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All posts for the month September, 2016

We finally had a free weekend–with no rain in the immediate forecast–so we decided to go camping at beautiful James River State Park.  We’ve been to this park several times over the years on day trips, and we were excited about camping there.  Realizing that the campground might fill up on a Saturday, we finally took the plunge and made reservations for Saturday, September 17th.

It seemed to take forever on Saturday morning to get all of our stuff organized and packed into the car and/or trailer: our cooler with homemade soup, cheese, butter, cream cheese, dip, eggs, etc.; our propane camp stove; folding chairs; cooking and eating utensils; clothes; extension cords; flashlights and more–but we were finally ready to leave the house.

And leave we did!  It always makes me happy to see our tiny house tagging along behind us.  🙂

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Smooth sailing as we drove on Rt. 250 West to Rt. 151, and then we turned left on Rt. 6.

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As we were approaching the intersection of Rt. 29 South, however, Wayne said there was something wrong because the battery light had just come on!  Ugh, not good!

I remembered that there was a gas station and convenience store about 1/4 mile down Rt. 29, and we pulled in, thankful that we had a safe place to stop.  But what could be wrong?  Was the battery on the trailer somehow draining the 4Runner’s battery?  (The Scamp battery is set up to “trickle charge” from the vehicle’s battery.)

We unplugged the electrical connection between the car and trailer, and then Wayne opened the hood of the 4Runner to see if there was anything obviously wrong.  And–unfortunately–yes, there was something obviously wrong: The serpentine belt had broken and it was tangled up in the engine.  Seriously not good. 🙁

As frustrating as this was, we were still very thankful that the 4Runner had at least gotten us to “Shady’s Place” instead of stopping dead in its tracks on some narrow stretch of rural Rt. 6….

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We went in the store and asked the woman at the counter if she could recommend a garage that might be open (on a Saturday–after noon…) She gave us the name and number of a garage in Lovingston.  We thanked her, went outside and called.  The man who answered said they only worked on tractor trailers. Darn….

I next called our insurance company’s “roadside assistance” number, and the woman I spoke with gave me numbers for other garages in the area that could provide towing. There was no answer at Garage #2, and the woman who answered at Garage #3 said she’d get in touch with her part-time driver and call me back.  Fair enough.  While waiting, I quickly called the campground to cancel our reservation. (Thankful again, this time for cell phones!)

In the meantime, we realized that we had more than just a problem with our vehicle, because we also had our trailer with us.  The woman at Shady’s had said they couldn’t guarantee that it would be safe if we left it on their lot, so we knew it had to go somewhere, too.  Well, darn.

After some discussion about what to do, Wayne called our friend Mark to see if he could possibly help us out–and he could!  He said he’d meet us there with his truck in about 30 minutes, and that he’d tow the trailer back to our house. Excellent!

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A few minutes later, the woman from Garage #3 called me back, apologized profusely, and said that their driver was unavailable.  She gave me the number of Garage #4 in Nellysford.  I dialed the number, and the man who answered at Stoney Creek Auto Center said that he could meet us in about half an hour. Yay!  “Fourth time’s the charm”, eh?!

While we waited for our rescuers, we picnicked in the parking lot on fried chicken and mac & cheese from Shady’s and washed it down with green tea that we had in the cooler. Fine dining in the hot September sunshine. 😉

The tow truck driver arrived first, and he quickly and efficiently got the 4Runner loaded onto the rollback wrecker.

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At first we weren’t sure where we’d have it towed, but then decided it would make sense to have it taken to one of our local garages.  I got in the cab of the tow truck with the driver, and Wayne stayed with the trailer to wait for Mark.  And so back up the road we went–back to Rt. 6, to Rt. 151, to Rt. 250 East and on to the garage.

About 30 minutes and $100 later, the 4Runner and I were safely deposited at the shop where All Will Be Made Okay….

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…and before too long, Mark, Wayne, and the Scamp arrived to pick me up.

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After Mark got the trailer backed into the driveway (not an easy task) and headed home with our thanks, Wayne and I drove over to the garage to get everything out of the 4Runner.

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Back at home, it took a while to get everything put away: our cooler with homemade soup, cheese, butter, cream cheese, dip, eggs, etc.; our propane camp stove; folding chairs; cooking and eating utensils; clothes; extension cords; flashlights and more. (Remember?)

Since we’d planned to be gone overnight, we’d left tons of wet and dry food out for our four cats.  Since we were now not gone, Kai let us know that this arrangement was totally unacceptable. 😉

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As to our food, we heated up the soup from our cooler (a delicious chicken chili), and ate dinner at the kitchen table.  Would it have tasted better outside on a picnic table at James River State Park?  Yes, maybe–but it was still wonderful!

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And would we have enjoyed sitting by a campfire on this Saturday night at James River State Park?  Yes, of course!

But you know what?  We’ve got a sweet trailer sitting just outside under a rising, almost-full moon.

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We can still go camping this weekend; it will just be driveway camping. 🙂

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July was a challenging month. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we weren’t able to get anything done on the trailer, didn’t go camping, and didn’t even go on any day trips.

Things improved by August, and we were able to do a one-night camping trip on August 7-8.  After a quick stop at the grocery store to get some ice and snacks, we were on our way!

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Our destination was Sherando Lake in the George Washington National Forest near Lyndhurst, VA.   We didn’t have reservations, so we knew it might be iffy getting a campsite because the campground is very nice–and also very popular.   Fortunately, we were able to get the next-to-the-last open site in the section with water and electric, and a trailer right behind us got the last site!

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Our site was wide and level, and it didn’t take us too long to get set up.
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When we checked in, the ranger at the gate told us that they’d had trouble with bears recently, and when the camp host came to greet us, he also warned us to make sure that all our food was securely stored.  They have big, steel bear-proof storage containers on each site in this part of the campground.

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After getting settled, we drove down to the lake and enjoyed some time in the sun and the water.  SUCH a pretty place!

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When we got back to the campground, we stopped to admire our sweet little trailer sitting exactly where little trailers are supposed to be–in a campground and not just in a driveway! 🙂

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We explored a trail along the creek that borders the campground, and checked out the amphitheater.

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Wayne always seems to run into someone he knows when we’re out and about! 😉

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We’d brought soup from home, so we heated it up on the camp stove and also got a fire going in the fire pit.

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Even though the temperature was quite pleasant–especially for a night in August!–there’s just something so relaxing about sipping coffee while sitting by a campfire….

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Once the crescent moon set, we could see so many stars!

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As clear as it had been that night, however, we were surprised to wake up to rain….

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Without an awning or canopy, our plans for cooking breakfast outside weren’t going to happen.  At least we had coffee!

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After a while, we hitched up and rolled on home, thankful that we’d been able to enjoy beautiful Sherando lake and campground the previous day and evening!

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Now that we’re both back in school, the work weeks are super busy and we don’t have a lot of time for all of our trailer projects.  To be better prepared for rain while camping, however, we recently purchased a 10 x 10 canopy that was on sale Labor Day weekend.

And despite our crazy schedules, we’ve managed to do a bit more work on the trailer:  Wayne installed the recessed base for the pedestal table in the front dinette (no pictures yet), and I finally completed the cushions that will allow the dinette to convert to another comfortable bed!

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We really hope to get in at least a couple more camping adventures before winter!