What a beautiful drive! It winds along the tops of the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, allowing for beautiful overlooks on both sides. The speed limit is only 35 mph (55 km per hour), so it was perfect for Amelia.
Here’s Steve and Amelia at the first look-out of the drive:
The weather was pretty overcast and started to worsen as we drove. We got some good views, all the same, but soon it started to pour and the fog rolled in.
There’s several campgrounds along the drive. We chose the Big Meadow campground, since it was close by and we were ready to call it a night. As we drove through the campground, scoping out sites, we came across not one, but TWO other Westies! One was an adorable light blue, with an equally adorable older gentleman travelling alone, and the other Westfalia was tan, the colour of Amelia’s top-half, housing an older couple who rode a tandem bike – so sweet! We saw the light blue one on the road the next day:
It was definitely good to hunker down in Amelia for the night. Even though it was early, we both felt really tired and worn out from all the driving. We were excited to spend our first night ever in Amelia, but I’m not going to lie, our spirits were a little dampened. Not just from the rain, which was still coming down quite hard, but also because our auxiliary battery had died completely, meaning we had no way of charging our laptops and phones, and even worse, the battery indicator light for Amelia’s main battery was red (the other colours are orange and green…so red = bad). We had no idea whether she would start again in the morning. But, we decided there was nothing we could do about it right then, and we were registered with CAA (Canadian AAA for you Americans), so we had help available if need be. Steve knows that when I need comforting, the first thing to turn to is tea. That and hugs. Oh yeah….did I mention we still had a back leak??
So to make the tea we had to fire up Amelia’s propane tank – for the first time ever! – and we didn’t blow up! Yay!
Just kidding. We wouldn’t have lit the stove if there was any chance whatsoever that there was still a leak. Steve checks it religiously every time we set up camp.
We made ourselves two comforting, warm, heavenly cups of tea and snuggled in on Amelia’s bench. We contemplated dinner and decided that easy and fast was the way to go. So our first home-made meal in Amelia was sandwiches and yogurt (with a fork). Yeah, I forgot spoons. On my list of Things To Pack under Kitchen I had written “cutlery”. So for anyone planning a trip like this, make sure you spell it out for yourself – 3 x knives, 3 x forks, 3 x spoons. It matters, trust me.
Did I mention it was cold? And wet? While the campground washrooms were a short walk away, it was pouring rain and freezing outside and I just wanted to snuggle up in bed and wake up when the sun came back. But nature calls, usually at the most inopportune times. We had read a big notice on the welcome board when we self-registered for the campground – it read something to the effect of BEWARE OF BEARS! They come nosing around for the food that unwitting campers leave out. While I felt safe inside of Amelia, I was none too keen to leave the safety of her hard metal interior to make a trek to the nearby facilities…..what’s a girl to do? Men don’t know how great they have it.
Enter the P-Mate. My best-friend and I have had a running joke about these for years now, escalating to her buying me some for my birthday one year. I brought them, just in case. Boy am I glad! No bears are getting me! I could pee and still be a hop-skip-and-jump away from Amelia, should any hungry bears come by.
Actually we never saw any bears. But we did see lots of deer! They’re pretty skittish though, so no pictures, sorry. Here’s a picture of my cat instead:
Awwwww…I miss him.
Our first sleep in Amelia was chilly (even with our quilt *and* sleeping bag), but actually pretty comfortable. It felt a bit strange with the angled roof at first – gave us a little vertigo – but there’s enough room for two people who love each other to sleep comfortably. Two people who don’t love each other…well, it might be a little cramped.
We went to bed so early that night that the next morning we woke up with the birds at the oh-so-early 7am (that’s gotta be a record for us…we’re late risers)!
And it was sunny blue skies:
And I found a four-leaf clover on our campsite. Can you see it?
How about now?
So I felt like things were going to start looking up for us.
And in a way, they did. Steve slapped on some silicone all around the back hatch where we thought the leak was coming from. We packed up Amelia and didn’t really think about whether or not she would start – we just had an unspoken agreement that we’d assume she would.
And she did!
So we headed back onto the Skyline Drive.