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  • J.F. Rowan

Let's Roll!

After bouncing around New England for approximately two months, we decided to plan and execute our exit from Vermont, heading west and then south to our initial destination, West Columbia, South Carolina. On the 30th of October we left a family visit in Vermont and headed west toward New York, then south spending our first night in southern PA. After a long day of driving, even a Walmart parking lot looked like a great place to overnight. And, as it turned out, it was.

One of our campsites during our New England visit. East Haddam CT. Cloudy days don't make for very productive solar charging. Additionally, the angle of the sun in fall reduces our ability to charge. Running the generator can be our only option and we're thankful we have it.

Day two found us heading toward Gettysburg PA. Keeping the road work a bit shorter time-wise, we wanted to spend some time touring the Gettysburg Museum and Battlefield. The day culminated in a great pizza at “Tom’s Pizza” in Gettysburg and a quiet nights stay at one of our “Harvest Host” locations about ten miles out of town. Hauser Orchards and Winery is a winery that creates not only great wines but also has some hard ciders as well. We didn’t get to sample any of their beverage selections as we arrived after hours and left before they opened. But the view was gorgeous especially during the morning hours and a very quiet and private place to spend the night.

Touring the battlefield of Gettysburg. Losses were heavy during this three day battle. Hard not to feel somewhat humbled. We received quite an education during our day visit. This area certainly deserves more time to explore, more time to learn.

This is just one section of the Gettysburg Cyclorama. What's a Cyclorama? Click HERE to learn more.

Early morning at Hauser Estate Winery in Gettysburg. A peaceful nights sleep and a glorious view.

A great parking spot for the night. Several deer sightings in the morning and owls during the night. All this and 10 minutes from Gettysburg!

The next morning after stopping just down the street for some fruit, we were offsetting our sights on Virginia and the northern entrance to the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. We reached the town of Front Royal with plenty of daylight ahead of us and decided to top off our Propane and Fuel tank as there would be limited availability of either in the park.

For you numbers followers, fuel varied from a high of $3.75/gal (in PA…go figure.) to about $2.99/gal in VA. Propane, on the other hand, didn’t seem to vary that much thus far, yet was cheaper in Virginia at $3.49/gal as opposed to $3.59/gal in Vermont. Our propane tank will hold 14.4 gallons and can last anywhere from two weeks up to several months depending on how much we use our generator. Since being back in New England and dealing with several days of either rain or cloudy weather, we’ve used our generator quite a bit. Total time on the generator is 87.0hrs since new.

We spent one night in the “Big Meadows” national forest campground and decided to leave the following day due to some overnight noise issues. We took note as to when the camper that was creating the issue was leaving (peeking at their campground pass expiration date) and made plans to return. But that was okay because it just opened up different doors of opportunities for us, such as going to another harvest host in Bridgewater VA., and we had a great Mexican dinner in town, meeting some great folks in the process. We bedded down at the Bluestone Winery but not before having a taste of some of their award-winning wines. The following morning Yvette found us a great place for a hearty breakfast in Harrisonburg VA., and again, we met some great people that gave us a bit of inside history of the old L & S Diner. If any of you get down this way, it’s a must stop for breakfast or lunch. All kinds of goodies like “Salt-fish” or “Oyster Sandwich” are very popular here.

Our camp spot in Big Meadows Campground on the Skyline Drive. I love dogs but they need to be properly trained before coming to a campground. Barking all night did not make for a great nights sleep. Time for us to leave but not to worry, we'll be back!

Okay, off to our next stop, “The Desert Rose Winery”! Yep, more taste testing and wouldn’t you know it, we arrived during their Western Festival Weekend! Boy, these Virginians know how to party! Other great nights sleep once the party settled down and we set our sights on returning to Skyline Drive but not before stopping at the Skyland Meadows State Park. Great hiking, a demonstration on hearth cooking and a brief lesson as to what it would have been like to be a slave back in the day.

Cooks House. Great demonstration on hearth cooking here. Was also home to 9-15 slaves. Tight quarters.

Inside the small cook cabin. Hearth cooking demonstration put on by one of the parks volunteers. Sample plate included venison stew, chestnut dressing, carrot and corn salad and a few deserts.

Camping at another Harvest Host, Bluestone Winery. Poured cats and dogs all night.

Look at those hub caps on the grill!

Great history!

Great morning eats at the L & S Diner. If I lived in Harrisonburg VA., you'd probably find me here every morning!

We head back to the Shenandoah National Park and as we suspected (and planned) our noise issue was long gone. Why not go somewhere else and camp? Good point. Unfortunately this time of the year, Big Meadows Campground was the only place that was open and even this campground was scheduled to close on the 12th. We hope to stay here for a few days, but snow is in the forecast. Hmmm…

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