a qualified brake mechanic. Your life depends on it.
Until my next posting, here’ wishing you…Safe Rambling!
The Sutherlin Mansion, historically, was the last Executive Mansion of the Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy. Today, the Sutherlin Mansion is the home of the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History, telling the story of Danville, which centers on its status as the last Capital of the Confederacy before Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen, Ulysses Grant at Appomattox, Virginia.
Individual tours of the mansion are handled with headsets. Groups of 8 or more visitors may request a docent led tour by appointment only, by calling CB Maddox at 434-793-5644 or writing him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
During the interview, we discussed the Annual Juried Art Show coming up in October. Details are not available for this year’s show yet, but you can follow development either through museum’s website, or you join the Danville Art League. Check out their Facebook Page
All in all, the Sutherlin Mansion – the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History – is a great place to visit. I encourage you to ramble on over to see it for yourself. And, when you do, make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.
Here’s Your Defensive Driving Tip of the Week:
Making proper turns. As you make a turn, do so from the proper lane and turn into the closest lane available to you. Make your turns as squarely as possible, moving from your lane squarely into the proper lane, rather than sort of oozing across several lanes of traffic. Make sure to use your turn signal first, to let other drivers know your intentions.
Until my next post, here’s wishing you…Safe Rambling!
This episode will be a bit different than any to-date, for two reasons. First, the video is not my own work, and second, my comments below will be sort of my testimony as a lifetime rambler. I found this video that will give you a broader look at travel opportunities in the western portions of the USA than I can all by myself. I hope you’ll appreciate this video by VietTin Travel, which I found online.
The Testimony of a Life-Long Rambler: How Rocky Ultimately Started the TV Show, Rocky’s Ramblings.
It is more than a little satisfying to realize that I’ve been to most places highlighted in this video from VietTin Travel! The reason for that is that travel has always been an important part of life in the Rockwell family – a huge reason why I started Rocky’s Ramblings upon my retirement from a more structured career. So, I thought a testimony of a life of rambling might give you, my faithful viewers and fellow ramblers, a better idea where this show comes from and what my motivation is.
Before departing on my rambling testimony, I need to give you a basic chronology of where I’ve lived: I was born in Wisconsin, but my family moved to Colorado when I was 5 years old, where I lived all the way through school. Right out of college, I joined the Peace Corps and moved to Botswana, Africa, where I was a Wildlife Conservation Education Officer for the Botswana Department of Wildlife, National Parks and Tourism. Upon returning to the US, I looked for work that would allow all of these experiences to remain central to my life. I started as an Interpretive Park Ranger for the US National Park Service in Colorado, which parlayed into a career with the US Army Corps of Engineers, first in Bismarck, North Dakota (yeah, from the heat of southern Africa to the cold of North Dakota within a year). After 6 months, I transferred to Hot Springs, South Dakota, where I stayed for 10 years, married and where all three of our children were born. From there, it was on to Clarkston, Washington, where we lived for 20 years before moving to Bassett, Virginia, nearly 9 years ago.
With that background, my rambling testimony begins by sharing that, because Mom felt that travel was a very important part of our education, my sister, brother and I grew up traveling every summer. Every other year, that trip was to Indiana to visit the extended Rockwell family, taking little side trips along the way. Not quite as regularly, we traveled to Orange County, California (south of Los Angeles) to visit the extended family Hinkley (Mom’s family), again, with side trips along the way. The years in between we rambled EVERYWHERE in a 1963 Chevy Biscayne station wagon filled with camping equipment! One year we went to Texas and Mexico; another year to British Columbia, Canada. One year we took a mega-trip, from Colorado to the Grand Canyon, to LA, on down to San Diego, up to China Town in San Francisco, up the coast on Hwy 1 through the Redwoods, along the Oregon Coast to the Rain Forest of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington (state), and up into the Canadian Rockies (which are breathtaking), down through Montana and home. We were gone virtually all summer. On another trip, we went to Yellowstone National Park. I couldn’t begin to tell you all the places we went.
In the Peace Corps, I was stationed in Maun, Botswana, just outside of the Okavango Delta – THE most incredible wildlife haven on the planet! My job was to teach people the importance of conserving the wildlife that was so central to every aspect of life in Botswana. In recognition of the role of wildlife in Botswana’s economy, I was also delegated the role of acting Tourism Officer in Maun.
Later in life, as parents, my wife and I continued my mother’s travel tradition with our own children. We took our kids EVERYWHERE! While in South Dakota, we took the kids to Mount Rushmore, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Devils Tower and even long road trips to Texas, toGeorgia, and to Florida and the East Coast. Once in Clarkston, Washington, we continued traveling, sometimes down to Orange County to visit extended family, other times finding new places we’d never seen.
My career provided many opportunities to travel, too – for the first 20 years, to training and conferences around the country. On those trips, I always tried to add some leave time to take side trips along the way, sometimes with the family in tow, other times, not.
