So with Pentagon in the rear view mirror, we left the DC area and got on our way to Big Meadow campsite, which is in the Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

But before we got there, we just had to visit the Steven F.Udvar-Hazy Center to see the National Air and Space Museum. It was free to enter the museum but $10 to park. Well worth it. 

Steven F.Udvar-Hazy Center, Virginia
We walked around the massive hanger, which housed what seemed like 100s of planes for a few hours. They had the most iconic objects you could have when it comes to stuff that has been in the air and space. It had the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the World’s first atomic bomb over Hiroshima, one of the last concords, the 1st Wright plane, The Redbull Stratos and the Discovery Space shuttle. I could have stayed there for hours more but I knew Stef would have got bored waiting around!
But onwards and upwards…get it…upwards…like in air and space…I should do stand up.
We arrived at Big Meadow and the weather was fantastic. You could see for miles and it was hot. Tomorrows trek was going to be a good one. The wild life definitely wasn’t shy. Throughout the site there were plenty of deer. A Mother and baby had a spot right near our tent. Stef called the baby one Bambi – I was waiting for a hunter to pop out of a bush and shoot the mother, but it never happened. They were very friendly and you could walk right passed them without them running off. With the fire going and weird flying creatures on our tent door, we settled in for the night.

We woke up the next morning and opened the tent door. We weren’t going on a trek today. The mist was so intense; you could barely see the car that was a few metres away! It was a spooky mist. You could see it moving. It was like we were in the clouds. One second you couldn’t see anything, the next, it was a little clear. I definitely didn’t fancy walking around a forest with bears and sheer drops in this weather, and thankfully Stef didn’t either. For the rest of the day and night, we entertained ourselves. There wasn’t much to do in the campsite, so we played Connect 4. Scratch that. Can you call it playing when you win every game? In that case, I showed Stef how to win at Connect 4. We also wandered around taking photos of the deer and cracked on watching the TV show Orange Is The New Black that we had become addicted to.

You don’t really appreciate having electricity until you don’t have it. When we were in the campervan in Australia and New Zealand, it was hooked up to the campsite’s electricity so we could charge the laptop. Here, we had nothing. So what did we do? The only plug socket the site had was in the toilets. When the laptop’s battery was low, I did my best George Michael impression and hung around in the loos whilst it charged. Most sites we’ve been to, there would be someone charging something in the toilets. It’s the camper’s way.

It was still misty the next day, but it was too late anyway as we had to move on which was a shame. This is one of the only times in just over 9 months that the weather has stopped us from doing something so we’ve been pretty lucky.
Fog at the Big Meadow camp-site, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
We were off to a small town called Lansing in our 34thState, West Virginia. Oh did we have an adventure planned. We were going white water rafting in the New River Gorge National River!
West Virginia State Welcome Sign, 50 States in 6 months
Well, we thought we were. We headed to the closest campsite and tried to check in. There was no one around and the place looked a little rough. The fact that there was a sign outside the empty office stating, “We are not responsible for….” and then gave a whole list of things, didn’t look good. It didn’t look like there were any campers there so we decided not to stay – we didn’t want to end up being chopped up and eaten by the local rednecks! As we left the campsite, we popped into the white water rafting company who we were using the next day. They had been trying to get in contact with us for days. But us having no Internet or phone reception, they were unable to. There weren’t enough people wanting to do the rafting on our day so we couldn’t do it. Bad luck number 2. What else could happen to us?
A little deflated, we decided to still camp out somewhere. We drove down the road and found a place called “Family Camping”. We turned off and followed the dirt road into the middle of a forest. We went past a few buildings, but nothing that screamed, “I’m a campsite!”. The road finally opened up and revealed some trailers with people in chairs sitting outside. You could tell they were locals and it wasn’t a place for us campers! I imagined someone playing the banjo and the soundtrack of Deliverance played in my head. As if my heart wasn’t already beating fast enough, all of a sudden, dogs ran out in front of the car causing me to slam on my breaks! It was madness. We got out of there pretty quick!
On the way out, we noticed a building with a few kayaks outside and had a sign calling it ACE Adventure Gear. It looked like a shop so I parked up and went inside. I asked about camping and we’d found the right spot. Yay. It was $14 (£8) for the night and we had the whole camp area to ourselves. The place was mainly used by schools and families; however, the kids had just gone back to school so no one was using it.
Camping at ACE Adventure Gear, West Virginia
The weather was nice and there was a pavilion right near our tent, which had plenty of plug sockets and chairs under it. And the cherry on the cake? It had Internet. And as we were the only ones there, it was super fast. Sweet.

 

After a very quiet night we packed up and crossed the New River Gorge Bridge. Once upon a time, it was the longest steel arched bridge along with the highest vehicle carrying one. Every third Saturday in October is “Bridge Day”. On this day you can repel down it, ascend down it or even BASE JUMP off of it! But Bungee Jumping has been banned since 1993. So you can jump off it hoping your parachute works but you can’t be connected to a bit of rubber and jump off it?
New River Gorge Bridge, Fayetteville, West Virginia

They had stairs that went down 200ft beside it so you could get some better shots. Along the many steps were a few benches scattered around.

But despite having knees of an 80 year old, I didn’t use any of them.

Stef was so proud.