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Parking Lot Carnival


One late spring afternoon, a carnival came to town and began to set up in the parking lot of a mildly run down shopping center down the road. We waited until evening, and then ventured down to see what awaited us.


A few rides, and some food stalls stood clustered together in what was usually an empty area of the parking lot. But on this night, the shopping center was more packed than anyone had ever seen. People were walking towards the carnival from all directions, there was no admission and no one really seemed to be in charge.

It was a bizarre scene.  Across the way stood the Taco Bell, a Radio Shack that was going out of business, a Chinese Buffet we had been to a few times but regretted, our favorite Mexican restaurant and a number of strange stores we had never been too. On the other side stood the interstate.







Beneath the swirling clouds people lined up for the rides, waited for their food, and didn’t appear to think this parking lot carnival was a strange abnormality.



 I’ll never forget the time that a carnival inexplicably appeared in a shopping center near my house.

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A Drive Through a Cloud

These are some more photos from a day on the Blue Ridge Parkway last year when when we drove through a storm cloud.

The Blue Ridge mountains are tall enough that when the storm clouds descend, the mountain tops become engulfed in the cloud.

As we drove along, a storm rolled in and began to settle above us. It wasn’t long before it completely surrounded us!

The sight was amazing, but there was no room to safely pull over and snap pictures. So I stuck my camera out the car window as we cruised along through the mist. 
My camera has been though a lot.

The storm was fast moving, so it never blinded us completely. But there were a few scary moments where we could hardly see!

Something silly happened while the storm was approaching.. My hair started standing up!!  The electricity in the air maybe? It was strange. 

We almost didn’t drive up to the mountains this day because of the impending storm, but I am so glad we did!  

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Night Rainbow

One evening, after some heavy thunderstorms, a night rainbow appeared. The sun was almost completely set, and the sky was lit up a bold shade of red. 

I’d never seen a rainbow in such a dark sky before.

Lightning was flashing all around..

I managed to hit my camera shutter at just the right time to take what is probably the coolest photo I will ever take.

And then as the sun set a few minutes later, the rainbow was suddenly gone. 

Have you ever seen a lightning rainbow? 

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Craggy Gardens

The main reason for our blue ridge parkway trip, was to visit Craggy Gardens! 

It’s not your typical garden, it consists of miles of rhododendron bushes, many of which were planted 70 years ago when the parkway was first built. The oldest ones have become craggy over many years of living in the harsh mountain climate. Hence the name, Craggy Gardens! 

We discovered Craggy Gardens a few years ago. We were up in the mountains visiting family and decided to take a drive on the parkway before we went home. It was dusk and the clouds were low, we came to this sort of valley, where there was a drop on either side of the road and it was sandwiched between two mountain peaks. At this point we pulled the car over as fast as we could because the clouds were flowing right over the road through the valley!   I’d never seen anything like it! Sadly I did not have any camera with me.  We knew we had to come back and visit it again! The picture above  kind of shows the road and little parking lot where the clouds were flying over.

We visited it last year and the had just missed the rhododendron blooms, this year when we visited we were a little too early. Maybe we’ll hit it right next year!  

Here is a mix of photos I took on the last two visits.

You can climb up one of the mountain peaks to craggy pinnacle and have a 360 view of the mountain ranges. It’s one of my favorite things ever. 

Right before you get to the top, there is a little trail that leads to this grassy meadow.
 And I want to live there.

This is a view of black mountain, named for all the dark pine trees, and somewhere over there is mount Mitchell,which is the highest point on the east side of the US! We climbed it on our trip last year, it was really neat.
 I thought that was a little house, but the ranger said it was a resting spot for hikers on the mountains-to-sea trail.
You can see where they sliced into the mountain to build the road! 

And here is a little video I took of the crazy clouds!