We had a quiet, restful night. Auggie slept in his own bed after sleeping in our bed the night before due to the thunder and wind. We’re in the groove now–each of us doing our special jobs to prep the RV for departure and setup upon arrival. I took Auggie on his squirrel-chasing romp this morning while Bob emptied our grey and black water tanks right at the campsite–a real convenience. We finished packing up and pulled out of the campground at 8:30. “See the USA in your Chevrolet”, right Mom? It was a hot morning with a hazy sky and temps already reaching 81 degrees. Traffic was heavy around Raleigh and Richmond, but lighter in the countryside. The cheapest gas we’ve found so far has been in South Carolina at $2.88. It’s always an adventure stopping for gas pulling a travel trailer. You need to find a station with enough maneuvering room to get in and out easily. To help with that, our friends, Patty and Paul, told us about an invaluable book called Next Exit. This book for travelers lists all the services you will be able to find along the Interstate Highway system for all 50 states—including gas stations, food, lodging, and camping. The places with RV access are highlighted to let you know where they are. So far this book has been very helpful. Entering VA, we saw more trees snapped off in the areas where the storms came through. Many places were still without electricity. We stopped at a rest area just outside of Richmond to eat our lunch and stretch our legs. As we traveled west toward the Allegheny and Shennandoah Mountains, the countryside became more hilly. As we crested each hill, we could see the mountains off in the distance.
I-64 took us through deeply forested areas of gently rolling hills. At our highest point today, we reached 2,000 ft. in elevation. It took us awhile to find the campground–Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA, which was nestled deep in the woods. When we did, it was worth it. We were assigned site #75 which we shared back-to-back with a 40′ diesel pusher (bus) from Arizona.
The campground is terraced and our site was at the top of the hill with a spectacular view from the top.
We arrived at 1:45 to check in and were all set up for our 2 night stay by 2:30. In the office, Bob met a guy who had been to 7 campgrounds before he found one that still had power. Lucky for us we made advance reservations when we heard about the power problems. We heard thunder over the hills to the north as we set up camp and by 3:00 it began to rain. It rained hard for a short time and then the sun came out. We did some trip planning during the rain and after it stopped we took a walk. The rain cooled things off a bit and it was nice to be outside. We went to check out the nearby facilities–laundry, bathrooms, and showers–just behind our campsite. On the next tier below us, there were some cabins. We took a walk down there to check them out.
From that tier, you had a clear view of the lake below us where you could do some fishing.
The campground was beginning to fill up for the 4th of July holiday. The owners planned some July 4th activities for the campers (pool games, crafts for the kids, hay wagon ride, popcorn and a movie), but no fireworks. We’ll have to see if there is anything planned in nearby Staunton. Tomorrow we plan to leave the trailer here and drive Shennandoah National Park’s scenic road, Skyline Drive, from Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro to Front Royal, about 105 miles. It travels across the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with 75 overlooks and hikes along the way. The drive takes you through Shennandoah National Park which joins the Blue Ridge Parkway (469 miles), to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south. I have been looking forward to this part of the trip since we first started planning it. We cleaned up and relaxed outside with some cocktails before dinner. Auggie enjoyed being outside when he wasn’t tied up around the picnic table.
Bob grilled steaks for dinner while it thundered again to the north. We ate dinner while it rained, but it stopped as darkness fell. We relaxed with some TV before getting a good night’s sleep for our excursion tomorrow. We traveled 275 miles today.