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.