After yesterday's cakewalk, we knew that today we'd be in for some serious driving and decided that it would really be best if we left by 9am.
We woke up to the howl of Ed and Debbie's dog, Ella. We got up, sorted our things, some of which we had moved into their house to make a little but more room in the car for the Massies Mill trip, went to the recommended breakfast spot Lumpkin's (they're recommended: they got my over medium eggs order right) and shopped for some camping supplies. Punctually at 10:15am we got underway.
Up until now neither of us really had felt like we were really out on the road yet: We're still in Virginia. We're staying with family. We're sleeping in a bed. All that just didn't give us that whole, "oh right, we're not going home for three months" feeling. As a matter of fact that reminds me of hanging out with Brian and Shannon on Thursday night, when Brian said, "once you've been going down I-81 for a couple of hours, that's when you'll really feel like you're out of here." Brian was pretty much right. I think once we were passed Blacksburg, actually it was really once we were driving along I-77 that I felt like that I was in unchartered territory.
Now mind you, this wasn't an earth shattering realization, but it was still interesting to notice that change. I wasn't looking for familiarity in things I was seeing to the left and right of the highway but for the unknowns. This is really starting to become fun and exiting!
Anyway, I mentioned Blacksburg earlier, because it was a way point today. Whitney's father, Bob, went to Virginia Tech, so as a little girl Whitney's family would go down to Blacksburg for the Forth of July, go tubing on the New River and eat at Macado's ("...where he'd always get a Pina Colada, or a Virgin Colada. I can't remember anymore."). So we too stopped at Macado's for a lunch sandwich. To be honest, rolling up to the joint I was a little bit disappointed. It looked like little more than another strip mall comfort food restaurant.
Once inside however, I was in for an exquisite treat in kitsch and elaborate decorations. I'm talking 50's cars in the ceiling, a 10 foot gorilla, model airplanes, signed photographs, puppets, fake palm trees, Marilyn Monroe posters . . . you name it they had it displayed. 5-year old Sammy would have been so damn jealous of me!
Before skipping town we grabbed some ice cream at Frosty Parrot. The excuse was, "it's so warm out!", in reality Whitney just knows me really well. So I had cookies 'n' cream, pomegranate, and vanilla mousse ice cream with berries and chocolate chips on top. I'm sure Whitney's was good, too ;-). We sat down on a bench in the sun and enjoyed our ice cream before heading back out on the road.
Back on the highway the time really flew by. That was mainly because of the worst idiot driver in the whole damned universe driving in that red car. When he was behind me, he was reading my inspection sticker and once I let him pass he lost track of the accelerator. Mein lieber Scholli, we almost had to stop for more ice cream.
Anyway, I-81 turned into I-77, and that in turn became I-40 and just as the sun was starting to disappear behind the trees we pulled into the campground in the Lake James State Park. We were warmly greeted by Eliza and Mitch*, the hosts, paid our fee and took our (well tested!) tent and camping gear to our site. On Mitch's recommendation we chose site #4. As soon as we got down to the site we knew why he had recommended it: it was right above the edge of the lake with a beautiful view across the still water surface. As we settled in and started to prepare our dinner the sun light quietly slipped away.
We ate our dinner consisting of the delicious Lenten Dinner prepared by the ladies and gentlemen at the Byzantine Catholic Church in Annandale (procured by Sue, thanks!) next to a small camp fire while the water of the lake was gently lapping against the shore just feet away. The combination of kielbasa, pierogi and avocado fried in a skillet turned out to be excellent! Dessert was courtesy of Debbie who had packed us a bag full of her delicious chocolate chip cookies with other magic ingredients. Yum!
Anyway, I think Whitney's waiting for me to be done with this so we can read "Wonder" together. Good night!
*These names are completely made up. I can't possible be held responsible for anyone rolling up there and asking for Eliza or Mitch.