Saturday, June 10, 2017

2017-13 Front Royal Virginia, Luray Caverns and Skyline Drive


Front Royal Virginia

View of the north fork of the
Shenandoah River
Campground: North Fork Resort. $21 PPA ½ off rate. $43 for one night at full price. Most I've paid this season. This is a Coast to Coast community and one can purchase a membership in the resort. Members who stay the season must move to a different campsite every two weeks.

I have full hookups, 30/50 amp at different prices. My campsite backs up the the Shenandoah River. Sweet. The only issue here is that the speed limit is 5 mph. Hard to stay at that speed limit and I don't particularly like being chastised for going a few miles over the speed limit. With that, I would probably avoid coming here again.

I've arrived in Front Royal, on the edge of the Shenandoah National Park and the entrance to the Skyline Drive. The campground has lots of amenities, especially if you have kids. Tennis courts, baseball courts, miniature golf, swimming pools and a couple of clubhouses for both kids and adults. Many of the sites appear to be seasonal campers, leaving their campers here and arriving on weekends to enjoy a bit of time away from work and household chores.

Since arriving in Virginia, I'm beginning to get paranoid about ticks and Lyme disease. I've already been attached by two ticks and have had to remove them, after they had lodged in my skin for who knows how long. Hopefully, I've not been infected and I'm watching carefully. Years ago after I had my spleen removed, my doctor said not to get infected as without the spleen I would not have a good chance of survival. I think he put it a bit stronger, but needless to say, I'm very concerned, to the point I many eventually change my summer travel plans. I was at a restaurant in town and when I sat down, a tick fell off of my shirt and onto the table. Ekkk! I'm assuming it was on me anyway, but needless to say, my heightened awareness of the little critters is at maximum levels of concern. All indications are that the north eastern U.S. Is heavily infected with ticks.

Front Royal

Front Royal, typical shops, free parking is a plus

reminds me of the Harry Potter stories
and Dygon Alley 
next to a bench in the downtown park
I did go to their library to get free wi-fi as I had lousy
Verizon reception at the campground 

a couple of interesting bldgs

this is a starting point
or ending point for many
Appalachian hikers

The historical town has a walking and driving tour of Civil War battles as well as a museum dedicated to such things as that. It's not on the top of my list of things to explore, so if you have an interest in stuff like that you may enjoy those activities. The visitors center is nicely situated in the center of town and next to a nice park that gets lots of use throughout the summer months with weekly outdoor movies and music on Friday nights. Something I'll be sure to check out. While in the visitors center a hiker arrived, getting ready to go on the Appalachian Trail, heading south to Georgia.

I like the older theaters in town and went to see the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2”. A light sci-fl movie with the usual action and some humor throughout the galaxy. The theater has 3 movie screens and the one my movie was in is the smallest room I've been in with a large screen. Only about 8 rows with maybe 8 seats in each row. I sat off to one side and even though the theater was completely empty, a family of 6 with children, sat directly behind me. Don't you love having a kid kick the back of your seat throughout a movie. And the rest of the theater empty.

I drove the 40 minute drive to the Luray Caverns. There are a number of cave tours in the area, but the Luray caverns are the largest. For my $23 entrance fee though the tour guide was not top notch, the hour long tour was breath taking. Some of the largest and most impressive stalagmites and stalactites, wavy curtain forms, reflective pools of water and 10 story ceilings. Created 4 million years ago and discovered in 1878 by a local tinsmith and photographer. The land would go through a couple of legal battles after the original owner didn't pay taxes on the place. After winning it back the original owner would once again not pay his bills and it eventually was sold. The current owners have had it handed down over 4 generations. A Few other attractions are included with the entrance fee including a tour of cars and carriages and a grouping of historic buildings. Overall a really fun experience and so close to the northern terminus of the Skyline Drive.

formed over 4 million years ago

many stories high, it's much larger than this picture
can show

this one is called bacon
because it's so thin and light
shines right through it

Skyline Drive

the fog was just burning off when I arrived
views below showed I was above the clouds

walking above the clouds

A drive up the skyline drive the next day started out with lots of mist and clouds shrouding the mountain vistas initially. A stop off at the visitor center, which looked empty except for a deck on one side and a small gift shop behind one of the stone fireplaces where I'd get a few directions. It appears the visitor center in there mainly to provide information on hiking as that is what many people do up on the mountain. I took a short hike along a trail recommended by the Ranger at the visitor center, though I didn't go a great distance. There was supposed to be a Ranger led hike, but no one showed up. The other reason I didn't go too far is that I ended up hiking alone and this is bear country along with the fact that the trail became much more rugged as I ascended it. Lots of loose rocks and exposed roots. At least I was able to get to a nice overlook with a rock outcropping on top.

Skyline Drive, 35 mph posted

would you camp up here?

not the tallest mountains, but they are the oldest
on planet earth

Later at one of the pull-off viewing areas, I had the nicest chat with a pair of British visitors. They are pensioners as they call themselves and told how they lived on the outskirts of London. As pensioners they are able to use the trainer/subways and buses for free. We had a great discussion about their and our political situation and the fact that many Brits would love to just see the Royals go away. As it consumes so much of the papers and it's not just the main Royal family we see on the news occasionally, they said you would not believe how many Royal relatives there are, they seem to be everywhere. One of the tabloids caught a great picture of little 3 year old George stomping on the brides wedding train and almost caused her to fall.

the kids were more fun to watch than the entertainer 
nice town square, outdoor movies
and music throughout the summer

a perfect evening
I drove into town in the evening around 7 pm to hear a local singer/guitar player. In the center of town is a nice gazebo and park. The musician is an English teacher/sometime local actor/singer. He had a clear voice and played the guitar perfectly. The only disconnect was that his voice didn't really go with any of the country, folk or pop tunes he sang. Oh well, it was an interesting performance along with some story telling. The main attraction ended up being the myriad of kids dancing, holding hands in circles then twirling individually to the delight of all the parents and spectators. There must be something in the water up here as their were lots of families with small children. I'd be cautious if I were you drinking the water.

Saturday morning and I'm sitting at a local tire company. One of my trailer tires has a valve stem leak. They really should have installed metal valve stems originally especially since I have tire monitors attached to each valve stem adding stress to the valve stems. It'll be done right this time and I'll be on my way heading through a corner of Maryland and into Pennsylvania to Lebanon.

And that's where the next story will continue. Until then, have a super great day.

more photos:

1 comment:

Happytrails said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful drive!! Yes, be careful of those ticks!!