And the Good Times Just Keep on Rollin'
Aug. 8, 2013 2:04 pm
Updated: Aug. 12, 2013 3:33 pm
We just got back from our last summer trip to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. We spent nine days camping and it was a blast. Anything that could go right, went right. Anything that could have gone wrong, stayed home.
My last blog was all about how Kristal and I "trained" for this trip of hiking and winery-hopping. We had to get our dogs, Maggie and Suzy, in shape as well. I'm happy to report we were all in great shape and managed to hike even the trail that went straight
down for 1.6 miles and then straight back up for 1.6 miles. The three waterfalls we got to see were worth the strenuous hike back to the car. Suzy loved the trails with water - she knew she would get the chance to swim to cool off. Maggie preferred to just
watch; she's not much of a water dog.
We not only visited too many wineries to count, but we also made it to two cideries and three breweries! One of Kristal's closest friends and her husband joined us for the last two days of our trip for some fun times at the wineries, breweries and cideries.
And, of course, the campfires at night with S'mores. Kristal and Ellen met in first or second grade and became fast friends. They played soccer together and graduated from the same high school. Then, they went on to the same college and graduated from college
together. Ellen moved to North Carolina but they remained friends, with Ellen being Kristal's Maid of Honor at her wedding. When Ellen married her husband, Kristal was in her wedding as well. There aren't many people I know who have had such a long-lasting
friendship. It is envious. My oldest friend, or should I say the friend I have had the longest, I met when I was 16 and we are still fast-friends almost 36 years later. Now that we are both married we have become great friends as couples as well. My friendship
is a bit different - my friend is male, but that hasn't made a difference in how good of friends we are. His wife has become a great friend and Jon is good friends with both Al and Lisa, so it all works out.
Each morning on our vacation we would get up and head to the mountains. We hiked and would have a picnic lunch, sometimes at a winery. We love to see the wildlife and always hope to spot a bear. This year we saw a mother bear with her two cubs. They were
very cute, and we made sure we gave them plenty of space! We also saw plenty of deer.
We spent the afternoons visiting the wineries. I call this trip my "wine stock up" trip as I bring home several cases of wine each year. This year was no different, in fact I think it was a record year - I brought home 5 cases plus 3 bottles of wine! We
have our favorite wineries and unbelievably our most favorite one remembers us from year to year! As we walked in this year, the woman (her name is Casey) smiled real big and helped us to make our selections. She knows how much I love cabernet franc and
I love their cab franc especially. She gave us a heck of a deal on a case of their wine. Usually we only buy 2 or 3 bottles per winery, but since I love their wine so much we bought a case there. :)
After the first day or two of winery visiting I began to wonder where to keep my purchases. I turned my camper's shower into a wine cellar! It worked perfectly and they were out of the way which was important with two dogs in the camper. No worries---our
personal hygiene was not compromised; this campground has very nice, clean showers!
Maggie and Suzy decided they liked the breweries better. I know it's not because they prefer beer over wine, but the people at the breweries made a much bigger fuss over them than the winery people. In a dog's world that's way more important. I think I know
some people like that, too!
We made most of our evening meals at the camper and they were all exceptionally good! We had everything from grilled burgers to pork chops stuffed with smoked gouda and parsley. We had a few good breakfasts, too. One morning we had sausage gravy and biscuits.
Other mornings we had bacon and eggs. I did something different this year - I took my "Griddler", when I packed it in the camper it was with the intention of making Panini sandwiches but I discovered it was nice for making our eggs and bacon on as well.
Sunday morning we got up early and headed to the mountains for one last "scenic" drive before we headed for home. On our way back to the campground, we stopped at Chiles Peach Orchard. We have made it a tradition to pick a basket of peaches to bring home
with us. Kristal enjoys this part of the trip a lot, so do I. The owners allowed us to bring Maggie and Suzy into the orchard with us. They really enjoyed it - there were peaches to pick up off the ground! Kristal has already made a peach crisp with her
pickings and I am making a cobbler tonight. Luckily we have vanilla ice cream in the freezer!
We got home around 8:00 pm and my first day back to work after my 7-1/2 week vacation was Monday. If only I had just another week of time off! Now I'm going to have to plan my fun around work!