Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Ives Run COE , Pennsylvania; Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive,Virginia;Claytor Lake State Park, Virginia

Part Four of our catch up October pictures.
We left The Old Mill in Westminster, Mass. and headed west to a very comfortable Travelers Wood of New England Campground  in Bernardston, Mass. off Route 10 and 5. From there we headed south on Route 91 to the Mass Pike and west into New York.  We prefer heading over the Hudson River to Route 87 to keep south of Albany.  Then we pick up Route 88 south  towards Binghamton where we meet Route 86 and 17 west to Route 15 south just past Corning, New York. Then we jump off at Route 287 in Tioga, Pennsylvania and head towards one of our absolute favorite campgrounds, Ives Run Corps of Engineer Park . The picture above is on the road (one mile) between the hookup sites and Pine Camp (dry camping) where we like to stay-$10 per night for seniors with the Senior Pass.
On the same road-we like to walk-looking towards the dam on Hammond  Lake. This website connects to a 20 minute youtube review by a popular RVing couple Wheelingit.  Ives Run Video   This is their website which has a number of videos from a recent visit to Acadia National Park in Maine .  Wheelingit
We saw a lot of Woolly Bear caterpillars.  From what we saw, we are guessing a mild winter.  Check this website for the legend of the weather predicting caterpillar. The Old Farmers Almanac on Woolly Bear Caterpillars
From Tioga, we head down Route 15 to Williamsport, Route 220 west and south past Penn State University in State College. Then to Route 22 south to Route 26 and Seven Points COE in Saxton ,Pennsylvania.  The picture above is proof that Jan has been taking turns driving-this time on some mountainous roads.  Not only that, but she has been enjoying it!
From Sevent Points we continue south on Route 26 towards Bedford, Pa and pick up Route 30 to Route 70 in Breezewood. That connects us to Route 522  and eventually Route 81 into Virginia.  This section takes us on a quick trip through a short section of Maryland, and a little longer in West Virginia.
For this trip Jan and I decided to follow Route 81 to Route 211 in New Market and east through Luray to the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. 
That route turned out to be longer both in mileage and time than jumping onto the Drive in Front Royal.  But once on the Skyline Drive, we relax and take in views.  Traffic is light. Yea!
The campground gets busy on the weekend and we are lucky to get one of the last sites.  With our Senior Pass the entrance to the National Park is free and our campsite(dry camping) was $10 per night.
Big Meadows, like other stops along the Skyline Drive , intersects the Appalachian Trail.  There are a number of hikes you can take from this stop.  A great abundance of milkweed( think food for Monarch butterflies among other uses). Shenandoah website
We enjoyed our hike to the visitors center( in the trees) and around the big meadow.  How big?  Note that below the blue V  in the lower right are two people hiking a path much closer to the road.
What you see in the foreground are many opening pods of milkweed.
A little hazy, but still great views.
Jan and Bruce --still working on the selfie thing.
One of the things we enjoy so much on the Skyline Drive is the many opportunities to stop and enjoy a view like this.  We are again quite happy to have little traffic.
Foliage is not the same as up north.  But , now and then a quite colorful tree.
Eustis is enjoying his commanding view.
From a turnout.
Occasionally , a flamboyant red.
A little clearer.  The stone walls add to the views.
In all , we traveled about 75 miles on the Skyline Drive with a first overnight at Big Meadows and the second at Loft Mountain.  In case you are wondering, the speed limits are mostly 35 miles per hour. But there are many stops for views.  The entire Skyline Drive is 105 miles. It then connects to the Blue Ridge parkway which stretches for 469 miles to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
This is an unusual home made truck camper. This was at Loft Mountain Campground.  This is a popup camper and the ring of lighter color fabric disappears when it is closed. 
We hiked down to the store and laundromat (accessible to campers and all on the Appalachian Trail).  Just happened to walk into the Amphitheater.  What a view!!.  Also --after heavy rains--this day is clearer.
Well Bailey---- I don't think we have ever seen a Westphalia this color.  Not sure what year.
More color at higher elevations. We notice some brighter yellows which we think are poplars.
At Waynesboro-the end of the Skyline Drive and beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway--we head west on Route 64 to Route 81 south to Dublin, Virginia and Claytor Lake State Park.  This is another one of our favorite parks.  This view is from the Lake Shore Trail.
Of course, we get to the park and have only one choice of sites in the electric area(a cold night).  And the next night all sites in that area are taken. Why? Halloween weekend.  But we found this dry camping site that was perfect. 

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