Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Virginia Vacation Journal: Day 3

The problem with the reservations was the amusement park. We arranged our trip so we could make a sort of U shape through Virginia. We planned on entering on the western side, heading south and east and ending up at the beach for a couple days. Everything was fine until Kerri found a great deal for amusement park tickets for the middle of the week. King’s Dominion promised thrills, excitement, and absolutely NO REFUNDS for any reason ever.
Even if the park happens to be closed when you are in Virginia.
Which it is.

Actually, they are open one day that we will be here.
The day we will be at the beach.
Several hundred million miles from King’s Dominion and its twisty, turny fun.
So, rather than lose the money that Kerri spent on the absolutely non-refundable-for-any-reason tickets, we have rearranged our schedule.
Now, we’re going to spend two nights in Lexington and three nights in Doswell, right next to King’s Dominion and Richmond.
No beach.

Today, after waffles, we packed up and headed off to Skyline Drive, a beautiful 105 mile road across the tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
I stopped by the front desk to double check my directions and there was a lady in front of me doing exactly the same thing.

“What’s the best way to get to Skyline Drive?” she asked the desk clerk.
“I don’t know. I’ve never been there,” the clerk answered.
“Isn’t it like a half an hour from here?” asked the incredulous woman.
“I don’t know. I’ve never been there. Let me check.”

The clerk ducked behind the desk for some time. Just when I thought that she had effected a stealthy escape, she popped back up holding a large binder full of pre-printed Google maps.

She looked over two maps thoughtfully before offering one of them to the lady in front of me. “Looks like this one will get you to Skyline Drive.” Then she held out the other map. “So will this one.”

“Which one would you recommend?” the lady asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve never been there,” the clerk answered. She looked at the maps again. “Looks like this one will take you over the mountains through Luray,” she said, pointing to the first map, “And this one will just get you there on the highway.”
“Will the way through the mountains be all hilly and twisty?” the woman asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve never been there,” the clerk answered, “But since it’s through the mountains, I expect it will be hilly and twisty.”
“I think I’ll take the map for the highway. We were on a hilly road yesterday and it made us all carsick.”

Avoiding the hilly road to get to a 105 mile mountain pass seemed a bit shortsighted and I predicted spectacular carsickness on a grand scale for this family. I tried to get a peek at her vehicle so I could look for them on our drive today, but she raced away too quickly.

I confirmed our directions and we set off. We opted for the hilly, twisty road as a sort of appetizer for Skyline Drive.

It was a beautiful ride. We got on Skyline Drive about 30 miles along the way, but since the speed limit was 35 and the views were spectacular, the 75 miles we were on the road took us almost four and a half hours.

We stopped at many scenic overlooks to enjoy the scenic scenery.
 (Scenic scenery.)

We crossed the Appalachian Trail more than once and were spared the olfactory ordeal of actually coming within smelling distance of any thru-hikers.

(Hiding from smelly thru-hikers.)

After Skyline Drive, we finished our drive along The Blue Ridge Parkway instead of hopping on the interstate. It probably added an extra hour to our drive, but although my rear-end is sore, my eyes are happy. It was another gorgeous drive through the mountains.

(More scenic scenery.)

The timing of the drive today meant that we missed lunch, so we arrived in Lexington hungry. We checked in at the hotel, a Country Inn & Suites, and went out in search of dinner.

After dinner, we returned to the hotel so the kids could swim. The only reason they wanted to come on this vacation in the first place is because we booked hotels with pools.

The lobby of this hotel is brown. I mention this because my mother is a frequent traveler and has developed an odd theory about travel. Brown lobbies are an unmistakable, irrefutable sign of a lousy hotel. If she goes into a hotel to book a room and the lobby is brown, she turns around and leaves.

The pool area in our brown lobbied hotel is dark and somewhat disreputable looking. If the hotel has a bad section of town, the pool is it. Sitting in the dim, moribund lighting sapped my will to live and I had to leave the area lest I become terminally depressed and cast myself into the pool’s turbid depths.
The kids would have been happy to splash around in the murky pool all night, although Tori expressed a fear that there may be a crocodile hiding in the deep end.
“It’s 4 feet deep and I can’t see the bottom,” she whispered to me.
Whispering was unnecessary. For some odd reason, we were the only people at the pool.

I’ll be sure to check the lobby color of the next place we stay in.


Pat said...

A visitor from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina viewed "Marty's Action Blog!" 0 secs ago

Hey thats me!

James Reynolds said...

Nice pictures, I plan on exploring the area when I head there on vacation in a few months. Can you suggest any fun places to go in Virginia, or a place to take some good pictures?