On Monday we slept in quite a bit (until about 10:15 am Eastern), trying to catch up from all the social events of the weekend. Once we were finally up and fed, Ryan took us on a bit of a tour of Blacksburg. (Unfortunately, Elyn had to work, so she couldn’t hang out with us. Ryan, being a student, pretty much makes his own schedule.) There wasn’t a whole lot to tour – it’s a fairly small town, other than the University.
We also went to the Virginia Tech campus. (Their mascot is the Hokies, which apparently is even more meaningless than Hoya.) It’s very large – 30,000 students and a proportionate amount of land. We got a chance to see Ryan’s office, as well as the library and the bookstore. A prominent feature on campus is a large war memorial, commissioned after World War II and completed in 1960. We took a closer look at it, as well as the chapel underneath.
For lunch we went to a burger joint called Five Guys. This is a small Virginia chain – we had been to the one in Alexandria a couple of times when I was working in Virginia. Ryan claimed that the burgers were better than In-N-Out. This was of course a claim to be investigated. We did enjoy the burgers, but we concluded that it’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison. In-N-Out has the special sauce that nobody else has, but these were very good, fresh burgers, and the patties seemed a little more substantial than those at In-N-Out.
After lunch we did a brief hike in a nature preserve, called Falls Ridge Nature Preserve, in a tucked-away corner not too far away from Ryan & Elyn’s house. There were some very interesting waterfalls, and we also checked out what the preserve’s website had referred to as “caverns”. Only one of them was big enough yet enclosed enough to “explore”, but still very tiny – once the three of us got inside, that was pretty much it. But the scenery was pretty and it was nice to be outside despite the heat and humidity.
Then we drove to Roanoke to pick up Elyn from work. We got there a bit early, so we hung out in the restaurant behind her office building and had a drink. It’s a strange little place called “Fork in the Alley” and really isn’t actually on any street. I wonder how people find it.
On a hill above Roanoke is a large star that is illuminated at night and watches over the city. We drove to the star to check out the view. Unfortunately it was very hazy outside and we could hear thunder in the distance. But it gave us a pretty good idea of how large Roanoke is – much larger than Blacksburg 40 minutes away.
We stopped by WalMart for a few groceries and what an experience that was. I can’t go into it without being politically incorrect. I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination to think about a WalMart in the western part of Virginia.
We had stir fry for dinner which was very yummy, then watched the Red Sox lose to the Cardinals (about which Dave and I were quite pleased, while Elyn was quite not) and Dave worked on his homework, which was due the next day.