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January 26: Carlisle, PA to Marion, VA

The best part of today for me came at 2 in the morning. We were all jammed into the back of the Kia Niro, pretending to sleep. As I lay there, my head tilted to see out the back window, I took in the immense beauty of the bare tulip poplar branches, backlit by the star filled sky. The branches have that distinctive form, like human arms, bent at the elbows and reaching for the sky. I felt deeply peaceful and so connected to the beauty of the world.

We hoofed it to the top of this field as we waited for our car to charge. We're not in Kansas anymore!

We are in tulip poplar and sweet gum tree country now. Both trees have their easily recongnizable winter seed pods - upright, tulip shaped pods for the tulip poplar, and dangling studded ball shaped pods for the sweet gum. I alsmost missed a couple exits today, while I was busily looking at trees in the surrounding undulating landscape.

We arrived at Hungry Mother State Park just as it was about to get dark. Dog walks were our first priority, and we wandered around the now-familiar campground, as we have stayed there before. It was deserted, but for one RV. We positioned ourselves far from the RV's picture window, over near a little creek. The hills rose up around us as we reconfigured the car from a driving machine to a sleeping compartment. It's not ideal but, with lows in the 20s and winds in the 20s, we thought it wise to not pitch the tent.

Our cramped, but relatively warm accomodations in the back of the car

Next destination: Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, TN

Miles: 372

Nighttime temps: mid 30s


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