Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Williamsburg, VA, American Heritage RV Park

Wednesday: (05/29) Granola and banana for breakfast. We took showers and dumped out tanks then were on our way South. We took Hwys 211, 17, I95 and I64 to get to the American Heritage RV Park in Norge, VA near Williamsburg. We’ll be here five nights. The temperatures are in the high 90’s. Good thing to have power for the AC unit. We got  some soup for lunch at Walmart. Once settled into the pak we did our laundry then went to dinner at the Golden Corral. (GPS: 37.3759274,-76.764964) We had big gust of wind as I was putting away our awning. I had to hang on to it until a lull in the wind.

Thursday: (05/30) We enjoyed showers at the parks shower room. I headed off to get gas, cash and deodorant. We got to the Visitor Center at Williamsburg early and toured the Governor's Palace and some of the buildings. Is was a really hit day so we called it quits at 1600. Lou made soft boiled eggs for breakfast. We had lunch at the Chownings Tavern. We had leftover soup with toast for dinner. About 0200 I woke up and found the lights not working . There was no power, AC nor DC in the RV. We’d had a heavy rain earlier. A breaker for the inverter had tripped. We continued to have power until the batteries died later in the evening while we slept. It turns out the likely cause was when Lou used an electric fry pan for the toast. For a heavy appliance like that we need to bypass the inverter or watch our total load. I installed a special outlet in the kitchen just for use to bypass the inverter for an electric heater of whatever. I reset the breaker and we were charged back up by morning.

Friday: (05/31) We were off to Colonial Williamsburg again today. We start where we left off yesterday at Merchant Plaza and walked the other side of Duke Of Gloucester street. We visited a blacksmiths, shoe maker, gunsmith, and the old capitol building. We also attended a presentation about the largest plantation owner freeing his 500 slaves. We ended our day visiting the Folk Art Museum. Today was really nice. Never hot and only a tiny sprinkle of rain. Granola and banana for breakfast. Lunch at the Kings Arm Tavern in Williamsburg. Lou’s hot chicken potato salad with gravy for dinner.

Saturday: (06/01) Granola and banana for breakfast. We were  off again to Williamsburg. We visited  everything we haven’t seen yet like the wheelwright, the carpenters, the brickyard, and the Bassett House, which was the home of John D Rockefeller, the benefactor of the colony. He bought and restored colonial Williamsburg. We had a couple of nice rain showers today. Lunch at the Chownings Tavern again. Dinner at the Cracker Barrel. It’s been an interesting three days. Tomorrow we rest.

Sunday: (06/02) A nice day, no rain. I picked up our mail package from the office this morning. I also extended our stay a couple of days. We all relaxed to the extreme today.Lou made omelets for breakfast. Spaghetti and meatballs for lunch. Chicken, mashed potatoes and succotash for dinner.

Monday: (06/03) We stopped for breakfast at the Capitol Pancake House in Williamsburg. They had gluten free waffles for Lou and their breakfasts were excellent. We then went to the Jamestown Village and Museum. They had some reenactment interpreters for the Indian Village, The old fort and  the ships. The ships were about the best to give the idea of sailing across the Atlantic at that time. The museum wasn’t really too good. Bad lighting and little to see. We had lunch in the cafe there. When we closed them we stopped off for groceries at Walmart on the way home. Leftovers for dinner.

Tuesday: (06/04) We had an easy morning then headed out  about 1100. We went to Yorktown Battleground. The little Visitor Center  Museum was interesting but the ranger talk by Ranger McAleny was outstanding. Very detailed information about the battle that enabled our independence from the British. The presentation was detailed and funny. The ranger was much like Bill Engvall in voice, accent and humor. Before we left the area we took a walk by the beachfront. We didn’t finish so will return tomorrow. Leftovers for breakfast. Soup and salad at a pub in Yorktown. Dawn made onion soup for dinner.

Wednesday: (06/05) We needed to get our teeth cleaned so before we went off on our exploration of the day, we stopped by a couple of Dentists offices. The first could get us one of us in next week. The second office said to come back this afternoon and we could all three get our teeth cleaning done. So we walked around in the Williamsburg Market Square, had lunch there and returned to the dentist. Nice to get that off the list. Leftover pancakes for breakfast. We had lunch at the cheese shop in Williamsburg. Dinner at the Golden Corral.

