Mile 1566: Lake Powhatan Camping, near Asheville, North Carolina

While a little out of the way, we had to make a stop near Asheville for the 4th of July. Joel was quite excited when his mountain biking app lit up with trails around the campground. I managed to get a trail run in with my running buddy. It always puts a smile on my face seeing him teeter-totter down the trail like a puppy.

However, the biggest moment of our visit was Addie’s first mountain bike excursion with her dad. While terrified at times, she was quite excited about what she accomplished, “Momma, it was harder than any trail you’ve ever done”. I believe it brought tears to both Addie and her dad’s eyes.

13626569_612272488975061_6462047392478114195_nWe were also able to get in a swim, although hazardous to our health, at the “lake”. After the second sighting of goose poop covered in maggots floating in the water, we decided to vacate the area. At least the butterflies seemed to enjoy the goose poop.

We couldn’t leave the Asheville area without venturing into town, in the RV, to eat at one of our favorite spots, Wicked Weed. Luckily parking proved to be less difficult than we thought. And we were all able to enjoy a hallelujah moment. Always great beer and equally good food!

Before making the long journey to Florida, we decided to hit the falls in Dupont State Forest. These are the famed waterfalls of the Hunger Games. While they are not anything close to the Niagara Falls, both of our girls are avid fans and any extra incentive needed to hike is welcomed. The hike down was a bit long and hot for the girls liking, but luckily we were rewarded with a nice cool dip in the pool at the bottom of one of the falls for a solid hour. Even Willy seemed to enjoy paddling around.

Mile 1167: Chantilly Farms in Floyd, Virginia

13516406_611054915763485_8783360346335931712_nOur first stop heading south from Mom’s driveway, was at Grilled Cheese Mania in Harrisonburg, VA. It was good, but not sure if it was worth all the hype. Regardless, we snarfed our gourmet grilled cheese or mac n’ cheese down and continued to Floyd, VA.

Before heading to the RV park, we opted for a quick stop at a local winery. It was a pretty setting, apparently “one of the top restaurant views in America”. The wine was definitely on the sweeter side, which my palate has definitely graduated from a bit. Joel… not so much. Anyhow, the best part about the winery was that you could bring your dogs (and kids) into the tasting room.

So, while we were bellied up to the tasting bar with other patrons, there was a whole other social exchange going on at our feet among the canine visitors.

13600335_611806172355026_7457711867946238384_n (1)Despite the sweetness, we were still persuaded to grab a couple of wines before leaving and jumping on the Blue Ridge Parkway to our campground, Chantilly Farms.

We chose a site that was actually a tent site but allowed us to be on a hill away from the majority of other campers. They actually have a pretty nice stage setup for hosting concerts. While there wasn’t any performances while we were there, we did manage to get up on the stage for a rousing family game of corn hole.

We ended the evening with a visit from our next campsite neighbor. We noticed her biking into camp and setting up her tent. Hooper, our yellow lab, greeted her at the end of his and Joel’s run. Joel then proceeded to invite her over to visit later that evening.

I may have been a little intimidated of her at first… I mean she’s Canadian and pretty kick-ass, biking miles and miles all by herself. She was a direct threat to my reputation of being known as “Sporty Liz”, or at least the one I was working hard on creating.

But I really did enjoy learning about her adventures and was happy the girls were there to hear them too. During our visit with her, a serious rainstorm came without much warning. As she darted back to her tent, Joel and I were left to wonder, from the comfort of our dry lodgings, if we shouldn’t have offered a place for to her weather the storm. By the time we ventured outside in the morning, she was gone. So, at least there wasn’t any awkward conversation exchange about how each other slept.

That morning, after receiving confirmation from the nice older gentleman at the RV park office, we took off on our bikes for town on a very narrow road that proved to be quite hilly. He probably didn’t realize that when describing the road as “fairly flat”, we were coming from the extremely flat roads of Eastern Shore Maryland. While two of us had to turn back, we all ended up meeting in town for lunch and some bluegrass at the general store.

13590374_611806105688366_6512042400531771733_nThat evening, the fog really set in at our campsite and Joel had ventured outside with Hooper to grab some pics.

What the girls and I heard next, can only be described as the wee voice of a scared child trying to calmly talk his dog into backing away from the black and white striped creature he had come face to face with.

Somehow, we dodged a bullet with that one as Hooper listened and we did not have to suffer the consequences of being in an small space with a skunked dog.


mile 705: Laurel Hill State Park

mile: 705
Laurel Hill State Park
Hey this is our first official stop!

The spot they gave us was seated right next to the bath house. It was clean enough. But were they trying to tell us something. Did they know we were new at this?

Neighbors: Fine. We watched a guy with a jay feather tow behind trailer tinker with the leveling of his trailer for an hour, and that was kind of fun.

Being newbies we may find this to be the case, but they put all pet owners together in the same area so on a bike ride we noticed a bunch of nice spots that were unclaimed but apparently didn’t allow our 4 legged boys. One woman’s trio of yapping toy poodle things made me realize why we were herded into our own area.

Another epiphany struck. It occurred to me that we are now never too far from our own poop. It travels with you. The novelty of going number 1 or 2 while your wife is guiding the vehicle down the interstate was somewhat sullied by this realization. 
Conversely, the idea of using restroom facilities outside of the RV also brings another thought, not sure how to describe it but it is delightful. Part birthday present, part thieving for a good cause.
In any case…

Milestone: We dumped the black and gray tanks! I woke up thinking about this procedure! And we didn’t get “anything” on us.

A bit nervous, but confident. The process goes that  you dump the black tank, which is all your toilet waste first. Most RV parks and campgrounds have what is called a dump station and you connected an expandable 4 inch hose to your holding tank and the other end to a hole in the ground that goes…somewhere. I assume the parks have large treatment systems or septic tanks. I haven’t asked about this yet, but that’s what I will assume.

We had to park on a -5 degree slope towards the front of the coach and subsequently the RV needed leveled but the auto leveling wouldn’t work perfectly. With auto leveling all 4 hydraulic legs come down and do the work for you, so unlike the guy in the tow behind trailer we don’t have to fuss jacking up one side, then the other, then back to lower one side etc. Since we were on the slope only the front jacks needed to be lowered. The wife dug in to the manual and within a few tries had the front deployed and left us only sloping -1 degree. Good enough for us and a manual deployment of the hydraulic levelers was in the books.

The water here has a heavy iron smell and stinks to high heavens, but after some time we either got use to it, or it dissipated. I need to understand this as the smell reminds me of visiting relatives in my youth maybe it was their well water or maybe it was a less filtered iron heavy water. Not sure, but I love how smells can take you back unlike any of your other senses. Unfortunately, this wasn’t smell of cookies baking, but more a rotten egg sulfur melange.

The running and Mt. Biking was solid here as there were some nice trails, as well as a lake to cool off in.

Kids give it: Pretty nice. But it may blend in with the others in about 3 weeks.
Dogs give it: Meh, they don’t like getting stuck with all the other “animals” so much.
Parents give it: Hey we got one in the books and we didn’t back over anyone.