Saturday, November 11, 2023

October 2023: Finding Ruby’s Replacement and Fall in the Foothills

October 1-31, 2023                                                             Most Recent Posts:
Greenfield Mountain Farm                                             My Favorite Visitors
Virginia                                                                          Ups and Downs in Virginia


Finding a car to replace Ruby took more than a month.  I wanted something I was familiar and comfortable with and that meant a Honda Accord with a standard transmission.  And near by enough that a friend might not mind driving me back to pick it up. 

The Honda part was not difficult to find, the standard transmission, nearly impossible.  I investigated towing an automatic but there were just too many steps and considerations with everything I checked out.  Add to that, that only certain year accords have baseplates.

In the end I went to Shyster Motors ( also known as Thornburg Auto Sales).  The car filled nearly all my requirements.  One owner, no accidents etc   But the dealership…well check out the picture. 

The woman I talked to was very helpful on the phone and in person but the owner was a total and complete jerk.  The car’s tires were bald,  it had a seal repaired with some sort of superglue…..but I paid to have it looked over by a nearby mechanic whom I hope was honest, bought it, drove it home carefully to avoid blow outs.  Then I put 4 new tires on it, gave it a good check up with my mechanic and started on the next difficult step of getting it outfitted.

Saw this on the test drive.  Only in Virginia


So here they are together in the barnyard.  Winnona and Maude?  Trudy?  Louise? Rhonda?  Gertie, Gracie…..Do you have better ideas?.  


I’m not a fan of gray cars, or black, or white for that matter but she’s here and she needs a name.  


Now to get the car set up for towing.  And carrying my kayak.  Neither is a  small expenses

PXL_20231016_183058565.MPGetting the car set up for towing was the worst and took an incredible amount of time.  The Charlottesville area does not have any RV support services.   I called an RV dealer in the Shenandoah Valley 40 miles away who wanted $3000 to put the baseplate and wiring on.    I called one in Richmond 70 miles away who wanted $2600 but said he could not get the parts for 6 weeks and suggested I try to order them.

So I did. I called Blue Ox whose parts David put on Ruby.  Winnona still has the tow bar but I lost everything that was on Ruby for which the insurance company paid me $700.  The parts for the tow package were more than that not including the labor or the hullivator kayak rack.

The man from Blue Ox said the parts for a 2014 Accord were on back order but he called E=trailer and they did have them.  So I ordered $850 worth of parts.  The above pictures are how the parts came to me from UPS.

I’ve got the parts but the cheapest labor I could find was $1700 in Richmond.  So I asked my neighbors on Next Door if anyone had any ideas of some place in Charlottesville who might be able to do this.   They recommended a few places but only C’ville Imports said they “probably could”.  I talked to Darren who said he could.  I made an appointment.  At least I don’t have to drive to a different city to leave the car.  

In the midst of what seemed like non stop planning and phone calls and organizing and arranging there were some sanity breaks like this one with Laurie having lunch outside at Botanical Fare Restaurant on the downtown mall.

Sunday Oct 15 (1)


I had previously ordered the new kayak rack from Appomattox River Company in Farmville Virginia, 70 miles south of the farm.  It was where I had bought my kayak and gear many years ago and the closest place the could get and install the Thule Hullivator I’d had on Ruby.


Though expensive at $1700 parts and labor, it was the easiest of all the tasks required by the woman’s carelessness and my loss of Ruby.  I drove down and waited while they did the installation.

Concurrently for the entire months of September and October I had multiple weekly appointments with my wonderful chiropractor Dr. Fusco of Cox Chiropractic.  He helped me with my neck, shoulder and lower back injuries.

Plus he’s a Buckeye from Ohio State, my undergraduate Alma mater.  Isn’t he darling?


To add spice to the month, the power at the farm went out again twice and I moved into Winnona so I could have electricity from her solar panels and a stove from her propane.   So glad her Virginia campsite is in the barnyard.


For at least some relaxation before bedtime, I finished this difficult puzzle only to find one piece missing.   Do you see it?


I took another break to have lunch with Laurie at Carter’s Mountain Orchard where the highlight for us is the apple cider donuts of which I have no pictures.  Hmmmmm……


But here we are eating lunch and the bag just beyond Laurie has her dozen donuts in it.


Before the carelessness fiasco, I had arranged for Ronnie’s Mobile Wash and Wax to come out and give Winnona a good cleaning.


If his waxing holds up, it will be great to know that there is someone who will come out to the farm to do this for me.   Time will tell over the winter.