Thursday: (06/06) We spent the day in Yorktown at the American Revolution Museum. We also toured the Yorktown battlefield that we missed the other day. After dinner, we intended to go out to the Historic Jamestown, which is open until sunset. We arrived a couple of hours before sunset at 1830 and the gate in was closed. Nowhere does it say you have to enter before that. We were a little upset. We’re leaving tomorrow so it will just be missed.  Granola and banana for breakfast. Brunswick stew for lunch at the museum. Pizza for dinner at Harris Teeter Market. Lou and Dawn did the laundry this evening.


Friday, May 10, 2019

Shenandoah National Park

Friday: (05/10) Granola for breakfast. We visited Walmart for a couple of things then got back on Highway I81 to Front Royal. We then got onto Skyline Drive in Shenandoah NP and got campsite #A1 in Mathews Arm campground. It started raining just after we had camp set up. Then we relaxed inside most of the rest of the day. We don’t have cell and only rare #G data here in camp. I sent a text to my niece Kyle to try to arrange a meeting. Not having heard back from here by 1930, I took a drive South on the skyline Road to find a good cell signal and called Kyle. Hopefully we can get to see her and her family. (GPS:38.761159, -78.297251)



Saturday: (05/11) Granola for breakfast. We took our showers and about 1030 we got the text message of where and when to meet my niece Kyle. We drove into town in heavy fog on skyline Highway. We got to town about 1130. Our meeting time was 1245. We noticed a flea market near our meeting location and took a look there while we waited. We met Kyle and her husband Reed at 1245 and we all drove over to meet her daughter Andrea at her work. We visited a while then walked downtown to a family fun day (street fair). We met Kyle’s son Josh and had lunch at the Element restaurant. Lou and I had a couple of interesting Nachos. The ingredients and chips were all separate. Very good and a really nice way to be served. After lunch we walked around a while then drove over to a friend of Reed’s curio shop. Nice visit with the Virginia side of the family. After we left them, we went to Walmart then drove home. It was foggy and raining on Skyline Highway and at camp. Ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner.



Sunday: (05/12) Medium to heavy rain all day. We spent the day at home, inside watching TV. We watched the series Murder In Suburbia, a women detective team show from England. I fixed ham and eggs with toast for breakfast. I also started our dinner of pork, sauerkraut and potatoes in the slow cooker. We have limited generator hours here only 8-10a and 4-7p so it was a test of the new batteries. Now that I have the charger working better they were charged up and handled the job. We had ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch. For some reason the park emptied out today. Could it be the weather or the end of the weekend? It was nice to relax. The limit of our outside adventures was my taking the trash to the dumpster.

Monday: (05/13) Leftover spaghetti and wieners for breakfast. With our limited generator hours, We didn’t depart camp until the batteries were fully charged about 1000. We drove up to the Visitor Center at Dickey Ridge. About noon, we headed home for lunch. I made grilled cheese sandwiches. After lunch, we headed South to stop at some lookout points and visit the Visitor Centers at Skyland and Big Meadow. It was raining or foggy most of the day clearing up just before our return home. Lou made chili beans for dinner. We were listening to audiobooks much of the day and evening. I bought a Appalachian Trail map for the RV wall and some trail guides. I’ll try doing a couple of AT sections tomorrow and after. May turn into another obsession of a long distance hike?



Tuesday: (05/14) Chili beans for breakfast. I was busy preparing my backpack for a hike. It’s been a while. Lou and Dawn dropped me off at the Compton Gap Trailhead. I hiked a 12 mile section of the Appalachian Trail (AT) back to our campground. There was a little rain as we left camp. Fortunately, my hike had no rain but it was cold and windy. Interestingly, there weren’t many paces to get a view of the valleys below the trail. Lot of trees. The trail pretty much follows the path of the Skyline Road jumping from one side to the other several times. Usually you can’t see the road but it’s never far off. I passed at least 25 AT through hikers, a couple of section hikers and about three day hikers like me. The through hikers all seemed to have started the trail in mid February. This section is about mile 1000.. Unlike my PCT hike, you can’t just camp anywhere on the AT. The have huts and campsites where you can. Now, I can say I have started my AT section hike. Currently, at this annual rate, I should complete the hike in 200 years. Lou made crawdads with rice for dinner.


