Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Afton Mountain ... Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway closed

Hurricane Sandy affected western Virginia with snow in the mountains which resulted in the closure of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Afton.

Swannanoa Golf Course on Wednesday ...

The snow-covered Appalachian Mountains were visible across the Shenandoah Valley from Afton.

The entrance to Skyline Drive is blocked with a message about Hurricane Sandy.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012 ... take a walk on the spooky side

Happy Halloween ... treats for all!

Halloween 2012 ... the tradition continues. As dark settles over the central Shenandoah Valley, the Jack-o-lanterns are lighted and we're waiting for the first little goblins to stop by....

6:50: Three neighbor children ... a ballerina, Count Dracula, a fairy. Treats for all!

Snow-covered mountains on Halloween ... the view from my house

 The Appalachian Mountains are snow-covered as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
October 31, 2012

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30, 2012 ... snow flurry kind of day

It's kind of hard to see the flying snow in this photo taken this afternoon but it was on-and-off all day, sometimes so heavy and horizontal in the after-Hurricane Sandy winds that it looked almost like white-out conditions. It was beautiful but did not impede travel as temperatures hovered in the mid-30s. I was out and about all day with no trouble at all. Last year we had the Halloween snow that left 3" of the white stuff on the ground so it could have been worse. It's October in the Valley....

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
October 30, 2012

October 30, 2012: Afton Mountain snow

(Photo by Matt Daniel)

Monday, October 29, 2012

SWAC area schools closed Tuesday

Students' wishes have come true in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County with schools closings on Tuesday due to weather conditions from Hurricane Sandy.

Area schools that are closed include Staunton public schools, Waynesboro public schools, Augusta County public schools, Grace Christian School, and Stuart Hall.

Check WHSV TV-3 for a complete list of closings in the central Shenandoah Valley.

Hurricane Sandy: Snow blankets Blowing Rock, NC

 (Photo courtesy of Blowing Rock Visitor Center)

October 29, 2012 ... snow on the pumpkin during Hurricane Sandy and her far-reaching affect on fall weather conditions. Blowing Rock, located in the North Carolina mountains, is one of my all-time favorite places. For 12 years, I was fortunate to live about an hour away so visited, hiked, and camped often in the area.

Snow at Big Meadows

The video cam at Big Meadows shows snow covering the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. (Photo from the National Park Service.)

Blizzard warning issued for Augusta County, Staunton, Waynesboro

A Blizzard Warning has been issued for Rockingham, Augusta, Shenandoah, Page, and Eastern Grant Counties, including the cities of Waynesboro, Staunton, and Harrisonburg until 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

 For more information go to WHSV TV-3 and NBC-29.

Friday: Join George Allen in Staunton

Please join us
for a dutch-treat lunch and rally

with Republican U.S. Senate candidate

George Allen

Friday, November 2, 2012

12:00 noon
Rowe's Restaurant
74 Rowe Road, Staunton, VA 24401

Lunch: $12.50 for soup, sandwich, pie, beverage, tax, gratuity

Please join George Allen as he visits the central Shenandoah Valley for a campaign rally and lunch as we head into the final days of the election.

Victory 2012!

Letter from Gov. Bob McDonnell ... 'Sandy is moving closer to landfall ... be safe'

 (Photo Courtesy of Michaele White, Governor's Photographer)

From Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell....

As this email goes out, Hurricane Sandy is moving closer to landfall in the Mid-Atlantic region. Here in Virginia, we’ve been feeling impacts from the storm for 24 hours already, and the worst conditions are still to come. Already we’ve had winds over 50mph in Hampton Roads, 7 inches of rain in Mathews County, and snow falling from Monterey to Wise. Now, the Commonwealth is bracing for sustained winds at tropical storm force, heavy rain, and more mountain snows, along with additional storm surge along our beaches and coastal erosion.

We are here at the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond working in close consultation with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the National Guard, the Virginia State Police, the National Weather Service, utility companies and local and federal authorities and officials. We are doing all we can to prepare the Commonwealth for this historic storm. But we know, with the current conditions we are witnessing, and the forecasts of what is to come, that there will be damage in our state. After this storm passes, and skies clear, the work will not be over. Many of our fellow Virginians will need your help to get back on their feet and recover from this event.

With that in mind, I want to encourage you to take advantage of an important way in which Virginians can help one another after the storm: The Virginia Disaster Relief Fund. We established this state-managed relief fund just last year in the wake of the devastating tornado outbreak that hit so many regions of the Commonwealth. Since we’ve established the fund, Virginians have embraced it, and donations have been used to help our fellow citizens as they’ve recovered from the Louisa earthquake and Hurricane Irene, among other events. Now, this is an opportunity to continue the goodwill and step in to help a neighbor as they recover from Hurricane Sandy.