Other things I enjoyed in October were the fall colors at the farm and the full moon fighting its way through the clouds on what was a spooky looking Halloween night.



I paid a visit to the Charlottesville Farmer’s Market for fresh produce.



And found lots of wonderful Halloween displays on a walk around the neighborhoods.

My friend Mary had a sun bathing Maude in her yard.  Loved the caption.


Other favorite.




But these folks go  all out every year.  It’s really amazing!













For many years we had a network of trails on the farm property but over the years we were on the road they grew over and are difficult to find.  But still I love to hike around and did so on many days as a break from trying to cut down my lists.

Hiking to the end of the farm road and down into the lower field was my most frequent hike.





David and I put benches along many of the trails.  He made them and this is one of my favorites.

It sits beside a stream which, despite all the rains this summer, was, as usual in the fall, nearly dry.   All of our streams begin on our property and pick up steam on their way to the nearby rivers.

The benches are wonderful for rest and for contemplation especially on some of the steeper trails.


At the end of October, Quarry Gardens in Schulyer hosted a tree walk.  Laurie and I took a picnic lunch and went early.  As I had been there before I knew there were nice picnic tables near the visitor’s center.  

PXL_20231029_170859247Unfortunately for us, we got there before the gate was open so we improvised outside the gate on some beach towels I had in the 1996 Honda of David’s which I kept because it is a wonderful car and in this horrible situation with Ruby, it has been a lifeline.  I only got 5 days of a rental car from her insurance.  Who in the world can find a replacement car in 5 days unless they own the bank.


I wrote a longer description of the visit Mary and I made to Quarry Gardens in mid September when we went on a walk given by the founders and owners.  If you are interested, you can find it here.   It has much more information.

The Gardens interesting Visitor CenterIMG_9669

The trails lead over bridges and beside the quarries and other ponds.  This was a “tree” walk and highlighted the fall foliage.


Sycamore Bark is unmistakably beautiful.


Witch Hazel is feathery and fragrant.


I’ve forgotten what this is but if any of you or Laurie know, please comment and tell me.  I love its look and colors.

The wildlife for the day.  I thought she was quite stunning.

One of the quarries with a bench used probably for the same activities ours.

I really like the mirror image of this pyramid looking section of the quarry wall.

Clearly there is no shortage of wonderful rocks for making steps on the paths.


Another terrific sight on the hike was this group of Shaggy Mane mushrooms.  They are quite ephemeral so we were lucky to stumble on them.

When mining the quarry there were frequent non perfect blocks of soapstone and the Gardens land is full of these huge stones just discarded all around as in here at the top of cut wall.

I wish I could describe how huge these are.  If we hadn’t been on a group tour, I might have walked over and had my picture taken sitting on one.  Don’t think my feet would have reached the ground.

And with that I closed out my fall in Virginia.  It’s been extremely stressful and even with all my efforts I was unable to keep all of my first reservation in Fort Clinch State Park on the Atlantic Ocean and St Mary’s River in Fernandina Beach Florida.   The Cancellation fees are like Deja Vu from the vandalism 2 falls ago.   Maybe I should rethink Virginia in the fall.

BUT I did make it all happen with giant dents in my savings account and am here now in site 16 now and posting this from wonderful 70 degree breezy temperatures.   High of 58 and low of 32 at the farm tomorrow.

Ocean front sunrise pictures and more coming in my next post.


  1. Replies
    1. You always bring a smile to my face Paul. thank you!

  2. Maude! She looks like a Maude, the car that is 😉 I'm glad you're finally in your happy place. Are you still able to continue chiropractor treatment? I swear by it!

    1. Even though I listed Maude first in the list, it wasn't my first choice and I'm not sure I'm going to use it although it's the only name any of the commenters seemed to like.

  3. Good to find out you're back on the road, kiddo. Finally!

    I'm thinking you should dub your new ride SHADOW since, indeed, it is only a shadow of the former RUBY… and it IS black.

    Oh, and regarding that missing piece in your puzzle? If I could see it, it wouldn't be missing now would it? 🤪

    1. Very funny! But shadow is a good idea since she does shadow Winnona. Thanks for the comment.

  4. I love the name Maude too!

    1. Seems like all the votes are for Maude And only 1 person had another suggestion. Mary thinks Louise would love my calling the car after her.

  5. Nice looking car and RV. They really take Halloween seriously near you.

    1. Thanks Tom. For sure that 1 house definitely takes Halloween seriously.

  6. Quite busy. I loved the Halloween pics. Fun!

    1. Yes ridiculously busy and I shouldn't have been. Sorry we didn't get together to at least have lunch in the 2 months I was in town.

