“Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.” -Dave Barry
We have a confession to make–we really aren’t into camping. We enjoy being outdoors and hiking, biking, and kayaking and our Airstream allows us to stay in a lot of nice places to do those activities. However, at the end of the day, we would really rather be at home (if we had one) sleeping in our own bed. This becomes very evident at the end of each day in the campground when our fellow campers are sitting outside, grilling their dinner, and preparing to spend the evening in front of an open fire. We, on the other hand, normally head to our Airstream to avoid the mosquitoes and the smoke of our neighbors’ fires.
We actually did build the first campfire of our trip this week so we would have the above photo for the blog. We paid $5 for six pieces of firewood (what a rip-off) but Ed had a hard time getting the fire going–he blamed it on wet firewood. He finally was successful after throwing in half the brochures we had accumulated on our trip. Ed sort of enjoyed sitting around the fire but Patty quickly headed back to the Airstream, complaining of the smoke and pointing out the mosquito bites on her legs.
We began last week at Bolar Mountain Campground in Virginia but we left early because Patty was having serious neck and upper back pain and wanted to visit a doctor in Richmond. Before we left we did visit the Jefferson Pools in Warm Springs which have been in operation since 1761. They were named in honor of Thomas Jefferson who enjoyed visiting the pools. Mrs. Robert E. Lee also bathed in them as treatment for her rheumatoid arthritis.
The octagonal building over the men’s pool—there also is a ladies’ pool. Bathing is coed in the morning but in the afternoon it is adults only and clothing is optional. We consider clothing mandatory at our age so we arrived early in the morning.
Inside one of the pools—the water temperature is 98-degrees all year round.
Patty enjoying the pool—note the traditional “noodle”. We’re not sure if noodles were used by Jefferson.
After a relaxing hour-long bath in the pool, Patty was feeling pretty good and Ed convinced her to go on a hike in Douthat State Park. When we hike, we normally like to have a destination that makes the hike worthwhile so we decided to hike to Blue Suck Falls.
View from the trail at Douthat State Park
Patty enjoys Blue Suck Falls (it’s on her left). We both agreed that hiking four miles, mostly uphill, to see this “falls” was hardly worth the effort. In fact, we suggest they change the first name of the falls to “It” and add an “s” to the second.
We left Bolar Mountain Campground just in time—it apparently is now closed due to the government shutdown. Fortunately, we headed back to Pocahontas State Park near Richmond so we have a place to stay for now. We are scheduled to stay at another Federal campground in North Carolina next week so we may not be out of (or into) the woods yet.
Back in Richmond, it was another retro week watching our daughters, Adrienne and Lindsay, participate in sports. First we watched them play in their coed volleyball league and then we rooted as Lindsay rode in the 62-mile Tour of Richmond. She has only been biking seriously for a short time so we were very impressed by her performance.
Lindsay at the 50-mile point receiving a boost from Adrienne (and Ryan Gosling)
Lindsay crossing the finish line. She finished 15th out of 86 women riders—very good for her first tour.
After Lindsay’s race we celebrated her success and also, belatedly, her 25th birthday at Bottoms Up in downtown Richmond. Great pizza and freight trains rumbling by just above the outdoor dining area—what more could you ask for.
(Note: Thanks to Don Holmes and to G. B. Edwards of the Florida State Collection of Arthropods/Arachnida, Myriapoda, and Thysanoptera who identified the spider in last week’s blog as a marbled orbweaver (Araneus marmoreus). Orbweavers are very common and are known for their spiral wheel-shaped webs. According to Jim McCabe of the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, Canada, the object in last week’s mystery photo was a septarian nodule, which forms by chemical reactions within ancient sedimentary rocks. Searching the internet Ed found that they are often mistaken for fossils so he doesn’t feel too bad.)