If you have the means, and are so inclined, I highly encourage you to make a donation to the Fund.

To contribute, please CLICK HERE

For specific questions and answers about the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund, please CLICK HERE

Thank you for all that you continue to do for this wonderful Commonwealth. In the hours ahead, please take shelter, look after your neighbors, check in on friends and family and be safe. After the storm passes, I know we will do what Virginians do best: we will come together to help one another, get back on our feet, and continue to build this tremendous Commonwealth of Opportunity.


Bob McDonnell
Governor of Virginia

Hurricane Sandy and political campaign signs

What do Hurricane Sandy and political campaign signs have in common? Not much ... except supporters may want to take in their campaign signs during the next few days of catastrophic weather conditions.

Many supplies of yard signs are depleted so anything lost during the storm may not be able to be replaced. We are out of George Allen for U.S. Senate signs in the SWAC area, and I know others are as well. There are no more 4'x8' Allen signs being ordered so those lost during the storm will not be replaced.

Mitt Romney for President signs have been in high demand as well so what few supplies are left will go quickly.

Most of all, stay safe out there as we ride out this storm during the next few days....

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Bearing Drift's 2012 endorsements

It should come as no surprise that Bearing Drift endorses all the Republican candidates running for office in Virginia.

However, with just over a week to go, that's not good enough.  Especially if you come across an independent voter who has not yet decided and you'd like to make the case for the GOP.

Therefore, what we tried to do with our endorsements is offer reasons why you should vote for the Republicans and why the Democrats haven't made the case.

First, we endorsed Mitt Romney for President:

"Throughout this campaign, Gov. Romney has focused his attention on the economy. Pres. Obama has bounced from attack to attack, using gimmicks and tired old campaign tricks. Gov. Romney has been talking about creating jobs and increasing economic development; the President has been talking about Big Bird and binders. The difference in the tone of the two campaigns couldn’t be more striking.

"This election is as much a referendum on the President’s first term as it is a job interview for Gov. Romney.  Given the abject failure of the Obama Administration in far too many critical areas, it is hard to have any optimism that another four years of Pres. Obama would be any different than the last four.   Fortunately, a vote for Gov. Romney is not simply a vote for “anybody but Obama.”  He is a credible, thoughtful and experienced candidate who has proven that he understands what it takes to create jobs and get our economy moving again."

Second, we endorsed George Allen for U.S. Senate:
"Virginia needs George Allen’s common sense leadership. This self-described Jeffersonian conservative is fiscally responsible, strong on defense, understands the country’s energy needs, and opposes Obamacare. As a result, there are stark differences between Allen and his Democratic opponent Tim Kaine.
"As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tim Kaine rubber-stamped every government program proposed by the president. There is no reason to think he would break with fellow Democrats if in the senate. Kaine talks bipartisanship but walked in partisan lock-step with Obama. Though Kaine now says he can work in a bipartisan fashion, in the past he referred to Republicans as “corrosive”, the “Donner” party, and the “tea-bag” party. His rhetoric is not that of a statesman."
Finally, we also endorsed Robert Hurt and Scott Rigell.  And, we wrote a post that compiled our recommendations as to why all the other Republican incumbents (Wittman, Forbes, Goodlatte, Cantor, Griffith, and Wolf) should return to Washington, DC.

When it comes to the Virginia 
constitutional amendments on the ballots, there is no question that the personal property amendment should receive a "yes" vote.  State Sen. Mark Obenshain writes a guest post for us and answers the question of "Why?"

However, regarding question two, what is seemingly a benign privilege granted to the General Assembly to adjust its schedule to set the veto session, there is some disagreement.  While Obenshain supports it, Bearing Drift believes it might be a slippery slope.  We urge you to vote "no".

Listen also to J.R.'s short podcast which explains our endorsements and includes our thoughts on the presidential candidates for the Constitutional Party, Virgil Goode, and Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson.

Storm warnings issued for Shenandoah Valley

Western Virginia will not be immune from Hurricane Sandy and the far-reaching effects of what meteorologists are calling an historic, devastating storm. The monster hurricane that is unlike any most have seen before has a cloud cover that extends for 2,000 miles and is taking the unusual track of moving north along the East Coast, then hooking westward to make landfall somewhere between Southern New Jersey and New York City.

