Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Heading West: Ives Run COE, Pa; Bald Eagle State Park, Pa; Shawnee State Park , Pa; Big Meadows Campground, Shenandoah National Park, Va, Claytor Lake, Virginia

Where did the summer go?
As we leave Walnut Grove in Alfred, Maine, the leaves are already changing.  A lot of mileage and no usable data connections for the blog, so this issue will cover a bit of time.

After the Maine Marathon, watching for Sean, we catch a night at White Lake State Park in Tamworth , New Hampshire.

Sean and Bailey took us to Hobbs Tavern and Brewing. A great meal at a very comfortable restaurant.  Website for Hobbs Tavern

Between appointments in Scarborough, Maine, Jan and I pick up a few lobster rolls at Bayley's Lobster Pound Website for Bayley's 
We also drive by what used to be a favorite spot for Jan's folks, Lighthouse Suites. Back then it was called the Lighthouse Motel.

A beautiful spot on Pine Point. Fond memories for Jan and her sisters.

This is early October, but some leaves are beginning to change.

Time to leave New England. Some great moments still fresh like this moment with Madison, Emilie, and Lucas at North of Highland.

We try not to leave New England without at least some New England apples.  This visit was with Scott, Rachel, Lucas, and Lilly at Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis, New Hampshire. Brookdale website  We can never find Cortland apples once we leave new England. They make the best apple pies--made by Jan , of course!!!!!!

A nice hug from Lilly

Even wanting to hold a Grandpa hand.

We found a new to us campground in western Mass. This was at Sunsetview Farm Camping Area in Monson.   Leaves were definitely changing here. Website for Sunset View

From Monson, we head our usual way to New York  state on the Mass. Turnpike,and south on Route 88 to Route 86 and then south on Route 15 to Tioga and Ives Run Corps of Engineer Campground. This is our favorite site--we actually reserve this one--in the dry camping section for $10 per night for seniors with the America the Beautiful card.

Woolly Bear caterpillar. Not as many this year.
Already cold weather here, but still time in between rain showers for a good 4 mile walk from our site in the dry camping section to the other site loops in the main section(electric and water) , and full hookup sites.

Jan's favorite site in one of the water and electric sections. We may be tempted to reserve this one next time.
Color changes are a little slower here, but certainly beginning to show.

Not a lot of campers in this section in the fall. Most campers want electric and water in the colder weather.  That's OK with us.

We then head down Pennsylvania US Route 220.  Jan takes some pictures of the many beautiful views on the way.

Farm country, but more open than New England views.

Another new stop for us Bald Eagle Lake State Park 

This state park was close to Route 30 outside Bedford, Pennsylvania. A good resting spot before heading into western Virginia or West Virginia
Heading up to Shenandoah National Park and Big Meadows Campground. Basically , it was Route 30 east to Breezewood, then south on Route 70 into Maryland and a short few miles in West Virginia to Route 522. That takes us to  Winchester, Virginia and Route 37 to Route 81 south to Route 66 east to Front Royal. In Front Royal we head down Route 340 to Luray and Route 211 up to Skyland Drive. The pictures above are from following our GPS on a shortcut, which took us on a one lane road through farms to 211.  Not recommended for RVs but some beautiful landscape.

As a one lane road there was not much traffic, but any traffic created some squeeze plays. The Skyline Drive runs along the ridge in the background.

So happy this time to have some great weather. Much less smog. Visibility great!

This was our first site at Big Meadows Campground.  A little worrisome when we arrived, because the signs on the Skyline Drive indicated this was full.  But we had this site for one night and then we were able to take a non-reservable site for as long as we wanted, up to two weeks.
The Appalachian Trail runs by Lady Blue, about 15 yards to the right.

A little video from our walk up and over to Black Rock above the Lodge.  Black Rock is at 3700 feet elevation. A reminder that the videos should be able to be enlarged.

The Lodge is still very comfortable with a nice fire in the big fireplace.

The view from the Lodge balcony. No, not those strange people , but beyond into the valley.
Our second site offered this view from inside Lady Blue. A little help from our telephoto lens, but still this view and wider.

One of the most popular hikes in Shenandoah NP is Dark Hollow Falls.  The elevation drop is 440 feet and the round trip (from the yellow Skyline Drive) is about 1.5 miles. 

A little video from the bottom of the falls.  This was s busy weekend and there were a number of hikers everywhere!

After 4 nights at Big Meadows, we head south on the Skyline Drive to Elkton, Route 33 and over to Route 81 south again. Back to one of our favorites, Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin, Virginia
A view from the Claytor Lake Trail at the "view" spot below.

The hike above started at the campground at the top of the loop. 
The picture above is from the view point on the left . The circles at the bottom are the rental cabins. This loop that starts in the woods and ends all along the lake is about 4 miles long.

A little video from the gazebo. The dam is to the left here and you can see the marina to the right. The beach is beyond the marina, The cabins are beyond the beach a ways. And the viewpoint picture from before is quite a ways beyond the cabins.

A sailboat out from the beach section

The Shady Ridge Trail is much shorter and is mostly the upper section of this loop. 
The maples are taking on some great color at the end of our stay.

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