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VIRGINIA

We decided we hadn't been camping in a while, so we checked out Long Island Park in Gladys, Virginia for a relaxing, fun-filled weekend. Check it out:

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 where were we 

 when was it 

AUG 21

  • Raleigh, NC to Long Island Park, Virginia

  • Camp setup

  • Kayaking 

  • Cookout and relaxation

AUG 22

  • Breakfast

  • Camp pack-up and cleanup 

  • Long Island Park, VA to Raleigh, NC 

  • Grab some lunch in Durham, NC

 what did we do 

DAY 1:

Raleigh, NC > Long Island Park, VA

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We grabbed out stuff, unloaded the kayaks and hit the water only for me to immediately flip, but thanks to the way we bungee cord the sh** out of our stuff, no issues with things floating away into the ether. #KeepOurRiversClean.

We love our Yeti Hopper for kayaking for this reason. It lets us bring our snacks and drinks while  being able to use their mole system to secure the cooler to the kayak. It floats so it's not like it drags the kayak down with unnecessary weight if you tip over.

Our friend is from Virginia, so when we started to discuss some ideas for camping and kayaking, she recommended Long Island Park, VA. It's a ~2 hour trip from Raleigh, so it's a pretty quick and rewarding trip. 

Apple Maps navigated us to the wrong spot, which was pretty stressful, so be sure to double-check your maps! 

We got up around 6:30am, packed the car and strapped the kayaks down then hit the road around 8:30a. After hitting the wrong county, we got to Long Island Park around 12:30pm. The campsite had a boat drop-off right next to our spot and it was incredibly convenient. 

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The kayaking stretch lasted about 5 hours, with some nice breaks in between. There's a fallen bridge that you pass by that was built during the civil war, sandbars, and lots of grassy areas like this where you can stop and relax for some photos like this one. Saw some wildlife that use the little islands to scavenge. It's a peaceful stretch of water to enjoy. 

We picked up the kayaks in Brookneal, so the drive back was about 15-20 minutes from the campsite. 

When we got back, we setup our tent and it was so convenient. 

The tent is made by Rightline Gear and it straps up to your car. It is very easy to put up, creates a lot of room for SUV camping, fits snuggly to the car, and allows for easy removal from the vehicle so you can keep the tent standing and drive off. 

With the privacy windows, you now have a spacious and private area that is screened in to allow airflow during the night.

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We used our air mattress that fits into the back of the Nissan Rogue. It uses the cigarette lighter port at the back to blow up which also has a deflater for taking it down. 

 

We got a Pendleton blanket after tons of recommendations and it was perfect. Even though it's wool, it's still light enough that it is a great blanket for those hot days as well. 

We took our pillows from the house and created a little oasis with the amount of space we had. 

Pros: 

Puts out a lot of air for a little fan, strapped up nicely to the frame of the car, rechargeable, seemingly durable, small and portable.

Cons:

Didn't last through the night on max

We strapped in 2 portable, camping fans to blow on us throughout the night: 

Geek Aire Rechargeable Outdoor High Velocity Floor Fan,10'' Portable 7800mAh Battery

Coleman CPX 6 Lighted Tent Fan with Stand

We stabilized them to the car using some Nite Ize 24" ties.

Pros: 

Portable, battery-operated, sturdy, compact, lasted through the night

Cons:

Doesn't put out a lot of air

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For dinner, we all contributed to the cookout. We brought shrimp seasoned with oregano, paprika, roasted garlic, salt/pepper, SEASONING. We also brought taco shells, my homemade shrimp taco slaw, corn on the cob,  hot dogs and a neat spice  brick with a paper grinder at the top. 

We cooked over the fire and used a cast iron skillet on the camping grill. It was a great time as we sat under the moonlight. 

DAY 2:

Long Island Park, VA > Raleigh, NC

Sleeping wasn't like sleeping in the bed at home, but it was better than sleeping on the ground. There are still some learning curves, but all-in-all, it was worth it. 

The train comes through in the mornings, so be aware that the world doesn't stop just because you are camping. It's on Railroad Ave. which isn't just a road name. 

We woke up around 9am, had a breakfast that consisted of left-overs reheated on the skillet and some instant coffee, and the sound of country music on the speaker. 

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Then it was time to pack up, cleanup and head out! 

Total time to decommission the tent: 10 minutes with two people. 

After leaving around 11:45am, the windy, country roads were beautiful on the way home. We stopped over at Nova Taco in Durham, NC as a quick and easy lunch before getting home. 

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