Rocky Rambles up to the the National D-Day Memorial to Attend the 73rd Anniversary Commemoration of D-Day.

This episode is a follow-up to the episode recorded in mid-May of 2017 at the National D-Day Memorial. It is excerpted directly from the ceremony, without commentary and without interruption.  Below, you will find the keynote speech by Cpt. Jerry Yellin, given that I could not cover the entire speech in a half-hour episode.

Cpt Jerry Yellin (Ret) Keynote Speech, unedited.

These special commemorations are important to remember the true cost of freedoms. I hope that you will ramble out to attend these events.

When you do, make sure you re driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.

Your defensive driving tip for this week is to make you’ve had plenty of sleep before getting behind the wheel of your car – make sure you are fully alert. If you find yourself getting sleepy while driving, pull over, take a power nap, go for a walk – something to ‘shake out the cobwebs’ before you continue.

Until my next post, here’s wishing you…Safe Rambling!


Rocky Rambles to the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum on the Campus of Ferrum College in Ferrum, Virginia

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum is all about preserving the culture of the local area through exhibits, archives, workshops and events. Here’s my episode interviewing Roddy Moore, the institute’s co-director. Below, you’ll find lots of helps to get more out of the video and prepare you for your own visit!


We had a great visit, and I hope you enjoyed the show. More importantly, I hope this video has encouraged you to ramble on out to see the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum for yourself. And, don’t forget to put the Old World Echoes Concert and the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival on your calendar! Scroll down for more information.

For more information about the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, click on their logo.





We talked a lot about the Crooked Road in our conversation. Click on the logo to learn more about that.




Click on the poster below more information about the Blue Life Folklife Festival.

Here is a flyer about the upcoming Old World Echoes concert coming up on June 9, 2017. At the time of this posting, the information has not yet been updated. Check back from time to time by clicking on this flyer!

We also talked about a traveling show on the Early Virginia Canneries. Learn more about that history.

Many of the displays in the museum come from photography by Earl Palmer. Here is a look at his amazing work.

We discussed some of the key families in the music history of the region. Here are some links that will help you learn more.

Ralph Stanley and Family

Carter Family Article

Carter Family Induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame

Stoneman Family

Make sure that in all of your ramblings, you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.

Your Defensive Driving Tip for the Week

Avoid Impaired Driving – We all know that driving while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs is illegal – and stupid. But, there are far more impaired states that should cause us to stay out from behind the wheel of a car. Many legal drugs – prescription or over-the-county – can cause drowsiness or worse. Imagine driving with a severe case of the flu, or other illness. Driving while in intense pain – perhaps a broken bone. Driving while experience a tremendous emotional upheaval. The bottom line is that if there is any condition that has you unable to give driving your best and undivided attention, you should not be in command of a vehicle. Remember, you are driving a 2-ton chunk of steel hurling down the road at up to 70 miles-per-hour.

Rocky Shares His Memorial Day Follow-up

I have never done a follow-up to any of my episodes before. But, I’m doing one for my National D-Day Memorial episode. I attended our local Memorial Day ceremony, and hope that you did, too. It’s so important, especially now, before we lose any more WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War Veterans. I wanted to share the speech given by Congressman Morgan Griffith at the Martinsville-Henry County Memorial Day ceremony. I also want to remind you that D-Day, June 6, gives you another chance to take part in a ceremony honoring our WWII Veterans.

Here is the Presentation of Colors by the Magna Vista High School ROTC Color Guard. They did a great job.


Here is a clip from yesterday’s ceremony at Roselawn Cemetery in Martinsville, Virginia. Listen to Congressman Griffith’s words:

And, so you don’t have to go looking for it, here is my National D-Day Memorial Day Show. If you are within driving distance of the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, you don’t want to miss the D-Day  Ceremony on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 . Here is the National D-Day Memorial website for more details.

God Bless the USA and all of the families of our great veterans!

Until my next post, here’s wishing you…SAFE RAMBLING!

Rocky Rambles Up to Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway

It was a bit stormy the day my wife and I were supposed to head up to shoot the show. Should we risk it or reschedule? We decided to risk it! And, it was worth the risk. The storm clouds made for dramatic vistas, subdued lighting and deep Spring greens. There’s just not a bad time to view 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!

We missed the music that they have every weekend throughout the summer by one weekend. So, make sure you check out the music calendar, and other information about what’s happening at Mabry Mill. Here’s the National Park Service Mabry Mill and Rocky Knob Webpage to help you do that.

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.

All-in-all, it was a great day of interviewing and shooting for the show, and a beautiful, if a bit stormy, ramble. 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!


