The Journey to Florida, day 5! ~ By Tom ~
Hello everyone. Wednesday, December 21st and day 5 of our journey. We woke up slowly this morning sipping our coffee and enjoying the beauty of the surroundings at Wytheville KOA. While out on a walk I came across a couple and their dog who were from Vermont. They too had a Roadtrek of an earlier vintage. It was educational to learn from them the modifications they were and are making to adapt to their travels. It was fun talking about our different travels before bidding our goodbyes.
Our travels this date took us 362 miles in over 13 hours from Wytheville, VA to Madison, GA. You’ll notice we covered some ground today realizing we promised Audrey’s parents we would be there on Thursday. Even with this marathon haul there still was some ground to cover. It was all okay because even though it was a trek we had fun which is what our travels are about at this season in our life. The rural communities we traveled through included Independence, Jefferson, Blowing Rock (made famous by author Jan Karon who penned the “At Home in Mitford” and other books in the series), Lenoir, Kings Mountain, Spartanburg, Greenville, Anderson and Athens.
Along our way, we encountered a lot of signage for and against a proposed pipeline through VA. Being curious we began checking what the project was all about and discovered it was referring to the “Dominion’s” pipeline which is part of the “Atlantic Coast” Pipeline. This project is a 600-mile, 42-inch diameter interstate gas transmission pipeline that will cross the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains from WV to NC. It will cut a permanent, 75-100 ft. swath through 28.5 miles of the George Washington National Forest in Highland, Bath, and Augusta counties. The pipeline will carry natural gas from WV through VA to NC at a cost of $2,000,000,000 to complete. The folks against the pipeline cite that it would threaten the habitat of the endangered species, including Cow Knob Salamander, James spiny mussel, Indiana Bat, Northern Long-Eared bat, and Virginia Big-Eared Bat. Those in favor, see it as a way to significantly decrease dependency on foreign oil along with aiding the economy. There certainly is a great deal of attention these days to this energy issue. We sure don’t know what the answer is but both sides pose some great points to consider. When you google the number of pipelines already in place throughout the US one can’t help but wonder how the concerns of this one match of with those?
Our ride through all these communities was enjoyable, so much so we didn’t make the time to look ahead and figure out where we were going to spend the evening. Now remember this was Christmas week and we were not the only ones with the same idea of camping through the holidays. The result of our lack of planning was to experience what every road warrior camper must try once (or twice) in their life and that is Camp Walmart, lol. We had read about others doing it and surviving so why not do it. There is a Walmart in just about every town across America so it wasn’t hard to find one close by in Madison GA. As we drove in we slowly circled the parking lot and could see dispersed around the periphery other vans, campers and cars with the same intent as ours… to get some rest.