Shenandoah

Shenandoah Sunset

We spent all day in Shenandoah National Park. The heart of this park is a road, Skyline Drive that runs North-South through the center of the park. We began in the middle of the park and headed south from there. We started off driving from lookout to lookout, jumping out of the car for a few quick photos and then hoping back into our heated seats. It was cold! We ran our seats on high all of the way south. Normally, I can sit on high heat for only a few minutes, before my butt begins to burn. Our frequent stops though meant that that never happened. Just after lunchtime, we did a hike to the Dark Hollow Falls and back. Afterwards, we chased the sunset, with all of its Jesus rays. After sunset, we head back to the hotel. It was getting dark then and lots of deer began to appear alongside the road. We dodged them all and made it back down to the valley.

Sandstone Falls

Sandstone Falls, New River Gorge

Yesterday, was a lot of fun. Today, was more of a travel day, that is not quite so much fun. I awoke before five, because a lot of other people were already up and about. We got up at six and looking out the window, I could see that our car was draped in snow. Checking traffic, I saw that today’s route had been painted traffic jam red. TV news announced that all semi traffic had been pulled from the highways. Where can I press that button? Not all that much snow, plus little accumulation, but the above freezing ground soon subsumed to the day’s weather icy temperatures allowed for the formation of black ice and the like. I rolled over for a while. When we did get out and about, the roads had been treated (we learned the day before that the bridge we had walked has its own dedicated salt truck), traffic jams had subsided, and the semis were already loose. We headed south to Sandstone Falls at the far end of New River Gorge. In addition to the boardwalk, we hiked a short trail around the island below the falls. We saw two deer (photos coming) and two kingfishers. Yesterday, we saw two Piliated woodpeckers. Afterwards, we continued east along I-64, which we have been mostly hugging since Saint Louis. We departed this interstate for I-81, which was like leaving an idyllic country drive for a wheel-to-wheel 18-wheel cog way. We bailed from that experience and took a longer, slower and twisty-turny path along country roads.

Ollie Cat Cafe

After driving al day, we made it to Luray, VA, in the heart of the Shenandoah valley. After check-in we set out in search of dinner. We ended up at the Ollie Cat, a new place in town, established by a young couple that moved here from southern Florida. They opened at the height of the pandemic. They’ve been struggling with their business and the winter weather, but it looks like they are going to make it. OBTW, the food was delicious!