Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shenandoah National Park

It was Saturday morning, June 11th. We were packed the night before and ready to pull out. I attached the camper, loaded the final gear and put our new canine companion in the car and we were off. Now, if you are thinking I forgot to put Pat in the car, I figure she was on her own and she could get herself strategically placed in the copilot's seat. She was in charge of navigation which according to her job description included not only telling me where to go and how to get there but she also felt compelled to remind me of speed limits and my current speed. Other duties included monitoring the distance between me and the next car and any indication of brake lights ahead . . . . for miles!

Our first stop was a KOA just inside the West Virginia state line on I-64. There was a time when a 13 - 14 hour drive was normal for the first day of vacation. Those days are gone. We spend that much time just stopping at bathrooms. Love these Golden Years! With the camper in tow, the mileage was averaging about 10 - 12 MPG. With a 20 Gal tank, it seemed we were stopping every hour to either fill or empty the car or ourselves. Too bad we couldn't synchronize to do them at the same time! By the end of the day, we were in the beginnings of the mountains. They are so beautiful but also stressful as we tried to get up over 30 MPH on some of the inclines. The old six cylinder Jeep was doing her best but when you have your house attached to your rear bumper, you can finally empathise with the slow moving tortoise as the Rabbits and other car models whizzed past. I just had to hope they were out of the way when we hit the downhills! It gives new meaning to roadkill.

We pulled into the campground before dark and got a pull-through site and didn't even disconnect. We plugged in the camper so we could have the air conditioner and microwave but other than that we were self reliant.

KOA's are usually pet friendly. This one even had a playground for Kira our new German Shepherd dog. She was a real trooper on this trip. We got her as a stray two weeks before vacation and she fit right in. She not only travels well but she behaves in the camper. We could not have asked for a better traveling companion.

Sunday morning we were off by 7 AM and headed deeper into the mountains. The ascending grades became steeper and slower. We decided although we love our Jeep, we might be considering a different tow vehicle for future mountain trips.

AS we drove through Richmond Virginia, Pat took this picture of their capitol building through her window. It was beautiful. Had I not been pulling a trailer, I would have stopped to take a better picture.

We crossed most of Virginia and headed northeast along Skyline Drive toward our campground, Big Meadows.
Above, the picture "foggy conditions ahead" would be an indicator of the weather for the next week while we were there. It was cool but we had considerable rain and fog.

We were greeted to the campground by the campground hosts, several deer. This would become a normal daily ritual. There was no lacking of wildlife here. The first day we saw, deer, a bear, several skunks and chipmunks. Birds were numerous.

We set up our campsite and settled in for a week in the mountains of Virginia. You can see by the picture that the sun had come out by late afternoon.

Next post The Appalachian Trail

New fiscal year

My daughter suggested making a new commitment July 1st much like we do for New Year's. I have already put myself on a diet and lost considerable weight. My new dog requires a daily walk so I have that covered. So, I decided I should get back to posting to my blog. I love to write but it often takes a back seat to things I need to do rather than want to do. So, Starting today, I am committing to at least one major post on this blog with pictures every week!
I do a couple blogs for my high school class along with a website and I do a Blog for the Brinkerhoff Home along with their new website. I have several business websites and even an often neglected family website. They all seem to be obligations. This Blog is my creative outlet. It will continue to take you on our adventures and share what we see through my pictures and a bit of my humor and philosophy. I will even plan to set my phone up to make posting from the road possible.
You can expect the first new posting July 1st. Come with us to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Walk a while on the Appalachian Trail. Visit some waterfalls and get up close and personal with a bear. That should fill the commitment for July. What will August bring? We will have to see.
As you walk the trails of life, keep a smile on your face and let a hardy laugh announce your presence. That way the bears will know you are coming.
Dulany F Sriner