I always wondered about those ads for Ford or GMC trucks bragging that their truck was the number one vehicle sold in America. How could it be true? I don’t know anyone that drives one; I have never seen one in the FIve Towns or in NYC, well, news flash everyone, it is true. Everyone south of Washington DC drives one or has one in the driveway or has a tattoo with the the front grill from a truck on their bicep. The other place you will find them is in RV parks. It is only day #2 and now I want one!!!!!! NOT!!!!!!! By the way, on a somewhat related note, I have found the perfect solution for Hollywood A-listers who are tired of being mobbed in public or of the paparazzi following them—come stay in an RV park. Why? Because no one here would know who you were or would care. They don’t have cable; they don’t get newspaper deliveries and they don’t have wi-fi. Just imagine a random area, off the main road, with a septic tank; a few sticks with an old fashioned electrical plug on the stick and bathrooms that date back to the Cold War and there you have the RV park we stayed in last night. No wonder there are so may unsolved crimes, that’s because all you have to do is commit a crime, then hide out in an RV park, no one will ever find you. I also now understand those news reports of a decomposed body being discovered in a trailer and the body having been there for years!!!!!!!!!!!
We got a very late start this morning for a number of reasons; Ilan felt very crappy in the morning; we did not have time to organize our stuff the night before and the RV was a mess (don’t forget Ilan is a neat freak and I have become somewhat neater in my old age) and we were both very hesitant to go shower in the sheds (when you are parked in an RV park that has bathrooms and showers it is much preferable to use them instead of your own facilities for a whole host of valid reasons–not the least of which is simply having more space and unlimited hot water.
I forgot to mention a few very important things earlier. Ilan and I have adopted a healthier way of life and have radically altered our eating habits which as it turns out are almost impossible to adapt for an RV lifestyle. We start off with hot water and lemon in the morning but I could not find the hot cups; nor the lemons; then we use a magic bullet (which I shlepped) together with my Nespresso machine; protein and green powders; several supplements, almond milk and vitamins and an endless supply of fresh berries (I brought everything except the countless supply of berries because I thought for sure we would find countless organic farm stands along the way–lol on that one–so far we have not seen one. Then I could not find the powders or the vitamins. Why? Because my very organized and neat husband had indeed managed to find a place for everything, but put everything in such random places, that we could not find anything we needed. So once again we were running late, and finally got out of the RV prison at around 12 after being up since 7.
Our first stop was the Front Royal Entrance to the Shenandoah National Park, which is also referred to as the Sky Line. I read about it in my 1,000 Places book (now viewed by me as suspect) and it was about fifteen minutes away. As we exited the RV park, I asked the guard for directions to the entrance and he said “its real simple, you go to the end of the road, then you make a left, then you go straight for aways, then you make a right but stay in the the left lane, then you go to the light and make a right, but stay in the right lane, then you go through the town and then and then and then…..I was finally able to stop him after the tenth “make a right” and said, “you have to be kidding, you said that it was easy”, and started to repeat himself—I stopped him and then asked him to repeat it and we recorded him. TG for smart phones!!!!!!!! Sidebar—as I write this it is hailing, no joke, on a metal roof. Anyway, we figured things could only get better–right????
We stopped at the visitors center to pick up a map and ask some questions. I just wanted to confirm that the route I had created with AAA was correct. I had figured out that we would drive for about an hour and a half on the sky line and then take a detour to Thomas Jefferson’s home in Monticello; visit some plantations and then head to Colonial Williamsburg and arrive there in the early evening. Without skipping a beat the woman behind the desk said, oh no, the route you mapped out would mean spending four hours on the skyline and then you needed to drive another hour and a half to Monticello, which would mean you would arrive there after closing time. She also was surprised that we were not planning on going to the Luray Caverns, another “must see” in my book. So we thought about readjusting our itinerary, but tabled it for later in the day. We arrived at the entrance to the Shenandoah National Park and met our first park ranger—yes folks, they really wear that smokey the bear hat. We whipped out our America the Beautiful passes and were so proud of ourselves for being so prepared –that is the “one pass” for all the national parks and handed them over to her. She looked at us in a funny way and said, is there an another RV traveling with you, because you only need one pass per car–needless to say I missed that sentence on the website.
Anyway, we stopped at their visitors center and saw all these great pictures of bears, deer, eagles, etc. on the walls and could not wait to have our own sightings. So we quickly headed back to the RV armed with our brochures, maps and cameras. We drive for ten minutes, then twenty minutes, then forty five minutes–not one glimpse of any wildlife; nothing, not even a pigeon or roadkill! Sure the scenery is beautiful, but it looked exactly like the Catskill Mountains–but not as nice. We decided then and there that there was no need to stay on that road for four hours, that we should instead indeed detour to Luray Caverns, which we did. Forty-five minutes later we arrived there and then had to wait another half an hour on line. Confession time again. Since I turned 50 I have gotten very anxious about going into tunnels, and underground places–but I said to myself before this trip, that I was going to fight my fears and overcome them, so I didn’t mention my concerns to Ilan when I read about the caverns–which are underground limestone caves–and had not put it on our original itinerary deliberately. We went through a doorway and started descending into the caves, I was doing ok by reminding myself that I didn’t want to be a Debbie Downer and that three year olds were on this tour as well as octogenarians, so I needed to get over myself. Then I said to myself that if nothing else, the cold felt really good—another age related thing. About ten minutes into the tour, all the while talking myself into how beautiful everything was, telling myself to breathe deeply; think about other things other than the fact that we were three hundred feet underground when suddenly Ilan leaned over and said very weakly, “I have to get out of here right now; I am really sick, I have the chills, I’m cold, I need to leave, NOW!” We went over to the tour guide and asked which direction we should go to get out and she said, oh no, someone has to come and escort you out. Its too dark and dangerous for you to go alone. Needless to say the whole group had to wait for our guide to appear, which they were not happy about. A guide came, escorted us out and we emerged into the heat, except that the sun was no longer shining.
In fact, it was looking pretty ominous out there when Ilan told me that he could not possibly drive. It was now 3:00 and I knew that for sure we could not make it to Monticello before closing time, and so we decided to proceed to Colonial Williamsburg, some three hours away, hoping to get there before dark. Ilan picked out an RV park from the directory, called for a reservation, took three advils, curled up into a ball in the front seat with his pillow and proceeded to nap. Just then the skies opened up and I drove through one of the most torrential rainstorms I have every seen, on mountainous, curving roads, all the while literally clutching the steering wheel with white knuckles. Ilan woke up about two hours later, took over the driving and thankfully we arrived at a surprisingly nice RV park. I am having trouble figuring out how to upload photos from my phone to the laptop and then to the blog—but when I do I will upload some photos.