Saturday and Sunday, April 13 – 14: After a pleasant night’s sleep (accompanied by rain and wind, but the Roadtrek is snug and cozy) I headed off early to get the propane refilled while I was still in civilization. Then back to eat breakfast and attend the working group meeting – the reason I spent the night there in the first place! We got out about 2, and by 2:30 I was headed out, dealing with traffic on the DC Beltway until I could head southwest. The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains were spectacular, but I didn’t want to risk pulling in the the campground after dark, so didn’t stop for photos. Hone Quarry Campground, in the George Washington National Forest, was a couple of miles up a very potholed and rough sometimes paved road For a whopping $2.50, I had a level, dark and quiet campsite. My one regret is that I forgot I wanted to check out the waterfall rumored to be next to the campground. Another trip… There’s a lot more to explore here.
Sunday morning I had the kayaks loaded, breakfast ready to eat out of hand, and was headed back down the road at 7:05. Unfortunately, the route I’d mapped had a Road Closed Ahead sign, and rather than try it anyway, I went around. That meant that I ended up taking the longer but much faster interstate highway route to Lynchburg. It was overcast, drizzling sometimes, sometimes foggy, and I was concerned the delays, so again didn’t stop for photos. I made it to worship with Lynchburg Friends only about 5 minutes late, and then stayed and visited with them after for another hour or so. Then back on the road. By the time I got to the North Carolina border, I knew it was foolish to try to make it to the national forest in South Carolina I’d been thinking about, so I went to the Uwharrie National Forest. My first choice for camping was closed, and I ended up at the Uwharrie Hunt Camp. That night it was dark (except for the lightning). It was flat. (It was hot and humid.) But quiet? Not so much. Being the end of a weekend, at about dusk the large pickups, often unmuffled, and towing rattling trailers with their mud-splattered ATVs started coming through. The last vehicle came through the parking lot about midnight. Then at 2AM the heavens opened, with rig rattling strong winds, pouring rain and thunder (and lightning), necessitating getting up to close the top hatch. That only lasted about 15 minutes – but was long enough so I was thoroughly awake, being aware of the possibility of tornadoes in such a violent storm. And then cars started coming past about 5AM, headed out to work?
Monday, April 15: The morning was glorious, clear and bright, cool enough again, and once I’d eaten, and loaded in the kayaks, I went looking for a place to put one on the water. It was still very windy, and I wanted somewhere sheltered. Seeing a kayak launch sign by the roadside, I made a quick turn, and found the Uwharrie River.
It was very swollen, muddy, and with lots of floating tree pieces in it. I probably could have paddled against that much current, but it wouldn’t have been fun, and I had no way to get back to the Roadtrek if I went on downstream. This is apparently part of a canoe trail; this was near the endpoint of about 15 miles of river trail before it spits out into the larger Tadkin. But there were more options ahead.
I stopped at the very large and busy Swift Island access on Lake Tillery, and had something to eat, and took a nap to make up for the previous night’s lack of sleep. There were too many power boats, and the surroundings weren’t enough to tempt me. On to also, I believe, on Lake Tillery – but with maybe 1/5 the parking spaces and much less traffic. Long sleeves were welcome, but the sun was shining brightly and it was sheltered enough that the wind never built up much in the way of waves. Scenery:
That isn’t close to all the turtle pictures I took! There were lots and lots of turtles, singly and by the half dozens, on every sunny piece of wood. There were only a couple of herons, though.
There were swallows (?) flitting in and out of these nests – but moving too fast to capture the images. All of these, and many more, were under the bridge. It was an excellent outing, well worth the stop. Going out toward the lake, there were many more dwellings and docks, but inland it was mostly natural world.
Then it was back on the road, aiming for Route 52 down to I-95, to make time. I stopped for another nap – after so little sleep, I certainly didn’t want to fall asleep at the wheel! and I finished the day at the Florida Welcome Center at about midnight. With 384 miles driven, plus a couple of hours kayaking, it was a long day!