June 20 – Day 8: Fredericksburg to Richmond: Cool and Wet, More NPC and ND Encounters

A Bit of a Wet Day


We left Fredericksburg today in the rain, and the weather stayed steady the entire way down to Richmond. We were soaked through and through, but the landscape was beautiful. We would have seen more if we had windshield wipers for our glasses, but I think we saw every shade of green along the road today, including Kelly green! We also saw more gophers watching as we passed and making those funny noises as though they are laughing out loud. We also had a stealth dog approach – the kind that make no noise and appear fast and furious out of nowhere. There must have been an invisible fence, because after that first lunge the dog seemed to lose interest and didn’t pursue us. It was enough to speed up the heart rate, anyway. We saw a store named “Pops,” which is our girls’ name for Greg, so we joked that he owns a store here in Virginia. Very few cars interrupted our tranquil surroundings until we entered Richmond, and by then we were close to our hotel. Tomorrow we are expecting a hot, sunny and humid ride – typical Southern weather.

Pops in front of "Pops"

Turkey Crossing?

Beware of Crossing Turtles Too

This evening, Chuck met us at our hotel to tell us about his granddaughter Ashton, who has Niemann-Pick. He affectionately told us about her love of family, friends and school – she prefers school over summer days. Ashton deeply cares for others, and she and her younger sister are very protective of each other. It was great to hear about such a sweet girl. He mentioned some of the fundraisers at which he helps raise money for NPC research within the framework of the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation. One is a BBQ chicken dinner, a very successful and growing event. Students at Ashton’s previous school hold a walk-a-thon for her every year. Chuck was very clear that the answer lies in research, something we also firmly believe.

Grandpa Chuck with Renate and Greg

Another ND encounter today – we were shopping at REI (Greg forgot his rain gear, and we figured if we bought some, that should ward off any more rain on our trip) when an ND alum saw the van and came to meet us. We explained our fundraiser and our focus on NPC at Notre Dame. Brian and his two children, Meredith and Daniel, signed the van and donated to our cause. Brian will be passing along the info at the ND night in Richmond. It is always great to have such serendipitous ND moments.

ND Encounter at REI



1 Comment so far

  1.    Maureen McFadden on June 22nd, 2011

    Way to go Greg and Renate. You are both such a blessing and inspiration!