July 31, 2023 Today we had a drive to Shenandoah Riverside Park planned to view the Shenandoah River about 45 miles from here, but then we realized that we have crossed over the South Branch of the river and seen it along the highway a few times already, so we decided to nix that drive. The weather was completely overcast and cooler when we got up, so going anywhere to get a view was futile. We hung out and did a few things around the bus. Bob found a Jeep trail nearby and he suggested we take the drive, so around 12:30, Bob, Auggie, and I left. Auggie was excited to join us on the ride. We like to explore in the Jeep and see where the Jeep can take us. It’s exciting to discover new places to go and we never know what we will find. We left the campground and took Mountain Valley Rd. right outside of the campground driveway. We drove about a 1/2 mile to pick up Bryce Lane for our off-road experience.
According to Bob’s research, we could follow Bryce Lane to near the top of the mountain ridge and walk a short distance to the very top of the ridge. We had to cross this very narrow bridge to get onto Bryce Lane to begin our drive.
The road was winding and narrow made of gravel or dirt flanked on both sides by trees.
There were homes stuck here and there at the ends of long driveways with no trespassing signs posted on them. Some of the driveways were gated off. We made a couple of wrong turns and came upon some blocked roads and had to turn around or back up. Other than forests, there was not a lot to see except for a small pond, a junky old travel trailer, some rusty old farm equipment, and a deer stand.
We were disappointed because we couldn’t find a road to go all the way to the top of the ridge. We went as far as we could go on Bryce Lane, turned around, and went all the way back to Mountain Valley Rd. where we started. We decided to continue on Mountain Valley Rd. in the other direction to see where it would take us. We wound through farmland along the base of the mountain ridge with views of expansive farms. The skies became sunny and visibility improved greatly. We could see off in the distance for quite a few miles.
On one stretch of road, we turned the corner and saw a doe and her fawn standing right in front of us. They scooted off as we waited for them to move out of the road. The fawn was so little with all its spots.
We caught a glimpse of the Endless Caverns sign in the hillside.
Eventually, Mountain Valley Rd. connected to Endless Caverns Road so we drove down it to check it out.
The caverns themselves are connected to a resort and campground.
What people find interesting, besides the caverns, are the unusual stone structures that you walk through to reach the caverns.
We have been to these caverns before, so we did not visit this time. We left there and drove back on Mountain Valley Rd. to the campground. We stopped to look at the Fishing Pond in the campground.
Bob and I walked up the stairs to check it out.
It is stocked with fish for catch and release. There are some benches and we even saw the fish in the pond.
There were more of those beautifully carved signs in the campground and around the fish pond.
I drove the Jeep back to the campsite and Bob walked Auggie back for some exercise for both of them. We sat outside for the rest of the afternoon. We had cooler and less humid temps than yesterday. We made phone calls back home and to other locations to take care of business and catch up with friends and family. We watched many campers arrive starting around 2:00, but the campground was still not full. A motorhome of the same make as ours (Fleetwood) pulled in next to us. It even had the same general color scheme. He came over to chat and we found out they are on their way back to Canada after a 5-week trip and are leaving tomorrow just like us. It was fun to compare notes about our motorhomes.
We leave tomorrow for Salem, VA and our first time camping at a Moose Lodge campground. We’ve got an alternate plan if the situation doesn’t work out. We have a verbal confirmation of our reservation, but they have been difficult to contact at times and loosy-goosey with the arrangements. Hence, Plan B was created just in case. We watched the last of our borrowed movies from the campground and got a few things ready for our departure tomorrow.