On the Cusp – Hurricane Florence

fullsizeoutput_eec
Hurricane Evacuation Route

A hurricane is a nightmare for those who are in its path.  The media tells us a story, which includes video footage of a newscaster attempting to report while being battered by the fierceness of mother nature.  Then, images pour in of large amounts of flooding, wind tearing off roofs, and the obligatory, albeit very saddening, casualty count and those affected by its devastating aftermath.  So when Florence started moving in, panic sunk in fast.

In our area, Roanoke, VA, initial reports started claiming forecasts of up to 20″ of rain causing severe flooding, as well as severe wind gusts which could potentially knock down trees and power lines.  The instant presumption was, we need to leave.  We have a house on wheels, so let’s get out of dodge!  Of course, this is much easier said than done.  Where are we going to go?  Will Megan have to take up lodging near work? If so, where will we park our RV, and will we have to separate for a few days?  We decided the best thing to do was to start an evacuation plan, while also keeping our eye on the National Weather Service (NWS) for Roanoke.

fullsizeoutput_e9f
Screenshot from Weatherbug when the hurricane hit.  Our location on top left.

For three  days, we remained on the cusp of Florence’s predicted path. Our campground host, as well as local community were all mixed in their advice towards us.  This was incredibly stressful!  DO WE STAY OR DO WE GO!  Of course, nobody is going to answer that question for us.

When Florence made landfall in New Bern, NC, it was eerily quiet here.   Also, by this time our friends and family back home were reaching out regularly, insuring our safety.  We couldn’t help but pray for those in this monster’s path.  Being from Colorado, we’ve never been anywhere near a hurricane.  All of our experiences came from what we’ve seen in the media. But now we’re waiting for it and only a few hours drive inland, it’s a very different story!

fullsizeoutput_ef6

The storm didn’t hit us too hard.  We experienced significant rain, and some areas with minor flooding.  The access roads near our campground had a fallen tree in the road, and the local creek ran significantly higher, but that was the worst of it for us.

We cannot express enough how terrifying hurricanes are.  After this experience, we’re left feeling hurt for those who’ve been impacted.  Business as usual resumes for most, rebuilding starts for many.

In the end, we wish to give thanks to those who reached out in concern.  Also, we want to send our best to anyone reading who’s been impacted by the storm.  It has not left our minds.

All the best,

Megan and Bobby

 

Making it work – Labor Day

Initially, Megan and I planned Labor Day week in Virginia Beach.  We faced an approximately 300 mile drive, so we decided to book a campsite and haul our trailer to the coast.  The drive there was slow, and we got to our campground at about 5pm.  Megan went inside to meet the campground host and check in, while I waited in the truck with Bojack.  When Megan came back, she was furious!  Our campground booked us on the WRONG MONTH!

People make mistakes.  This is not news to me, or anyone else I know.  Generally speaking, a mistake of this nature would surely upset, if not ruin someones holiday.  However, we’re not just on vacation.  We have nowhere to go!  Our lives are in this camper, and this reservation failure literally felt like an eviction with nowhere else to go.

Home is where we park it

Plan B - Walmart
You can always RV camp at Walmart!

 

So, we did what we had to do.  We starting calling every campground we could find, looking for a place to park.  Even if was just for one night, we needed to buy time so we could make other arraignments.  As expected, most campgrounds were booked solid due to the Labor Day holiday (not surprising in a beach town).  We managed to find an opening for two nights at Northwest River Park, located on the Virginia side of the Virginia/ North Carolina state line.  It’d cost us another 90 minutes of travel and a toll road, but it was worth it.  The campground was a muggy swamp next to a big river, and didn’t have water or sewer connections for the RV.  Now we can start our vacation! HA!

fullsizeoutput_724
Northwest River Park – Campground at night

Northwest River Park is a very nice place.  I mean that sincerely, even though we had never intended to go there, nor stay.  We got there late, and pretty much went right to bed. First thing in the morning, Megan found a campground near the Outer Banks, NC.  Megan took some downtime and relaxed in the RV, I spent the day exploring on my bike.  The area is gorgeous, very lush with swampy areas.  They had boat rentals where we didn’t try, though it looked amazing.  Visitors, bring your bug spray!

The campground in North Carolina (Hampton Lodge Campground) was about an hour drive, so we took our time.  We arrived on a Saturday, bringing us officially into the Labor Day weekend.  The park was busy, and located western bank of the Currituck Sound,  overlooking the Outer Banks and into the Atlantic.  FINALLY, it was looking like we could relax!

THE OBX!

