Of Gaps, Knobs, and Hollows—An Appalachian Adventure


Our Fall roadtrip begins again in Orlando where we pick up our trailer and immediately head for the Blue Ridge Parkway enroute to Boston.  The fall colors are supposed to be fantastic and we aren’t disappointed…..

Before leaving  Orlando, we got clobbered with a big rainstorm which dumped 15″ of rain on our tails as we fled north.

Only in Photoshop can you make a big storm cloud look like a nuclear explosion.  It’s time to drive north!

Before we  enter the Parkway, we visit one of our poster sites:  Fort Marion as it was called in the 30s when the WPA poster was created–using the British name.  Today it is  PC correct as Castillo de San Marcos:

Here’s the 30s poster–a beautiful poster design.  There is a shortage of eastern park WPA poster designs so this is indeed a rare poster, yet this park won’t sell it–but Ranger Doug does right here.

Martina with canon–not the camera…..  Incredible history here!

We lumber our way northward stopping at campgrounds on our way up Appalachia.  Here “Ranger Doug” can’t resist playing ranger again–he’s interviewing the modern camper replete with fifth wheel, piggy-backed “Smart Car” towed by a big-rig.

Above is the location of our 75th anniversary Blue Ridge Parkway poster….

….and below is our poster design:

Appalachia….truly a relaxed way of life.

Hiking trail with autumn colors….

Martina models in a neighboring Airstream–art-westeaux.  Never seen such an interior complete with a mounted bull’s head…..

every campground has it’s unique visitors….

This is Mabry Mill–quite a scenic stop and quite functional with a river driven waterwheel.  Essentially, this was the source of power for 200 years, before electricity.  This mill still grinds flour which is for sale.

We drive out the north end of Blue Ridge Parkway shortly after and skirt a storm in Shenandoah arriving in Washington DC for a 1/2 hour meeting with the Director of the National Park Service, Jon Jarvis.  My mission is to host an exhibition of all original WPA national park posters for the 2016 NPS Centennial at the Smithsonian–we have now found 13 of 16 known originals.  And Jon is certainly enthusiastic about my mission.

Since finding one castaway poster in 1973, I’ve republished the historical set of 16 parks plus contemporary designs for those parks that didn’t subscribe to the WPA’s federal poster project.  We now publish over 35 park designs and have  sold over 100,000 reproductions of this fabulous poster collection.  Our goal is to hang a WPA poster in every home in America.

Here Martina and I have finally arrived in Paterson N.J. the location of America’s newest National Park, just signed into law by President Obama–Paterson Falls National Park.   PFNP is located just 17 miles west of New York City at the site of a 77′ high/300′ wide falls that powered America’s first industrial town.

Founded by Alexander Hamilton, Geo. Washington’s Secretary of Treasury, he realized the industrial opportunity here as opposed to relying on the British.  General Washington camped on the fall’s edge during the Revolutionary War….  Quite interesting.

This hydro power allowed the Colt Firearms factory to be located here–also most of the American railroad rolling stock including the engines for the construction of the Panama Canal.

This park will take several years to mature with restoration and interpretation of many buildings and manufacturing plants.

Keep your eye on this place.

We keep driving north to Mystic Seaport, Connecticut.

With about 500-600 restored wooden boats!  Seattle has how many?  Maybe a dozen.  The Wawona was just chainsawed up before risking sinking in South Lake Union….  Shame on the NW Seaport for 40 years of supervised neglect!   Here’s how Mystic restores vessels:

This is a 6 year $8.2M restoration of the last whaling vessel left.  As a former board member of the Virginia Five,  I was proud!

OK–time to store our trailer (near Boston) and jump on an Amtrak train for a relaxed trip to Seattle–just barely beating a huge snowstorm in the NE.  Here we pose beside the modern “Bambi” airstreams and the larger goliaths.  I’ll stick with our 13′ footer….

Enroute across the Northern US, this photo was taken at sunset near Au Claire, Wisconsin where my great grandparents immigrated from Norway–no wonder they later moved to Bellingham!

And this was probably the very same train they rode on….   Minot ND.

Incredibly, we have no photos of our ferry trip from Bellingham to Petersburg–perhaps it’s too mundane for us after dozens of transits.  We arrive late at night to find our home (here, our garden fence) smothered in snow and 41F inside!  Time to fire up our masonry heater and move back in!  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Responses to “Of Gaps, Knobs, and Hollows—An Appalachian Adventure”

  1. Adam Says:

    I was at Ft. Marion in October and asked if they had your poster for sale. The lady said they did not but you had been there to talk to them about it.

    Needless to say we will be ordering it from you!

    I’ve started my own collection based on National Parks I’ve visited – currently I have two (Mesa Verde and Petrified Forest) but will soon be adding Ft. Marion and the Blue Ridge Parkway. My wife and I intend on purchasing (and then framing) more when we head to Yellowstone next fall.

    Thanks again for making these great prints available!

  2. Doug Says:

    Fort Marion will be carrying this poster beginning next season however, for the past 15 years this is the only park that wouldn’t carry their own WPA poster–puzzling, to say the least. We offer all screened prints online of course. Thanks for your kind comments.

  3. ksb Says:

    I just stumbled on your website and blog. I love the recreated scenes from the posters in your blog.I have long loved the Jenny Lake Museum poster that I bought at a gallery in Jackson, WY in mid to late 90s. The Ft. Marion one above reminds me of it’s colors. The Jenny Lake one is proudly framed and hanging in my house.
    I have always had a thing for that eras poster art so I’m very excited to see that I can splurge on a few more.
    Thanks so much.

  4. Carla Ecland Says:

    Our friends gave us the Hawaii poster last night and we love it. What an amazing adventure you’ve created to share with the world. thanks for uncovering these gems.

  5. Alan Says:

    Good story and bio – thanks. FYI, Doug if you search, “Peter’s cat boat” Youtube, you might find it interesting (though mislabeled apparently, not Cat Boat).

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