  7. As for the unknown pink/red flower thing, looks like a fellow Virginian knows:

    1. This is great Judith! Thanks so much for the link and the comment. I like hearts a burstin.

  8. Wow, you sure accomplished a lot! Good for you for persevering through so many challenges. So glad you got everything done. Enjoy your winter in Florida!

    1. Yes and I'm totally exhausted. Got to Fernandina Beach and it's as cold as Virginia during the day plus 20mph winds. Not sure why I worked so hard to come south. LOL

  9. That hike looked interesting. I really like sycamore trees- they are often such graceful shapes. some of my favorites are at Riverview Park and Sugar Hollow. You did a great job accomplishing your endless "to do" list. I know it was stressful. Have a wonderful time at your campsite !

    1. Thanks so much for the well wishes and the comment my anonymous fellow Charlottesvillian. Wish I knew who you were. Sycamore trees are some of my favorites too obviously.

  10. Shadow! Jody's onto something there. I also like Maude. So glad you got to spend some really nice time with Laurie and are now warm and near the ocean. You can leave that stress behind you and enjoy a well deserved break!

    1. Thank you sweetheart but unfortunately it's not so warm here.

  11. Happy to hear you found a car! That was a tough situation! I vote for Maude...Temperatures are going to reach into the sixties for a couple of days in IN. then a cold front hits and more normal Nov. temps return. Enjoy your winter! Eldy is NOT looking forward to it here, lol.

    1. I love when you say temperatures are gonna reach into the 60s That's what they are here but 20 miles an hour wind so it feels Mighty cold to me. I'm with Eldy- forget winter which is why I came here. hope it gets warmer.

  12. Oh, Sherry, I am so sorry you had to go through all of that, but am very glad that you've made it to a warmer climate. Thank you for the picture of the bench David built. Enjoy and put your troubles behind you!

    1. The benches are really wonderful and I love coming upon them in the woods. Thanks for your comment and good wishes. I'm sorry we didn't get together during September or October.

  13. So glad you waded through all the BS and got to FL. I'm still emptying and cleaning the 5er while trying to settle into the bus.

    1. You nailed it right on the head Gaelyn waded through the BS.
      But I think my lucky star's my situation was not as bad as yours though I really like your new ride. Good luck with the clean out.

  14. Well, Sherry, you did it. One post for the entire month of October. Nice thing about the monthly method is that you never have to feel terribly behind as long as you manage to do it. LOL So glad to hear that you are safely settled into Florida, in spite of all the hassles and the losses and the frustration. At least you got through it. Congratulations on your perserverence and your successes. Have fun on the beach!

    1. You are my inspiration Sue for the monthly post. Let's hope I can keep it up. Really appreciate your congratulations. I feel like I finally finished the race. I definitely didn't win it but I sure hope it's over.

  15. Good morning Sherry, so disappointed we did not make it to Fernandina to meet you, yes the cancelation fees are...
    1st I liked Maude until I heard Shadow. Maude may be more fitting for a name, but Shadow is a perfect description. (Miss Maude Shadow)😉
    It really sucks the time and cost that falls on us because of someone else's negligence. (Unfortunately, insurance companies are really just a mafia full of crooked lobbyists who get terrible laws approved to save them money but hurt the victims in accidents.) The pain you suffered is more of my concern, especially the lingering parts...
    Sooooo glad that you fought through the discouragement and trials to make it down and continue your dream. You remain and always will be an inspiration to so many of us, please keep fighting and moving forward with your dreams!
    We certainly will find a way to meet up with you sometime soon, but we're definitely thankful for the blogs to follow along as we miss ya and wait!❤️

    1. Shayne your comments always bring such a smile to my face. I really appreciate them. You must come to Anastasia or Gamble Rogers. As for the car: Everybody seems to like Maude but it feels kind of Frumpy to me. Shadow seems like a cat's name. I'm trying to like this car but I hate gray and I miss Ruby.
      I'm trying out Winnona and Trudy, sounds some like Winnona and Ruby and has a lively feel that a gray car alone doesn't have.
      Or maybe Winnona and Grace or Gracie, like Grace and funny with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Don't know how I'll ever decide. It was so easy with Ruby. What a great toad she was.

  16. I’m so glad you had such a lovely visit with your dear grandchildren. Our daughter and her family moved to the country near Windsor 2 1/2 months ago. It’s so good to see our grandsons (4 & 8) playing and working outside on their property. They are farther from us now, but I’m glad they will grow up in that environment.


Your comments help me in more ways than you can know. Thanks in advance.