Our ultimate goal of the first leg of our journey was always to make it to the Outer Banks. I don’t mean Kittyhawk (which is probably nice, too), I mean the real Outer Banks. Down near Buxton and Frisco. Down where you’re surrounded by lifted 4WD vehicles, dunes, and sand spurs. However, first we had to make it over the mountains and through the woods.
Before we bought Trudy, we were torn between buying an older diesel pusher class A or a newer gas class A. We somehow met in the middle and bought an older gas class A. Anyway, we read that “gassers” weren’t as good in the mountains, but we didn’t fully comprehend what that meant at the time. We learned what that really meant getting out of the Monongahela National Forest!
West Virginian mountains are seriously, seriously beautiful. The mountains aren’t huge, but they’re very frequent and rolling. Hannah and I both fell in love with the gorgeous valleys and foothills as we lugged near 26,000 pounds up the mountain and down the mountain. Up the mountain and down the mountain. And then up the mountain and down the mountain. The roads were well-kept and well-designed; lots of “turnouts” and “truck lanes” that let normal traffic get past the bottleneck (us). We even got passed by another class A (yes, it was a diesel).
A Stop at the Misty Mountaintop
We left the Stuart Recreation Area on Saturday, August 26th, survived the mountains, and made it to our destination. Trudy reeked of burning brakes and probably spent the majority of the trip in second gear (going up and down the mountains – thank you, engine braking!), but we made it. We stayed at a rather large private RV resort near Charlottesville, VA called Misty Mountain Camp Resort. It’s a nice place with tons of amenities – a pool, a splash pad, an inflated bounce pad thing, a playground, a fishing pond, a dog park, and areas for basketball, cornhole, and horseshoes. We used the pool but not much else. Unfortunately the place was PACKED and we ended up in one of the worst sites they had. We were right next to the entrance, with zero privacy, backed right up against the highway.
When we chose to stay here, we weren’t sure how long we’d want to stay. It was a nice place to stop, but the crappy site, overwhelming deluge of roaming, endangered children (some driving golf carts), and some unfavorable interactions with the staff led us to seek alternate accommodations after 1 night. You also pay for these amenities whether you want them or not. One night here was $63.
Our Second Actual Stop – First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach
Hannah found an awesome state park right on the water at Virginia Beach. We motored on and made it there on Sunday, August 27th. We hit very few mountains, but we did hit lots of construction. Overall it wasn’t a bad drive.
First Landing State Park had electric and water hookups but no sewer. The campground on the park has several loops with sites/spurs of many sizes. Some could only fit a tent, while others could fit several tents or an RV. There were several boardwalks over the dunes to the ocean. The park itself is large (the campground alone had over 200 sites) and surprisingly contains lots of swampland. It’s a lot prettier than that makes it sound, though, and there are tons of trails throughout the park to explore. The sites are fairly expensive for being water + electric only (no sewer). The advertised rate isn’t bad ($45) but tack on the reservation fees + high taxes and you’re looking at $53 a night.
This was our first time at Virginia Beach and it did not disappoint. We visited the boardwalk in actual Virginia Beach and found it much nicer than Ocean City, MD’s boardwalk. To us, Virginia Beach felt like a good blend of northern and southern East Coast beach. It was familiar, yet it had some southern charm (for example, Hannah discovered that VA Beach is the northern limit to where Spanish moss grows).
I resumed working remotely from First Landing State Park. We had great signal and I couldn’t tell I was using a 4G connection. The best part was the view – I could see and hear the ocean from my desk!
We stayed at First Landing State Park for 5 nights. We had some nice days there, but we also had some chilly, rainy, and/or extremely windy days as well. We experienced 55 MPH gusts with torrential rain one day, but Trudy stood strong.
Overall, we had a great time at First Landing State Park. It’s a beautiful and pretty large park – it’s crazy how close it is to Virginia Beach proper! We got to explore the area, eat some fresh seafood, see dolphins, and spend time on the beach every day as a family. It was Calla’s first time seeing the ocean, and she loved it! We wanted to stay longer but couldn’t – the campground was fully booked for the Labor Day holiday weekend.