Friday, August 11, 2017

A forced slow-down...


Today, we explored the northern 1/3 of the Shenandoah National Park.  In almost all the National Parks we've been in, the speed limit is 45 mph... here, it is 35 mph.  At one pull out, there is a sign that says: Skyline Drive was designed to be a leisurely, scenic road.  If you don't have the time to slow down and enjoy it, you should choose a different road.  (I may be paraphrasing)

Before heading out today, little Izzy some some outdoor time and a nice walk...


"You're going out to play, aren't you?  Leaving me here, aren't you?  Fine, I'll just take a nap."

We drove towards the town of Luray, then into the park...


Skyline Drive runs through the park, generally north to south, winding at the higher elevations from one side of the park to the other, offering views to the east and west.  There are many pull-outs where you get some great views...





As we climbed in elevation, we began to see wisps of the lower clouds blow across the highway...





And then, at a higher elevation, into the clouds...


Now, "higher elevation" is a relative term.  In Spearfish, we lived in a valley at about 3,700' elevation - higher than the elevations here on Skyline Drive.  It did drop the temperature from the upper 70s to the mid-60s.

As we continued north, the road elevation dropped.




We went into the Visitors Center in the northern part of the park...


Not a huge building.  This park sees fewer visitors than the Great Smokey Mountains National Park to the south (10 million visitors annually vs 1.2 million at Shenandoah).  I have to say that we didn't see many people or cars as we drove around in the park.

Joan stamped her National Park Passport...


... and, we picked up a nice sticker of this park (for her Passport) and some glasses and a viewing guide for the upcoming solar eclipse.

We learned that there are still black bears in this area...


And, all the bear boxes and bear-proof garbage cans.

Leaving the Visitors Center, looking towards this view area...


No one around.  I am not complaining - after the hustle and bustle of the past couple weeks, we are truly enjoying this peaceful day.  From the Visitors Center, we went to a nearby picnic area...



I kept looking over my shoulder while we ate - didn't want any bears to steal my "pic-a-nic basket."  ;-)

Back in the car, we headed south on the same road once again - the views are different depending on the direction you are going.


The increase, then decrease in elevation again.  Into and out of the low lying clouds.





On the way back to the coach, we drove around the town of Luray.  The big claim to fame here is the Luray Caverns, a cave tour.  Yep, this reminds me of the many caves in the Black Hills.

Once home (home is where we park it), Izzy and I went for a nice long walk.  Then, sat outside with Joan.  There are thunderstorms in the area, but so far, they have missed us.  It does make for some humidity, though.  Izzy went to the door on the coach - "Let's go in... I'm wearing a fur coat here, ya know!" 

;-)


3 comments:

John and Kathy said...

Hi Jim, the big deal about Luray Caverns is the stalactite organ. Somehow they have rigged up hammers and make tunes from hitting them just so. I've been there many times, but now it may be priced out of site

Captain Jim and the Blonde said...

Hi John and Kathy. I think it is $23 for a senior ticket into the Caverns. Not sure if we'll work it into the "slow paced" agenda. ;-)

Pam and Dave said...

Wonderful photos!