The day after the Kentucky Derby we left Louisville and started toward Virginia where good friends of ours were getting married on May 20th. In the meantime, we were looking forward to a couple quiet days as we had a large to-do list that had built up while we were in Lexington and Louisville. In mapping our route between Kentucky and Virginia, I also wanted to take advantage of a camping membership program we had enrolled in that was going to be expiring soon. If we booked this campground in Lynchburg, Virginia, our stay would be free as part of the membership. In order to get from Louisville to that campground, I decided to route us through Gauley Bridge, WV.
Gauley Bridge, West Virginia
Having spent months in relatively flat areas of the country, seeing mountains again was a nice treat, but it made for a challenging drive.
The route from eastern Kentucky to our campground in Gauley Bridge was made up of a series of twists and turns, high grade ascents and harrowing descents through the mountains. No big deal if you’re driving a car; a bit more challenging when you’re trying to control 30,000 pounds.
These are the signs we used to ignore….
But now need to pay attention to….
Kevin did great though, and got us to our destination safe and sound. The campground itself was beautiful. We had a waterside spot right on the New River and we were surrounded on all sides by beautiful mountains.
We watched as numerous kayakers paddled past, oftentimes exiting the river right down the way from the campground. Had the weather been more cooperative, we might have joined them out there, but unfortunately, the majority of our time in West Virginia was spent indoors as the rain poured down.
During a momentary dry spell, I snapped these photos. It seems the area has just been inundated all spring.
Unfortunately, in addition to the lousy weather, our visit was also made frustrating by all the mountains. As beautiful as they were, they pretty much cut off our internet access. Given the weather, it would have been the perfect time for us to knock items off our to-do list, but without a workable connection, we were unable to get much done. It was a good reminder of just how reliant we are on our technology these days. From routing our trips to making campground reservations to paying bills, we rely on the internet for pretty much everything.
Our time in West Virginia was short and, unfortunately, we didn’t get to do very much. We’d love to go back at some point, hopefully with better weather, and explore more.
After a busy week in Lynchburg, we continued northeast toward Harrisonburg, site of our friends’ wedding. We’ve been friends with Julie and CJ for many years and making sure we were at their wedding was a priority during our travel planning.
The wedding was at a beautiful farm set on a hilltop commanding endless views of rolling farmland. And the outdoor ceremony, which reflected their personalities and their sense of humor, ended just minutes before the skies opened up and the rain started falling. Their timing could not have been better. Once the rain moved out, about halfway through the reception, the staff opened the sides of the tent revealing the incredible view once more, and guests headed out to the patio to enjoy the evening. It was a beautiful and fun wedding.
In addition to seeing Julie and CJ get hitched, we got to catch up with several other friends and, because CJ is a police officer in the jurisdiction that I used to be a prosecutor in, I got to see a lot of familiar faces from the law enforcement world. We had a really great time.
After the wedding, we made our way back to our “hometown” of Northern Virginia. We had a ton of stuff to do and we wanted to spend time with our other friends.
The problem with the Metro DC area is that it looks like this:
All day… Every day….
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to have your blood pressure quadruple in 20 minutes, take a drive through Northern Virginia around 4:00 p.m. any day of the week. It is truly remarkable how infuriating it can be.
To make matters worse, the campground we stayed at was about 30 miles out from everywhere we needed to be (doctor’s appointments, vet visits, meet ups with friends, etc), so just about every day, for two weeks straight, we were driving in and out of this insanity. How people commute in this nonsense is a mystery to me.
Anyway, when not feeling traffic-induced homicidal rage, we enjoyed many gatherings with friends we hadn’t seen in a while.
There were brunches!
…which turned into bar crawls!
which led to stretching!
Everyone got in on it!
There were Barbecues!
which turned into tastings of high end wine courtesy of one of our friends’ neighbors…
There were hula hoop lessons by the kids for the adults!
There were evenings out…
And evenings in….
And when we were done with all that, we made sure to hit up a few of our favorite eateries that we have missed while on the road….
It was two weeks of nonstop running around, socializing, eating, and drinking. It was GREAT.. but by the end, we were D-O-N-E.
When it was time to go, we hit the road in search of quiet spaces and lightly traveled back country roads.
We were off to Gettysburg….
(and if this photograph looks familiar, it’s because I apparently took almost the exact same photo a year ago and used it in this post when we headed out of town the first time. I didn’t realize it until later, but apparently, the views I find photo-worthy as we drive down the road, have not changed.)
Where we stayed: