Sunday, April 13, 2014

Front Royal and on to Roanoke

This year Spring Break was later – mid-April – so I decided to plan a trip!  I figured it would be warmer and the campgrounds would be open!  It also worked out that Dad was able to join me (Mom is in Williamsburg moving her 87-year old Mom into a Memory Unit).  We made plans to hike McAfee Knob, on the AT near Roanoke, VA and the go on to Damascus, VA where we can hike more AT and bike the VA Creeper Trail. 

I’d wanted to have time to prepare, and I didn’t want to hit McAfee Knob, which is a very popular hike, on a Spring Weekend, so I decided to leave on Sunday, after Yoga. This gave me a chance to go to the store and make food and do laundry and pack and everything without feeling rushed. 

This morning I was up early and got started packing the RV and making a curry dish that I was bringing for dad and I to eat.  Dad and I have been following the weather forecast for the week and it’s not looking so good.  Tomorrow is supposed to drizzle and rain, then Tuesday is supposed to rain & snow and go down to 28!  Wed gets better, as in no rain, but it’s still cold.  I packed all my winter gear and made the bed up for cold (fleece sheets).  

With the forecast lows going into the 20s I opted not to un-winterize just yet!  I did hit upon what I think is a genius idea for camping when the RV is winterized.  I can bathe, make coffee etc as long as I haul the water with me.  I don’t have places to put liter (or 2 liter) bottles of water in the RV so I can only bring a little.  It’s not a problem if I’m in a campground, but we are camping a Gander Mountain tonight and Wal-Mart tomorrow.  I realized that if I fill my fresh tank, I can crawl under the coach with my bottle and refill it from the drain of the fresh tank!  So today I filled the fresh tank 1/3 full (about 10 gallons, so not that big of a deal if I have to drain it out) and now I can refill as needed and drain when it’s going to get cold!  I did test the “fill the bottles” plan and it does work!  It’s not the easiest thing ever, but it works! 

The crazy thing is that today it was in the 80s with bright sun!   I was cursing the fact that we were going to be in Damascus on the crappy weather day and today I was hanging out at home taking my time packing and waiting for it to be time for yoga.  Around 11 I decided to ditch yoga and drive out to Front Royal early.   I had plans to meet my friend Kathy for an early dinner so I texted her and asked if she wanted to come walk with me in Shenandoah, and she did!  :-) 

I quickly finished off my preparations and hit the road!  I was in Front Royal picking up Kathy by 1:00! We went up to the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center and took a quick/short walk to Snead Farm.  It was out a fire road and with the leaves off the trees it was HOT HOT HOT.  Luckily it was a short walk!  We decided to drive down Skyline Drive a bit – since it was still early.  We went to Elkwallow and turned around heading back into Front Royal for an early dinner!  It was a fun afternoon! Kathy & I teach at the same school, but we now that I’m back in the classroom we  hardley ever see each other so it was a treat to get to spend the whole afternoon together Much better than yoga! :-)  After dinner I headed down the road. 

At 5pm it was 87* in Front Royal.  Almost 90* and snow was in the forecast.  Seriously?!?! 

It was about 200 miles from Front Royal to Roanoke and it was mostly uneventful.  Dad had told me the wrong exit number – I should have listened to the signs for Camping World – but it wasn’t super hard to turn around and come back to Gander Mountain!  He’d gotten here early and had gone to check out the trail head and had quite an adventure trying to help some folks who had locked their keys in the car. 

It’s almost 10:00 and it’s still 70* in my RV.  I’m going to roast tonight with all this winter gear. I have nothing “summer-y” for sleeping in! It’s only going down to 58*.  Fingers cross that the rain holds off long enough for us to get our hike to McAfee Knob in! 

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