Monday, June 30, 2014

Movin' Boydton, VA...another WMA - June 29, 2014

I checked out of Featherfin real reason, just wanted to see what was around the next corner!  I found out there is another VA WMA down by Boydton, VA...almost on the NC border...only a couple of hours away, if that.  Since I have the WMA Permit and that's the direction I'm heading anyway, I might as well explore!

I drove into Farmville and stopped.  Wanted to check it out.  There is definitely civil ware history here. Sailor's Creek Battlefield State Park is the site of the last major engagement of the Civil War.  On April 6, 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia lost 7,700 men, including eight generals, in the Battle of Sailor's Creek.  This defeat was key to Lee's decision to surrender at Appomattox Court House 72 hours later, thus ending the war in Virginia.  Several other civil ware related events also took place here.

Farmville has some neat old factory buildings...some of which have been turned into retail space and restaurants.  People were pouring into one restaurant there right at 11:00 a.m.  Must have a good brunch!  I, on the other hand, had the rest of last night's pulled pork BBQ.  Just as good as their brunch, I'm sure!  And way less expensive!

Time to get going to the Dick Cross WMA near Boydton.  Not very far.  On the way I stop at a Food Lion to pick up a few things, then just before the turnoff into the WMA, I fill up the gas tank.  $3.34/gal! I kinda wished I had needed more gas at that price!  It's been fairly low through Virginia.  The generator doesn't come on if I'm under 1/2 tank.  It's hard to discern exactly how much gas the generator is using so it's a safety precaution so you don't run out of gas out in the middle of nowhere.  Who do we know that would be out in the middle of nowhere???

I'm expecting a bit more of the same type of landscape as I experienced at Featherfin.  It definitely starts out the same...down a long, one lane gravel road -- about 4-5 miles.  No confusion here, tho', about whose property is whose.  There are no houses along this lane!  I go past the signage with all the "rules".  I am seeing some pronounced turn-in spots - all empty, of course.  But I keep going to see which one might be the best.  Primarily, they are directly on the road...big enough for the RV, but just barely.  I'm thinking....oh well, it's  nice and quiet out here and no one is going to be here, so smallish is fine.  Just as I'm thinking about how I will turn around, I see I'm at the end of the lane.  There's a big iron gate across the road.  Well, there's also a pretty sizeable site right there, too!  YAY!  It's a little lower than the road, and relatively deep, so I won't be sitting right up on the road...and there's plenty of space!

OK!  I think I'll stay!  I back in after a few tries getting to the most level part of the site...turn off the engine, hop out and look at my levels.  Not right on center "0", but pretty close.  I don't think this will be a problem!  I'm enclosed by high foliage/thicket on one side and dense woods on the other and in the back.  Perfect!

In no time flat, I'm all set up with my mat, chair, table and the awning is out.  With just a about a week under my belt, I'm getting pretty good at this!

Of course, I want to see what's around here...not going "hiking" per se...will do that tomorrow, but just going to take a glance around.  This is the road that got me out here...

 And this is the field on the other side of the thicket...the thicket divides my site and the field...

Guess what??? It's a field of sunflowers!  You'll see more pics of them as we go along, but I wish I was staying for another week...they would all be in bloom!  I was wrong about the landscape being the same as Featherfin!

I turn around and go to the iron's easy enough to walk past it, so I wondered what was down that way...

Well, that's a cute little barn....more like a large shed, I guess.  What else....

I'm thinking this is where the WMA keeps some of their equipment...there's no house down here although there probably was at some point and these are the out buildings that went along with it.  It looks like maintenance-type equipment.  Here's another old building on the property...pretty cool...

This is the end of the I'm in the last site...paid to go to the end of the line!  It's the best one!

Time to settle in and think about dinner, cleaning up, etc.  I think I'll grill a pork tenderloin...along with the remaining corn/tomato salad, but with some relish added.  I'll make up some jalapeno jelly glaze for the pork.

Turned out perfectly...enjoying the sunflowers, too!  Yes...some are blooming!

I picked up some peaches on the way...they are sizzling on the grill in butter and brown sugar!  Will make a fine dessert!

But first, the sun is setting...let's see what that brings from this new vantage point...

The sun is setting exactly between two groves of trees looking across the sunflower field.  Interesting swirly cloud pattern and colors! Glad I caught it!

The close of another day....I think I'm going to like this spot!  Time for those sweet, warm peaches!

Whenever you might be reading this....bring a little sun...flower...into your day!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nature Around Featherfin - Saturday, June 28, 2014

I scoured the area for photo opportunities....and, as I thought, "nature" is the theme for the day!  Took about a two hour hike this morning and this is what I discovered.  I was primarily in areas like this - open field-type areas surrounded by dense woods...too dense to navigate.  These "fields", however, are very high with grasses and more scrubby plant life, but I did make some finds....remember to click on the photos if you want to see more detail...