That puts this hurricane directly over some of the most populated areas in the country with cities like Philadelphia, Atlantic City, New York, and Boston bracing for catastrophic conditions. However, its destruction will not be limited to the coast. This storm will reach far inland with flooding, high winds, power outages, and deep snow in the mountainous areas of Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Closer to home, a High Wind Warning has been issued for the Shenandoah Valley from 8:00 a.m. Monday through 8:00 p.m. Tuesday with sustained wind speeds of 25-45 mph and gusts of 60+ mph especially in higher elevations. The mountains ridges are particularly vulnerable to high winds. All loose objects in yards -- garbage cans, lawn furniture, flower pots -- should be secured.

A Blizzard Warning has been issued from Monday at 4:00 p.m. until Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. for Virginia's Highland County just west of Augusta as well as the West Virginia counties of Pendleton and western Grant. Forecasters have warned residents to be alert to flooding as rain moves into the area. Augusta and surrounding areas may see snow showers over the next several days.

Numerous school systems have closed for Monday including James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, and Liberty University in Lynchburg.

A report from a Staunton area resident Sunday night noted that the local WalMart, like other stores in the vicinity, was out of bread, batteries, flashlights, and ice. Most people have stocked up on water and food, have generators on standby, gassed up vehicles, and withdrawn enough money from ATMs to make it through the storm.

At our house we've stockpiled firewood on the back porch for the wood stove that will come in handy in the cold temperatures of the next few days -- today it's raw outside with wind, rain, and the thermometer sitting at 42 degrees. Our generator is ready to go and we have made all the other preparations for bad weather.

Stay alert, be safe, and keep a weather eye to the sky as we ride out the storm.

Be sure to stay up-to-date on conditions and closings with NBC-29 and WHSV TV-3, and with the Waynesboro News-Virginian and Staunton News Leader and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Some national weather sites to monitor include, AccuWeather, The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, Weather Bug, and the National Weather Service.

Mitt Romney: 'Please take care, be safe'

From Mitt Romney as Hurricane Sandy approaches the East Coast....

Tonight, Ann and I are keeping the people in Hurricane Sandy's path in our thoughts and prayers.

I hope that if you can, you'll reach out to your neighbors who may need help getting ready for the storm -- especially your elderly neighbors. And if you can give of your resources or time, please consider supporting your local Red Cross organization -- visit to get involved.

For safety's sake, as you and your family prepare for the storm, please be sure to bring any yard signs inside. In high winds they can be dangerous, and cause damage to homes and property.

I'm never prouder of America than when I see how we pull together in a crisis. There's nothing that we can't handle when we stand together.

Stay safe and God Bless,

Mitt Romney

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane school closing in Valley include JMU, others

Here's the latest list of school closings from WHSV TV-3 out of Harrisonburg:

Albemarle County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Blue Ridge Christian School - Status: Closed Monday
Blue Ridge Community College - Status: Closed Monday
C. F. Richards Jr. Academy - Status: Closed Monday
Clarke County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Information: No evening activities
Cold Springs Correctional Unit - Status: Closed Monday
Information: Code Red
Cornerstone Christian School - Status: Closed Monday
Eastern Mennonite School - Status: Closed Monday
Information: Elementary School ONLY
Frederick County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Good Shepherd School - Harrisonburg - Status: Closed Monday
Information: Open for Day Care (including drop-in day care)
Good Shepherd School - Waynesboro - Status: Closed Monday
Information: Open for Day Care (including drop-in day care)
Greene County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Hampshire County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Information: No evening activities
Hardy County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
James Madison University - Status: Closed Monday
Information: Essential personnel to report on time. Check for info about Spring 2013 class registration times.
JMU Young Childrens Program - Status: Closed Monday
Madison County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Mt. Carmel Christian Academy - Status: Closed Monday
National College - Status: Closed Monday
Nelson County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Orange County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Page County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Pendleton County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Redeemer Classical School - Status: Closed Monday
Riverfront Christian School - Status: Closed Monday
Rockingham County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Shenandoah County Schools - Status: Closed Monday
Shenandoah Valley Adventist Elem. - Status: Closed Monday
Wakefield Country Day School - Status: Closed Monday
Warren County Public Schools - Status: Closed Monday

This is leadership: Romney campaign bus used for hurricane relief

The face of leadership ... Mitt Romney has loaned his bus for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in Virginia. Donations are being received at VA Victory headquarters @novagophq. The bus will deliver to those affected by the storm.

George Allen: 'What Hurricane Sandy means'

From George Allen as Virginians prepare for Hurricane Sandy....

What's most important to Susan and me is the safety of you and your family, friends and neighbors.

Governor Bob McDonnell has made sure that our public safety and emergency services are ready for the impacts of this storm.

