Saturday, August 17, 2013

12 Days

12 Days of Camping, Running, and Floating Down The James River

This is the life.  3 mini camping trips over 12 days in which Michele and I lived out of our RV.  During this time we ran a race, went back to work and then went on our annual trip where we floated down the James River.  All in all this was a great get away and a snap shot of what we hope our life will look like in a few years.

Our trip started with a 3 day camping weekend at Medoc Mountain State Park in Holister North Carolina.  It was at this state park that I had signed up to run a 50k Ultra trail race.   I’ve already blogged about the Medoc Meltdown Race, click here, but that was only one third of the trip.

Medoc Mountain State Park is a beautiful place with a nice campground.  It’s here I received a lesson on how to shoe horn a 40 foot 5th wheel into a spot meant for something a touch smaller.   While planning this trip I had researched the area and the camping options. The park campgrounds were perfect, right near our race HQ and they had pull though spots…advertised as 80 foot long.  A foot note should have been that the 80 foot was measured around a corner and in the middle of that corner was a 100 year old oak tree.  And another nice comment would be that the road drops off on both sides of the entrance to the parking spot.
(Medoc Mountain State Park, Base Camp Alpha,
a bit tight but we made it out alive)

I think I wore the tread off my front tires but Michele and I got the 5th wheel parked and leveled without any damage.

From there on…it was a near perfect weekend.

Next we headed to Pocahontas State Park in Richmond, Va.  We have stayed there before as this is a close location to work and makes for an easy commute.  We stayed here the 4 days between our North Carolina race weekend and our annual tubing adventure in Scottsville, Va.
(Pocahontas State Park, Base Camp Bravo, 
a nice setting with plenty to do)

Compared to Medoc, the RV sites at Pocahontas are large and wide open yet still lined with trees and a feeling of being in the woods.  We set up our spot in no time and began our relaxing.  The park also has miles of roads and trails to run which we both took advantage of almost daily.  As much as we enjoyed both the Ultra run and the trail running around Pocahontas, the highlight of this trip was our time floating down the river.

Scottsville, Va is a short hour and a half drive and worth every mile.  We arrived at Horse Shoe Flats campground around mid-day.  After purchasing our first RV from Coastal RV, a GREAT RV sales business, our first camp outing was at HSF and we have comeback every year since.  This campground is a Mom and Pops type site sitting along a bend in the James River.  For a river adventure weekend, We cannot think of a better location, and the owners Peggy and Richard, who live on site, make you feel like family not tenants.
(Horse Shoe Flats,
Base Camp Charlie)

We booked our river adventure portion of the trip thou James River Reeling and Rafting, who are conveniently located directly across the river from Horse Shoe Flats.  The service from these folks has always been great, they get you up the river in short order and well briefed on what to expect.  The bonus is the ride to the launch site, let’s just say that rivals the best roller coasters out there.
(Unloading, the big chill is coming)

Once off the bus it’s grab a tube and get ready for the shock of a life time…  There’s not much I can say about the first 10 second while you get in the water…at a point of a natural spring…but you will remember it.  From then on out it is smooth sailing as they say.
(Michele, Me and Susan)

(Someone mentioned we looked like a bunch of seals,
and it was Shark week)

There is something so relaxing about floating down the river.  Maybe it’s the gentle rocking of the waves and flow of the current.  Maybe it’s the fact that the river will take you where you want to go.  Maybe it’s the fact that you don’t have control, you just float.   No matter what it is, Michele and I find it very refreshing to float along on our personal inflatable cruise ships.  This year we wanted two days on the river, so we headed out on Friday and Saturday morning.  Total count in our party was close to 20 and we had a great time floating along the James.  For some this was their first float and I believe everyone enjoyed the day.  Proud to report that no one was hurt...a few had just the right mix of "happy juice" cause the laughter was flowing.
(Group Float)

We have told so many of our camping friends about our James River Adventures that this year we decided on a group outing and booked the campground for the whole weekend.  We filled every RV spot, and a few tent sites too.   This year our son Anthony and his girlfriend Sara came along as well.  Our RV was parked between our camping pals Fred and Susan and our new friends Robert and Jodi.  Before this outing we did not known Robert and Jodi very well but after this weekend and hanging out together, for 4 hours floating along...we shared a lot of laughs!

The weekend was such a hit, everyone talked about making this a repeat Camp out in 2014.  

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