CC news – In a cloud on the skyline drive in Virginia

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We drove along the amazing Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia today. A bit drizzly and moody but beautiful none the less. This massive RV, towing a big SUV, roared past at one point. We ended up in Charlottesville, a fairly hip college town, home to Thomas Jefferson’s ‘Monticello’ and his famous Rotunda in the University of Virginia.

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Stopped for a coffee in a restaurant in ‘Big Indian’ and admired these deer heads. The owner told us they were mostly killed with crossbows, including one that was “shot up the butt”, which is not considered “a good kill”. Apparently they are often found at yard sales for between $100 – $300 and aren’t that popular anymore because “non hunting types aren’t comfortable with this kind of stuff”. She also had a black bear skin nailed to the opposite wall.

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Up here in the Catskills, America’s working poor are taking a beating. As someone recently said, it’s like they’ve been shoved in a hessian bag that’s being kicked all around and they just can’t figure out, or are just too stupid to know, who’s doing the kicking. This beautiful area is full of abandoned or derelict places literally rotting into the soil. This is the unloved America, a sad and moving place full of impoverished patriots crushed by corporate power, politics and globalisation, that’s still proud to be American. I absolutely love it.

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Spent the day driving around the beautiful and, in many parts, forlorn Catskills draped in early autumn colours, tumbling down american gothic mansions and mountain houses, foreclosed shacks, boarded up shops and american flags, beautiful and ornate timber houses and magnificent views across cloud covered ranges. Very few cars on the roads so the driving was great fun.

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