Saturday, March 31, 2018

Spring 2018 Trip: Day 31 - Eagle Walk / Mansion Tour / Lantern House Tour


Seeing that we're in a state park in Virginia, there's a few things available for visitors. The first thing was this morning walk to try to find eagles and ospreys.

Around 10 people gathered with their binoculars and cameras for the chance to see some of the local wildlife in the trees.


After an hour or so, it was time to head back. We had met a nice family who are ready to start fulltiming in an RV next year. They've been renting RVs and taking weekend trips and are ready to go.


Later, we took a tour of the house at Chippokes Plantation. Unfortunately photography of any kind is not allowed inside. After the tour, we circled the property and walked down some of the paths.



The path led into the woods which stopped at the water's edge.



After having a brief rest on the benches by the edge, we returned to the plantation house.


After having lunch and doing some work, the sun began to set and we drove to the parking lot where the night tour of plantation houses began.

Being the first ones there (and on time, I might add!) we had our choice of the six lanterns offered by the ranger conducting the tour. We watched an SUV slow down, asking when the tour was. Then she drove away. After a few minutes when it appeared no one else would be coming, cars began filling the parking lot.

Our tour included this river house. I didn't think we'd actually go inside any of the houses, but indeed we did.


We walked up narrow staircases, checking out the other two floors.

Going from room to room, we had to guess what each room was used for. Taking the stairs out of the house's basement, we toured some of the other buildings, including the enslaved people's quarters where we read some of the laws enacted in the 1600s and 1700s. The moon hung large and orange in the sky. But there was one last place the ranger wanted to take us.

Here are the gravesites of Victor Stewart and Evelyn Stewart, the last private owners of the property. As one of our lanterns snuffed itself out, we walked back to the parking lot, driving back to the RV in utter darkness.



Friday, March 30, 2018

Spring 2018 Trip: Day 30 - DRIVING DAY: The Refuge on Roanoke Island to Chippokes, Virginia



So we bid farewell to the OBX: the Outer Banks of North Carolina and are heading to Virginia, a new state for us! There was some discussion of whether to go through Kill Devil Hills or take the bridges and north from there. In the end we took a risk with the bridges and went north from there. We got some gas from the station across from the Refuge on Roanoke Island, came back and attached the toad, then headed off onto a busy Friday morning street. All in all, it ended up taking us around 3.5 hours to make it across the Virginia border. There was a bit of rain, not to mention wind that pushed the RV a time or two. But there wasn't major showers and it didn't flood anywhere that we were driving.

Starting milage: 76713.1 = Ending milage: 76870.6 = Total miles driven: 157.5

We drove around the campground trying to find a suitable site. The problem is most of the sites were rather unlevel, leaving us to choose the most least unlevel spot and then work from there. We found a spot we thought would work, moved the RV around a bit, put on the ramps and blocks and got it to an okay amount of level. Not exactly perfect, but okay for the few days we'll be here.

Another thing about this place: no sewer. So we drove to the shower house to check it out, washing our hair and coming back to the RV. With that out of the way, we went to an Italian restaurant. I decided to try a fusion version of Italian nachos: tortilla chips covered with tomatoes, lettuce, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, steak and eggplant. It was, uh, interesting. We discussed our plans for our stay here until next week.

Back to the car as a train passed by near the 2-hour parking lot. We paid a visit to Wally World to get a bit of supplies. After that, we were officially exhaused. Back to the RV park and ready to call it a day. We made the bed and are now recovering from a successful moving day and visiting Virginia for the first time.

Park #5: The Refuge on Roanoke Island: March 22-30, 2018



The Refuge On Roanoke Island was the fifth spot on our Spring 2018 Trip, and the cold weather trend continued due to the fourth Nor'easter hitting the coast in three weeks.


