Cold, Windy, History

Wednesday, Feb. 20:
When I got up at 7:00 to use the ‘necessary’, a term learned yesterday in Williamsburg, there was no water! This was further confirmed by the outside reading of 30.2º. The outside water hose and filter froze and Bruce quickly thawed that. Soon after, the concrete crew arrived to prep sites for a new parking slab for the adjoining site. Tamping earth with the noisy vibrator at 8 am preparing for the big orange cement mixer which followed a bit later. Noisy, but interesting to watch all the steps involved, with 6 to 8 men digging, tamping, leveling the fresh cement, floating, brushing, and then removing the wooden border strips of yesterday’s slabs. They’re really putting some effort into upgrading a couple of dozen sites. Sprocket enjoyed it.

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Thursday, Feb. 21:
28º this morning! Bruce dragged in our frozen-solid water hose once again, warming it with our cube heater, and then taking it out to squirt out little cylindrical ice cubes–in and out several times. Sigh. This is unusually cold for here. We left the north to get away from this nonsense!

For the last two days, when not thawing hoses, we’ve been immersed in the rich history of Jamestown and the very beginning of America. The grandiose brick Visitor Center at Jamestown Settlement (State of Virginia) looks like it was designed by a hotel architect, but held capacity crowds of over one million last year for the 400th anniversary of Jamestowne. Turning from the spacious hallway, in through a door that might house a high-power sales conference, we found beautifully designed exhibits, which gently flowed visitors through a script that was both child-friendly and adult-informative. The outdoor re-creation of a Powhatan Indian settlement, to the thatch-roofed buildings within the timber fortification, plus the three re-created ships of Jamestowne, were staffed by memorable costumed interpreters who were obviously passionate about their roles.

We also discovered that the Powhatan Indians invented the Airstream trailer. We saw several examples in the recreated village–they called them long-houses, now we call them Airstreams. Their original was more advanced with fully-retractable wheels and hitch which brought the body down to ground level–no steps required.

as-longhouse.jpg

Today, we went to the Jamestown Visitor’s Center (a National Park) next door to the State facility, which is the real deal: the actual place where the Jamestowne settlers lived and died. A park ranger guided us through the sleuthing process by which Archaeologist Kelso, in 1994, finally located the actual site of the long-disappeared fort. We trudged around in 42º weather, chilled further by the wind off the James River. Despite red noses and tired feet, we wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The combined history of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestowne overlaid by the Revolutionary and Civil wars is truly remarkable.

jamestowne.jpg

The many what-ifs that almost happened and the remarkable events that did, from the English landing at Jamestowne in 1607 through the conclusion of the Civil War, literally made America.

That’s what we learnt in school today.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Airstream, Historic Sites, Weather

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