It's been a few years since we spent a week at Smith Mountain Lake and this year seemed like a good time to revisit, especially because we now have a fourth generation of the family to enjoy it with us. We started our drive to Virginia on June 1st, pulling a Uhaul trailer filled with a lot of old stuff that belonged to the Volz and Landry families or was stuff they'd like to have. We've made the drive before, same route, so we didn't take any pictures.

Of course while in Norfolk we visited David, Chelsea and Michael. Here David pushes his 'train'. Chelsea holds it, just to be sure he doesn't tip it over.

David and his train
David, Chelsea and Michael in the hammock.

We drove to Smith Mountain Lake the following Saturday. Here David, Chelsea and Michael enjoying swinging in the hammock by the lake.

Riding in the boat was a first for David and he seemed to enjoy it. He's wearing his new hat to keep the sun off plus his new life jacket. It has a handle on the collar, just in case Mom or Dad has to make a quick rescue.

David's First Boat Ride
David with Mom on the Pier

That life jacket was also handy for David's first 'swim'. He also wore a wet suit to keep him warm. But he still wasn't to happy about going in the water.

Michael is ready to ride the tube behind the boat. It's fun and easy; the hardest part is getting in the tube from the water. Michael also rode the wake board but I didn't get any pictures.

Michael in the Tube

National D-Day Memorial

On Wednesday Jackie and I took a trip into Bedford, VA to visit the National D-Day Memorial. Why a national memorial in Bedford? On D-Day 19 Bedford soldiers died, and with a population then of only 3,200, this community suffered the greatest proportion of losses.

The center of the memorial is the Overlord Arch. Overlord was the name of the operation that began on D-Day. The arch is 44 feet, 6 inches tall, signifying the date of D-Day, the sixth day of the sixth month of the year '44.

Overlord Monument
General Dwight D. Eisenhower

The monument grounds are circular and visitors can enter from many points. We started at what might be considered the back. A highlight here is this statue of the Allied Supreme Commander, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Busts of other leaders of the invasion line the walkways from this rotunda.

The pattern in the garden here echoes the shoulder patch of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expenditionary Force (SHAEF). You can see some of the leaders busts lining the walkways.

Reynolds Garden

This is an example of the SHAEF patch. Below it are some of the words of the Supreme Commander's Order of the Day for 6 June 1944

This scene is a generalized depiction of the landing. The sculptures are Through the Surf, Death on Shore, Across the Beach and finally, Scaling the Wall. Small jets of air and water shoot out sporadically simulating the enemy fire.

Normandy Landing
Scaling the Wall

This is a closeup of the sculpture Scaling the Wall. Although they may have been inspired by real incidents or individuals, the sculptures here are generalized and allude to the actions and events of the amphibious landing.

West of the beach tableau is this circular monument honoring the service of the naval forces of Operation Neptune. Prominently displayed are a ships bell and anchor, symbols of the naval service on D-Day..

Navy Memorial

Sharp Top Mountain

But we weren't the only ones spending time away from the lake. Michael, Chelsea and David took a day to climb to the top of Sharp Top Mountain, about 30 miles from the lake house.

I think Michael and Chelsea did most of the climbing while David got a ride. But the view from the top is spectacular. Jackie and I were there many years ago although we took a park bus ride almost to the top. And Martin and I took the bus to the top but then spent a lot of time looking for an old airplane crash site. (We found it, and then hiked down from the mountain.)

View from Sharp Top
Lunch on Sharp Top

David seemed to enjoy the hike. He especially seems to be enjoying his granola bar for lunch. That's a great looking hat to keep the sun off his head.

One bit of excitement happened on Thursday. A line of storms moved through that afternoon knocking down tree limbs and leaving us without power. All of the kitchen appliances were electric. But Michael cooked supper on the gas grill. Cheryl made coffee by heating the water on the grill and slowly pouring it through the drip filter basket into the pot.

But early the next morning Jackie drove in to a nearby Subway shop and brought back two quart thermoses of coffee. Power came back by Friday afternoon.

View from Sharp Top
Hickory Hill Cove

It was a great week - well, two and a half weeks for us. The trip home was uneventful. We can't wait for our next visit to Virginia.