The manager's office reminds me of one of those older photo developing buildings. But this is indeed where you can set up when you arrive. The grounds are all large gravel and stones including the RV spots.
The Refuge On Roanoke Island is right on Roanoke Sound, which gives you a lovely view of the water. We were given a nice spot near the water with a nice view from the back. But the double-edged sword is that being near the water you could really feel the wind and cold. According to the manager, the park is usually full around this time, but due to cold weather it's a bit emptier than usual. I saw some spots that were missing their tenants. 
A lot of the RVs and storage sheds definitely have an Outer Banks island feel to them, brightly colored with accents here and there. But definitely didn't match the overcast freezing weather!
The park is also near marshland with a path from the park.
Aside from the wind, the park was very quiet, the park manager was very friendly, and we really didn't have much interaction with anybody. I imagine normally The Refuge on Roanoke Island is a much more lively park, but the unusual weather kept things much more reserved.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring 2018 Trip: Day 29 - Where do we go, where do we go now?

Though the weather is bright and clear here on Roanoke Island, the weather in Chesapeake was scattered showers, not safe to drive in and not fun to set up in once you get to your next camping spot. After tossing the trash, went to the manager's post to see if we could stay one more day until Saturday. Unfortunately, the warmer weather seems to be bringing the people out, or perhaps the Easter holiday, and our spot 11 will be taken for the weekend. There were two other spots available, 9 and 15, but why unhook and move just to stay an extra day? Looks like we'll be leaving tomorrow as originally planned and hope we can dodge the bad weather.

We called Chesapeake RV Park, but were informed there was nothing there for us. Online searches found another site we were able to get into, although the new places changes our plans somewhat, putting us outside of places we were originally hoping to visit. Ah well, such is the flexible life of the RV traveller.




Your eyes do not deceive you. Bob's Grill wants you to eat and apparently leave quickly.


When ordering the chocolate pancakes, we were warned they were pretty large.


After indeed getting the heck out, we drove over to a nearby shop by the name of Booty Treats


Yes, Booty Treats...

From there, a drive to the Bodie Lighthouse to see our fourth lighthouse on the Outer Banks.


Then we took a drive to find a nice sign of the Outer Banks as this is our last day before heading off tomorrow. We had an issue we usually have in the RV when it completely stopped on the bridge. These off seasons are the time most cities and towns do repair work on their infrastructure.

Finally we found not too far from our park a nice sign for The Outer Banks. We've really enjoyed our time here these past eight days. Hopefully the weather won't be too much of a problem for us getting to our next location.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spring 2018 Trip: Day 28 - Graaaaaave Digger!!


Waking up this morning, we absolutely didn't feel like popsicles as we turned off the electric blanket and gray space heater. The weather was finally free of the clammy clutches of winter. We had lunch down at the Taiko Japanese Restaurant in Nags Head, then drove the 34 miles north to the Digger's Dungeon in Poplar Branch, North Carolina.


You can almost smell the gasoline in this place! It's monster truck paradise. There's toys and clothing on the shelves, and thewalls are decked with vintage Grave Digger body panels.


Warning: this place will bring out the kid in you!

Outside parked in front of the building are a number of amazing trucks, some even a part of the Grave Digger legacy.


I can't really tell you what this is all about. Just don't get a flat tire if you can help it.


After you leave the store building, there's one of the Grave Diggers doing a lawn dart right into the ground.

But the Grave Digger experience doesn't end there. On the property there's a speed shop, a diner, and even a farm of sorts with little goats. We got terrorized by a turkey that seemed to be following us!

Behind the building is what I would call part museum and part pasture for older model Grave Diggers.



You just don't have a sense of scale of how big these behemoths are until you're standing next to one. It seemed the tires came to the top of my shoulders, enabling me to see the crazy mismatch of metal that is the undercarriage. Any relation these monster trucks have to regular automobiles definitely ends at the body shell.

Along with all the Grave Digger you can stomach, there's a diner as well! Didn't go in to check out the menu though. 
And that is the end of our visit to the Digger's Dungeon. We appreciate that Mr. Dennis Anderson, owner and one-time driver of Grave Digger, allows people to visit these monster trucks for free. So we purchased some items from the Dungeon as a thank you. We hopped inside our now seemingly much smaller car and drove to Walmart to stock up on supplies and head back to Roanoke Island.