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Old 05-09-2011, 06:32 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Operation Summer Shenanigans 2011 (AKA Gone AWOL thread)

Grades are turned in, packing is in the final stages, moving into the Trade Wind in the morning. Tomorrow morning saddle up and and head to Shenandoah National Park for a few days bike riding along the Skyline Drive then off to the first Boondocker Club rally come weekend. Will do the camper shake-down in route: what could possibly go wrong........
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:06 PM   #2
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Shenadoah National Park questions

Which campground is better: Big Meadows or Lewis Mountain? I will be hiking and bike riding. Any thoughts on which is best?
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:16 PM   #3
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Oh, boy...

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what could possibly go wrong........
You really know how to tempt the gods of fate, don't you?
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:16 PM   #4
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Rodney,

I would have to say Big meadow. I camped there last year. I can not remember why I liked it over Lewis. Big meadow had some great hiking trails.

Good luck on your trip.
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:31 PM   #5
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Both great, great trails, access to AT, waterfalls. I'd suggest Big Meadows for you - there is no dump station at Lewis Mtn (you have to come back to BM, anyway).

Dark Hollow Falls is a great hike from the campground - not strenuous, but a good leg stretcher. The visitor center at BM has a good museum that explains how the park was formed. Very poignant when it talks about the displacement of the mountain people.

And then there's Loft Mountain....but that's another story.

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Old 05-15-2011, 04:26 PM   #6
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Harrisonburg to Historic Williamsburg/Jamestown ect

Finally got out of town and headed up to Shenandoah National Park! The plan was to spend two days at Big Meadows campground before heading over to Massie's Mill for the first Boondocker Rally; best laid plans and all that.....

Ended up riding about 20 miles of the Skyline and hiked down to a really beautiful water fall. Great riding! ALL hills! YIKES. On the morning of the third day mother nature decide to wreath the mountain in clouds. Visibility was TERRIBLE so I waited, and waited for a break in the weather to where it would be safe enough to venture out on the roads. Didn't happen. I extended another night. Morning of the forth day I woke up to more of the same. Eventually, around noon, I was able to get out but their still was a good deal of patchy fog, esp down at the entrance. Down in the valley it was better, but I had to cross the mountains again to get to the rally. You will never guess what happened- PEA SOUP fog. I finally got to Massie's Mill mid afternoon and had a great time with the others at the rally.

This morning the rally broke up and everyone headed their separate directions. Having had enough of cloud cover, I elected to head east three hours or so to the coast for a few days playing tourist around the Historic Williamsburg area. I will be spending the next two nights or so at Chippokes Plantation State Park. The plan is to ride my bike and cross the ferry over to James Town and Williamsburg. Its nice to see the sun, but it is much warmer here than it is up in the mts.
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Old 05-15-2011, 06:48 PM   #7
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Don't forget Yorktown.

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Old 05-15-2011, 06:53 PM   #8
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Don't forget Yorktown.

Gene
Next stop, its only 20 miles or so away, but I am thinking its further than I may want to ride. So, most likely, I will be moving to a closer spot- Frank suggested one nearby.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:34 PM   #9
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If you camp at Newport News Park, you can ride to the back of the Yorktown Battlefield on a back road - plenty safe.

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Old 05-16-2011, 06:12 PM   #10
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Thumbs up A very good day playing tourist

After waiting around drinking coffee this morning until I was sure everyone would be at work and off the road I struck out on the bike to see local sites. Virgina is really a gorgeous state to ride in, here on the coast the hills are much more gentle as well. After a short ride, I hopped the ferry over the James River and past James Town on my way into Williamsburg. Williamsburg is a pretty town, and William & Mary looked nice as well but I didn't tarry much as I was wanting to get to the historic district. Loved the architecture but I was deeply disappointed in the shallowness and banal quality of the historical interpretation, sort of a Disneyland approach, really.

A bit of wandering about and a very expensive turkey sandwich later I was back on the bike cruising down the Colonial Parkway back to Jamestown. The parkway goes through nice terrain and then along the river. It is nice and wide which is great for riding but the concrete with large rocks is brutal on a rider after a few miles .

In no time, I arrived at James Town and checked out the National Park area. There is another parkish deal adjacent to the National Park, but as it was approaching five by then and having had enough of Disney type history I opted to hit the road. Maybe another day.

The last couple miles of riding were challenging but only because I was starting to wear out a bit. The day ended back at the Trade Wind with just shy of 40 miles of riding total. I am really glad I went ahead and did the bike approach, it made an OK visit into a really stellar day.
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:13 PM   #11
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If you camp at Newport News Park, you can ride to the back of the Yorktown Battlefield on a back road - plenty safe.

Pat
I think that is the campground I was planning on using, there is a great deal of history in this area, glad I came.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:08 PM   #12
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Love the Pop

Rodney, while I agree Williamsburg is kind of pop history, that is what keeps the money rolling in to pay for it and it is as best as we can expect. I think Parks Canada does a better job with historic sites, but their fees keep going up.

So I went with low expectations and that kept me happy. While I used to teach history, I learned things about how people actually lived—something that wasn't much taught when I was in grad school (a few years after things actually happened). And seeing the buildings where things happened or the actual Yorktown battlefield brings it to life. Although I have studied many battlefields in books, being there is different—usually how small the area is is the first thing we notice.

Yeh, the food is overpriced, but that's no surprise. It doesn't stop me from grumbling over it.

The land is pretty and a fair amount remains undeveloped. Some around Yorktown was farmed back in the 1700's, but is forest again. Jamestown was kind of silly because hardly anything remains, but I never was clear exactly where it was. Being there I could see how it was settled in a defensive position on the river because of fears of the Spanish navy.

Enjoy yourself in spite of the bad stuff—I tried to do that and sort of succeeded. We can continue this discussion once we have another happy hour together. It helped we stayed in a luxury hotel nearby for free because a friend had a deal there but wasn't using it.

Where to next?

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Old 05-16-2011, 07:21 PM   #13
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Thanks for defending us, Gene. Williamsburg is a reconstruction, but is well done for that sort of thing. And bills have to be paid. Funny thing about the Jamestown fort - when I was a kid it was taught that the fort had been long reclaimed by the river. Then just a few years ago, the whole footprint was found on land and is being excavated now. They are finding artifacts upon artifacts.

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Old 05-16-2011, 07:29 PM   #14
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You got it.

That is pretty much how I look at it as well, Gene. Being able to see how the land lays is a big help, and the old structures are pretty cool. One can't help but wish that along with the McHistory tours they would intersperse some higher quality presentations though.
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