Sorry for not writing sooner. 

September 1, I traveled to western Virginia to host at James River VA State Park.  For the first time in my camping experience, I was really off the grid.  I wasn’t able to make it the full month of September, as planned.   Yes, I am a news junkie, and having no radio or internet reception, I was going a bit mad.   In the four years, I have been a vagabond in my Airstream trailer it has been extremely rare not to have internet thanks to my AT&T hotspot.  The point of going camping is to get away from it all.  But at James River VA State Park while beautiful, was way too remote for me.   I thought I could handle being off the grid for a month, NAUGHT.  I had to drive 20 miles to Appomattox to get cell service.

After two weeks I was ready to get back to the coast, cell service, and the internet.  I prefer oceans to mountains anyway, however, rivers or lakes will do in a pinch.

Each trip into Appomattox to check-in with Mom and download email I passed this sign.  In these days of our divided country, I found this sign unsettling.  Were we ever really reunited?

August at First Landing Campground at Virginia Beach at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay was great!  I was able to swim every day after my hosting duties of cleaning out the fire pits, and I could shop at Trader Joe’s!  What’s not to like?  First Landing is my first choice for hosting in 2021.

I had a Karen’ moment on my first day.  In my lifelong camping experiences, campgrounds are generally full of white people, some flying confederate flags.  Recently, I listened to an NPR podcast Being Outdoorsy when Black or Brown, discussing why camping is so full of white people who are amazed when they see black or brown people.   Of course, we all know about the bird watcher in Central Park. 

So on my first day at First Landing, I was very surprised to see so many different ethnicities: Vietnamese, Philopenas, Koreans, browns and blacks.  Why shouldn’t everyone enjoy camping and love of the out-of-doors, regardless of ethnicity?   Go to any city park on a Sunday afternoon and see who is enjoying our public green space.

My ‘Karen’ moment came when I asked a large group of Asian campers, “is this a family gathering?”  Opps, seems there is a huge Asian population in VA, and they like to camp!   It is our diversity that makes America really GREAT!

When I lived in Washington, D.C. I often walked to the National Mall.  I was always so taken by the hundreds of tourists from all over the world who came to have their pictures taken in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol.  There aren’t adequate words to explain the symbolism of our Capitol to the rest of the world.  I only hope we can survive the divisiveness of our current politics and restore our nation as a beacon of light and hope, not hate.

In the last four years, I have enjoyed some of the most beautiful places the U.S. has to offer.  Our National Parks, as well as state and local public parks, as Ken Burns, portrayed in his documentary America’s Best Idea.

I will be resuming my hosting schedule on October 1, when I  will be at Kiptopeke VA State Park.  Then on to Myrtle Beach State Park for November and December.  All with cell and internet service, and beaches, I hope.

Bailing on James River has given me time to spend with family in N.C.  Becky and I are doing door hangers for the Democratic Pary of Wake County, and I voted early!  We are also sending voters postcards.  This will be the first election I haven’t gone door-to-door to actually talk to voters. 

I will be writing more about James River, so Stay tuned.



2 thoughts on “OFF THE GRID

  1. Hi Alison,
    I always enjoy seeing ,reading of your camping and “living the life” updates. My Mom and Dad use to take our family camping around Canada every summer. I do miss those fun trips. We met so many people and saw the beautiful country from coast to coast. I hope you continue to have nice places with all the amenities!!! Stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong! All the best, Cathy Morrow

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