Blacksburg, VA: Shadowlake Village

Blacksburg, VA. What more is there to say other than “Go Hokies!” ? This is a town OBSESSED. They breathe, eat, and sleep Virginia Tech. It was an interesting experience. Iowa Hawkeye fans are crazy. Nebraska Cornhusker fans are even more crazy. But Blacksburg wins the craziest award. Crazy in a weird way :)

It was dark when we pulled into Shadowlake Village…and our contact, John, came out to guide us through their little co-housing community where we would be having a potluck that night. We settled into their common house…in which Bella immediately located a fun playroom to hang out in. John got busy making some pasta and bread…and soon we were joined by several other families.

As people were milling about, I looked over and saw a new face in the crowd. He was tall and dreadlocked and held a beat up guitar in his hand. As I walked toward him, I saw that he had an Another World is Possible sticker on his guitar. I immediately asked him if he had connections to The Simple Way. Indeed he did! Turns out that Jes went to Eastern with Shane Claiborne and is quite involved with their organization…providing the music for their DVD’s. I’m always excited when I can talk with someone who knows about The Simple Way…so we had a great time chatting and listening to him share about his experiences.

Jes has spent the last 10 years in Belize as a river guide and musician…and is currently back in the US touring around and spreadin’ the love with his lyrically rich music. We were blessed with an impromptu concert in the RV…and again back at John’s cabin around a crackling fire. He is on the road full-time…so if you can, swing by his MySpace site and buy a CD (just $10!) to support him. You’ll love his island-inspired music! My current favorite is the title track…”Try on Life”.

We thanked John and Jes for the lovely evening and headed back out into the chilly night…our headlights directed towards Johnson City, TN. Off we go again!

Photo album here.

Salem, VA: Justin and Carrie

We left Lynchburg and made the short trek to Salem, VA to stay with Justin, Carrie, and their boys, Shannon and Tristan. We were greeted warmly…Carrie had baked us a fresh loaf of bread and promptly made me a delicious cup of tea! We spent most our time there watching Bella and Shannon run around and play, play, play. They had so much fun. Carrie organized a really great potluck so that we could meet some of their friends and people from their Green Drinks group. She also took me to their local food coop in Roanoke, and showed me around the town. There were still a few fall leaves to be enjoyed! We had a couple of reporters come over to chat with us about the journey as well.
It was a quick, but wonderful visit…and then we headed off to Blacksburg.

Photo album here.

Lynchburg, VA: Learning for All Ages

We pulled into Lynchburg, VA late on a Tuesday night and headed over to Lynchburg College. We found the parking lot that we were supposed to park in for the night, and as we were circling around to set up “camp”….we were greeted by some enthusiastic students who thought it would be fun to moon the big blue bus. We got a good laugh. :)

The next morning we had the opportunity to speak with some environmental science classes and tell them about our journey. We were parked in a pretty conspicuous spot on campus, so the lunch hour drew many students and faculty in and we had fun talking about living green. Our tour coincided perfectly with their “Year of the Environment” We had such a great time chatting with them and hearing what they have been doing to reduce their footprint on campus. We even had one kind student bring us some organic vegan chili as a little gift! It was delicious (send me the recipe if you’re reading this!). The Lynchburg College campus is gorgeous and the people were so kind. We were treated to a great lunch in the campus cafeteria…and we even filled up the RV with their grease!

After the college, we headed over to a local elementary science magnet school to do a demo. The kids lined up on the sidewalk and Matt told them about the wonders of veggie oil. After that, they came into the RV to check it out. It’s always fun to see your home through the eyes of a child :). We heard excited screams of “y’all have a TV in here?!” and “can I come with y’all?”. They loved the RV and we loved them. What a fun bunch of kids. They also loved having their photos taken…so be sure to check out the album.

We had the opportunity to talk with 3 television stations and 2 newspapers there as well. Our voices were almost gone at the end of the day!
Before we left town, we went out for pizza with Liz. Liz is the younger sister of Jackie…and she the one who helped set us up in Lynchburg. We have also emailed back and forth for years…but were finally able to meet face to face.

If you are ever in the area…be sure to check out this lovely town.

Photo album here.

Fredericksburg, VA: Shane, Jackie, and the Girls

“Take 3 Rights and 1 Left and you’ll see our house…”

This is how people who live in Virginia give you directions I asked Jackie if she knew the street names…but she didn’t. I laughed because that was how people all throughout PA and VA had directed us…by turns or landmarks. We decided the reason that no one knows the street names is because they are SO poorly marked! You can’t see the street sign until you are right upon it and squinting your eyes to see it. Completely different than in Iowa where they are HUGE and go across the entire intersection. It’s a strange world out here…y’all. :)

We met Jackie and Shane while working for SportReach in Lincoln, NE in 2002BC (before children). We had a huge group of friends there…and we had such a great time hanging out, going to church together, having BBQ’s. When we all went in our own directions a few years later, we kept in touch and have followed each other through life’s changes.

They are currently living near Fredericksburg, VA and have three adorable little girls. We had a fabulous time catching up and encouraging one another. They are truly “life friends” for us and we love them dearly.

Photo album here.