Wolf Gap, VA

Nic and I considered our time with Lisa and Flash to be a vacation.  We spent more than we usually do on dining, drinks, and gas.  It was time to get back to just living life as simply and as cheaply as possible.

Some of the best places to do that are National Forests.  In this case we went to the George Washington National Forest and a place called Wolf Gap.  This was directly west of Washington, DC and on the border between Virginia and West Virginia.  And I mean on the border.  It was literally a 5 minute walk for me to get from my campsite on the Virginia side to the West Virginia border.

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Dispersed camping often times means you get nothing except a spot to park in the woods.  Wolf Gap had a bunch of nice-to-haves.  Marked and maintained campsites, a pit toilet, picnic tables, fallen dead wood (for campfires), and fire rings were all available.  They even had level tent pads for the tent campers (which was everyone except us).

Here are some close by things that you want when living off the grid and on the road.  It had a public trash facility only 5 minutes away.  Less than 5 minutes was an artisan well that was maintained by the local 4-H with safe drinking water to fill our tanks.  It also had a nearby recreation area (Trout Pond Rec Area) that had cheap showers or if you wanted something nicer there were 2 truck stops just 20 minutes away.  Finally, it was close to a city that had all the shopping you could need.  

Also it had some kick ass views if you were willing to hike a couple miles to see them.IMG 0132

Wolf Gap was about as good as it gets except it was too cold for Nic.  Days were 50-60 degrees with nights getting down to the 30’s.  I put a Webasto heater in the van this year, so it stayed at what ever temperature we wanted day or night.  This made it possible for us to stay a week at Wolf Gap, but it didn’t give Nic a lot of outside time.  She mostly stayed in the van and read.  I was sitting outside enjoying an all day fire either listening to music or reading as well.  The cold doesn’t bother me the same as it does Nic.

The wife wanted something warmer, so we hit I-95 and started heading south into North Carolina and the Croatan National Forest.  We just got here today, 10/23/18, and set up camp.  It is about 20 degrees warmer here.

My blogging station for the night.IMG 0135

Flash and Lisa – Part 3

We had a couple of big items that we wanted to accomplish while being in New England.  We wanted to see the fall colors, lighthouses, eat lobster rolls, and go to Salem, MA.  We got plenty of views of the foliage in Maine and Vermont.  The lighthouses were kind of a bust.   The really nice one we went to, you couldn’t get close to and it was covered in scaffolding.

Salem surprised me by how much fun it was.  This is where we got the lobster rolls (for Nic and Lisa) and did some touristy stuff we hadn’t done for much of the trip.

Parking was a nightmare in Salem.  The public parking garages had 6’ 6” clearances.  We left Flash and Lisa’s RV at a campsite and took the van, but it is still closer to 8’ tall than 7’, so we had to find alternate parking.  We ended up in a private parking lot that cost $30 (which Flash covered for us).  Other than the cost the parking lot worked out well because it was centrally located.

Right away we saw the Witch House.  We plopped down our $8 a piece to tour the place.

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Inside was a historical look at colonial life.

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Salem itself was interesting this time of year.  Lots of people and kids were dressed up in costumes and walking around long before Halloween.  Sorry, I didn’t get any pictures of them.  We also walked around town, grabbed some coffee, and eventually ate at a really nice restaurant to get the lobster rolls.

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We even checked out an old cemetery.

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At the end of the day, we made our way back to our campsite.  The next day we dropped off Flash and Lisa’s RV at the rental place and took them to the airport.

The airport is in downtown Boston and we dropped our friends off right at 4:00 PM.  Boston rush hour is a real hassle. Nic and I left Boston and headed to Providence, Rhode Island to spend the night.  We rested our heads in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

The drive between Boston and Providence was basically one long traffic night mare.  Nic and I had decided that we’d had enough of cities and decided to head out to the wilderness.  We set our sites on West Virginia and the next morning hit the road.

Lisa and Flash – Part 2

Everyone told us that all the tourist go to Bar Harbor.  So we went.  We just visited the town and missed things like Thunder Hole because we were a bit fatigued from driving that day.IMG 0087IMG 0088

After that we headed to Glen Ellis, Maine.  We got some gloom and rain or this would have been one of our favorite camping sites.

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About 20 minutes away was Glen Ellis Falls where we hiked in to view one of the largest waterfalls locally.

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We spent a lot of time in Maine and it were ready to see some other states.  On our way to Vermont, through New Hampshire, we took the Kangamangus Highway which was very scenic this time of year.

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We ended up in Stowe, Vermont.  One of the first things we did was check out a local maple sugar farmer who sold us some really good maple syrup.  We then headed out to checkout out some local breweries.  One we went to was The Alchemist.  The beer was disappointing, but the architecture was impressive.

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One common beer theme that we liked about New England was that you could get Shipyard Pumpkin Ale everywhere on tap.  It tastes almost just like a pumpkin pie.  If you want they will coat the rim with a brown sugar mixture.  We found it to be too sweet, but it must be popular because it was always offered to us when ever we ordered a Shipyard Pumpkin Ale.

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More in Part 3…

Flash and Lisa – Part 1

We spent 10 days with our good friends Flash and Lisa.  Nic and I had a great time with them and it was lots of fun sharing the van lifestyle with them.  They had an RV, but it was a Class B and not much bigger than a converted van.  We did stay primarily in campgrounds.  I think they got the good parts of van life and missed out on the scrambling to fill your water tanks and taking daily sponge baths.

The It was pretty cold along the Maine coastline.IMG 0057IMG 0066IMG 0067

Here we are out on a little hike on a small mountain.  There was originally a fire watch station here.  You can start to see some of the famous New England fall color in the landscape.  

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Later we found this awesome lakeside campsite.  The weather was in the 70’s and view was beautiful.

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Here is Mako giving attitude.  She really enjoys being outside and since it was so warm those few days, she got to enjoy the outside.  Flash and Lisa even took her on a leash guided tour of their RV.

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Here is Flash babysitting for us.IMG 0085

After our lake campout in Maine we hit up a an huge antique store on the way to our next destination.  I fully expected Lisa to pack their RV with some finds, but she had lots of self restraint.

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More coming in part 2…

Niagara Falls

On our way to meet up with Lisa and Flash we stopped at Niagara FallsIMG 0032IMG 0037

Yeah, some people are so stupid that we do need signs like these.

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After we left Niagara Falls, we went looking for some free backwoods camping.  We ended up sleeping on a pullout just south of Syracuse, NY.

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