Sunday - Tuesday September 6 - 8, 2015 Most Recent Post:
Lewis Mountain Campground A Second Opinion and A Happy Send Off
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
My last post was about Ashley’s party on Saturday. On Sunday we take a down day after our last couple of weeks of visitors and parties. It was wonderful to see everyone of our visitors and the folks at both the parties. It is also nice to do nothing at all but read and eat. HA!
I have been reading Goldfinch, the 2014 Pulitzer Price winner in fiction and trying very hard to like it and figure out why it just doesn’t begin to compare with the 2015 winner All The Light We Cannot See. I’ve finally given up on it after 444 pages. I know that sounds like a lot and it is but the book has 784 pages and I just can’t make myself care about these characters or find the writing captivating. If you really loved Goldfinch I hope you’ll comment and tell me why.
I love literary fiction but couldn’t put this in that category. It’s more a long drawn out suspense coming of age story with a terrorist bombing to start things off. I have been told to read Nightingale but I’m a bit worried about another bird book. So this time I look up the reviews on Amazon and think I may give it a whirl. Both books are only tangentially about the title bird so birders should be aware.
Today we leave Big Meadows and intend to go to Loft Mountain Campground to be closer to the far southern end of the park and the last AT hikes I want to do.
David takes Winnona down the mountain to Elkton to refill the propane tank @ $2.48/gallon and fill her gas tank with regular gas @ $1.99 a gallon. I drive down to Loft to secure a site with good solar and at least the possibility of a Verizon signal.
Loft Mountain Campground is 30 miles from Big Meadows. It is the southern most campground. When we were there last time, we were in loop E and had adequate but not great solar and no Verizon signal at the site. We had to drive up on top of a hill in some abandoned campsites to have even a chance of a signal with our booster.
But on our last day there, while I was at said location, a woman came driving by, stopped, rolled down her window and asked me what I was doing. I’m not sure why I just told her rather than ask why she wanted to know, but I did. She said she had a signal from her campsite in the D Loop so today I’m checking that out.
First I visit our previous site in the E loop and find that the angle of the sun has changed since we were here last and the site is more than 50% in shade at 1:00 in the afternoon. The other sites here are worse or no better. Doesn’t bode well for boondocking. No signal is still the situation in all the sites here.
I go all the way around again and come in the D loop. This time I even get out of the car and walk around. I could have walked over to D but I need the car to hold the site while I register for it if I find one. I do get a weak cell signal in two of the sites which must be what she was talking about, a phone signal. But there is no internet signal at all and no sites with enough sun.
I drive back up on top and call David. He agrees we should return to Lewis which is our favorite campground and just drive the distance for the 4 remaining hikes rather than spend weeks driving around looking for cell and internet signal at Loft. So I head back 22 miles and pull into our previous site number 20 and wait for David. The sun here is also not full for as many hours but I hope we can make it work.
After dinner we play Mexican Train and in one hand, for the first time ever, I go out with my train. David only gets to play two tiles. He doesn’t look any too happy. But still he only racks up 157 points in that round. Boy is he lucky he had very few big numbers.
We play to 5’s and save the finish for tomorrow. After his 157 he wins most of the rounds and we are now within one point. What happened to my big lead?
To close off the night we go out to the closest overlook to see the sun set. Through the trees at our site it looks like it will be a good one with a blazing orange ball. But when we get there the sun has already gone behind the clouds before it is near to setting. I think the glow at the rim of the clouds is wonderful and take some pictures of it. Then a strange vertical cloud picks up the glow. I’ve never seen anything like it before.
After spending yesterday with the logistics of getting gas, propane and choosing which campground, we wait until today to set up the site. That includes the screen room over the table, mats, chairs and ladder ball at a minimum. I haven’t decided whether to get out the hammock just yet. But we do think this is our last move in Shenandoah and when we leave Lewis Mountain we’ll be moving on. It’s for sure our favorite campground despite the fact that it doesn’t have a water take on, a dumpsite, a visitor’s center, a wayside or a gas station. What it does have is small and quiet and Verizon.
So far, with clouds yesterday and today, we are having a bit of a problem getting enough sun for the solar panels here. It looks like we may have to run the generator for an hour tomorrow to get them back nearer to 100% so all the solar has to do is top them off. I’m not fond of that idea.
As you can see the sun is a factor in all my pictures but unfortunately at this time of year its angle and the trees affect how long it shines on the RV.
Today is predicted to be one of the hottest days of the summer here with a high of 86. That doesn’t sound like hiking weather to me. Yes I know, I’m spoiled. It actually only gets up to 83 according to our thermometer but it does feel hot and the gnats are out if you are in the sun.
So we hang around the house and read and nap. Well David naps. We’ve been on the go or having company for two weeks now so it is good to do nothing for the second day out of three.
Later in the afternoon we decide to follow the lead of several other people we’ve seen walk by and stroll the campground. But we don’t get more than 100 yards away from Winnona when David sees a path he wants to follow. It turns into a real trail and my footwear was chosen for walking on the campground roads. We continue on until I see the familiar white blazes. The trail is a spur to the AT which we are now on headed south. We turn around and it’s a good thing the dragon is facing away from us or we might never have been able to return to the campground.
When we do return, we find this old bus turned into a camper and a group of AT section hikers camped for the night on the other side of the campground above where we are parked. We’ve seen more AT hikers in this campground than any of the others. Perhaps that’s because it is so small and we notice them more.
Back at home David beats me soundly, 21 to 6, at ladder ball.
It’s all smiles as we escape into the screened room and away from the gnats at ladder ball to play from 5 to zero and finish last night’s game of Mexican Train.
But despite my playing 16 tiles in my first play in one round, David rebounds to win most of the rest of the hands and I end up the loser. This is not my day for games that’s for sure. Hope there’s some hiking soon. I do fairly well at that.