The Outer Banks (known as the OBX locally) is a string of islands located on the coast of North Carolina and Virginia.  These islands are very narrow east to west, maybe the equivalent of three city blocks.  On one side you have the Atlantic Ocean.  The beaches are soft, waves perfect for your boogie board (and probably a lot more if you know where to go), and stretch for miles.  Then, you can walk to the other side, and see across the sound to the mainland. The OBX is a popular place for beach tourism, and is also notable in its history.  I will say, it’s hard to believe these islands even exist given the fierceness of the Atlantic right there!  *as of the time of this draft, hurricane Florence is forcasted to hit this area.  We are very concerned for the people of this area, and they are in our thoughts and prayers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In retrospect, I would’ve liked to explore the OBX further south (we only got as far as Kill Devil Hills).  We enjoyed Kitty Hawk beach, and table full of seafood platters at Hurricane Mo’s.  If we had the chance to do some prior research on the area, we could’ve done a much better job as tourists.

(Video) Bojack Fetch!

 

Honestly, we were both simply exhausted.  We’ve been traveling a lot and haven’t had much of a chance to settle in much during these past 6 weeks since leaving Colorado.  The mishap on Virginia beach didn’t help either.  Effectively, we turned this trip into a beer by the beach and embrace downtime type of vacation!

fullsizeoutput_e9e

In the end, we muddled our way into a great little trip.  We intended on posting about our week in Virginia Beach, but we’ll take our shorted time in the Outer Banks nonetheless.  The campsites, food, and people were all great to us during our stay.  We would love to visit again!

With Love,

Bobby & Megan

 

Cycling Virginia – Part 1

Of course I’d have a post about cycling!  To be honest, when we left, I had no clue what things would look like in terms of riding my bike.  Megan more or less forced me to bring my road bike (stored in the under storage of the RV) plus we both brought our mountain bikes.  Considering the space all this bike stuff takes up, we have to get out regularly!

fullsizeoutput_6f2
Riding my bike around a campground

First of all, the mountain bikes are perfect for getting around campgrounds.  I’ve toured almost every campground on my bike so far.  It’s just a great way to get some fresh air and spin out my legs especially after traveling.

Our first major ride was in the Poverty Creek trail system, outside of Blacksburg, VA.  Neither Megan or I consider ourselves expert mountain bikers, so we kept it to the “easy” trails.  Easy!?  I think NOT.  We rode an out and back, single track trail for 10 miles, climbing 900ft.  We encountered plenty of obstacles, including large tree roots, rocks, mud, and water.  We had so much fun!  Each of us dumped our bikes one time, reminding us to stay humble even outside of our home state.   This trail system spurred out from Poverty Creek, into more challenging sections.  We decided the easy stuff was enough for us, this time around.  Maybe when we get some more mountain bike experience, or increase our level of “guts”, we’ll give the other trails a go.  Seriously though, very fun trail and definitely recommended!

fullsizeoutput_6bb
Megan making a splash at Poverty Creek Trail

Megan and I continued to visit this trail system a few times.  We even decided to ride our bikes to the trail (5 miles of gravel road from our campground) and then explore the singletrack.  The mountain bikes are such a great way to not only get a work out, but also put a smile on your face!

fullsizeoutput_6b1
SELFIE!

fullsizeoutput_6f3

Road biking in Virginia had me anxious before we left Colorado.  It is no secret that many motorists loathe road bikes, and I wasn’t sure what that picture would look like here.  For certain, I have much more to learn in terms of safe, well traveled routes in this region.  However, I couldn’t have been any luckier with a location just outside of Blacksburg.  The roads here are seldom used, often accessing farm land or other rural homes.  On one occasion, cycling northbound on Spruce Run Rd, I wasn’t overtaken by a car through 5 miles or riding.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that the road was absolutely stunning!  Pictures can’t describe the fresh air, the smell of the roadside vegetation,  and the sounds of a nearby creek.  I can honestly say this was some of the nicest riding I’ve done!  The only downside is the post ride review on strava, listing all the Virginia Tech cyclists records on the same route.  Basically, I’m a snail compared to them!

fullsizeoutput_6c1
Spruce Run Rd – Giles County VA

As indicated in the title of this post, I intend on posting more about cycling in this region.  If anyone has suggestions on routes, or how to find them, please let us know!

With Love,

– The Wrights

Cascade Falls, VA

On our last full day at New River Valley, we decided to take the trip up to Cascade Falls which was highly recommended by the campground owner.  We were not disappointed!

