Day 79 - Different, But Same, SameJuly 9 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 22 °C
We managed to get up in time for breakfast, but then had to share the breakfast room with lumpy women with fat kids & plain oddballs. It’s good for the diet, because I could only stomach a couple of bowls of cereal & Jackie had even less.
We were soon back on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where we had left it & continued our progression north for the remaining 121 miles of the BRP to what I thought would be Royal Front, our intended stop for the day.
The road was virtually devoid of vehicles, but this just encouraged the wildlife to congregate on the road. There were the usual deer, lots of birds of all sizes & suicidal black butterflies, that kept insisting on smashing into our bonnet. Well, everything else had!
We passed Bearwallow Gap, Peaks of Otter & then stopped at the attractive Otter Lake. Upon getting out to take a photo, I noticed a sign advertising a 0.6 mile trail hike loop around the lake, that it suggested would take 45 minutes to complete. It seemed the perfect opportunity to stretch our legs & get some much needed exercise .
The trail initially required us to negotiate some rather slippery looking stepping stones across a creek. Successfully completed, we then had to scale a muddy path taking us high above Otter Lake. All of a sudden it felt very remote & isolated & didn’t seem like such a good idea. What if we saw a bear now? How would we react?
Luckily a bear didn’t materialise, but as I lead the way, I got covered in cobwebs & their spiders, all over my arms, face & hair. What didn’t get to stick to me, got Jackie instead. It didn’t make for a pleasant walk. As we neared the end, we came upon a group of young park rangers building a bridge over the creek. This was the only way to cross the creek without getting wet feet, so they luckily allowed us to walk across the narrow middle plank to the other side.
Returning to the car, we put our foot down, passing Humpback Rocks, then arriving at the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Having driven every inch of the 469 miles of the scenic Parkway at a driving Miss Daisy pace, we were looking forward to a short day to sort out some domestic chores in Front Royal.
To my surprise, as we exited BRP we arrived in Rockfish Gap. We were then immediately confronted with Shenandoah National Park. We drove to the entrance & instead of paying the $30 entrance fee, I waved my magic Parks Pass. Jackie wasn’t so impressed when she saw the sign telling us that Front Royal was 105 miles away following the Skyline Drive with it’s 35mph speed limit.
We had no choice & we settled in for a 3 hour drive. It was very pleasant, but the scenery was no different than that on BRP. We passed through Turk Gap, Jones Run, Big Meadows, past Dark Hollow Falls, Skyland, Gooney Run Overlook & eventually arriving at Dickey Ridge, the other end of the Skyline Drive. We had only stopped twice to look out & take a photo!
We dropped down into Front Royal, which was small but very quaint. We were easily persuaded to stay so we booked another Super 8 motel on Booking.com, then went for a drive round. We stopped at a car mechanics, who advised us where to go to hopefully get our hailstone damage looked at. We would call on them in the morning.
After checking in at the motel, we went across the road to Spelunker’s. Apparently they had just been voted best burger in Virginia, but I was after their famous Frozen Custard. We shared a double scoop & like the Texan couple we met in St George said, ‘It is just creamy ice-cream, but overrated’.
The receptionist recommended the local Italian, but I was now not that hungry. We walked to the supermarket to get some wine & I ended up accidentally buying a massive portion of Chinese, whilst Jackie had hummus & carrots. Back at the motel, I ate about a third of my Chinese before I was stuffed!
The remainder of the evening was taken up trying to plan/decide where to stay for the final week of our trip.
Song of the Day - Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver.Read more