Rocky Reviews the Parks Information in Henry, Patrick and Franklin Counties of Virginia from Three Previous Shows

As the summer recreation season begins, I wanted to remind you to make plans to ramble out to the County parks in your backyard. This week’s show is condensed from the three shows recorded early this Spring in the three counties where the Virginia Mountains, Blue Ridge Highlands, and Southern Virginia regions converge.

Here are the listing of public parks in the three featured counties. All of the information you need to take advantage of these parks are within these three webpages.

Public Parks in Henry County 

Public Parks in Patrick County

Public Parks in Franklin County 

And, as always, as you go about your rambling, make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle to do your own Rambling!

Defensive Driving Tip For This Week:

Always be aware of your escape routes. Have you ever wondered why you are uncomfortable driving across a narrow bridge? Well, part of it is wondering if it’s wide enough for two-way traffic, maybe fear of heights. But, part of it is that either consciously or sub-consciously, you realize that your escape route – which on a two-lane road is primarily the right shoulder – is limited. As you’re driving, think about where you could go, what you could do to avoid a collision, if one seems imminent. Your first reflex needs to be to move to the right to avoid an accident. But, what do you do, where do you go, if that is not available or perhaps the threat is coming from the right. Train yourself to be constantly mapping an escape route, you might need one.

Until my next post, here’s wishing you…safe rambling!

Rocky Rambles to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia to Encourage YOU to Plan to Attend Their Memorial Day Ceremony

This week’s show is a special tribute to our fallen veterans, and an encouragement for viewers to make plans now to get out on Memorial Day to show your appreciation by attending one of the many Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremonies. If you can ramble on out to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, you will not be disappointed.

Here is the National D-Day Memorial website to help you make plans to visit. It is at 3 Overload Circle, Bedford, Virginia. Click on the address to find a map from which you can build directions from your location.

In the show, I listed the Memorial Day and D-Day Commemorations in Henry County, Franklin County and Bedford County, Virginia. Here is the information, with clickable addresses to help you find the events.

Martinsville, Virginia

Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 12 noon
Roselawn Cemetery
Key Note Speaker – US Congressman Morgan Griffith

 Rocky Mount – has two events

Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 11 a.m.
Franklin County Veterans Memorial Park
Key note Speaker – US Army Sargent 1st Class Ricky Keith Warren
Music by The Wright Kids

Saturday, June 3, 10 a.m.
Franklin County History Museum, 460 S. Main, Rocky Mount
Rifle Salute and Civil War Re-Enactment Camp


Bedford, VA has two events

The 1st is on Memorial Day,
Monday, May 29, 11 a.m.
National D-Day Memorial
Keynote speaker Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, 1 of 6 surviving Medal of Honor Winners from WWII

Admission is free until noon – bring your own chair

The 2nd event is the Annual D-Day Commemoration,
Tuesday June 6, 11 a.m. at the
National D-Day Memorial 3 Overload Circle, Bedford, Virginia
Keynote Speaker: Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot who flew the final combat mission of the war, during which his wingman was the last man killed in combat.
Music by the 29th Division Band
There will be a Veterans Reunion tent73rd Anniversary tribute to the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in Normandy and those who lived to fight another day.

As always, I encourage 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, many of them, right in your backyard.

When you do, I also encourage you to make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle to assure that you get there and home safely.

Your Defensive Driving Tip for the Week:

The Right of Way is not something you can TAKE. It’s something that must be YIELDED. Uncontrolled intersection, merging on to a highway – who has the right of way? It’s important to know what the law says, so that you can properly yield.  But, being right is of little consolation in a car accident. The defensive driving outlook is that yielding to the other driver beats being dead right.

Until the next episode…Here’s wishing you safe rambling!

Rocky Rambles to the Bavarian Theme Town of Leavenworth, Washington

A number of years ago, my wife and I took our kids on a rambling expedition to Leavenworth, Washington and found it to be a charming town with a Bavarian theme.  We loved the fact that the entire town joined in – the women in Alpine Dresses (actually Drndl Dresses), the men in Lederhosen, the German menus and souvenirs. It was fun to ramble back there to do this show. I hope you enjoy this treat.

More importantly, though, I hope you’l take this as a testimonial to the enduring value of exploring and find these hidden gems that become that special place in your memory – the place you hope to visit again…someday. Well, my show has given me the opportunity to do just that.

Leavenworth is in the center of the State of Washington, just up the river from Wenatchee. Here is a map of Leavenworth from which you can map directions from your location.

To find details about any-and-everything about Leavenworth, go to their site,

Leavenworth has a very active community theater, for which they have an elaborate webpage: Leavenworth Summer Theater. The Community does shows throughout the year. But, their production of The Sound of Music is a summer-long hit.

