Aboard Astraea

Invest in experiences, not things

Madison South

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On our way out of Madison County, VA we decided to take it easy and spend the night at  a KOA campground on our way to Norfolk, VA to visit family. It was our first stop at a KOA. We hung out, walked around the campsite and Sully found a cool new toy in their gift shop, a toy RV. Now he’s got a cool camper to play with. It’s cute that he has a tiny plastic farmer from another toy set so now this is the farmer’s RV.

We took time to swing and play at the KOA

We took time to swing and play at the KOA

We also walked the trail around and through the campground. Sully found a toy RV at the KOA store so he used some of his birthday money on it as a present.

We also walked the trail around and through the campground. Sully found a toy RV at the KOA store so he used some of his birthday money on it as a present.

Natalie liked rearranging the furniture inside with Sully

Natalie liked rearranging the furniture inside with Sully

On our trip we decided to check out some cheap areas to camp. Camping is only $4 a night at Virginia Wildlife Management Areas (WMA). We pulled off the paved road and found one near the North Carolina Border. It was a hot afternoon stop, but we were surprised to find that the WMA wasn’t just woodland, but an old farm planted with tons of beautiful sunflowers. We decided not to spend the night because it was HOT and we don’t a generator to run the air conditioner.

We stopped at a Virginia Wildlife Management Area (WMA) where the state grew sunflowers on public land for hunting crop cover.

We stopped at a Virginia Wildlife Management Area (WMA) where the state grew sunflowers on public land for hunting crop cover.

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It was a beautiful clear day, but hot and humid

It was a beautiful clear day, but hot and humid

Our trip took us to Big Bend Park and Campground. We wanted to take some time to hang out, go swimming and hiking before Norfolk. The campground is situated right on John H. Kerr resevoir in southern Virginia. We spent two nights camping out, roasting marshmallows on the fire at night and swimming in the lake during the day. The lake was full of freshwater clams and we collected a bunch for Sully to play with.

Every day we make coffee before breakfast in the camper to get our day started. Natalie got some decorations and we're trying to make the camper feel like home.

Every day we make coffee before breakfast in the camper to get our day started. Natalie got some decorations and we’re trying to make the camper feel like home.

On July 17 we arrived at Uncle Tim, Aunt Martha and Tyler’s house in Norfolk. It was great to be back in Norfolk, but it was super hot. We spent about a week there helping with house projects and hanging out. We got lucky and got to go out to the eastern shore of Virginia to a little town called Oyster and ride out through the marsh to tour the outlying islands and collect sea shells. It was great to get out that way on the water because we don’t think our sailing adventure Aboard Astraea will take us all the way to the East Coast of the US.

While we were in Nofolk we planned to meet up with Carolie and her daughter Bess at the JCC swimming pool. It was great to reconnect with an old friend from Japan and Sully got even more comfortable in the water. He and Bess jumped from the edge of the pool and swam all morning.

After seeing Bess jump in the pool Sully had to practice too

After seeing Bess jump in the pool Sully had to practice too

We unexpectedly ran in to another old friend from Japan, Ruth. She was an officer on my first ship, the USS Juneau. While Sully was playing at the park we recognized each other and started talking. It was cool because now she has two boys about Sully’s age and a newborn daughter. She invited us to walk to the zoo with her and the boys since they have a season pass. The kids had fun listening to story time at the zoo and got to pet a snake.

After a week in Norfolk it was time for  us to head farther south to visit with Natalie’s family in Georgia.

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