Travel ultimately became a key component of my career when I was selected to be on the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Team of the US Army Corps of Engineers, and even more when I was asked to become a Congressional Liaison for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Caucus of the US Congress – to the tune of 300,000 miles in the air and probably another 3,000 in a vehicle. These two jobs had me traveling back and forth, all across the country, as we built the partnerships, commissions and funding mechanisms that would fuel the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial into the largest commemoration in US history! During the planning years leading up to the commemoration (1999-2003), I traveled to virtually every community along the Lewis and Clark Trail, to Vermont/New Hampshire to help put on a Lewis and Clark event there, and even into the southern states to bring them into the national commemoration. During the Bicentennial commemoration (2003-2006) I traveled to the big national events to participate on behalf of the US Army Corps of Engineers, and to portray Captain William Clark on the national stage. These events were in major places along the Lewis and Clark Trail: Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas City, Omaha, Nebraska,
Then, I took my final post with the Corps of Engineers, as the Operations Project Manager of Philpott Lake, just outside of Martinsville/Bassett, Virginia – the most beautiful lake in the country by the testimony of anyone who has gazed at it from the overlook!
So, I traveled many roads, figuratively and literally to get to Philpott Lake. Along the way, I have had a lot of intimate contact with Cinematography, Ad Production, Public Affairs, Tourism, etc. I coordinated and produced an educational video for the Corps, assisted in producing a portion of a national water safety video, acted in and worked with the production team of the Army’s Lewis and Clark documentary video, Lewis and Clark: Confluence of Time and Courage – Camera One.
My combined life experiences allowed me to bring to Philpott Lake a lifetime of travel experiences and 30+ years of experience in providing outdoor recreation resources and working with tourism entities to help them market those resources. This has been a huge part of the re-invention of the economy in a community devastated by the exodus of manufacturing from the USA, the results of NAFTA.
So, it seemed like a natural transition when I retired after a 38-year career, to start a TV show highlighting tourism and travel sites. My goal for this show has been to focus on tourism from the perspective of the visitor experience, skirting the political aspects (trust me, tourism is highly political).
So, there’s a quick look at how I got to where I am, as the host and producer of Rocky’s Ramblings.
I hope this has encouraged you to get out and do your own rambling! There is SO much to see and do in this country, much of it right in YOUR back yard. It’s there, just waiting for you to get out and do some exploring. And, when you do, make sure that you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.
Here’s Your Defensive Driving Tip for the Week
Tires: a critical part of safe driving. I’m not going to try to give you a dissertation on tires. I just want to highlight the importance of good tires, with substantial tread and properly aired. Work with your mechanic and/or tire maintenance specialist to make sure your tires will do their job and get you safely where you’re going and home again.
The museum director, Carol Hart, does an eloquent, yet relaxed job of introducing this high quality, and beautiful, museum. Watch the video, scroll through the information below, and make your plans to ramble on down to see it for yourself.
After viewing the video, I’m sure you would expect to pay a hefty entrance fee to see this quality museum. But, it’s FREE. What a great place to take visitors to show off Greensboro, a community near the northern border of North Carolina.
You’ll want to scroll down below these important notes. I couldn’t figure out how to get all of the pictures I took into the show. But, I want to share them to give you an idea of just how beautiful, how well maintained, this museum really is. There are also stories that we just didn’t have time to put into the show. So, read the notes, look through the pictures, go to the Greensboro History Museum website, and then make plans to ramble on over.
5 by O. Henry 2nd and 3rd Weekends of August (link is from 2016. 2017 details still pending)
National Folk Festival – Sept 8-10 – 2017 will be the Final Year of this event in Greensboro. The National Folk Festival moves to a new community every 3 years. Next year(2018) the festival will move to Salisbury, Maryland.
An aspect of the museum that we didn’t have time to cover is how you go about scheduling a Special Group Tours. If you are interested in scheduling a special tour for your group, click on the link.
Pictures that I couldn’t fit into the show.
This staircase is just one example of the beauty in this magnificent museum.
Furnishings from Belle Meade, a residence built in 1867 and torn down in 1954 were donated to the museum – beautiful and elegant.
Honoring Confederate soldiers.
A 1920’s vintage Ford Model-T and a 1908 Cadillac honor the role of transportation in the development of Greensboro.
A poignant exhibit, the inflight manual of Sandy Bradshaw, a Greensboro resident who was a flight attendant on the ill-fated United Flight 93 on 9/11/2001.
And, there is so much more to see – for free. Make your plans to ramble out to the Greensboro History Museum. As you do, make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.
Your Defensive Driving Tip for the Week
Handling Tailgaters. Space is important, it gives you time to react. We should keep a safe space between us and the car ahead of us, and that is your responsibility. In previous tips, I suggested using the 2 second rule. But, what do you do when someone pulls right up on to your rear bumper? As tempting as it is to slam on your brakes – what we call brake-checking – but, that clearly is not the best alternative. But, you clearly cannot allow someone to ride your rear bumper. The first thing to do is to slow down and make sure you have just that much more space in front of your vehicle. If there is space to let the tailgater get around you, slow down and let him go around. Use your 4-way flashers to get their attention, which will normally get them to back off. When they do, turn off your flashers and continue on. If they pull up on you again, try the 4-ways again. If that doesn’t work, clearly they are not going to back off. Slow down and find a way to let them get around you.
Until my next post, here’s wishing you…Safe Rambling!
Companion website to Rocky's Ramblings, the show dedicated to encouraging you to get out and do your own Ramblings! Get out and explore the many places to go, things to do and events to attend.