Come again, ANY OTHER DAY BESIDES THE WEEK WE ARE TRYING TO CAMP/ROAD TRIP. Sorry: I wasn't yelling at you, my lovely reader, but wow, our latest trip was RAINY, and that made it much HARDER than a normal camping/road trip with a two year old. Can you imagine?
Here was our trip (I'm giving you what we ACTUALLY did, and not what we planned, because plans always change), campgrounds, dates, links, logistics. I'll get into gory details and more photos in a bit, but here is a quick summary, since this will be a longer blog post.
Day 1::6/22/18 Leave Northern VA, head west I-64 and then south I-81. Boy, we were proud to skip I-95 on a Friday! Little known fact in the Davis home: I-81 was just as bad. UGH. Plus, the whole time we were stuck in traffic, IT RAINED. (Insert frustrated face and repeated heavy sighing from the tall people). What should have been an almost 4 hour drive slowly turned into 6. Fortunately, a bit of sun popped out almost as soon as we got to our campsite at Claytor Lake Campground, and we had a lovely evening. Maybe our luck was turning!
Day 2::6/23/18 Head south to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, camping at Elkmont Campground. We stopped and got our standard souvenirs of magnet, christmas ornament, and sticker, and of course, postcards to send! Fine weather all day, until our camp was set up, and then the skies opened upon us. No change of luck. We were stuck under the awning with a stir crazy toddler. Um, yay.
Day 3::6/24/18 Head south toward Atlanta, and camp at Stone Mountain Campground, about 30 minutes outside the city. We took a quick detour before hitting the road into Gatlinburg and had a quick coffee date at Burg Coffee: Ruby and I split the Lavender Vanilla Latte. She's a girl of fine taste.
Day 4::6/25/18 Atlanta! Another capital crossed off, the original Waffle House (which might be Ruby's FAVORITE place to eat. Maybe not so fine taste....), some AMAZING pizza and gelato at Antico Pizza, and a fantastic nap back at camp. When Ruby woke up, we got to go swimming at the pool, for approximately 30 minutes until it thundered. And then rained. AGAIN. Off and on the rest of the evening.
Day 5:: 6/26/18 We were up with sunny skies (really? WOW!) and headed into Atlanta again for a doughnut at Revolution Doughnuts and I randomly picked a fantastic doughnut place, for sure. Clean ingredients, and incredible taste and selection. Do stop in. We also had to stop at the original Chick Fil A, and snap a few photos for Mimi, since it is her favorite place ever.
Then we headed north east, and decided to stop at a campground in SC, because if we kept driving, we wouldn't arrive at our original plan (near Asheville) until later, when it was supposed to rain (shocker). If we stopped in 20-30 minutes, Ruby could play, and have some sun before the storms came. Chau Ram County Park had a lovely campground, playground, and creek with picturesque falls. Ruby got a solid afternoon of playing, and Brock and I had ourselves a nice fire that night, but by 9pm it was POURING. Brock maybe got just as soaked running from the showers back to the camper as he did taking his shower. On the bright side, we don't seem to have any leaks in the camper!
Day 6::6/27/18 Stopped in Asheville for lunch at Tupelo Honey, loved it, and grabbed coffee at High Five Coffee on the way out. Stopped in Mt. Airy, NC: home of the Andy Griffith Show. Brock is a total geek. Camped at Fairy Stone State Park, after a dinner of ice-cream. I actually can't remember if it rained this night, but my guess is that it probably did.
Day 7::6/28/18 This park/campground had an AWESOME beach area, so we decided to spend the morning playing there. Ruby LOVED it! Then we headed north, toward Charlottesville, and ended up camping at James River State Park. This was a beautiful park! We also *finally* stopped for groceries, so we had a fun cookout that night. Ruby dined on her favorite, of course, corn on the cob. And you know what? IT DIDN'T RAIN!!!! This fact would have made me happy dance, except at 7pm it was still 97 degrees out, so I was happy on the inside.
That was a long summary, so thanks for hanging in there!
Some highlights of our rainy trip...
Ruby roasted her first marshmallow over a campfire.
Ruby enjoyed "her" hammock for the first time.
Some play in beautiful creeks, beaches, and playgrounds.
Wonderful scenery, of different types.
Clean campgrounds and most had showers.
Another capital/capitol and park crossed off the list! (Only 3 parks left east of the Mississippi!)
Lots of phenomenal food and coffee.
Some lows of the trip...
LEECHES. Yep. You read that right. After playing in the creek at Chau Ram County Park, Ruby and I had little tiny leeches on us. Kind of all over. They didn't attach, but GROSS. I'll just mention ticks here too, since we found a few on Ruby during the trip. We were vigilant though, and they were never attached to her. I'd rather a tick than 20 baby leeches any day.
RAIN. Did I mention that yet?
Actually, other than that, it was really an awesome trip. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in all of the metropolitan areas we visited, because they all had small business, amazing food, and adorable coffee shops. We enjoyed spending time as a family, and reconnecting. It has been SUCH a busy year, and we are somehow still so busy, that a week off was perfect.
One of the greatest things: Ruby slept LATE. Like 7:30 or later EVERY DAY. And I was in bed early, like 9 or 9:30pm, every night. And she is doing better letting me snap a photo or two. Thanks kid. Because one day, you'll have all these photos to remember our cool life.
Another amazing part of traveling? All the learning Ruby gets to experience. She learned about lightening bugs. She was brave when it thundered. She loved practicing numbers walking around campgrounds. This kid soaks it up, and it is a joy to provide her exposure to all the world has to offer. *Note: in the series of photos below, Ruby only has panties on. She was in the truck for a LOT of time that day, and asked to be naked. It was hot, and she's two, so we said yes. **Second note: she did NOT fall off the rock!
But really.... the COOLEST part? Walking down the street in Charlottesville, Ruby sees the truck and camper, and exclaims "there's my camper!"