A few days before we left, Meg asked if we could take Skyline Drive when we drove to meet my parents. In her social studies class this past year, one unit was on the National Park Service, which just celebrated its 100th anniversary. One of the parks they discussed was the Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive is the road that runs the length of that park. We knew that taking Skyline Drive would undoubtedly add time to our trip (probably a couple of hours), but how could we say no. Meg loves social studies. We couldn't take her to Canada and Mexico (the other places they studied this year), but we could take her to Shenandoah National Park.
Skyline Drive is a particularly popular destination when the leaves are changing color in fall. We did not get to experience this autumnal delight, but we did see some breathtaking mountain views. Skyline Drive is also known for it wildlife. Some people are lucky enough to spot a black bear. We saw no bears (and, quite honestly, I'm not sure how the girls would have responded had we seen a bear--so that is probably for the best). We, however, did see a beautiful deer on the side of the road just as we were pulling onto Skyline Drive. As everyone excitedly pointed out the deer, my husband and I both breathed a sigh of relief when we heard Clare say from the back of the minivan, "I saw the deer too." Clare is often in her own world and misses these little pieces of nature. When everyone else gets excited and she realizes she has missed something, the tears inevitably start. Not this time. She was paying attention and saw the deer herself. Hooray!
Skyline Drive is undoubtedly beautiful, but after awhile we were ready to get back on the interstate and get to the house. We exited Shenandoah National Park at the road leading to Harrisonburg. We stopped at Costco in Harrisonburg and picked up the last of our supplies for our mountain trip.
It was late by the time we reached Marion, Virginia, and began heading down a winding road that led to the rented house. The roads became gravel at some point. Our phone suddenly had no service. We were cut off from the world. I'm happy to report we did find the house (thanks, in part, to my parents' red car which is easy to spot) and we were welcomed to this fantastically remote spot by my parents and my sister's family. More on our adventures tomorrow.