America '98
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America Trip
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Days 4 to 10
Day 11
Day 12
Days 13 to 14
Day 15
Days 16 to 18
Days 19 to 23
Days 24 to 34
Days 35 to 38
Days 39 to 44
Days 45 to 49
Days 50 to 57
Days 58 to 70
Days 71 to 86
Days 87 to 100

 Days 45-49: Knoxville to D.C.

After leaving Waynesville, we continued west, though the Great Smoky Mountains. They are magnificent mountains, covered in a lush, thick forest. The mountains are steep, fading away in the midst as far as the eye can see. Traffic was pretty heavy, with many people enjoying the mountains. We headed on, and entered Knoxville. We spent most of the day wandering around the town, seeing what was there. It’s a decent city, and we stayed the night with Richard and Michelle Law, friends of ours Gu and I met over an internet mailing list. He’s a software engineer, and his family lives in a nice home on the western skirts of town. They have twin sons, about age 4 (maybe a little older). I was impressed with their salt-water aquariums, one of which contains a puffer fish. It has a large face, almost human like with huge, glassy eyes. The next morning, we checked out more of Knoxville, including the Sun Sphere, which was a feature attraction of the 1982 world’s fair. We also saw an art gallery nearby. We ventured back east, crossing over to Virginia. It is another new state for me, and very beautiful with it’s softly rolling hills and farmland. Most of the land seemed in a state of perpetual small town – no open space, but not much urban areas. We camped a night off the side of a country road. The weather was cool, with light rain, and many spiders took advantage of the space between the inside layer of the tent and the rain fly. This happens a lot, and we can watch them crawl around while we’re inside. The next day we continued through Virginia. The land feels much older than the west, as this is the area which settlers came from England to live before there was even a United States. We entered Washington D.C. that evening, and made our way to the Ferstl’s family home. They are the family of a friend of mine, Mark Ferstl. Mark is back in Flagstaff, but we were able to stay with his family for three nights. We explored the town for those days, checking out the monuments along the Capital Mall, seeing the White House, Potomac River, Smithsonian Museums, and watching all the people. There was a Folk Heritage Festival going on at the Mall, and we watched a Philippine concert and wedding. We rode the subway metro system around the city, which is a very fast, clean, and easy way to get around. I’ve never been in a subway before, and I admit I found it fascinating. Thousands of people intersect on the rails, coming and going, and leaving all in the blink of an eye. Washington is an amazing place, full of history. I’ve seen these places hundreds of times in books, on currency, on television and movies, and seeing it in person is quite an experience. The Ferstl family were great hosts, and we went to their Catholic church. We will be leaving tomorrow (tonight is our third night here) and will be heading towards Cleveland.