Sunday, April 11, 2021

Kentucky Capers

By Jen.

Dates: 10/19/2020 to 10/22/2020

From here, we had a choice: head south down the east-coast states or head back to Arkansas to finish the maintenance on the van. Since the remaining maintenance was eating away at Jonathan, we went back towards AR. But before then, we did try to do a few stops. In high school, I did an AFS (American Field Service) exchange for a few days with a high school in Eden, NY. Unfortunately, I did not keep in contact with my exchange family, but I thought it would be fun to drive through the town. I did remember a few of the locations from back then (over a decade and a half now). Then we made our way to Cook Forest State Park in PA, where I had heard about an interesting trail. But, it was raining and showed no signs of stopping for the next few days in the wider area. So, we bypassed the rain by heading directly to Kentucky. Our first stop there was Natural Bridge State Park.

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You can see how the rock is prime to create a natural “bridge.”

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Local fungi.

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The natural bridge is fairly massive!

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And narrow, with a rock staircase leading up to the top. 

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Standing on top of the bridge.

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Fall colors were just coming to the region.

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A walking stick! (My finger is next parallel to it for size reference, not pointing at it.) Jonathan almost stepped on it, so I moved it off the path.

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A natural rock garden.

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A “balanced” rock.


Daniel Boone National Forest surrounds this park, and when we went to find a campsite for the night, we ran into some locals who recommended Chimney Top at sunrise. So, we set our alarms, went to bed early, and made our way to the trail before first light. 

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Upon first arrival.

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Just a few wisps of clouds in the sky, which started to turn pink.

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The gap that we walked over in the dark (on a bridge) that apparently makes it a “chimney.”

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A pretty tree with giant leaves.

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Aforementioned giant leaf.


From there, we made the hop over to my grandma’s to say hi to her and my aunt before doing a skip and a jump back to Arkansas to do some more maintenance.

Friday, April 9, 2021

We Got Our Vaccine!!

By Jen.

Dates: 4/9/2021

I thought I would slip in an important current event. Jonathan and I became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines in Oklahoma on 3/26/2021, which was super exciting! It happened to correspond to when we were in the area, so that was also helpful. We are big proponents of vaccinations, and had already been discussing our plan of attack. We really wanted to do the Janssen (aka Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, as it has the highest efficacy (85.4% against severe disease and hospitalization) for a single dose. Plan B would be to get a single dose of Pfizer and try to get the 2nd elsewhere. (Current studies show that Pfizer and Moderna single doses have an 80% efficacy.) And, when we started looking at appointments, we could either drive 4 hours across the state for the Janssen, schedule a few days later for a Pfizer vaccine, or wait until the next week’s appointments were generated in a few days more. We decided to hold out, do a few maintenance items.

It was worth the wait! We scheduled appointments for 10:15 am on 4/6/2020 at the James O Goodwin Tulsa Health Department. It was a well-oiled machine! We never waited more than 2 minutes, with traffic mostly flowing in 1 direction. Would highly recommend for those in the area! We entered at 10:10, and left at 10:48.


The shot hurt quite a bit more than the flu shot. Not sure if it was the result of an unsteady hand or simply the volume of fluid they squeeze in your arm. (It still hurts 3 days later.) We felt fine during the 10-minute wait period, but I did start to experience neck and shoulder soreness in about 30 minutes. We both felt pretty good the rest of the day, but about 10 pm, we started to feel pretty achy all over, which escalated pretty quickly. Jonathan felt a very brief wave of nausea that passed quickly. As we got into bed, we started feeling a little feverish as well. But that is the worst of the side effects that we experienced. It lasted all night, but as the sun rose, we started feeling better and, by the 24-hour mark after the vaccine, we were feeling pretty close to normal and ready to hit the road.

We got the orange sticker.

This experience matches what we have discovered about side effects for receiving vaccines. If you have had COVID-19, then you will likely have side effects on the first dose. Otherwise, if you won’t likely have a reaction until the 2nd dose, because then your body knows what to do. That means the vaccine is working! (If you don’t have reactions for either dose, it does not mean it isn’t working. [Yikes, double negatives!])


How the mRNA Vaccine 💉 works #fyp #comedy #skit #covid19 #mrna #coronavirus #vaccine #howitworks

♬ original sound - hotvickkrishna

We assumed we had COVID-19 at the beginning of the year, and although all my tests (Rapid--before most symptoms--and Antibody--right at 90 days) had shown negative, in our minds, the vaccine response proved we had COVID. Others in our family that had not had COVID did not have any reaction to either vaccine. After having gone through both COVID and a reaction to the vaccine, we would both much rather have the vaccine than COVID. Despite being fully vaccinated, we will continue to wear our masks in accordance with the CDC guidelines. If you haven’t had COVID yet, please get the vaccine ASAP so that we can reach herd immunity, preventing more deaths and virus mutations.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Letchworth State Park

By Jen.

Dates: 10/18/2020

When we had passed through New York on the way to Maine, I discovered this beautiful state park while trying to look for campsites. It had beautiful pictures in Google Maps, so I quickly added it to my places to visit. It did not disappoint. 

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We were up early enough to watch the sun rise over the park, which ironically meant that we didn’t have to pay the entrance/parking fee.

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The upper falls.


The middle falls are the tallest falls in the park.

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This area was fairly ripe with fall colors as well.

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A stone bridge to cross the gorge.

The lower falls. 

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Hogsback Overlook


We drove from one end to the other that day, and greatly enjoyed the sights. I am very glad I saw this state park on the map.