America’s Historical Triangle

April 23, 2017

Our plan for today was to drive from our campground in Rock Hill, SC all the way to Williamsburg, VA.

(NOTE: According to Google Maps it was about 360 miles from our campground to the Cracker Barrel. It consists primarily of interstate, that in a ‘normal’ car would take 5 hours and 15 minutes with no stops. We learned pretty quickly, while traveling in RV that we had to make adjustments to those time predictions. We would look at Google Maps to help us plan our route, then look at AllStays, our campground App, because it included helpful information such as overpass clearances – more than helpful on several occasions, avoiding low clearances! We also learned quickly in our travels that neither Cortney nor I would take the RV above 55 MPH. Once you went above that rate of speed the RV ‘felt unsafe’ and it began to take more ‘muscle’ to keep the wheels in the lane. All that combined we did some math – If at least 80% or more of the route was interstate we had to multiply the Google Maps estimate by 1.5. Therefore the trip that day would take – without stops – nearly 8 hours. There were times during the trip that our route would be exclusively on rural and/or state highways. When that was the case we used a multiplier of 2)

It was our plan, given the distance and our typical slow pace, to arrive late into Williamsburg and park overnight at Cracker Barrel. The heavy rain we encountered today didn’t help either. It definitely slowed us down, as our usual 55 MPH felt too fast for the conditions. We quickly witnessed first hand just north of downtown Charlotte why we were okay with slower traveling speeds. About a quarter of mile ahead of us we witnessed a four car accident. One Subaru sized vehicle traveling in the middle lane slowly lost control and could not regain it, causing them to turn sideways and veer to the right, broadsiding at Ford Mustang and pushing it into the ditch along the right shoulder of the highway where it slammed into embankment and settled at about a 45 degree slant. After that the original vehicle went on to strike two other cars, causing damage and turning them around into oncoming traffic. Given our distance and speed we were able to slow, pass the accident and pull off to the side of the freeway. Cortney and the kids stayed in the RV (Nolan was highly fascinated) as I went out to assist the other bystanders and see how I could help. The car that was damaged the most was that Mustang, there were 5 people in that vehicle and the driver was pinned in the car. We did what we could to help until emergency personnel arrived. Mostly calming those that were injured until helped arrived. The rain was coming down heavily, everyone was getting very wet including those injured in their cars as many windows had busted out.

After the firetrucks and ambulance arrived I stepped back into the RV nice and wet with adrenaline pumping. And man, oh man, did Nolan have a ton of questions. He loves figuring everything out, so we sat there for about 10 minutes discussing the accident and the aftermath. It was a great teachable moment to remind the kids why they have to be good passengers and not distract the driver with loud behavior. After speaking to a firefighter and giving a witness statement of the the accident, we were back on the road. The firetrucks had blocked off the entire northbound freeway, so for a few miles the only vehicles we encountered was another firetruck and an ambulance on our side heading the opposite direction. Nolan and Hadley thought that was wild!

The rest of the drive was uneventful. We eventually reached Richmond and turned east toward Williamsburg. Dinner by this point was long overdue. We stopped at a Food Lion for some groceries, cranked up the generator and prepared dinner in the parking lot. We hit the road again for the final 35 miles. We arrived, as planned, late into Williamsburg. We found the Cracker Barrel and parked as level as we could. I ran into the restaurant’s store and purchased some pancake mix for breakfast while Cortney prepared the kids for bed. Then off to bed we went – for tomorrow we planned to explore the Jamestown Settlement.

April 24, 2017

We woke early, as expected, sleeping just isn’t the same in a parking lot, go figure! We made pancakes and enjoyed a quick breakfast before making our way over to the Jamestown Settlement.

Or so we thought we had arrived at the Jamestown Settlement, National Park Pass out and ready to go, turns out it is a Living History Museum called the Jamestown Settlement (not confusing at all!). For the historic settlement and town run by The National Park Service, we would have to drive to Jamestown, Virginia a little over a mile down the road, literally the property next door.

Getting the RV around is not the most convenient or economical, knowing we had a safe place to park, we decided to check out the Jamestown Settlement living history museum. It was a happy accident, we thoroughly enjoyed our time exploring a replica of America’s first permanent English Colony, the three replica Tall Ships (the Sarah Constant, Discovery and the Godspeed), the original fort and also a village of wigwams of the native people that lived in the area. This settlement was established 13 years prior to the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock. (Some of our experience here is covered in our Historical Spotlight Post in April 2017)

All the while it rained on and off, the storm had followed us north! We took it in stride and had a blast exploring the Tall Ships, the settlement and the wigwams. Being a living history experience there were opportunities to hear talks from ‘people of the time period’ the kids were able to ask them questions about their trade or topics they have been learning about in school. We took a break after exploring the outdoor exhibits by enjoying lunch in the RV and drying off (one of the many benefits of traveling in your home on wheels). Following lunch were strolled through the museum on site, it was a very well done museum and I can’t wait until I can go one day again – so much information – hard to take it all in with a seven and six year old in tow. Enjoyed an educational video in the museum theater. By this time is was getting into the later afternoon and time for us head to our next campground across the James River.