What is the purpose of these?

This bee is having a delightful milkweed breakfast.  I love the detail in these flowers!

Trumpet vine -- wanting to open

I destroyed nature...I ate the two ripe ones!  Please don't call the WRP!  (Wild Raspberry Police)

I always liked tulip trees....

Walking on down the lane, I came upon an entry to what was probably private property at one time, but it had a WMA sign that said "foot traffic" was okay.  So, I started into another field.....

Well into the area now, more milkweed flowers...I love these.  Have seem them a million times along the roadways, but never paid attention to them until now.  So unusual - poisonous to horses, tho'.

I have no idea what these brilliant orange flowers are but there was a large patch of them. They may be another variety of milkweed. Two very vivid blue birds seemed attracted to them, too, but they darted off before I could snap them.  Another good bee breakfast!

Soon, I spotted an old barn up on the hill.  Let's go!  It was quite a trek, but I was curious....

There was a nondescript abandoned house up here, too....probably built in the 60's...nothing to write home about, but I loved the old find!  

I wanted to go inside, but who knew what woodland creatures might have made this their home.... thinking "snakes", at the least!  Uhhhhh.... I'll stay outside....they are probably right under my feet now and I don't even know it!  Let's not think about that....

Time to head back....I've hiked pretty far by now... and it's getting warm.  I've been wearing heavy jeans, long sleeved shirts, socks, hiking boots and a very attractive camo net hat (gnats are a nuisance) to ward off ticks....  have seen my photo vest with lots of pockets and stuff.  Anyway, as it gets warmer all this garb gets warm, too.

                          Really liked this little multi-toned carnation-type wildflower...very delicate.                                     Not many of these around.

Pin oaks are abundant here

Ants hosting on a trumpet vine...

One lone wild daisy....a survivor!

I get back to "the house"....still no sign of trouble that I'm probably on private property....while I still have all this garb on, I decide to see if I can get into the woods behind me....looks just as dense as the rest of what I've seen, but it's right in the back yard...

Just a little ways into the woods and I find this little shed...  pretty much confirms "private property" to me!  But, I'm not worried about it.  Just as I thought, tho'...these woods are toooooo thick to trek through, so I turn around and think about lunch!  Those two raspberries didn't quite hit the spot!  

Worked on photos this afternoon....did a little internet research, washed dishes and cleaned up a bit....before I knew it, it was getting close to thinking about dinner.  I hadn't used my mini charcoal grill yet.  I had thawed a bag of pulled pork shoulder yesterday from the several bags I had frozen before I started my adventure.  Roasted like 6 lbs of it, so I'll be making some creative dishes from all that!  Just have to make up some BBQ sauce and a side dish of some kind.  Sounds yummy!  My site conveniently has a cleared spot right at my door... perfect for grilling!  

And it was yummy!  With a side of corn/tomato/onion/basil salad....mmmmmmmm

Night settles in with a little color in the sky.  Another peaceful evening under the stars.  With the total darkness out here, I think one can see every single star in the universe!  Clear night for it!  Means it should be a nice day tomorrow...for something!  Hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of Virginia nature!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Featherfin WMA - Friday, June 27, 2014

The drive on towards Farmville was easy....about 45 minutes.  As I got closer to the GPS coordinates for Featherfin there were lots of "in one mile turn 1.75 miles turn half a mile turn 2 miles turn right....."  Something like that!  Needless to say, I'm on one lane gravel roads.... where the heck am I going?  Oh well, it's a nice day to explore!

Finally I come to a marker for the wildlife area.  Ok...I'm in the right spot!  Now....just have to find these campsite areas I read about.  I keep meandering down the gravel road looking for something that resembles a site.  Hmmmmmm....nothing, really.  I finally stop at what looks like an intersection thinking about "what next?"  Then a truck pulls up and the fellow asks if I needed any help.  "Just trying to find the campsites."  "Campsites???  I own land on both sides of the WMA and there aren't any campsites around here....but if you go five miles to Holiday Lake, there's an RV-type park there."   "Really?  It's all over the WMA website about the FREE campsites...I even got a Permit."

Side note about the's $23 for the WHOLE year (or $4/day) for any of the several VA WMA areas.  You can camp up to 14 days at any one of them for free!!

