Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Virginia Part 1

Carol. Hungry Mother SP
Our campsite. Hungry Mother SP
The Festival.
Claytor Lake SP


July 15:

Entered Virginia about 2:00. We stayed the night at the Raccoon Branch Forest Service Campground right off VA Hwy 16. A good choice. There is a small creek running through the campground. Some sites even have electrical hookups; very unusual for a FS campground. Read & played some Mexican Train. Carol’s catching up on the score.

July 16:

Our next stop is the Hungry Mother State Park near Marion, VA. Stopped in Marion
for some bread & milk and to do laundry. Got to the campground and they were booked up for the weekend. This is the 35th Annual Arts & Crafts Festival. They had room for tonight only so we took what we could. The battery charger on Carols scooter died. The closest one I could find was in Roanoke; about 1 ½ hours from here. We’re going to pick it up tomorrow. Oh well. We needed to find another campground anyway. I checked other nearby state parks. They are filled for most Friday/Saturday nights. No surprise there. It’s prime camping time. That’s why we like traveling in the off season so much. No reservations required.

About 9:30pm, I tried the on-line reservations for VA state parks one last time. Amazing. Must have caught a last minute cancellation. Plus, it’s in the very best located camping area.

July 17

We got up about 7am. Had breakfast then went to check-in at our new camp site. Checked in then drove to the camping area to select our site. At VA State Parks, they don’t assign sites; you just take any empty site then put your reservation card on the post. This early in the day, there were no unoccupied sites. We saw a site right on the creek where the people’s reservation sign indicated they were leaving today. I asked if I could put my reservation sign on the post and they said yes. We wound up with what’s probably the best campsite in the entire park!! Very private, nice shade trees, right on the creek leading into the large lake. About 8:30 we headed to Roanoke to get the battery charger. Nice uneventful trip. On the other side of I-81 there was a truck on fire. Traffic was backed up for miles. Glad it wasn’t our side. Stopped at Wal-Mart on the way back for some last minute items. Arrived at the campground about 2:00. After resting from the drive, we all took a walk around the park. We’re about two blocks from where all the festival events are being held. The trails throughout this part of the park are all paved. What a perfect day.

July 18

The Festival starts today. After taking Gopher for a long walk, Carol and I went to the Festival. There are over a hundred exhibiters, food vendors, etc., as well as daily entertainment of different types. We had lunch in the on-site restaurant. Read our books & enjoyed a wonderful day. Tomorrow we’re going back again. Carol wants some sugar coated nuts and caramel corn.

July 19, 2008

Spent most of the day at the Festival. Carol got her sugar roasted pecans. We enjoyed the blue grass music, Appalachian Highlanders Pipes and Drums and the Celtic musicians. The weather was perfect for an outdoor festival. The campground has filled up with families with little kids. A “joyous” noise I suppose. Gopher is going crazy with all the children’s noise, scooters, bikes, etc. Some of the kids keep running through our campsite to get to the creek. We keep Gopher tied on a very short rope, but she still jumps & barks each time a child comes running close to her. She sent one little boy screaming away. We wish parents would tell their children to respect others privacy. We enjoy watching the children having fun, but get concerned when they run right at the dog.

July 20

Left Hungry Mother SP about 9:30. Stopped at the Wal-Mart in Wytheville. Filled up with gas. “Only” $3.79/gallon. The cheapest gas so far, for this trip. Stayed the night at Stony Fork Forest Service Campground located a few miles north of Wytheville. A nice campground. There’s a small creek running next to our campsite. Picked lots of blackberries. For desert tonight, we had ice cream with blackberries.

July 21,22

Camped at the Claytor Lake SP. There is a large lake that is easily accessible from the campground by a paved path. We enjoyed several walks to the lake. Read our books & played Train. We’ve probably played 30 games so far. The score is about even.