Fort Chiswell Virginia – Enroute to Bristol Tennessee

I’d like to welcome a few new readers whom we had met in campgrounds. Click here for a list of older posts to see if there is a topic you are most interested in. I don’t advertise to increase readership of the blog as it remains just a place to make a record of our travels for ourselves, keep family and friends updated or refer new friends interested in getting started in living their future in an RV. And for those long-time readers, I’m starting to use more headlines in my posts so you can quickly scan the subjects and read what might interest you.

Changed Travel Plans

We changed our travel plans for this spring/summer trip for two reasons.

We have visited a couple larger cities on this trip when our normal travel style is to avoid heavily populated areas. Karan and I talked after leaving Charleston South Carolina. We agreed we want to go places we enjoy with as little hassle as possible and big cities are no fun for us. The second reason to change plans is her mom up in Michigan is moving to assisted care living which we are excited about and are most likely heading that way.

So, we decided to skip the trip to Washington DC, reroute and spend more time at several locations as we drift towards St. Louis Missouri (6/26/22) and down to Branson (7/10/22) for a longer stay. Today, we plan to stick the RV in storage for two weeks in Nashville where we have done it before and drive up to Michigan to see Karen’s mom. Things could change in the next couple of days, however. Not particularly a reason to change plans but we cut out maybe 500 miles of towing. I’m hearing there are possible diesel fuel shortages along the east coast as well but that would not be concerning to us as we have grown in experience on the road and take things as they come. Really sorry we are going to miss Bill and Kelly in Pennsylvania. Their blog is called Bill & Kelly’s American Odyssey. They posted a wonderful video which reveals why we all travel fulltime.

Video posted at Bill and Kelly’s American Odyssey Blog.

Short Stay in Southwest Viginia

On the way to Bristol Tennessee, I decided to climb over the mountain following Fancy Gap on I-77 north of Charlotte North Carolina into Virginia rather than going over on I-26 north of Ashville North Carolina were most would go to visit wonderful Ashville. Along with being an easier route in my opinion, this also gave us a chance to experience a little bit of Virgina. The truck did great on the 12-mile climb and shorter decent. I decided to run with the truck at 55 miles per hour during the 4%-5% grades and was happy to never notice the truck engine above 2,000 RPM and no added heat on the transmission. Using the tow/haul mode along with the full exhaust brake was the thing to do as I only hit our brakes one time going down the hill.

Downloaded the video from our dash cam of the climb up to Fancy Gap on I-77 towards I-81. Sorry, no sound as I have spent zero time learning to add music and turned off the microphone on the camera in case I cuss about being cut off by a small smashable car or other idiot things we see. Also, I might get a little panicky as we travel into the unknown frontier with big hills and don’t want to embarrass myself with the audio. Fancy Gap is known for possible high winds in areas or sudden fog. I checked the Virginia and North Carolina Department of Transportation sites, to include real time traffic cameras along I-77 the morning we left.

Fort Chiswell Virginia

Fort Chiswell is at the intersection of I-77 and I-81 in Southwest Virginia. It’s a popular spot to overnight while on a trip in the valley within the Appalachian Mountains.

We stayed four nights at Fort Chiswell RV Park Virginia which is located at the first exit after turning westbound from I-77 to I-81. It’s a quick exit where we did not even have to change lanes. Lots of history around there with some believing this was the start of the Wilderness Road Danial Boone was hired to carve out of the forests to the west towards the Cumberland Gap. This is along the migration route down which figures such as Sam Houston would have taken. Born nearby was Stephen Austin, also a founding father of Texas. Austin first moved to Missouri where lead mines had been located. His father had arranged to move families to Mexican Territory into what we call Texas with the blessing of Mexico’s President. Stephen completed his father’s dream. Then the attitude changed in “Texas”. Austin was placed in prison for two years in Mexico and only lived a short time after Texas gained its independence.

View from Fort Chiswell RV Park
View from our campground. Was a wonderful place to just sit outside or walk the campground for a few days.

Electric Vehicles Showing up in Parks and RV Tips

Anyone else started see electric cars being charged at RV parks? This was the second sighting in two months. Wonder if there will be a new rule added at campgrounds in our future. I sent a letter to the editor of a popular RV newsletter, not to be a party pooper but believing it would be a good article.

Over the years Karen and I have continued to fine tune the way we live on the road. The simplest changes can make a world of difference if it involves something you do almost daily. For example, I don’t place the folding camping chairs in their bags for storage any longer because we are just getting them out at the next stop. Small deal but I hope that makes sense.

I’ve always coated my fingers with goop while putting oil and seasoning on meat to be grilled. Now I’m brushing it on and consider my grill setup nearing perfection. Ya, real cooks will say that’s a no brainer. I brush the oil and seasoning on while the meat is on the grill and have also been making better use of aluminum foil to reduce cleanup.

On the springs of a fifth wheel, and probably a trailer trailer, is a silver band which is shown on the right where the spring attaches to the shackle. The band is not tight around the springs which concerned me. I know the springs are kept in place where they mount at the axle and held down by the U-bolts shown on the left. After researching and finding someone I trusted, I’ve come to the conclusion the silver bands do nothing other than contain a part number and I’m not worrying about them anymore.

We are currently camped west of Knoxville Tennessee near Oak Ridge hoping not to become radioactive. We spent three weeks in Bristol Tennessee which will be the topic of my next post.

Mark

3 thoughts on “Fort Chiswell Virginia – Enroute to Bristol Tennessee

  1. Learning to be very flexible while on the road is one of the first lessons we learned. That and to slow down. Hope all goes well with Karen’s mom’s move. Sounds like you’re getting the hang of mountain driving even if it does involve some strange noises from the driver.

    Liked by 1 person

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