Here is the community’s Calendar of Events, which is highly detailed, but will help if you know when you would like to visit and want to find out what’s happening at that time. Here is a website that might help you if you have some flexibility and want to try to visit for one of the major festivals, Leavenworth Festivals.

The gentleman that I interviewed in the show, Ron Orcutt, Owner/Operator of Metal Waterfall Gallery, sent an e:mail with some information that we missed in our interview, and to thank me for interviewing him – which I appreciated, because I am grateful to him for allowing me to interview him. What he wanted to let me share was that Leavenworth is also a popular destination for both Mountain Biking and Rock Climbing.

There is so much MORE about this community than I could possibly cover in my show or this website. I just want to encourage you to ramble out to Leavenworth, and see it for yourself. But, the very purpose of this show is to encourage you to get out and do your own rambling; find your own special rambling spot!

And, as always, I encourage you to make sure that when you do your own rambling, you are doing so in a safe, well-maintained vehicle.

Your Defensive Driving Tip for the Week:

I’ve been giving you a defensive driving tip every week since this show started. But, what is defensive driving? It’s the realization that you are not at the mercy of fate; you don’t have to be at the mercy of other drivers, or even your own bad driving habits. Defensive driving is a realization that there are driving attitudes, actions and behaviors that can lessen your chances of being involved in an accident. If you drive with an attitude of anticipation, you can often avoid an accident by responding to subtle things that seem to be not-quite-right, before a situation becomes critical. If you use safe driving actions and behaviors all the time, you will develop defensive driving habits that will be more automatic when you need them. So, when you get behind the wheel, make the decision that getting your vehicle and your passengers to your destination safely is the only important activity for you until you arrive safely and park your vehicle. Put everything else out of your mind and concentrate on driving defensively.

Until my next post, here’s wishing you…Safe Rambling!

Rocky Highlights Re-Opening of Park on Philpott Lake, and Encourages Fellow-Ramblers to Join Ruritans for Breakfast

This is my first effort to combine two shows into one half-hour episode of Rocky’s Ramblings. It just seemed that both are timely and important. So, join me in celebrating the anticipated re-opening of Jamison Mill Park within a month, and head out to enjoy Saturday morning community breakfasts. As you’ll see, my focus was the breakfasts put on by the local Ruritan Clubs. But, one of the larger breakfasts is put on by the Horse Pasture Volunteer Fire Department. Both organizations use the money they make to further their community support goals. So, get out there and support them by starting your weekends with a GREAT breakfast.

Let’s look first at the status of Jamison Mill Park. With the bridge finished and Franklin County Parks working with the US Army Corps of Engineers to lease it as a County Park, the park should RE-open before Memorial Day to the public after a few years of being closed.

Now, on to the Ruritan Saturday morning breakfasts. And, actually, I need to also include other community breakfasts, because the Horse Pasture Voluntary Fire Department holds a breakfast on the 4th Saturday of every month with much the same philosophy, and is looked at be neighboring Ruritan Clubs as such.

Here is the list of local Ruritan Club and VFD community Saturday morning breakfasts:

Spencer Ruritan – 40 George Taylor Rd, Spencer, VA – 1st Saturday of the month, November through May

Bassett Ruritan – 277 Philpott Dam Rd, Bassett, VA – 2nd Saturday, year-round

Sanville Ruritan – 3451 Stones Dairy Rd, Bassett, VA – 3rd Saturday, year-round

Horse Pasture Volunteer Fire Department – 17815 AL Philpott Highway, Ridgeway, VA – 4th

For more information about the Ruritan Clubs, Here’s their link: Ruritan National Clubs.

Head to your local Ruritan Breakfast to give yourself a good start to your weekend of rambling. As always, I encourage you to make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.

Here’s your Defensive Driving Tip for the week:

Speed Limits. We have them for a reason. Research shows that it is not so much speed that causes accidents on the road; rather the differences in speed between cars. If all drivers are driving within 5 miles per hour of each other, we are better able to decipher what’s happening around them. So, honor the speed limits and drive defensively!

Until my next episode, here’s wishing you SAFE RAMBLING!


Rocky Rambles Out to Philpott Lake to Talk About the Many Things To Do At this Regional Gem

Philpott Lake has been a cherished gem and outdoor recreation haven in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains since the 1960’s. One visit to the Overlook, with it’s Million Dollar View, and you’ll agree!

I rambled out to talk with Park Ranger Brian Stewart to highlight the opportunities. Of course, I hope you enjoy the show. But, no show could give you the true sense of beauty and relaxation, or do service to the recreation opportunities that this beautiful little lake offers.