Each of us should also prepare by having the following items on hand:
  • Three-day supply of food that does not need electricity for storage or for preparation
  • Enough water for drinking and sanitation, approximately three gallons per person
  • Extra batteries for radios, flashlights and other communication and safety devices
  • First Aid kit and prescription medications
  • Copies of insurance policies, identification records and other important family documents kept in a waterproof, portable container
For a complete list, visit I've also included a few emergency and utility phone numbers below.

As you get ready for the storm, talk with your neighbors as well - especially elderly neighbors who may need assistance with preparations.

And be sure that your pets are secure and have the necessary food and supplies.

Lastly, don't forget that yard signs are made of metal frames that can blow around in strong winds, causing dangerous conditions and damage to homes and property.  So for safety, bring them inside.

In challenging times, we see the strength of our communities - neighbors helping neighbors, Virginians working together to keep our Commonwealth a great place to live, work and raise a family.

If you can give of your resources or time, please consider supporting your local Red Cross organization to assist Virginians in need. Visit to get involved.

Susan and I hope you and your family, friends and neighbors stay safe. Join us is preparing for Hurricane Sandy and continuing to always put Virginia first.

Standing Strong for Freedom, 
George Allen

Important Phone Numbers:
911 for All Emergencies
211 for General Information on Hurricane Sandy
511 for Road Conditions
1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) to report a power outage with Dominion Power
1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) to report a power outage with Pepco

No surprise: Washington Post endorses Obama

Jerry has the entire story over at From On High and, quite frankly, breaks it down nicely as he disseminates the reasons (or lack of) for the WaPo's editorial board to endorse President Barack Obama. A very interesting read for a predictable endorsement....

Romney campaign bus for Hurricane Sandy relief

Bring donations to VA Victory HQ @novagophq. Romney bus will deliver them to those affected by #Sandy. #RomneyRyan2012
Jeni Healy (@j_heals) October 28, 2012

Sunday lunch

 Sunday lunch on an overcast, cool day included a pan full of assorted garden peppers along with red onion sauteed for a side dish or to go on chicken.

Chicken and veggies ... carrots, peppers, onions, Yukon Gold out-of-the-garden mashed potatoes, and green beans along with brewed iced tea. It was the perfect comfort food for this dreary, blustery day as we prepare for the approaching Hurricane Sandy.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
October 28, 2012

Richmond Times-Dispatch endorses Mitt Romney for President

Mitt Romney at Fishersville, Virginia, rally of 15,000 on October 4, 2012.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch wastes no time getting to the point in their enthusiastic endorsement of Republican Mitt Romney for President. Taking up a full page in the Commentary hard copy section of the Sunday, October 28, 2012, newspaper (p. E2), the opening paragraph lays it on the line:
The tone of the 2012 campaign might best be captured by the need to begin with an emphasis on what the Republican candidate will not do. Mitt Romney will not raise taxes on the middle class. He will not destroy Medicare. And he will not lie to the American people every time he opens his mouth.
The Times-Dispatch goes on to say that Romney strikes them as "more earnest and more accomplished than your average presidential candidate," someone who "understands the value of free enterprise, appreciates its utterly unique ability to alleviate poverty, unleash creative endeavor, spread wealth and lift the burden of ceaseless backbreaking labor." Those are attributes they do not see in the current president.

Noting that Romney understands the need to build the private sector, here are some points made in the endorsement:
He promises to:
  • use America's abundant energy resources to drive growth;
  • cut the deficit by reducing federal spending to 20 percent of the economy or less;
  • open new markets overseas for American goods and services while defending U.S. interests abroad;
  • reform and simplify the tax code by lowering rates for individuals and businesses while eliminating deductions and exemptions that distort economic decisions, slow growth and favor the politically powerful.
These statements of principle are sound and strike an important contrast with Obama.
Like George Allen whom the Times-Dispatch endorsed last week, Romney wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with common sense reforms that will not bankrupt the nation.

They end by saying, "He has earned our enthusiastic endorsement. America needs President Romney." It is a strong, dignified endorsement that should be read by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
Romney Rally, Fishersville, Va
October 4, 2012

Virginia needs George Allen in Washington

 Susan and George Allen, October 18, 2012, at Virginia Tech.
(Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell)

Bearing Drift endorses George Allen for U.S. Senate

Virginia needs George Allen’s common sense leadership. This self-described Jeffersonian conservative is fiscally responsible, strong on defense, understands the country’s energy needs, and opposes Obamacare. As a result, there are stark differences between Allen and his Democratic opponent Tim Kaine.

