Chesterfield, VA

Continuing on our route to somewhere South, but not anywhere specific South, we found ourselves in Chesterfield, VA, which is situated about 30 minutes South of Richmond.

We scored a cancellation at Pocahontas State Park over Thanksgiving, which was a bit of an accomplishment. While I grew up where it gets cold by mid-October, therefore putting the kibosh on camping opportunities, these Southern folks camp all the way through the winter. They especially like to camp on holidays, which makes our lives a bit trickier. But, lucky for us, some shlep had to cancel their reservation, meaning we got to claim it.

Pocahontas State Park is dreamy. It is one of the quietest places we’ve slept at in all of our 5+ years of travel. The campsites are huge, and you get to pick the one you want when you arrive (my favorite!). There are so many miles of smooth, runnable trail meandering through woodlands that not even I found myself able to run them all over our 6-night stay. Not that I didn’t try; I put in a good 70+ miles over the almost-week.

Maybe if the park didn’t mistakenly misbook our reservation, forcing us to leave a day before we thought we’d have to, I would have got them all. Ok, that’s a bald-headed lie. There is no way I would have run them all.

We did stumble into a small crisis on Sunday afternoon of our stay – our anticipated final day of stay. A ranger scooted up to our site, where I was enjoying a nice sit-down in a chair after my Sunday long run, and informed me that the date on our tag was wrong and we needed to leave. Now.

Pocahontas State Park closes for three days at the end of November so people can shoot Bambi. The Bambi shooting closure was set to start the next day – Monday. Which is also when our reservation was scheduled to end. But, according to the ranger, we needed to leave. Right now.

Not a gigantic huge deal; we’ve run into bigger surprises. But, it was 1:45 pm when I was informed of this evacuation order and Jake happened to still be out long-running somewhere on the vast network of trails in the park. Without his damned phone.

I packed up the rig and waited until about 2:15 pm for him to return. When he hadn’t, I began searching for overnighting options. It appeared that the campsite we had booked starting the next day was open that evening too, which was nice. But darkness was quickly approaching, and I do not like to drive in the dark. We plan our days around us not having to drive the rig in the dark. I am not interested in killing Bambi, or in Bambi killing us. That’s what the 3 days of state park closure are for. That is not what Dyna is for.

Also, last I had checked, Dyna was a padiddle, so there was to be no in-the-dark driving.

By 3 pm, Jake had not returned. A camp-host wandered by and suggested I go up to the front office and ask if we could just stay through the night and leave in the morning. All of the camp-hosts were leaving the next morning (when our reservation originally had us departing), so the host figured it wouldn’t be an issue for us to leave then too. The camp-hosts were very nice and they had a lovely dog who was really good at camp-hosting and I got to pet the host-dog and this made me happy.

Happy until I straggled into the park office, ready to plead our case. After some ‘tale of woe’ and a few tears, the woman at the front office of the park was on board to let us stay, but a call to the ranger nixed that. He insisted we were to be out by 4:30 pm. Husband or no husband. The husband was still traipsing about the trails on foot at this point.

Jake did return, covered in sweat and grime, at 3:45 pm. I quickly informed him we needed to haul ass out of the park, which is always a fun message to be greeted by when you return from hours pounding your feet on trails. Saint that he is, he quickly fixed our padiddle. He showered while I booked the night’s stay at Rolling View Campground outside of Durham, NC.

We dumped and hauled out. I may have pettily shot my not-nice finger up at the ranger when he cruised by while I was emptying our week’s worth of crap and stink water into the dump station.

Now that this tale of small crisis is out of the way (and yes, we lived through the drive in the dark to our next backyard), here is the rest of the report of our stay in Chesterfield, VA.

We ran. A lot.

Our great buddies, Cam & Liss, happened to be in the area, and they popped over for an evening campfire and cupcakes. When Cam & Liss are around, you figure out a way to safely spend time with Cam & Liss.

We spent Thanksgiving tracing Lucy’s paw to make it into a turkey, then ventured out to spend an outdoor hour with some of Jake’s kin.

We cooked round-two of Thanksgiving on Friday, after a morning spent running, doing laundry, and cleaning out Dyna’s basement (bays).

We popped into Richmond on Saturday, walking around an old water mill area, and then exploring a stupendous little pipe-top trail over the river downtown. I’m pretty sure the pipe was a poop carrying pipe. It was the first of its kind we had stumbled upon, and it was cool. We rounded out our few hours in Richmond with some Vegan Chik’n sandwiches from Hang Space, devoured in the ambiance of the Jeep. (Yay, COVID protocols.) The fake chicken sandwiches were good.

We left Richmond wanting to see more. Eat more. Explore more.

We were evicted from Pocahontas State Park willy-nilly, and still wanted more of that place too. More trails. More intensely quiet nights. But, maybe less “sorry our bad, but you gotta get the heck out now.”

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