What Happens In Virginia…

If you need to catch up on the first leg of our recent van trip, check out From Wilmington… To Wilmington… We left off in Fredericksburg, VA, on a drizzly Wednesday morning. The rain didn’t last long and we pulled out of the KOA about the time the sun was struggling to come out. We spent the entire day traveling and visiting in Virginia.

On the way to our third Wilmington, we stopped at lovely Lake Anna State Park. We hiked, ate lunch, and enjoyed the view.

When we left Lake Anna, we went in search of the next Wilmington on our list: Wilmington, VA. Having no idea what to expect, we were surprised to find it so obscure that we drove by it at first. This is all we found:

Apparently, Wilmington, VA, is an unincorporated community in Fluvanna County. Several online searches yielded very little additional information. So, we moved on to Richmond.

The two Richmond breweries on the itinerary were The Veil Brewing and The Answer Brew Pub.

At The Veil, Mark finished his tasting with a Double Raspberry Fizzy!

We ate dinner at The Answer, where we picked up a four-pack of a special-release dessert stout, Diablo Forever Coconut.

After supper, we drove south for another hour plus to the Holiday Inn in South Hill, VA. We treated ourselves to hot showers and a room for the night.

In the morning, we headed for North Carolina. Lots more adventures to come… 🙂

From Wilmington…to Wilmington…

Do you know how many places in the United States are named Wilmington? Don’t know? (Don’t care??) Well, if the Google can be trusted, there are thirteen. And many are in the eastern part of the country. So as we set out from Wilmington, MA, on another van trip, we thought it’d be fun to step foot in a few alternate Wilmingtons along the way.

After spending Monday morning packing the van, we headed west on the Mass Pike, stopping at Wells State Park in Sturbridge, MA, for some exercise.

The fresh air prepared us for a long afternoon of driving through Connecticut and New York, and into New Jersey. After getting past a disabled truck on the George Washington Bridge on-ramp, we watched the sunset over NYC from the bridge’s lower deck.

We arrived at our first campsite in Clarksboro, NJ, after dark and settled in for a cold night. Check out our site number. 🙂

On Tuesday morning, we headed toward Wilmington, Delaware. Not sure what we expected, but it was more city-ish and crowded than our own Wilmington.

After that, we crossed into Maryland, drove through Baltimore, and into Virginia.

We had to Google the three beautiful white towers. Turns out they’re part of a huge Mormon temple in Kensington, MD. In Virginia, we stopped at Tyson’s Corner Center to meet my brother, who lives and works nearby, for lunch.

From there, we drove south to Fredericksburg, VA, and camped for the night. We awoke to light rain on Wednesday morning. I’ll leave you with this image of our morning visitor.

More Wilmingtons and trip highlights to come… 🙂

A Few Birds, Brews, and Friendly Visits

In Mountain Views, I mentioned that one of our plans for this van trip was to do some birding. But the weather and our daily routine of driving to the next destination left us less time than anticipated. The day we left Pulpit Rock campground in Decorah, IA, we decided to remedy that.

First, breakfast at Magpie Coffeehouse in downtown Decorah. Apparently, penny mosaics is a thing out here.

We left Decorah and crossed the Mississippi River before noon.

A search for local birding sites brought us to Nahant Marsh Education Center. FYI, it’s pronounced Nay-hant (rhymes with ant), unlike the New England location of the same name.

I pulled my new camera with its new lens out of the travel bubblewrap to try it out. Unfortunately, much more practice and time to adjust the shooting menu are needed. But we saw many red-winged blackbirds there, as we’d already seen just about every day along our route. Plenty of other wildlife, as well. There was even a pair of baby screech owls being rehabbed inside the facility.

That night we camped at Rock Island/ Quad Cities KOA in Rock Island, Illinois. Nice waterfront site.

We got on the road by late morning the next day and stopped for lunch at The Lone Buffalo by Tangled Roots Brewing Company in Ottawa, IL. The food was good, but not much to say about the beer.

After lunch, we crossed into Indiana and headed to a friend’s house in Valpraiso. Chuck and Tiffany and their two boys were perfect hosts. (Thanks for the use of your laundry facilities, Chuck & Tiff.) The boys were coming and going with youth baseball, so we only managed a photo with one of them.

The next day, we landed in Muncie, IN, to visit more cousins. It was great to see Jamie and Andy again and to meet their kids who, by way of their natural curiosity, taught us a few new things about our van.

We brunched with Jamie and family the next morning. My Aunt Janet stopped by, too. Then, we were off again, heading toward Ohio and the next brewery. Hit a bit of traffic on the way.

Gratitude Spiral: Day 344

Today, I’m grateful for a new starter in my fifteen-year-old minivan.

Getting stuck with a dead vehicle, parked nose-to-sidewalk, is not fun. Neither is watching every attempt to get it started fail. And then realizing it needs to be towed. But I’m thankful that it could be fixed and that I’ve got it back on the road again. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 105

Today, I’m grateful for hand sanitizer.

In the face of a global outbreak of a new virus, it’s a small comfort to have a bottle of hand sanitizer on hand (pun unintended) while accompanying my mother to catch her flight at the airport yesterday.

What are you grateful for today?