Day 5 of Zeke and the Navigator’s multi-state camping tour pleasantly arrived under bright blue skies. After 4 straight days of rain and dreary skies, we thoroughly enjoyed our morning coffee, bagel with cream cheese, and a banana as we prepped for the day. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as we surveyed what little bit of the sky we could see above the narrow mountain valley of Beaverdam Campground.
Our first order of business was to decide to stay or to go. We’ve been committing to only one night at a time so that we would have the maximum flexibility in our trip planning. We already had the information that the campground was booked solid beginning Friday so the decision was really whether to risk staying and having to travel to another campground and hope for a site on Friday or hit the road today and be more certain of finding a place to stay for the weekend.
We very much wanted to enjoy some sunshine so we opted to stay at Douthat State Park one more night and take our chances on finding an open spot elsewhere on Friday. After our morning intake of caffeine, we hurried down to the camp office to secure our spot for the night and to also try to get a cell signal to check in with the Navigator’s father. Reception was very poor for some reason and this prompted us to head down to Clifton Forge where we knew from yesterday’s visit that strong Verizon signal existed.
Given the beauty of the day and lack of riding that I’ve been doing, the Navigator suggested that I ride my Fuji CCR3 to Clifton Forge and meet her at the Krogers where we needed to shop and turn in some DVDs. She also offered to grab a couple of images on the way as proof that I really did ride at least once on this trip!
The ride to Krogers encompassed 10 miles. Shortly after leaving the Park’s boundary, we came upon a paving project that had reduced the road down to one lane of travel and you had to follow the “pilot car” in order to get to where you were going. I tried to keep up with traffic once we began moving but only managed to stay on the bumper ahead of me for a couple of miles. Fortunately, there was no one behind me so I wasn’t impeding traffic. The paving materials appears to be some kind of thin concrete and stone slurry. It was definitely not the inches of asphalt that I’m used to seeing at home.
After leaving Douthat State Park Road, you immediately go under I-64 and into the town of Clifton Forge. The road at this point is dual lane in both directions with businesses on each side. There is one short climb up to the Krogers store.
It was warm and I had definitely worked up a good sweat on the run to Krogers. The Navigator was waiting on me and properly documented my unnoticed arrival at Krogers. There were no balloons and festive crowds awaiting me and, even better, Floyd Landis had made no assertions that I was a doper. At least, I’m guessing that’s why there were no assembled national press members at Krogers waiting on me to smoothly unclip.
After cooling down and posting my blog report and checking email, we did our grocery shopping for the next few days and rented our final DVD from Krogers. To our list of watched movies, we’ll now add Old Dogs. I’m not yet sure where it falls on my movie critic’s list. Definitely above Nine but well below Brothers. I’d say it is solidly in the middle of the pack.
Back to the Park we go…
After loading up with supplies to get us to Sunday, we returned to our peaceful campsite to find that the neighbors beside us were greeting the attendant members of their family reunion this weekend. The noise level had definitely increased given that there are 8 grandchildren in this reunion between the ages of 18 months and 5 years. I had enjoyed my conversation with Ken, the patriarch of the family, yesterday. He and his wife were the first campers to arrive. Ken had unloaded bicycle after bicycle from his camper getting ready for the kids to appear. He also had his own 2 bikes purchased at Kitty Hawk Bikes in Kitty Hawk, NC.
The Navigator and I enjoyed our final campfire at Douthat State Park with a meal of grilled hamburgers and slaw. Just prior to the meal, we hiked down to Douthat Lake and experience a nice change in the available light as dusk began to fall.
Folks had settled in for the night as I made my last walk around the campground. Very tired children were no where to be seen as they had run out of energy slightly earlier while adults, moving at a much slower pace, were sitting around their campfires enjoying each other’s company and low volume conversations.
The Navigator and I climbed into our bed with good books to read. It wasn’t long until dreaming had replaced reading. The quiet sounds of the forest critters and the smell of smoldering campfires made for a great backdrop for sleep – truly restful sleep.
…Until HE arrived…