Election Elation in Virginia!

Hello my friends!  What an exciting time it has been here in Virginia.

A ton of hard work led to an incredible victory for progressives, and a wake up call for those who support the 45th President.  From the devastation of the election results one year ago to the empowering and inspiring Women’s March in January, and every day since, the year has been bewildering, with all of us waking each day to one distressing news story or tweet after another.  Now though?  We celebrate!

This past year has found me, and my friends, and political colleagues working hard towards that victory.  I was honored to have my home serve as a campaign staging site for several Get Out the Vote events, and loved hosting, and seeing the crowd respond to several political VIPs.

Then Lieutenant Governor, now Governor Elect Ralph Northam

Senior US Senator from Virginia Mark Warner and now Delegate Elect Chris Hurst

Junior US Senator from Virginia, and former Candidate for US Vice President, Tim Kaine

Senator Kaine obliged us by playing the harmonica with some of my friends (cellphone photo)

Former Candidate for Governer and former Congressman, Tom Periello surrounded by Radford University Students

As much as I loved seeing all these political VIPs, I adored spending time with the campaign team.  Their energy, passion, and work ethic were inpiring (and FUN!) to be around.

There was always someone coming or going, and there was a well worn path through the leaves on my driveway.

November 7th, Election Day, dawned with cloudy skies but the rain held off until the last hour that the polls were open.  Texts were coming in throughout the day with news of a much higher than normal voter turnout.  We gathered that evening in Blacksburg, hoping that Virginia would remain BLUE and our House of Delegates candidate would be soon be Delegate Elect.

The excitment in the room was palpable and the crowd grew as the clocked ticked later.  It was a multigenerational, inclusive, and diverse crowd, and the room was full of laughter, cheers, and chatter.

We watched the returns on the TV, laptop, and phone.

The word came in that not only had we swept the top ticket, our candidate Chris Hurst had beat the incumbent.

Jubilation is the best word to describe the mood in that room.

When Delegate Elect Chris Hurst walked in the cheers were almost deafening!

and the campaign team and campaign manager celebrated along with the crowd.

Virginia is standing tall! We RESISTED and we are so proud, and many women were elected to the House of Delegates, too!

I know that many of you are also thrilled with these results.  Whether from the United States or the global community, you have expressed dismay and frankly, have been appalled by the actions of many in this country, especially those in leadership positions. I wish you could have been there Election Night to share in the joy.

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After the Election, I took a mini- vacation to Atlanta, Georgia and Maggie Valley, NC and am anxious to share some photos soon!

Backlit on the Mountain

Another scheduled post, and my contribution to Monochromia this week, as I work to Get Out The Vote!

Last night, I hosted Senator Tim Kaine at my home. You may remember him as the former candidate for Vice President. So exciting!

Be back to regular posting after Election Day, November 7th.

Monochromia

It was a gorgeous morning up on Buffalo Mountain

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Anatomy of a Bridge

** This is a scheduled post  from a ride one week ago. As you read, I am in full Get Out The Vote mode! **

Another Sunday Ride. Another Old Bridge.

Something is definitely right in my world when I get to ride the bike two weekends in a row.  The rides haven’t been long but during this busy time in my life, I’m thrilled just to be riding on our beautifully curvy Southwest Virginia roads.

We were also able to explore another old bridge.  With this one no longer in use, we were able to take our time checking it out.

I thought of Joe as I photographed all of the rust, and as we looked at the many parts of the bridge, I couldn’t help but wish that I knew more about civil engineering.

 

I also loved the contrast between the man made structure and the natural world.

Soon enough we were back on the bikes and enjoying the wind in our faces.

As always, we ended the ride with a cold craft beer and this time, a brick oven pizza.

It was the perfect way way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Hiking Buffalo Mountain

Thank goodness for friends who encourage you to add fun to the calendar, and Karen, from The Unassuming Hiker makes sure that we do.

A couple years ago, Karen started a hiking club for women of all ages and hiking abilities, and while the group often ventures out during the week, Karen makes sure to plan a weekend hike several times yearly for those not retired.   In addition, she schedules the date for those hikes several weeks in advance so that we make sure to set aside the time.

“Buffalo Mountain is one of the most significant natural areas in Virginia.  The combination of high-elevation (3,971 feet), wind-exposed openings at the summit, and magnesium rich soils make it unlike any place else in the Commonwealth”.

Karen suggested that we arrive early knowing that it would not be long before the trail became crowded.  The image below is the parking area that morning.  By the time we left a few hours later, the place was packed with cars jockeying for position in what few parking spaces were available.

It was a gorgeous fall day and the hike to the summit, while up hill the entire way, was only a mile.   What an incredible view!

The 4 of us have hiked together before and the comraderie, the combination of silence and talk, and the excitement of being outdoors is a great fit.

Being on top of a mountain is exhilarating and I scrambled around the rocks like a child, at one point losing my lens cap over the ledge.

Beth sent me these images and I’m sharing them because they reveal the feeling of being on top of the world.

The shale and rock were beautiful and while this image doesn’t show it well, the flecks of color glittered in the sunshine.

Climate change has affected the color of the leaves this year, but the beauty remains.

All in all, a wonderful day on Buffalo Mountain.

Please visit Karen’s blog post about our day and read about the kind folks we met along the way.

Ride: Bent Mountain

It’s fall but it still feels like summer, the earth still rotates on it’s axis, despite the political and weather related turmoil, and I am still posting on WP, even if not as much as in the past.  Election Day is in just 16 days, and with so much on the line here in Virginia, it’s hard to think of anything else.  My home is being used as base of operations for several candidates, and there’s lots going on.

In a nice change of pace, I’ve been home for the last two weekends, and I’m happy to report that I’ve spent some time on the bike, and a little time hiking in the mountains.   Mornings have been quiet and misty and lovely.

It doesn’t take long for the mist to burn away, revealing perfect ride days.  The leaves are changing and they fall down around us as we ride.  The many curves of our Southwest Virginia roads make for challenging and incredibly fun riding and the views are breathtaking.  And then there are the bridges.

We love to explore the detail of the old bridges that we come upon, and always hope to find the plaque that reveals the date that the bridge was built

 

It was less than a 200 mile day, but it was a much needed distraction from the woes of the world.

After enjoying a delicious lunch and a cold beer, we headed back to reality.

Riding Through Civil War History

My weekend ride continued on Sunday morning and the route that I chose took me through Appomattox Courthouse.

You will most likely recognize the name Appomattox as the site of Lee’s surrender, effectively ending the Civil War.

It was quiet that morning, and all I heard were the birds singing and the leaves rustling in the breeze.

I could not help but think about the 620,000 souls who died during that terrible time when our country was so divided.

The peace that morning was such a contrast to the violence that was seen in those fields.

A solemn walk through this small confederate cemetery revealed the story of a soldier who joined the army on day one of the war, April 12th, 1861, and after serving for 1,458 days, was killed on the last day of the war, April 9, 1865.

Standing there that day, I could not help but think about how divided our nation is now, and how desperately we need a leader who will unite us.

Somehow we must learn the lessons of past tragedy and move beyond the divisiveness.