Saturday, June 13, 2009

Kingsport to Chippoakes State Park VA June 11 Thursday June 11th

We left Kingsport at 8:30 anxious to be on the road for our venture to Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. We will primarily visit the Chesapeake Bay region, take in some history and eat seafood. Today our drive took us north on I 81 and then east on route 460. The trip up I 81 was uneventful. We made one stop in Radford for Ben to do a quick inspection. He had told all his inspection companies he would be away starting Thursday but one called for an inspection on Wednesday which he agreed to do on Thursday since it was right on our way north. We had a book on CD and the miles clicked quickly by.

We got off I 81 in Roanoke and headed east on 460 and began to look for a spot to stop and eat our lunch. The sky that had been looking rather threatening opened up for some of the most torrential rain we have experienced since getting the Sprinter. We had to turn off the CD as the noise of the rain would not allow us to hear the book! Finally past Lynchburg we ran out of the rain. We continued on to Appomattox Courthouse National Monument where Jane pulled out the lunch and we ate a quick bite. Then we walked up to the Visitor Center to get a passport book stamp. We had spent some time visiting all the buildings here at Appomattox on a previous trip; but due to losing the passport book thought we would replace this stamp since we were here. We got drenched before we could return to the Sprinter- the rain storm had caught back up with us!

After a quick change of clothes, we were back on the road. We continued on across Virginia, bypassing Petersburg, and then headed southeast towards Chippoakes State Park which is only about a mile from Jamestown – on the opposite side of the River. We arrived about 4:15 and were greeted by a nice young man in the entry gate who directed us to the campground. We got to the campground to find no host (an empty RV with no one home), went to the camp store – no information; went to the visitor center – closed at 4:30! So we went back and picked out a site and enjoyed a little rest assuming the host would be around soon to check on everyone. Other campers were also arriving but the place was largely deserted! We were meeting Ben’s college roommate, Buck Pickard, and his wife Peggy at a restaurant in Surry (about 10 miles from our campground) for dinner. So we thought we could check-in as we went by the entry gate – it was now closed. We can only assume this park has had major cutbacks in staffing!

Campsite at Chippoaks State Park, on James River VA

We arrived at the Surry House and had a delightful dinner with the Pickards. They live about 30 minutes south of here near Smithfield. It is nice to find old friends to catch up with when you travel. We may see them when we come back through Virginia Beach on the way home.

We returned to camp about 8:30 – hoping we were not going to be locked out! Luck was with us and we arrived back at our camp. We had left our internet reservation form on the site clipboard but no one had been by in our absence. It took us a while to get the camp set up – we had not used our van screens since Alaska so had to get them up as the temperature was into the 80’s and we knew we could not shut the doors to the Sprinter. We got everything set up and got into bed to read about 9:00. I think maybe we made it to 10:00 before we fell asleep! It had been a long drive and Ben was very tired.

We had a heavy rain during the night but no wind so we stayed nice and dry and comfortable with both the back and side doors open with their screen covers up. This was the first time we had slept with the doors open. All our travels have been spring, fall, or winter except our trip to Alaska. On the Alaska trip when we got back to the states we drove two long days just to get home and stayed in motels because of the long days. We were pleased with how this night passed – now we will see how this trip goes. It is a first in several ways for us – summer camping for one and secondly we have reservations in campgrounds every night for eleven days. We haven’t had a trip we can recall where we had this much structure….usually we have a tentative plan but had not made reservations and paid so we could just drive and stop when the mood struck us….

No photos today- rain and gloomy skies…but the sun is shining as we begin Day 2.

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