Shenandoah National Park (VA)

One thing I forgot to mention about J.B. Winter State Park is how very remote it was. In fact, it is the most remote campground we have ever stayed in, and that includes Canada. There was no cell service and no TV reception, the only communication that goes in and out of that campground was through the pay phone at the park office. The result is that NOBODY there was using their phones. I can’t think of the last place I have been where that has occurred, and it was kind of nice. We enjoyed nature and had zero distractions the entire time we were there.

The irony is that we couldn’t stay more than one night at this park because I was finishing up my online course and needed Internet access. So the next morning we rolled out early. We decided to have a longish day on the road so that we could have a few days to explore Shenandoah National Park. Since it was July 4th, most of the parks were booked up so we ended up staying at The Outlander, a private campground near Luray, Virginia. Our route took us up and over some very steep mountains, and I ended up boiling the brakes on the CR-V when we came back down the other side. How could this happen? Essentially the CR-V has a braking system mounted in it so that when I hit the brakes on the RV, the brakes of the CR-V are applied. Evidently they were applied too strongly, because when we got to the campground they were very spongy…the pedal traveled almost to the floor. We settled in and then I poked around on Google (one of the good things about having Internet again), coming to the conclusion that it was either the Master Cylinder ($$$), the pads/discs ($$), or the brake fluid boiled. It felt to me like it was the third option, and we didn’t want to sit around the next day while a mechanic took care of it, so I carefully drove into Luray and picked up a brake bleeding kit from Autozone.

So that’s how we spent July 4th. With fireworks going off all around us, I was wedged under the CR-V and Val was pumping the brake pedal while sipping on her Rosé. Fortunately it worked, and we avoided having to wait around the next day for a mechanic to take care of it.

The next morning we woke up to rainy, overcast skies. We headed up onto Skyline Drive and into the National Park but it was socked in with fog and heavy rain. We drove 40 miles and couldn’t see anything at all, so we headed back to Marty to take care of some laundry and let the kids rest. We tried one more time at dinner, picking up a pizza from a local place and driving up to Skyline again. The rain had stopped but it was still incredibly foggy up there. We did, however, manage to find an overlook with partial mountain views and so that’s where we stopped, munching on pizza and enjoying the cool temperatures. We will have to return here because we didn’t get to experience Skyline the way it was meant to be enjoyed. The good news is that our campground was very pretty, with the Shenandoah River running right through it. The boys threw a lot of rocks and we took some hikes, soaking in the mountains that were all around us. Overall it was kind of a bust, but we made the most of it and we have been rather fortunate with the weather on this trip, so we can’t complain too much.


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