Rail fence Blue Ridge Parkway Floyd County, Virginia November 2007

To never stop and ask directions–even when you are lost: it is everyman’s dream. For Gary Boyd, the dream has come true in the form of a laptop, Delorme maps software and GPS. And yesterday, the ultimate test: finding Fred. It is actually harder, they tell me, than finding Waldo.

Thanks to Gary and wife for making the effort to wind around our slow and crooked roads and get to know Floyd after reading about the county and its events and personalities now for some little while. I hope he returns to Texas with good memories of the county, the commonwealth and the folks he met along the way…and all the wrong turns made right. Safe travels on the way home today!

And speaking of travels…the image here is from a visit to Chateau Morrisette Winery last week that gave me an opportunity to travel a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is still some color on the ridges, and as you see here, the Friends of the Parkway crews have been busy repairing the rail fences that add so much to the rustic character of the drive.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I’m sure Texas to Floyd was quite a change for Gary, to say nothing of Looong trip. I drove from Odessa to Roanoke a couple times, Looong trip! Think I’d rather drive AROUND Texas then drive thru it. Kidding! But it sure is a long drive from the East side of Texas to the West side.

    Nice Parkway photo. Like your photo too. I think it’s good for readers to see your photo and know who they’re talking too. I wish more bloggers would do that, but then I think I’m more into photos than writing.

  2. Amazing photos. I’d be honored to post one with your link to my new blog call Beauty…on the weblog. I’m showcasing amazing writing/photos that show up in blogs. I’ve had some great entries! I can’t wait to show everyone! If you have one that you like to share please let me know. Respectfully,


  3. Great site. I live down in Stokes County, NC and make several trips a year up to Floyd to ride bikes and enjoy life up there. Thanks for sharing your life up there.
    all the best,