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March 25: Marion to Bentonville, VA

You know your organizational systems are breaking down on your road trip when there are pools of water and wet camping gear on the front floor of the car, dirty clothes mixed with rocks in the back and a new loaf of bread your dog must have been lying on in the back seat for the last few days! : ) And, in case you're wondering, we did not avoid the rain this morning!

The alarm went off at 5:30 am, Glen snoozed it for fifteen minutes, but within five minutes the skies opened up! With the sound of heavy rains, we packed up our gear quickly, even though we were still mostly asleep. I jumped outta the tent with an umbrella and ferried the gear into the back of the car as Glen handed it out to me from the tent. I shoved the dogs in the back of the car and then, while Glen unplugged the car and packed that end up, I took the sodden fly off the tent. Working as quickly as possiblly, I broke down the tent, ending up with the whole thing - and me - pretty wet. But...we were on the road by 6:30, driving through heavy rain as we headed north - destination Shenandoah River State Park.

I don't look forward to unpacking this mess, but I do look forward to not living out of the car any more!

In spite of a soggy campsite, we did manage to dry off gear and dogs.

We arrived at the park thinking we would be able to dry everything out, but it was pretty wet at our campsite. Nonetheless, once the sun popped out from behind the cloud cover, our gear, dogs and our selves all dried out. I'm not so sure our neighbors in their fancy RVs appreciated our improvised clotheslines strung across our site, but what are ya going to do?

The photos unfortunately do not capture very well the sweeps of bluebells blooming along the traiil.

It was in the 70s this afternoon so, after a luxurious shower, we took a walk on Bluebell Trail to Hemlock Hollow Trail to Overlook Trail. Talk about an aptly named trail! Bluebell Trail had acres of Virginia bluebells blooming like crazy - wow! We lucked out to be here at just the right time to see such a gorgeous sight! The views from Overlook Trail weren't too shabby either, though we saw only a few hemlocks. Maybe they've been taken by hemlock whoolly adelgid, although we did not see any telltale dead hemlock trees to back up that theory.

Glen looks out over the South Fork of Shenandoah River, noticing what are probably fresh water mussel shells.

Views from Overlook Trail take in the verdant Shenandoah River Valley.

It looks like there are other trails to check out as well, next time we stay here.

A few other spring blooms - redbud and Dutchman's breeches - were growing alongside the trails.

Of course, no blog post is truly complete without fungi and tree photos - cedar apple rust on the left and sycamores on the right.

It's a mellow evening here now, with the faint sound of spring peepers and some sounds of folks visiting in their campsites. Tomorrow we head up to PA for our LAST NIGHT of the trip!!

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