Cutting across the narrowest spot in Maryland, less than two miles wide, crossing the Potomac, then 18 miles of West Virginia, we quickly entered the state of Virginia where we were slowed by the snarled traffic of Winchester, Virginia. Finally through that, we settled for the night at the nicest KOA Campground yet. It was just west of Front Royal, the northern entrance to Shenandoah National Park. This was in open country on a wooded hilltop where the campsites were terraced.
Shenandoah National Park features Skyline Drive on a 70-mile long ridge of the Blue Ridge mountains. The Blue Ridge mountains are the first ridges of the Appalachians west of the Atlantic Ocean. Skyline Drive becomes the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Shenandoah National Park wending it's way on the ridges all the way to Georgia.
Shenandoah was to be the highlight of our trip. .... highlight indeed. The next morning, Thursday, September 26, the rain set in with a vengeance. It Poured!
As we pulled up to the northern entry gate at Shenandoah National Park, the lady sternly commanded: "Please keep your headlights on at all times. On days like this you will have a lot of heavy fog and will see almost nothing. It's really not the place to be."
Thank you, Mam!
This was our day to be here, and who knows when the sky would clear? So, we were intent on "making lemonade." It was a 'nice' drive. The traffic was very light. We stopped at the uncrowded viewpoints where the plaques told us what we were seeing. But they were not very accurate. Nowhere did I read the word "fog" or "mist."
... and the solitude was cathartic.
In fact, it was so cathartic that Mary and I had a little, slightly unilateral, conference: "Here's how we can make some really good 'lemonade,'" she said. "Down in the Shenandoah Valley near Harrisonburg, there's an interesting quilt shop called Patchwork Plus in Dayton, Virginia."
So, after traversing less than a third of Skyline Drive, at the next gap in the mountain we headed west, down to the Shenandoah Valley.
Trying to find the shop was interesting. Despite the torrential rain, Amish buggies were encountered on the country roads west of Harrisonburg. Very bucolic! Why do I recognize those missed photo opportunities after I'm 3000 miles past them ?? (sigh) Stopping on a very narrow road to take a picture in the pouring rain is a bit problematic.
But this "photo" is clear and crisp in my head: On a narrow, glossy-black road, winding through wet green fields under a rainy sky, there's a grey horse, prancing dutifully in the rain while the driver, hands on the reins, stays completely dry under his buggy's black canopy.
Oh yes, we found the quilt shop in a small shopping center on a knoll south of Dayton. For the hour that Mary was inside and warm, I stayed in the car reading maps, playing the radio and enjoying the rain without driving in it.