The hike is about four miles round trip, and not terribly difficult at all.  There is an upper and lower trail to get to the falls.  The lower trail was mostly inaccessible due to all the recent rain fall, so we stuck to the upper trail.  However, if I get a second chance to hike here, I’d take the lower as it follows the creek all the way to the falls.

fullsizeoutput_6eb
Bridge connecting the upper and lower trail

Along the trail, we found it to be extremely green and lush.  Many large trees gave us a canopy from the sun, and we found lots of moss, mushrooms, and other interesting vegetation along the way.   We kept Bojack on a short leash out of fear he might eat a mushroom or run through some tick infested brush.

 

 

fullsizeoutput_6e7
Dog friendly, but leash required

After climbing up the trail for 2 miles, we finally reached the falls.  Because it was a weekday, we pretty much were the only ones there.  My understanding from others is you can swim, but it is not suggested at this time due severe undercurrents.  Even though I hike in swim trunks, I heeded the advise of other trail users.

fullsizeoutput_6e8
Bobby chasing Bojack with the leash after his quick swim

This was our first decent hike since arriving, and it was very rewarding.  Absolutely a nice way to finish our time near Blacksburg!

Upon return, we grabbed some lunch at a local sandwich shop and made our way home to pack up.  Overall, a great day!  Highly recommended hike to those interested in exploring the area.

 

 

fullsizeoutput_6e9
The falls are about 65′ tall.  Pictures never do justice!
fullsizeoutput_6ef
Megan and I near the lower trail – the water was so refreshing!

New River Junction – Blacksburg, VA

New River Junction (NRJ) was our home for 3 weeks.  Simply put, the place is beautiful.  NRJ is located in the mountains outside of Blacksburg, VA and sits on the banks of the New River.  NRJ offers camping, but is also locally known for renting tubes for floating down the river.  Located on the line between Montgomery and Giles county, the area is popular for outdoor enthusiasts.  During our time there, we went tubing, canoeing, mountain biking, road biking, and hiking.  This section of the Appalachian range sits about 2,000′ elevation, which is a far cry from the Rocky Mountains we’re used to.  This area is know as the “Blue Ridge Mountains”, which stretches from Georgia to Northern Virginia.  Despite the lower elevation mountains, this area was a welcome taste of home for both of us!

fullsizeoutput_6e6
New River and Blue Ridge Mountains from New River Junction

When we arrived, the area was experiencing lots of rain.  Our first night, we were scrambling around our maps because local news indicated tornados, hail, flooding, and a dam breach in the area.  Not something you want to hear when you’re parked next to a river!  We had very spotty WiFi and no cell service unless we took a 20 minute drive into Blacksburg, effectively taking us off the grid.

Once the rain cleared up and the river calmed down, we decided to rent a canoe for a day.  The river was majestic!  After one trip (approximately 1 mile) the NRJ bus picked us up and drove us back to camp.  Once we arrived, we decided to attempt another canoe trip, this time with Bojack!  He wasn’t as thrilled as we were… but we succeeded getting him on the canoe and completed our first family canoe trip!

fullsizeoutput_6e5
Bojack on the water

Obviously, the time we spent at NRJ was spent outside.  The biking and hiking (which will be touched on in later posts) was incredible.  I’m honestly surprised (and glad) the area isn’t commercialized.  I supposed we are used to the beauty of Vail, CO as an example, to include a large section of development to accommodate the many tourists and locals of the land.  At NRJ, we enjoyed the simple life and the natural beauty surrounding us.

fullsizeoutput_6e4
Bojack enjoying a nap on his favorite sofa (New River Junction)
fullsizeoutput_6dd
Getting outside between rain storms
fullsizeoutput_6dc
Enjoying a cold one – admiring the view
fullsizeoutput_6e2
Megan, Bojack, and I rescuing a lost dog (Butters) who ran away during a storm.

We cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed the three weeks spend in Blacksburg and New River Junction.  A special thanks Bernie, and the whole NRJ staff for accommodating us for so long.  We really had a great time, and your suggestions on nearby hiking and biking were fantastic!

With Love-

Bobby, Megan, & Bojack

Road Trip!

Megan and I hit the road on July 28th, 2018.  We’d been planning this day for a long time, and it was so exciting to finally hit the road!  It was bittersweet, however, driving away and leaving our friends, family, and former lives behind.  We enjoyed a huge party back home shortly before leaving, and our closest friends and family met us to wish us farewell the morning we hit the road.  It was hard to say goodbye.

Wright Transportation!
Should I become a trucker? I see the signs!