If you’re looking for a place to camp, picnic, swim, fish, boat. kayak, or otherwise enjoy some serenity and natural beauty, you cannot do better than take a visit to Philpott Lake. Just look at this Fall picture of Emberson Falls, on the upper portion of the lake.

In the show, there are a number of references to websites and other resources. Here are those references with links for you to follow.

Here is a Virtual Tour of Philpott Lake

In the show, I promised to give you the link to make reservations for camping and picnic shelters in the Corps-managed parks. Here is that link:

Here is the link for reservations of the Philpott Marina Group Campground,  and for other information regarding the marina: Philpott Marina and Group Campground

We also discussed the volunteer program. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or if you are looking for volunteers, here is the link for the best resource I know:

We talked about the status of Jamison Mill Park, specifically the bridge reconstruction project and the efforts to lease the park to Franklin County. From talking with both the Corps and the County, it appears that the lease is on track for an early May turn-over, giving the County time to get Jamison Mill Park open before Memorial.

The bridge reconstruction is…well, here; see for yourself!

Philpott Lake is a beautiful little lake, a cherished gem, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The seasonal pictures in the main show (above), the farthest horizon that you can see is the Blue Ridge Parkway. How cool is that!?!

Two recreation opportunities that we did not talk about in the show are the kayaking opportunities and hiking trails. Kayaking has absolutely exploded on Philpott Lake, easily the fastest growing recreation on the lake.

The hiking trails on Philpott Lake offer a great deal of diversity and access to the beauty  of the back country along the lake. The Dogwood Glen Trail, on the Franklin County (northeast) side of the lake also allows horses.  This trail runs from just below the dam, 3 miles up Stoneybrook Ln (mis-labeled in Google Maps as River Brook Rd), to Salthouse Branch Park, and can be accessed from either end. The largest trail system on Philpott Lake, with 6 miles of trail, is the Jamison Mill Park Trail System.

As always, I encourage you to get out and do your own ramblings. You couldn’t stumble upon a spot any prettier, with more recreation opportunities than right here at Philpott Lake.

As you go about your ramblings, make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.

Here’s your Defensive Driving Tip for the Week:

Fog can be terrifying when you’re behind the wheel of a car. Turn your headlights on, but use the low beam to cut under the fog. Remember, if you can’t see other vehicles, other drivers can’t see you either.

We’re all familiar with massive pile-ups on the highways. The most dangerous conditions that lead to such pile-ups is heavy fog conditions. Check the weather before you head out – a concept known as Know Before You Go. If heavy fog is forecast, be wary. If you find yourself in heavy fog, get off the road if at all possible.

Until my next post, here’s wishing you SAFE RAMBLINGS!

Rocky Rambles to Jefferson’s Poplar Forest in Bedford County, Virginia

This was a very special rambling for me – to commemorate the birthday of, Thomas Jefferson, principle author of the Declaration of Independence, our 1st Secretary of State, our 2nd Vice President, our 3rd President, the author of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, the visionary behind the Louisiana Purchase, and the founder of the University of Virginia.

But, I wanted to commemorate him by highlighting something more personal. Watch the show and you’ll see what I mean.

As you can tell, Jefferson’s Poplar Forest is one of my favorite places for rambling to. Once you visit, I think you’ll share my point of view.

Jefferson’s Poplar Forest at 1542 Bateman Bridge Rd, Forest, VA

The Bible tells us that we all need rest, to get away, to recharge our batteries, to heal the wounds that we get in our every-day lives. Thomas Jefferson did so at Poplar Forest.

Poplar Forest is also a great get-away for you. If you don’t go to such restored historic sites because you don’t like being herded like cattle, this is the place for you to visit. Allow the docents to show you around as you want to be shown.

Keep in mind that Jefferson’s Poplar Forest is operated by a private organization, not using tax dollars. So, they operate through memberships and donations. If you would like donate to the cause, here is the Poplar Forest Support Page. If you would like to join the organization, here is the Poplar Forest Membership Page. Finally, if you would like to volunteer and make your own unique contribution, here is the Poplar Forest Volunteer Page.

So, get out there and do your own rambling, if not to Poplar Forest, to find the many other places to go, things to do and events to attend, many of which are right in your back yard.

As you do so, make sure you are driving a safe, well-maintained vehicle.

Your Defensive Driving Tip of the Week:

As you drive, keep your eyes panning as far out in front of you as you can see. If you are in heavy traffic watch for the tail lights far ahead. When you start seeing brake lights blinking on and off, they give you an indication that there may be something happening up ahead. Then, take your foot off the gas and be prepared to respond as necessary. That’s what defensive driving is all about.

Until my next post, here’s wishing you SAFE RAMBLING!