George Allen understands the need to cut spending and increase revenues through economic growth by working with companies that create jobs. While in the U.S. Senate, Allen’s fiscal conservatism kicked in when he was one of a handful of senators to vote against the “Bridge to Nowhere.” He advocated tax cuts that would help create more jobs, and introduced a balanced budget amendment to make Congress live within its means just like the families he represented. He fought for the line item veto and for a paycheck penalty for members of Congress when they failed to pass appropriations bills on time. To keep America on track as the world capital of innovation, he created the Competitive Caucus. In contrast, then-Governor Tim Kaine proposed a $4 billion tax increase that failed to receive even one Democratic vote.

As a strong defender of America’s military forces, George Allen’s previous experience in the Senate gives him a distinct advantage when it comes to national defense. The proposed sequestration cuts of $1 trillion in defense spending, caused by the failure of the Congressional “Super Committee” to cut the deficit, will begin in early 2013. The slashed defense spending is an issue of huge concern in Northern Virginia and the Hampton Roads area where hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost, a frightening prospect for Virginia. Kaine agreed with the cuts, and went on record in July saying it was the right thing to do. Allen said ‘no’, it was not the right thing to do, nor was it right to use military men and women as bargaining chips for the president’s tax hikes.

Allen takes a responsible approach to energy that includes drilling for the abundant gas and oil reserves off Virginia’s coastline, and working with coal companies to keep jobs while protecting the environment. He believes that by unleashing America’s energy resources, hundreds of thousands of jobs could be created while reducing the cost of energy, food, and other commodities. The result would be a more secure and competitive America. Kaine stands by President Barack Obama’s green energy policies that include ever-increasing EPA regulations that are strangling Virginia’s farmers and the coal industry where thousands recently lost their jobs.

Allen vows to repeal and/or reform Obamacare. Kaine supports Obamacare. The overreaching federal government boondoggle that was passed by Democrats without a single Republican vote threatens millions with higher costs and less coverage. It also threatens to ruin companies that will not be able to meet the financial demands that have been discovered since the bill’s passage and, thus, may result in a large increase in unemployment.

As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tim Kaine rubber-stamped every government program proposed by the president. There is no reason to think he would break with fellow Democrats if in the senate. Kaine talks bipartisanship but walked in partisan lock-step with Obama. Though Kaine now says he can work in a bipartisan fashion, in the past he referred to Republicans as “corrosive”, the “Donner” party, and the “tea-bag” party. His rhetoric is not that of a statesman.

George Allen, on the other hand, was a can-do governor who got results.  As Kay Coles James noted in a recent campaign ad, “impossible” has never been in his vocabulary. Working with a Democratically-controlled General Assembly, Allen put Virginia on the map as a national model in welfare reform, education accountability, abolition of parole, and public safety. He was able to rein in government spending and pass reform measures because of his willingness to work across the aisle in a bipartisan manner.

The choice is clear. Bearing Drift proudly endorses George Allen for U.S. Senate.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Biden: The gift that keeps giving ... says he likes 'Tom' Kaine

George ... er ... Joe Biden is the gift that keeps giving. Apparently he's a "big fan of Tom Kaine." Too funny....

Mitt called Bob to check on the safety of Virginians

From Governor Bob McDonnell's Facebook page....
Governor Romney just called to check in on storm prep in Virginia. I really appreciate his concern for the safety of Virginians as Hurricane Sandy approaches.
Got to appreciate the close friendship of these two men....

Dear Weather Channel ...

Dear Weather Channel,

I volunteer to go to Snowshoe Ski Resort in West Virginia and live-blog the one- to two-foot snowfall that is expected from this storm.


SWAC Girl aka Snow Lover

The coming of winter: Last produce from the garden

 We've been harvesting the last vegetables from the garden in these days before the thermometer plummets and we dip into the freezing nights of fall leading to winter. Everything has survived until now by being covered on those few nights with frost but expected overnight temperatures in the 20s will be an end to summer veggies.

 A variety of peppers, gourds, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes as well as the last of the tomatoes have been picked and safely stores in the kitchen to be used for cold-weather cooking in the upcoming week as Hurricane Sandy approaches Virginia. With forecasters saying the Valley could see its first flakes of snow in the next few days, the veggies will be put to good use.

 Nandina bushes are loaded with berries.

 Last flowers of summer in the garden ...

 The woods just beyond the garden harbor the wild critters like black bears, deer, turkeys, and coyotoes that like to snatch vegetables but the tall fence has deterred them the past several years.

Black walnuts are abundant this year.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
October 26, 2012