THEN he says...."Oh...that......well, they just expect you to park anywhere - like in those rectangular pull in spaces you might have seen."  Ohhhhhh....ok!  He said I could park on his land, which was a nice gesture, but I thought I should probably stick to the plan.  I thanked him, turned around and went back to see if I noticed any of these "sites".  Well....I did see some, but the RV wouldn't fit into them or, there was a sign not to park in front of the gate that leads to areas where you could walk/hike. They just weren't large enough.  Then I saw a very large space under some trees set back a little from the road.  That looks good!  All the time thinking it probably really wasn't a WMA site....more like private property.  Oh well....I'm going in there anyway!  No one is around here.  If someone tells me to move, I just turn the key and move!

One really good aspect of this spot is it's perfectly level front to back, side to side! (Uhhhhh,,,probably because a house used to sit here???!!!)

The land is scruffy....not particular noteworthy, but it's a nice spot with trees all around....once you get past the scruffy area.  Thinking there probably won't be a lot of photo ops around here, so I'll just concentrate on seeing what natural plants, etc. I can find to photograph.  It's hot, so I figure out how to roll out the awning with a little text help from my sister.  YES!  Communications here!  One bar - YAY!  Verizon!

Rain is in the forecast for the whole weekend, so I figure I'd better get out and poke around this property and see what I can find.  Now you'll be blasted with nature photos. First what I see from the RV, then wild plants and flowers....not that you haven't seen these before, but it's what's here in my new back yard!

That's the RV in the center by the tree!  See it???

There you have it!  My new spot!  It's quiet, nature-filled and level!  What more could a girl want?

I settle in, check systems, etc., get out my outdoor mat, camp chair, table, book and make a *mostly ice* drink along with some cheese and crackers....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....that might be dinner for tonight!  Too hot to cook...

Night knock on the door from the "privately owned property campsite authorities" have gone by...they can see me...guess no one is concerned.  Phone rings!  Way out here!  WOW!  A retired friend who is k-i-n-d-a considering m-a-y-b-e doing an RV-thing calls to get the real facts on how it's going so far....we catch up on everything and I don't think I deterred the idea....not yet anyway!

It's pitch black out here...just as it has been everywhere --- except Walmart, of course!  It has cooled down a bit...all good for sleeping!  I continue with "The Thin Man"...then off to sleep.  What will tomorrow bring??  We shall see!

A Stop Before Featherfin - June 27, 2014

I had over nighted at Walmart when the plan to stay at Albemarle Lake didn't quite pan out (not much excitement to report from Walmart except I prepared a really good filet mignon dinner!) and left there about 8:30am and headed toward Farmville, VA to the Featherfin Wildlife Management Area for hopefully, a weekend of camping for FREE!  Again, trusting the GPS girl to get me there. Thank goodness, we're done with the mountains and just have beautiful rolling hills now.  Crossing those mountains was something I just can't describe....except to say part of the time I didn't think I had any brakes....but whatever that situation was, it eventually righted itself!  NOT the best part of an adventure!

So, through the rolling hills of VA I go....very nice two lane roads...very green... past many very nice farms, horse farms and several vineyards.  Wanted to stop at the vineyards, but just kept going. Another beautiful summer day!  Coolish, sunny -- very pleasant morning for a drive. Not a lot of gas stations, so I thought as soon as I come into some little town I'd better get gas no matter the price, etc.
After another 4-5 miles, I drive into Scottsville, VA. What do we have here???  Looks interesting!  I immediately see a gas station and as I was waiting for the tank to fill I looked up and down the street....hmmmmmmm....think I'll check this place out.

I park in a large parking lot at the end of the street...evidently it's where the farmers' market is held on the weekends.  Cameras in hand, I start walking....

About a block down the street, I see an old building with flood marks painted on the side.  This little town sits right on the James River.  

Hard to believe the water had gotten that high! 


Continuing on down the street, there are a few little cafes and shops...very quaint.  I crossed the street and started walking back taking a few more shots of the old buildings.

I decided to turn left on one street just to see what was there....

The town had created a little history park.  Evidently, there's quiet a colonial history here!

In the park were some original boat hulls...not just any that had significant history.

All pretty interesting!

I continued on up the street and found a few more nice buildings....the Scottsville Museum (closed on weekdays), an old inn and a pleasant, no frills, private garden....

Across the street is a river rafting/touring company.....soooooooo the river is right down there....a short trek by the rafting place, an old train depot, a building with no description and another flood marker.....there's the infamous James River....

Quite pretty!  But for the people of Scottsville over the centuries, many times it has not been so pretty.

Finally, this off the cuff stop wouldn't be complete without seeing an odd window display.....not sure what they're trying to say here....make up your own story!  LOL!

So, a gas stop turned into a mini-adventure.  A bit of history in a quaint little Virginia river town.  Good stop!  Now over the bridge and through the woods to Featherfin Wildlife Management Area...hopefully, for a weekend stay!