friday, more driving, driving, driving, through the mountains of virginia.  we were going to stop friday night somewhere in kentucky because kevin wanted to drive through big stone gap, VA, because he’d done some volunteering there with his church back in college.  but when there were miles and miles and more miles to cover getting home, he decided he’d rather take a quicker route.  so instead of kentucky, we headed into west virginia, and stopped at a lovely state park called greenbrier.  you might have heard of the greenbrier hotel, which is very big and fancy and not very far from the greenbrier forest where we camped.  the helpful and cheerful camp check-in guy told us all about the greenbrier; the rooms are $4-500 a night, there’s a big bunch of fancy shops located on the property, and underneath it is a cold war bunker that was designed for the president and all members of congress to flee to.  they never used it, and nobody around the area even knew about it, until not that long ago.  now you can tour it and have conferences in it and stuff.

we didn’t care about any of that; we just wanted to camp.  it was a small campground with only 16 sites, and when we got there only maybe four of them were taken.  we parked far away from others, as we like to do, and started popping up the popup.

after a while a couple pulled in and they took the space just across us and down a little.  why did they want to park so close?  i immediately was sure they’d be loud drunks, since it was a weekend, and plus they drove not one but TWO huge pickups.

but it was a husband and wife, or maybe longtime companions, and they diligently set up their (newer and fancier than ours) popup, complete with a big umbrella outside their front door and a great big outside rug.  as we sat around our fire, they finally finished their extensive setting-up, and they, too, settled down by the fire.  for some reason they had attached a big floodlight outside and it shone over on us in a kind of annoying way, but that was ok because they were absolutely quiet.


it was chilly that night, and since we’d forgotten to buy an electric heater we were again a little bit chilly.  we snuggled under the blankets and watched a movie and all was good.

in the morning we got up at 7:45 and kevin didn’t even make any coffee because we were going to attempt to be quick and pack up and hit the road in order to make it home that night.

mollie and i were very chilly.

we were right up against a big hill and the trees were spectacular.

even though he didn’t make coffee, kevin made a good fire.

i had brought marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers along with us, and i kept meaning to make s’mores, but it didn’t happen.  the night before i got all the stuff out, but then we had so much dinner that i didn’t want one.

that morning, though, i decided was the perfect time.  kevin took this picture of my spread.

mmm, chocolatey marshmallowey goodness.  i forget how much i love s’mores until i finally have one.  mus make them more often.

as we hustled around trying to get ready to leave, mollie was all set.

we left at…eleven.  i don’t know why it took so long to pack up, but it did.  kevin drove and drove, but we soon realized we wouldn’t be making it home that night.  i started looking into possibilities in louisville, but there weren’t any conveniently-located parks on the map.  i called amy to made her look them up, but  she wasn’t answering her phone.  instead i called bev, and had her look up hotels in the area.  she had the smart idea of getting one of those hotel coupon books you find at rest stops, so i got one and then amy called me back and i had her look up the different pet-friendly hotels on trip advisor.  they all had horrible reviews, and then kevin said he didn’t want to stay in louisville, so i started looking for campgrounds again.

it was a busy day, research and phoning-wise, for me.  amy finally found a phone number for a campground on the other side of louisville and i called them.  well, not them directly, but the tourist office nearby, and the lady said they did have sites but there was a BURN BAN.  you couldn’t have a campfire, you couldn’t even had a fire made of charcoal.  they were having a drought.

that didn’t appeal to me so much, plus i was tired – i think the effects of the low potassium were lingering – and the thought of all that setting up of the popup and then popping it all back down in the morning – not appealing at all.  plus, what if we were as slow on sunday morning; would we have to spend yet another night on the road?

as we drove away from louisville, i spotted a sign for a hotel in some little town.  i flipped through the coupon book and there it was!  and pet friendly!  kevin agreed that it would be a good idea to stop there, so we spent our last night of camping in yet another hotel.  this one wasn’t as fancy as the one we’d stayed in in winchester VA, but it was plenty nice enough, plus of course dog-friendly.  the woman at the front desk kept petting mollie, who is almost always tolerant of that but would prefer it if the petter had a treat for her, too.

next door was a Big Boy restaurant and we got carryout from there.  we flipped through the channels – on one was a debate between a couple of people running for mayor in some nearby town.  not a lot to watch on the tv, so instead we stayed up watching an old “harry potter.”

sunday morning, we managed to hit the road pretty early (for us), at 8:30.  we were home by two, and SO HAPPY to be there!  the trip was nice, but it was good to be home.

we unpacked the van and the popup, and sat down by the dock.  the temperature was in the 80s and it felt like august, not october.  there were lots of boats out on the lake.  i took this picture with my phone.

and here we are.  mollie is happy to be home, too.  i do think she had a good time, except for being left alone for a half-hour at a time when i exercised at the hotel, and being left with two dogs she’d never met at jimmy’s, and then being TORTURED by being left alone with Thad when kevin and i went out to dinner.  but we were with her all the time besides that, and there were almost always new things to sniff, plus we gave her plenty of treats on the long car rides.  she’ll be ready to go the next time we take a trip.

all the halloween lights are up outside now, but there are only a couple of things inside.  the giant tubs are stacked in the office, and i really need to get right on that.  but i’m kind of busy today and tomorrow, and it’s supposed to be 75 on wednesday, so the likelihood of me spending that lovely day inside is very very slight.

i hope your monday is going well,

ok then,