Carvins Cove Kayaking & Mountain Biking

Carvins Cove is beautiful, very close to Roanoke, and we are so glad we spent a couple days here!

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Bobby on the kayak

Kayaking – Day 1

Sometimes, you just need a relaxing day on the lake.  Yes.  Exactly that.  Enjoy!

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It’s $3 to get into Carvins Cove.  After that, it’s time to enjoy beautiful outdoors.  Day one, we rented a couple of kayaks and took our time.  We came across fellow kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, and small fishing boats.  Even with the diversity, it wasn’t hard to find a place of your own.

Megan and I brought a cooler with some sandwiches and drinks.  It was really easy to pull into one of the many fingers of the lake, providing spectacular views, as well as a little more privacy.  The lake is really easy to navigate, and thanks to restrictions on boat size we experienced very little wake from other water craft.  This was a great way to spend our first day here!

Mountain Bike – Day 2

Carvins Cove is a mountain biking paradise.  The trail system offers something for all levels of experience.  I watched some youtube videos before we left and it made me grit my teeth!  But don’t let that fool you, a novice rider will have a great time on many of the trails here too.

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This is where I wish I brought some PB&Js and a beer

WE HIT THE TRAIL late morning on a Monday.  Carvins Cove had a XC race the day prior and we figured the day after a race is the best day for a trail of your own.  We were right!

The first few miles is easy and wide trail.  There is some climbing though and it will take some time to find the singletrack that makes this area so great.

ALONG COMES A SNAKE!

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If you’re looking for a squishy ride, how about crapping your pants!?

Yes, that is a roughly 8′ long Black Racer snake in the middle of the trail. Yes, I almost ran over it on my mountain bike.  Yes, this is as close as I’d get for a picture!

Mud & Water

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Megan and I are not advanced mountain bikers.  Still, Carvins Cove gave us some obstacles that are both fun, and doable for the everyday rider.  The creek pictured above is a perfect example of just that!

I love riding with Megan because she really likes to soak in the ride.  I am guilty of ripping through the trail as fast as possible, whereas Megan enjoys the sway of the switchback and the beauty that surrounds.

After experiencing Carvins Cove, Megan and I agree that mountain biking is one of our favorite parts of Roanoke and the surrounding area.  We would both suggest to anyone interested in doing a lot of mountain biking in this area, to make Carvins Cove a priority.

Washing it Down

A couple of days in the sun, exploring Carvins Cove by land and water, has made us hungry and thirsty!

Ballast Point Brewery (Daleville, VA) is nearby, and has the goods.  They offered so many varieties of beer, American style food, and has a great view from the patio.  Check them out!

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Thanks for checking us out!

-Megan & Bobby

 

On the Cusp – Hurricane Florence

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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.

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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!

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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

 

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!

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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!

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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!

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SELFIE!

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

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The falls are about 65′ tall.  Pictures never do justice!
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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!

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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!

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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.

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Bojack enjoying a nap on his favorite sofa (New River Junction)
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Getting outside between rain storms
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Enjoying a cold one – admiring the view
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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