Wednesday: (05/15) Fried sauerkraut and potatoes with ham and eggs for breakfast. Later in the morning we rolled over to dump our tanks and get water. Our house water wasn’t too fresh so we purged as much as possible before filling. I still don’t know where the tank drain is located so we had to pump it out. Lou awoke with a bad spider bite so we decided to drive in to Fredericksburg to visit Kaiser, do our laundry and shopping. It’s about 70 miles away but our closest Kaiser location. When we arrived in town we got a bite to eat at an Ihop restaurant. While Lou visited the doctor, Dawn visited the library and I did the laundry. We picked up Dawn a little after 1800 and stopped for dinner at the Mason Dixon Cafe. Really good pork chops for me, lettuce wrapped bacon burger for Lou and some too hot shrimp and grits for Dawn. We then stopped for a quick visit to Walmart for essentials before heading home. We got home about 2330. A late night. It was also a sunny day. Would have made for good hiking.

Thursday: (05/16) We slept in. Leftovers for breakfast. Grilled cheese and ham sandwiches for lunch. We all were worn out from yesterday and remained inside watching TV all day. Another sunny day wasted.

Friday: (05/17) Granola for breakfast. Lou dropped me off at the AT trailhead near Hwy 211. I hiked back to the campground from there, about 12 miles. Along the way I visited one of the AT trail huts at Pass Mountain. Just before getting home I stopped at the Elkwallow store for a milkshake. Today started out rainy but then cleared up. It was actually quite warm. I only met three AT through hikers today. Then two lady’s out looking for flowers that showed me an interesting yellow flower called a Lady Slipper. And also a couple of girls out for a five night backpack trip. A lot fewer people that the last hike. Lou made potato salad for dinner.





Saturday: (05/18) Granola for breakfast. We drove in to Front Royal to the flea market. While Lou and Dawn explored the treasures, I visited the bank for some cash. I grabbed a hotdog and some fries there. We then went by the Rural Farm store. It’s our kind of store. A mix of Kmart, Tractor Supply and a feed store. We then had lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant before heading downtown to the Wine and Art Faire. We met Kyle and Reed there and walked the faire. We visited the Royal Brewing Company for a snack and brew. We then walked a block or two and visited the Beer Museum. We then said our goodbyes and stopped at Walmart to shop before heading home.


Sunday: (05/19) Granola for breakfast. We headed off a little after 1000 to the town of New Market to a Civil War reenactment at the battlefield it happened on just 155 years previous. Evidently the only reenactment on it’s actual battlefield. After that finished about 1500 we went into their museum for a hurried visit. We had lunch at the event. Lou and I had tenderloin pork sandwiches and Dawn had a hot dog. Dinner at a great restaurant on New Market before heading home.






Monday: (05/20) Granola with banana for breakfast. A slow morning. We dumped our tanks after our showers. We had leftover for lunch. After lunch, we drove down to Luray Cavern and enjoyed a tour of a very well decorated cave. Our admission also include their Auto Museum. The Auto museum had some really interesting vehicles we’ve never seen before. There were old wagons and very old cars. The cars were mostly from the period 1894 through 1915. Our admission also included the Luray Valley History Museum. The blacksmith shop was the best one I’ve ever seen. It definitely looks functional. Also a nice old cabin with the kitchen in the basement. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant before stopping at Walmart for a couple of things.








Tuesday: (05/21) Leftover chicken fettuccine for breakfast. I was off in the Jeep by myself for a hike. I hiked down to White Oaks Waterfall, about 4.6 miles and to Dark Hollow Waterfall, about 1.4 miles. Somehow this added up to 11.3 miles on my GPS tracker? As I was driving between the two hikes I noticed three ranger vehicles and one trailhead and two at the next trailhead. I didn’t know what was going on but knew I didn’t need to be there. After the hikes I overheard the manager of the store say there had been a person with an AR15 rifle that they were looking for. There are some crazys out here, especially gun nuts. I enjoyed a nice vanilla milk shake before heading on home. Lou and Dawn relaxed at home. They made sauerbraten in the slow cooker for dinner.




Wednesday: (05/22) We extended our stay here for 6 more nights so we’ll be here through the Memorial Day weekend. We were off early toward Fredericksburg again. We stopped for breakfast in Culpeper at the Frost Cafe downtown. Really good breakfasts. We continued on Highways 211, 511 and 3 into Fredericksburg. We stopped at the visitor center for information and bought day passes to the museus in town. We toured George Washington's boyhood home at Ferry Farm, then had lunch at the Noodle House. Then toured the apothecary of Dr Mercer. And finally toured the Rising Sun Tavern. Dawn visited the Riverby bookstore and Lou visited Wegmans Market. Then we headed home a little before 2000.



Thursday: (05/23) Granola and banana for breakfast. We got away about 1030 and drove down the Skyline Road through the Shenandoah National Park for mile 22 to 105. We checked the view from all the lookout points on the way. We had lunch at one of them. We then returned on highway 340 and 211 back home. Before returning we stopped at Walmart for more stuff. We made it home at 1835 in time to warm our leftover dinner with the microwave since we had generator time left.


Friday: (05/24) I made pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Then I went to the store to get some firewood for Lou and Dawn. And then I was off for a hike. I drove down to the Pass Overlook where I get good cell signal and download the Guthook AT app so I can better do sections of the Appalachian Trail. Then I drove to the Cedar Run Trailhead and hike down to Cedar Run Falls. A strenuous trail down and worst coming back up. Nice waterfall and stream to the falls. On the way back while myself and another hiker, Tiffany, were catching our breath, a couple that had just past us going up returned and said there were two bears just ahead. They returned back down to trail to where they started at the bottom trailhead. We needed to continue up to the Skyline trailhead. A little ways up we saw one bear about 50 feet to our right. It didn’t seem concerned about us. My real concern was where was the second one. If it was mama we could get into trouble. No second bear and we passed through without a problem even got a photo of the bear. I then drove to the Rose Run Trailhead and hiked down to the Rose Run Falls. This was a nicer shorter trail and even had three falls. One was a slide, the second and probably the namesake falls was flowing well with four streams and 67 feet fall, and just below that was a sideways fall through a trench. All nice falls. On the way back home i stopped again at Pass Overlook and downloaded some data for the new Guthook app. Lou made chicken broccoli and corn on the cob for dinner. We had a campfire this evening.





Saturday: (05/25) We prepared to roll, right away and drove over and dumped our tanks. We beat any rush by being so early and doing it Saturday not Sunday or Monday. Granola and banana for breakfast. After Lou and Dawn took showers we headed off, me for a hike and them to look around town. I hiked from Compton Gap to Highway 522, about 6 miles of the AT. At Highway 522 there was trail magic with a guy providing hotdogs, chips and cold drinks. I couldn’t pass them up even though I’m not a through hiker. Lou picked me up while Dawn looked at the flea market. They had looked around Main Street earlier. We had soup at the Daily Grind coffee downtown. Possibly the best chicken and rice soup, ever. We then dropped Dawn off at a bookstore and Lou and I drove out to a kayak dealer to look at some Nucanoes. I’ll have to return on another hot day to enjoy the view of the people renting the canoes. Must have been a sorority outing. Lou and I stopped by at a yard sale in Brownstown. Lou and I picked up a couple of things at Walmart then picked up Dawn and returned home as the rain started.



Sunday: (05/26) A lazy day. We had a deluge last night and this morning some clouds but mostly an nice day. We lounged around all morning. Lou got busy collecting firewood from all the recently vacated campsites. She likes her campfires. She also cleaned and vacuumed the inside of the Jeep. About 1430 I finally headed out on a hike to Overall Falls, the falls closest to our campsite. It was only just over five miles but made for a nice stretch in the muggy afternoon. Leftovers potato salad and wieners for dinner.



Monday: (05/27) I made corned beef hash with eggs for breakfast. Lou dropped me off at Thornton Gap (Hwy 211) and I hike down to Skyland Resort on the Appalachian Trail. It was a nine mile section of the AT. I also did the little side trip to the top of Mary’s Rock, which is supposed to have the best view in the park with a 360 degree view. However, timing is everything and today it was foggy, no view. It also started to rain coming down and rained for about 30 minutes on the trail. The turned out nice later, even a bit warm. I met another section hiker (Stroke) headed to Skyland and we hiked together from Pinnacles Picnic Grounds to Skyland. We ended up taking a shortcut that took a more direct route but might have been a little more rocky. She was finishing her section from Front Royal to Big Meadow tomorrow. I have now completed from Front Royal (MM971.5) to Skyland (MM934.1) for 37.4 miles of the AT trail. Current estimated completion is 59 years. Started at 1010 and finished at 1600. Lou and Dawn picked me up. We had a little to eat at the Skyland Dining Room before heading home.







Tuesday: (05/28) Leftover hash and eggs for breakfast. It’s a rainy morning. A day off. I spent some time working on my recent photos and preparing some for the blog. About 1500, we drove up to the store at Elkwallow to get milkshakes. The one’s I’ve had there previously were great. Today I took Lou and Dan and they were out of the makings? We had to settle for just ice cream so it must have been milk they were out of. Leftovers for lunch and dinner. We had a campfire in the evening but ended it early and put all our outside things away in preparation to leave tomorrow.