Shenandoah National Park (VA)

 

We had a longish day ahead of us, so we got up and rolled out pretty early. After getting back on the interstate, we rolled south towards Virginia. The further south we got, the better the roads got. This makes driving a lot less stressful because I don’t worry about parts falling off of Marty as we head down the road. At this point we are on the exact same route as we took last summer during our return from Canada and Niagara Falls. Last year we stopped at Shenandoah National Park and were met with rain and heavy clouds, so we weren’t able to enjoy any of the views. This year, we lucked out. We stayed at a KOA in Luray, which is just outside of the park. This was our first time staying in KOA and while it was fine, we definitely prefer state parks. After getting settled into our campsite, we decided to take it easy and wait until the next day to explore the park. So we took the boys to swim in the pool, which they thoroughly enjoyed. It was the first time they had gone swimming in over a month and they were super excited about it!

The next morning we work up and headed up Skyline Drive and into the park. We wanted to do a hike, but nothing too strenuous. We settled on Stony Man Mountain, since it was recommended to us by someone at the campground. Not only did we enjoy the fantastic views, but we also saw a mamma bear and two little cubs right on the trail! They weren’t too interested in us but we kept our distance because we didn’t want to disturb her. It was really cool to just watch the cubs play and the mamma forage for food. We have seen bears several times at our cabin, but it has been about three years since our last sighting.

After the hike we had a picnic near the parking area, then headed down Skyline Drive to another short hike which gave us another beautiful overlook. The boys spotted a playground near the lodge so of course we had to stop there and let them play. The rest of the day was spent driving through the park and enjoying the natural beauty in every direction. We even spotted another bear and bear cub in a field! It was a memorable day, and a great way to wind down our trip. We returned to Marty and let the boys swim once again in the pool, then had a nice dinner.

The next morning we woke up and hit the road. We had no destination in mind, we just figured we would drive until the boys were tired and cranky and then just pull off and find somewhere to sleep. Well, 10 hours and 530 miles later we found ourselves pulling into our driveway in Athens! The longest day we have ever had in Marty, but we decided we would just save some money and head all the way home. And there it is, another trip is in the books. Thousands of miles, lots of gas, and tons of memories! Soon I will post some thoughts on RV camping for those that have been interested in it.

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