To get there required a ferry ride. Liberty Lucy traveled by ferry once more! We arrived at Chippokes Plantation State Park. (A beautiful and secluded SP that is near the top of our list of places we stayed) And boy it is wet, wet, wet! We have not had to set up or tear down much on our trip in the rain – but today we did. That is always fun. Rained the rest of the day and night.

April 25, 2017

Spent the morning working from the RV. The kids played outdoors and were unfazed by the rain the cold. They were playing Indians, collecting food, cooking over fire (wet sticks) and “hunting” in the back woods behind our RV. Their imaginations had been ignited yesterday. After lunch we cleaned up and took the ferry back across the river and went into Colonial Williamsburg. We have been so thankful for the gifts we had been given by family and friends along the way – from a National Park pass and a baseball game to now a week long pass (called their Spring Bounce) to Colonial Williamsburg – which includes access to Busch Gardens. But work (as the kids have been covering US History in school) before play (plans to hit up the amusement park this weekend). Today we visited the living history of Williamsburg. We picked up our tickets at the visitors center then hopped the bus into the town.

We spent the afternoon visiting some of the historical buildings. Some of those included the Capitol Building, Raleigh Tavern (where we met Thomas Jefferson!), the Bindery, the Apothecary and then we watched a regiment of fife and drums doing their evening drills outside the Courthouse.

Following our exploring we were hungry and found ourselves, through the help of Yelp, at Rick’s Cheese Steak Shop. Now, we were either very hungry or the reviews were true – the food was great!

Afterwards – back to the ferry, across the James river and back to camp.

April 26, 2017

We were up early, so much to see in Williamsburg! We packed breakfast to eat on the ferry and a lunch for later that day. We split up upon arrival. I visited local library and spent the morning working, while Cortney and the kids went into Colonial Williamsburg. They had way more fun than I did!

They visited the Shoemaker and went on an Ox Wagon Ride.

I met up with them for lunch along the Palace Green, then we went through the house of George Wythe. During our tour of the home we found many architectural and layout qualities Cortney and I would like in a home one day.

We then visited an outdoor theatre to watch a funny puppet show, before running into George Washington’s dog, a Briard named Liberty, on our way to the armory. There, firefighter Nolan got a taste of what it meant to be part of a colonial community in an emergency by lining up as part of the bucket brigade.

Afterwards we strolled through the Palace Gardens, practiced a little map reading. Nolan was worn out, so he and Cortney headed to the car while Hadley and I went on the Palace tour.

By this point in the day we were all done – our dog’s were barking! Back to the car, quick stop at the grocery store, trip on the ferry and back to the RV for dinner.

April 27, 2017

Today we are headed to the Historical Jamestown, where we thought we were headed the other day! The historical settlement (ruins) and famous Glasshouse and glassblower which is run by the National Park Service. This site is the actual spot where the ships landed, just east of the Jamestown Settlement replica. The Kids and Cortney dropped me a Panera Bread to work (free Wifi!) while they went to Jamestown to explore and get their National Park passports stamped.

Afterwards they picked me up and we headed over to Yorktown, the third location in America’s Historic Triangle.

We were headed there to view the Yorktown Battlefield. It sounds strange to say – but the battlefield was beautiful and serene. It is generally referred to as the Siege of Yorktown.

We started our visit at the visitor’s center where we watched a film on the history of Yorktown. We explored the small museum then headed outside to walk along the immediate grounds. The kids have been reading The Magic Treehouse book series, and just finished Revolutionary War on Wednesday, so it was neat for them to see and experience all they had been reading about. Running across the fields that had been depicted in the book. A real life Jack and Annie adventure, sans magic treehouse but rather a magical motorhome!

Much of the battlefield is accessible by vehicle, the National Park Service has created a route to view important parts of the battlefield. It was neat to see the mounds that still exist to this day that were the trenches, dug and formed by the French and the Continental Armies. We viewed large open grassy meadows that were the encampments of the troops. We also viewed the location of George Washington’s headquarters.

Tomorrow is Busch Gardens! Off to bed for much needed, it will be another early morning as we want to open the park!


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