We needed a few toiletries so popped into the Valley Mall and Target to stock up and also have a wander around. I should point out that we have been to Harrisonburg several times before as we love the Shenandoah Valley and particularly the Skyline Drive where we usually manage to spot lots of wildlife. Previously we have been in the spring and summer, so this was our first autumn visit.
In the mall, we went into Books a Million bookstore and had a hot chocolate and cheesecake break. The hot choc here is wonderful and the cheesecakes are from the Cheesecake Factory and are to die for. I had the chocolate cherry and Chris had strawberry. Delicious.
By now it was late morning so we travelled the 30 minutes to the Skyline Drive which is a 105-mile drive through winding roads on the top of the Shenandoah mountains – stunning. In the past, we have had the most luck spotting wildlife in the evening, so we were not expecting to see too much at this time of day, but the views are also stunning so worth a drive at any time. The drive started off great and we saw several deer. The views were good but there was a lot of low clouds.
We did manage to see a groundhog who was eating something tasty on the road. The photos are not great as they are full zoom through the window.
After driving the Skyline for a few hours it was starting to get a bit foggy so we decided to go back into town to eat and again went to our favourite Wood Grill Buffet. I had thought that it would be best not to go back to the Skyline that evening as planned as it was a bit foggy. We usually see the most wildlife, especially bears in the evening but the fog was a worry. Chris however, wanted to go back so off we went.
This turned out to be a bad decision. We started off not too bad as you can see. There were pockets of light fog, but soon we no longer had any views at all.
Then the fog got really bad, I mean 2ft visibility, crazy bad. The trouble was we were well into the drive by then and there are only four exits. One at each end and two at each third. Our exit to Harrisonburg is the bottom third (Swift Run Gap) which we were many miles from. It was also pretty dark by now and quite honestly we could have driven by 20 bears and we would not have seen them. The fog was so bad we were having to drive by a combination of looking at the car’s navigation to see where the road was twisting etc and trying to see the road marking which was very poor.
It is a good job that not many other people were driving so we could go as slow as we wanted and take our time, not that we had any choice. It took us hours to get to the exit and when we finally did we couldn’t actually see it and had no idea where it actually was. It was more luck than judgement that we even got out at all.
Although the main road into town was also a little foggy, it is much lower elevation, so we could at least see and make good speed. We have never been so pleased to get back to civilization.