|view from Hogback Mountain|
|Flying J in New Milford, PA|
Our round-about route also meant that we wouldn't be off the road by early afternoon. That in turn meant we would be best served to use another free overnight stop like the Flying J truck stop in New Milford, PA. Handy for us since there was a Denny’s Restaurant and although this Denny’s did not offer free WI-FI like the one in Ontario, Canada, on the plus side, our RV door opened onto a strip of green grass giving us the brief illusion that we were not sitting in a vast parking lot.
Our next day’s route necessitated one more long day. But as with most of our driving days, be they long or short, time passes by listening to one of our digital books. A late breakfast at a Cracker Barrel, which almost always can accommodate large RV’s, didn't hurt either.
We had looked for an RV park that would allow reasonable access to the Sky Line Parkway, a scenic road along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains through the Shenandoah National Park. But there wasn't much in the way of parks on the route we had in mind. The most reasonable RV park we could come up with was the NASCAR RV Resort near New Market, VA. NASCAR?
|site at NASCAR RV (Endless Caverns)|
We began at the north end of Shenandoah NP (the Front Royal entrance) and drove southward along a section of the Skyline Drive. Had we driven the entire Drive, we would have eventually met up 105 miles later with the Blue Ridge Parkway. Tom had driven sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway (1969) but we both had never been on the Skyline Drive before so this was new for both of us.
We had packed a picnic lunch which we ate along the way. Beside countless stops at various overlooks, we managed a short hike on a trail near the Byrd Visitor Center at The Big Meadows. For the most part, the weather on the day was mainly overcast. Plus it was windy with an occasional sprinkle of rain. Still, it was worth our time and it was interesting to compare the Skyline Drive with what Tom recalled from the Blue Ridge Parkway which he had driven on in 1969. To his memory, the Blue Ridge Parkway seemed more “commercial” with many small shops along the way. The Skyline, since it was a National Park, offered a lot more in undeveloped scenery.
|caverns below our RV|
Tuesday the 26th we headed out with an eye to getting closer to the coast now that we had pretty much skirted many of the congested areas. Our next destination? Norfolk, VA. This would set us up nicely for our goal of reaching the Outer Banks. But, Norfolk also held the promise of catching up with a couple we had met a few years earlier.
On a particularly hot day in August 2010 at the Barstow Calico KOA in Yerba, CA, a car pulling a tiny RV, followed by a second car, setup camp in an adjoining site. While we watched from the comfort of our air conditioned travel trailer, a couple took turns sitting in one of the vehicles to run the air conditioner. It turned out it wasn’t so much for themselves as it was for Joey, their Maine Coon cat. Joey, normally a calm traveler, had become pretty stressed by the heat.
The next morning Amanda and Rob headed toward San Diego and we headed off toward Yuma on our way to South Texas. But as a result of that chance meeting, we stayed in touch via Facebook. That's where we learned that Amanda and Rob had changed duty stations again and had recently arrived at the Naval Station near Norfolk. It seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up since we were all going to be in such close proximity again.
|Amanda and Rob Marquis at Havana Nights|
|site at Davis Lakes and Campground|
|Fred Wurster, USFW at Dismal Swamp|
Speaking of stages for novels, when we pulled into the RV park late in the afternoon, we found several police SWAT team members lounging around the small pavilion across from our RV site. Had some kind of training seminar taken place? Or were they just mopping up after some kind of emergency situation? It turned out that they were actors using part of the park’s property to film for a continuing series (to air on The Discovery Channel) called “Alaska: Ice Cold Killers." The filming went well into the night using one of the RV park’s rental cabins as part of the set. It seemed absurd watching actors walk around in parkas in Virginia on a warm day pretending to be in Alaska…
While we were in Suffolk we looked ahead to being on the Outer banks and possibly (finally) being able to take a pelagic trip out to the Gulf Stream through a chartered trip run by one of the best on the east Coast, Brian Patteson. We phoned and made our reservations, keeping our fingers crossed as we departed Suffolk for the Outer Banks, headed for what we hoped would be a much closer look at the Atlantic Ocean.
P.S. Not long after we met Amanda and Rob and caught their open mic performances at Havana Nights, the club was closed due to low attendance just shy of a two-year run. A real shame because on the night we were there, the place was hopping!