The first day, I did the majority of the driving.  We drove from our home in Highlands Ranch, CO, to a small town outside of Hays, KS.  The excitement of finally hitting the road clashed heavily with the boring landscape of eastern Colorado and western Kansas.  We arrived fairly late to our campground.  We were both so exhausted all we could do was unhitch and get some sleep!

Bojack Brisket
Bojack gets the spoils of KC BBQ

The next day, we made our way toward Danville, MO.  Megan did an amazing job planning our route keeping us at about 400 miles per day.  Today would be a little more exciting, going through Kansas City!  We didn’t have any stops planned (navigating through a city is extremely difficult with the trailer) but we knew we wanted some famous KC BBQ!  Unfortunately I forgot the name of the restaurant.  It was a small place and it catered to truckers… and therefor us!

fullsizeoutput_6d5
Lazy Day Campground – Danville, MO
fullsizeoutput_6d6
Someone turned this dead tree into chainsaw art!

We stayed the night at Lazy Days campground, near Danville, MO.  It was a very nice campground and the owners were very nice.  We both wished he had more time to explore the area, especially the nearby rivers!  However, Megan and I both wanted to prioritize a trip to Nashville.  So, the next day, we packed up and drove another 400 miles to Nashville!

IMG_3805
Safe Harbor Campground – Nashville
20180801_141111
Music City!

We planned two nights in Nashville, which awesome but not enough time to explore everything we wanted to explore.  To make the most of the full day we had, we decided to buy tickets on a hop on hop off tour bus!

Nashville dubs itself as “Music City” and it’s not hard to see why.  Not only is there a rich history of music (Elvis, Dolly Parton,  & Johnny Cash all recorded here), but the streets share successful and aspiring musicians alike.  “Musicians Row” is a neighborhood in Nashville seemingly dedicated to recording some of the biggest musical acts today.  Certainly an area I’d love to spend more time next time!

In addition to the overwhelming presence of music, Nashville boasts some incredible architecture and history.  We visited the store owned by TVs famed “American Pickers”, saw the Tennessee State Capitol,  and the campus of Vanderbilt University.

Bobby's Idlehouse Tavern
$3 Drafts on Music Row… yes please!

Bobby’s Idlehour Tavern sits in Music Row, a stones throw from Taylor Swifts recording studio.  While we were there, they had $3 drafts and it was singer/ songwriter stage night.  My kind of place!  Especially with a name like that!  Sadly, the bartender informed us they’re being taken over by venture capitalists, and the bar will be shut down shortly.  Unfortunate, as this was the only dive on music row.  I somehow imagine having a beer here with the guitarist from the Zac Brown Band taking a break from the studio.  It was fun to have a couple of drinks and hear some fantastic live music.  Hopefully Nashville keeps this place alive!

IMG_3830
Bojack cooling off for the evening

Two nights in Nashville basically capped off our road trip.  It was time to make our way to our new home in Virginia and settle in before Megan starts work.  I would say we enjoyed every minute, but the truth is that much travel can be taxing.  We were both looking forward to slow things down and see what our next few months in Virginia will bring!

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!  Megan and I have finally set off in our RV, landing in campgrounds near Roanoke, VA through October.  The road leading us to our first assignment was much longer than just the miles.  We owe SO MANY THANKS to our friends, family, and all who’ve supported us get to the hardest part of this journey, the start!

Since purchasing our RV in June, we’ve camped in five different states, eight different campgrounds, and pulled the RV approximately 2000 miles.  So, lots of travel!  Pulling a large 5th wheel is slow and difficult, but certainly achievable.  Neither Megan or I have experience pulling a trailer, or how to operate a RV.  So we’ve really put ourselves through some serious training!  For those who are considering this type of life, I suggest a mind open to learning.  I’m sure I’ve made an idiot of myself more than once these past few weeks! That said, it really has been fun and our RV is very comfortable for us.

fullsizeoutput_6af
THE RIG!  Taken at Bear Creek Campgound (Golden, CO)

Our family is Bobby (me), my wife Megan, and our dog Bojack.  We are from the southern suburbs of Denver, CO.  Megan and I  began planning how we’d start a life of travel around November, 2017.  Less than a year later, Megan got her first assignment as a travel nurse in Salem, VA!  We got busy financing a 5th wheel and truck (more on this in a future blog) and hit the road!  Our goal is to travel, write, and most of all, simply enjoy life!

fullsizeoutput_6b1

Going forward, Megan and I will post a monthly update to share with all, depicting some of the fun (and challenges) from the road.  In addition to a monthly newsletter, we hope to publish material that may be helpful to those new to, or interested in topics.  We sincerely hope you enjoy it along with us!

With Love,

The Wright Family

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton