Made in the Shade

MagneShade that is.

We’ve been thinking about this upgrade for quite some time, but the price made us think long and hard. The company is located in Mocksville, NC about 2 hours from Falls Lake State Park where we stay when visiting our younger daughter and her family.

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We opted for the brown material with a sort of khaki piping trim to match the coach

We were told we could spend the night in their parking lot and that they would have electric hook up for us. Well, a 110 outlet on the side of the building wasn’t going to do much for this behemoth all-electric motorhome, so we ran the generator a while and thankfully, it was cool overnight.

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Measuring and installing

It wasn’t exactly comfortable being in a sketchy part of town in a parking lot all alone. But hey, we lived to tell about it. Ha.

They got started about 9 am and had some of the shades already made. We had a special one made for the side window on the slide which they measured for and made while we were there.

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They stay in place with super strong magnets that are installed on the windows and in the pockets of the shades. You use an extendable pole inserted into the pockets to install. No mods to the motorhome (like snaps) and no ladders.

We received instructions on putting them on and off and a demo of how to store them. We were out of there by noon.

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Tom with the owner Roger Hunckler

Time will tell if it was worth the money and they cut down on the heat of the sun in the motorhome when it’s parked. We like that we can still see out when they are in place. The solution we were trying before involved a reflector shield, and two shades that totally blocked our view and made the inside cave-like.


Durham again

Every chance we get, we visit Indianapolis and Durham

Grandkids, you know?

We are headed to Mocksville, NC to have some MagneShades installed on the motorhome in an attempt to cut down on the heat. That’s close to Durham, right?

And, it just so happens, they will have 93% totality for the solar eclipse. We’re staying in our old stand-by Falls Lake State Park. It’s almost empty. Maybe 10 sites taken in the entire campground.

We found out 93% totality is not near as impressive as 100% totality, and in retrospect should have driven a couple more hours for the real experience.


We had our eclipse ISO certified glasses ordered from Amazon and delivered to our daughter’s house.


Bogey was not impressed

It was cool to see the change in coloring and the crescent shaped shadows and the temperature may have dropped a few degrees (it was 95 that day). But overall, a little disappointing here.


Cool shadows on the blacktop

Well, there’s always 2024 for the next total solar eclipse, if we’re around then.

And a big plus, we got some quality time in with these little cuties.


Pool Time!


Confederate Monuments

We’ll set the stage for this post…

We are staying in Ashland, Virginia, about an hour away from Charlottesville and just north of Richmond. The local news stories center on the tragedy in Charlottesville and the call for the removal of all confederate monuments. We are surrounded by Civil War sites in an area rich in southern history. Our visits to the Holocaust museum, Martin Luther King, Jr memorial and Mt Vernon and Monticello (with their slave plantations) are fresh in our memory.

We’ve been thinking a lot lately:

  • About the suppression of human rights and slavery

  • About crowd mentality

  • About violence and the abuse of power

In our opinion, the removal of all confederate monuments is a complicated issue. On one hand, we can see that they serve as a bitter reminder of a people oppressed. On the other hand, they are a part of history and tradition.

We both have great, great grandpas that fought for the Union in the Civil War, so we have no allegiance to the south. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore its history.

Undeniably, slavery was a horrible, terrible institution. And it was a big reason for the war between the states. But the war was also about politics, states rights, trade agreements and a tradition of life.

Should history be ignored? Shouldn’t history be accepted for what it was – no matter how heinous? And presented in such a way to educate? We saw this presented poignantly at the Holocaust museum.

Has freedom of speech been confused with displays of public hatred? Racism in any guise is wrong. How did the neo-Nazis and white supremacists get caught up in all this?

Friends of ours from Richmond took us to downtown Richmond to Monument Avenue where we saw the very impressive monuments to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E Lee.

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The governor of Virginia has ordered these removed.

We also visited Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond and saw the grave of Jefferson Davis.


The family plot includes a life-size statue of Jefferson Davis

Will his gravesite monument statue also be ordered removed?

What about the monuments at Gettysburg where the dead from both north and the south are equally honored?

Will our grandchildren be taught that all southerners were evil? Or will the Civil War just be ignored in history all together?

Tolerance, civility, rational thinking not hatred, politics or impulsiveness are called for here.

Jefferson’s Monticello

We have left D.C. and moved south to Ashland, Virginia, just north of Richmond. About an hour from here is the Mountaintop house and plantation of our third president Thomas Jefferson.

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Like Mt Vernon, George Washington’s home, this place is run by a private organization not the National Park Service. Admission is charged. Also, like Mt Vernon no photographs are allowed in the mansion. We learned that it took Jefferson 40 years to build Monticello. He designed every aspect of its construction and the landscape here. He filled the mansion with personal items, many books, souvenirs from the Lewis and Clark expedition, famous paintings, and whatever else he found interesting. The mansion tour takes you through the Great Hall – furnished in fossils and Native American artifacts as well as a Great Clock that not only shows the time of day, but the day of the week. The family’s private sitting room and parlor. The dining room and tea room and his private study and bedchambers.

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The lower level, in two sections call the dependencies, is self-guided and includes the kitchen and wine and beer cellars. There were complicated food and wine service devices for transporting food and drink up to the living chambers.


We attended two additional tours while here. The first was a ‘Grounds and Gardens’ tour during which the guide pointed out the elaborate flower beds, the food garden and orchard.

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Jefferson had a great interest in gardening, botany and agriculture and directed the plantings.

This was very much a working plantation growing tobacco and wheat. At any given time there were 130 slaves working the land and the house, as well as a textile factory and nail making shop.

The second of our tours was called ‘Slavery at Monticello’ and the guide did a wonderful job of explaining the experiences of the enslaved people who lived and labored here. We learned about Sally Hemmings, a slave, and of the children she had with Jefferson after the death of his wife. DNA evidence from the 1990’s proved this connection.

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Hemming Family Slave Quarters

We ran out of time to really explore the museum or see the film. We saw the graveyard on property where Jefferson and his family are buried.

We enjoyed our trip to Jefferson’s ‘Little Mountain’. The property has been well preserved.