With summer winding down, we’re scrambling to finish various projects AND to get in more camping trips! With a little window of opportunity on Wednesday and Thursday, we decided to do another quick trip, this time to Sherando Lake Recreation Area.
Even though it’s called Sherando “Lake,” this recreation area and campground in the Blue Ridge Mountains actually has two lakes. The larger, lower lake has a beach area for swimming, and the upper lake is for fishing. There are hiking trails around both.
Since we were too close to the date to be able to reserve a site online, we decided to try the “first come, first served” option. We drove over (without the trailer) on Wednesday morning, and the young park ranger who greeted us at the gate told us that a site in “B” loop (River Bend) had just opened up. We paid for one night, and when he suggested that we put something on the site as a visual notice to mark that it was reserved, we asked if our camp chairs would be enough. When he said yes, we drove into the campground to claim site “B1.”
In the previous post, I mentioned that our car (a Kia Sorento) did great as a tow vehicle. This trek–though only 25 miles–offered the new challenge of crossing Afton Mountain, westbound on I-64. While it’s not especially steep (about a 1200 ft climb over 5 miles), and we know we have more than enough towing power with the Kia given the weight of our trailer, it seemed like the car struggled a bit trying to find the right gear. We were in “sport mode,” as before, but according to some feedback on a Kia forum, I probably should have also used the “manual” gear options. I’ll try that next time…
In case you’re not familiar with “The Mountain,” this video show eastbound and then westbound travel over Afton Mountain on I-64. It’s definitely a pretty drive. 🙂
Once we were over the mountain, the car pulled the trailer with absolutely no problem, and soon we were backing into our site. It didn’t take us long to get set up; I think we’re getting better at this….
You meet the nicest people at campgrounds! In fact, sometimes you meet your cousin! My cousin, Mary, was camping at Sherando, too. 🙂
After a short visit with her, Wayne and I went back to the trailer, changed into swim suits, and went to the lake.
We spent an hour or so enjoying the water and scenery, then drove back to River Bend Loop. We both still smile when we see our trailer sitting at a campsite; given what we started with, it’s awesome that we’re now able to use it. 🙂
Time for dinner! We brought homemade Chicken, Cannalinni Bean & Mushroom soup from home and heated it up on the camp stove. Another delicious, quick meal….
Just before dark we started a campfire, and Mary and her husband, David, came over to our campsite. I tried to take a picture with “natural” light (which didn’t work), so I blinded us all for a moment with the flash. 😉
After Mary and David went back to their campsite, we continued to sit out by the fire. SO nice and relaxing!
Later, when we walked up to the bathhouse, we paused for a while to enjoy the night sky in an area with fewer trees. Just in the 5 minutes or so that we were standing there, we saw a couple of meteorites and a large, bright satellite. (The “shooting stars” were probably part of the Perseid meteor shower which will peak around August 12th.) Last August when we were camping at Sherando, I took this picture of the stars:
It was starting to get cool (which was actually very nice in late July after all the heat and humidity we’ve had!), and the sweatshirts we’d brought with us felt good when we put them on. Ah, a campfire and katydids; yep, we were happy campers. 🙂
By the time we came inside, it was close to midnight and the fire had burned down to embers. With the windows open in the trailer, it was definitely “good sleeping weather,” as the old folks say, but at some point during the night, I realized I was cold! No worries–I shut the large back window behind the bed, pulled an afghan over me, and drifted back to sleep.
The next morning was clear and beautiful, and we talked (some more) about the feasibility of staying another night. But with cats to feed and with other “outside world” obligations (there’s no cell service or wif-fi at the campground), we knew we needed to come home.
Before starting to pack up, we walked over to Mary’s campsite (David had left for work earlier in the morning), and enjoyed another chance to visit. Their trailer is just a bit bigger than our trailer, wouldn’t you say? But it still wasn’t anywhere close to the size of some of the absolutely enormous trailers and motor homes in the campground!
Mary and I agreed that we’d have to plan a multi-day camping trip together next year at Sherando, but we were glad that we’d wound up there at the same time this year! With goodbyes said, we walked back to our site to get ready to leave.
We’re getting better and faster about getting everything travel ready, too, and we left the campground with a minute or two to spare before the 11:00 a.m. checkout time.
Homeward bound once more, with our little house on wheels following behind. 🙂