This year, my intrepid travel partner and I chose to head to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Normally we have two weeks to get out there and explore, but career changes for both of us have made that option unavailable for the time being.
We left home Saturday morning, and the trip down was quite uneventful. We were both prepared and knowledgeable of what to expect. Taking a couple of breaks along the way helped our mood significantly during the two minor traffic incidents which we encountered.
That evening we arrived at the campground, which was nearly full. We set up our tent and got about the business of relaxation.
Sunday brought some serious rain due to a tropical depression coming up the East coast, so we decided to search for an inside activity. This led us to the P. Buckley Moss museum in Waynesboro. I seem to recall seeing her works somewhere. I did enjoy her take on newborn birds.
That evening we ate dinner at the Pullman in Staunton. This is set in a restored train station, complete with large windows to view passing trains from the dining area. Fortunately for us, as we were getting ready to leave, a train passed by. Dinner, by the way, was very good.
Weather patterns in Virginia are not the same as we are used to, and the rain was sent along its way towards New England. That left us with a refreshing Monday with which to take a nice long drive. We headed South on I-81 to county road 606, VA-252 and on to VA-39. VA-39 was a popular route with motorcyclists, of course it being a Monday and early in the travel season, traffic was very light.
The Maury River flows through the Goshen Pass area. At a turnout, we looked down into the river and saw three kayakers testing their skills. From above, we were deceived into thinking the river was easy to maneuver. Further up the road, we saw the incredibly rough and rocky waters our kayaking friends had to navigate. Well, my travel partner saw most of it; I was busy trying not to end up IN it!
High up in the mountains, there was a scenic overlook at the former site of a tollhouse. I can't remember seeing clearer skies in the area. The mountains to the East and West were clearly visible, the normal haze having been cleared out by the storms of the previous day.
We stopped in Warm Springs near the old bath house, and drove up to the Homestead. A getaway of the Virginia House of Delegates was in evidence by the license plates on the cars in the parking lot, but I was having more fun checking out the collection of Corvettes.
US-220 took us on a fun tromp through the woods, when out of the blue my travel partner said she saw a bald eagle. Ever the cynic, I didn't quite believe her, but her tone was convinced, and I turned the car around. Sure enough, there (s)he was, sitting in a tree in the Highland WMA. We watched this eagle for quite some time until it got bored with us and flew away, silently.
Into Monterey for lunch at a local diner, which allowed us to find "Kilroy" in a booth. Five points on our scavenger hunt!
US-250 brought us back into Staunton. This was a great road (if you're not driving a large vehicle). Up through the mountains, and into switchbacks, hairpin turns, up and down. And we loved every minute of it. There was only one behemoth on this road, a logging truck in a turnout, so we didn't get stuck behind anyone or anything.
It was only Monday - one of the best Mondays I can recall, with an entire week ahead of us.