Going for a drive, found some friends

Justin took the day off work this yesterday and we decided to take advantage of the lovely weather, and the time without the boyos, to take Stella on a drive and test her abilities going up a mountain.

We headed out Route 311, past the Moose Lodge, and on up Catawba Mountain.  A nice windy road with rocks on one side and a nice view of the Valley on the other.  At the top is a parking lot for the Appalachian Trail, where people can hike McAfee’s Knob or the trail.

Parked in front of the entrance to the trail on top of Catawba Mountain.

Parked in front of the entrance to the trail on top of Catawba Mountain.

Imagine our shock when we pulled into the lot and saw not one but two other VWs!

Look - another Vanagon Westy!

Look – another Vanagon Westy!

Such a pretty Vanagon!

Stella and her green "cousin"

Stella and her green “cousin”

But, didn’t I say there were two other VWs …

DSC_0123

A VW Eurovan was there as well! And, check this out …

Hello Northern Neighbor!

Hello Northern Neighbor!

This VW is from Quebec! Pretty cool.

Hope y’all had a good Friday.  More photos from our little drive about to come.  Enjoy your weekend!

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Start your week with a smile

Love and tulips

Love and tulips

bus quote

VW Happiness

VW Happiness

Photos from I Love Painted VW Hippy Vans! on Facebook.

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While out and about on a pretty Spring day..

Under the shade of a pretty tree.

Under the shade of a pretty tree.

Leave sooner, drive slower, live longer. ~Author Unknown

Peace and pretty purple nail polish!

Peace and pretty purple nail polish!

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Stella goes to .. Starr Hill Brewery!

Continuing on our Brew Ridge Trail tour, we visited Starr Hill Brewery on Saturday March 16.  It was a special visit for us in that we had visited them four years prior on our anniversary weekend when we briefly owned an old Mini Winnie.  It was the only camping trip we ever took while we owned it but it was one of my favorite trips that, to date, we had taken together.

Justin & Stella in front of Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet, VA.

Justin & Stella in front of Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet, VA.

I have no idea why Justin is making that face, he’s weird but he’s my kinda weird so it works.

When we arrived at Starr Hill a local group was just finishing up their stop there thanks to Blue Toad Hop & Vine Tours.  Not only were they wearing lots of green and a couple of kilts, but they had a special beer of their very own on tap at Starr Hill.

Brewed just for the "Blue Toad Group."

Brewed just for the “Blue Toad Group.”

This was Dark Starr Stout that was brewed with Jamison oak chips, vanilla beans and star anise.  We were lucky enough that there was just a wee bit left after the group was gone so we got to try it.  It was nice, with the star anise being very present.  We ended up mixing it half and half with their Dark Starr Stout – a blend that was really good.

Monticello on tap.  I wonder what Jefferson would say.

Monticello on tap. I wonder what Jefferson would say.

Also new on tap was their Monticello beer.  It was a recreation of a beer that Thomas Jefferson brewed, and was made with corn and wheat, no malt, no barley.  We both thought it was good.

Of course, one of the beers that really tickled our toes was the Little Red RooStarr Coffee Cream Stout.

The Little Red RooStarr Coffee Cream Stout on tap = DELICIOUS!!

The Little Red RooStarr Coffee Cream Stout on tap = DELICIOUS!!

Floyd, VA isn’t too far from where we live, a nice little drive up into the mountains.  We love it up there, it is where we get our pasture-raised meat in fact!  Floyd is just a really, really cool little town.  So, of course, when Starr Hill teamed up with Red Rooster Coffee Roaster located in Floyd we knew the results would be delicious.

We weren’t disappointed.  The aroma on this one was enough to make you swoon!  Seriously, you just wanted to sit there and smell it a while longer!  While their Dark Starr Stout was pretty awesome, this one still took the cake.   It was just too good.

While we were there we also had their Starr Saison which we thought was good; their Northern Lights which is their best seller and for a good reason, it too had a great aroma on it and it was deliciously hoppy; we had their Amber Ale which was good but it shocked us when the gentleman told us it was a Red Ale – we hadn’t know that; and finally, we had their Dark Starr Stout, which is an awesome beer and according to the gentleman serving us, the most award winningest dry Irish Stout in the US.

Starr Hill tends to have some neat artwork and merchandise to go along with the beers.  One thing we found was this perfect poster for Stella.

Stella's fridge is looking pretty sweet now with some craft brewed VW love.

Stella’s fridge is looking pretty sweet now with some craft brewed VW love.

The poster doesn’t match the bottle label, but obviously that doesn’t matter to us.  To us it is a sign that they were just waiting for us to swing by in Stella for a visit.

If you’re ever up near Charlottesville make sure you swing by Starr Hill, located in Crozet.  You won’t regret it!

 

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Soccer Time

As parents we come to that point in our lives where both of the boyos are now playing soccer.  In our society I’d be quickly dubbed a “Soccer Mom” .. much to the knee-slapping enjoyment of my friends.  However, like just about everything else in my life, I’m gonna do it my way and add my own twist.

Minivan??  I don’t think so!

Stella rocks the soccer field.

Stella rocks the soccer field.

He’s hard to see, but that is Tristan closest to the tree in the photo.  He’s got on a tie-dye and a bandana/head wrap for his long hair.  — Basically he’s not the kid in the orange shirt.

Most of the boyos’ games are held at this field and we quickly learned that it was just as easy to back up to the fence and tailgate rather than lug seats out and try to get a good view.

Tailgating at rec soccer .. it is how we roll.

Tailgating at rec soccer .. it is how we roll.

We haven’t actually done the full tailgating bit yet, but with both boyos playing soccer this year we have some days where it is seriously tempting.   ….  Like really tempting …. as in “I can totally see this happening” tempting …

Justin & Shannon

Justin & Shannon

As you can see, Stella + rec soccer = awesomeness.

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Stella’s look is now a kit!

As I’ve blogged about before, in our quest to decorate and personalize Stella, we decided to add vinyl stickers that we purchased online at HippyMotorsUSA.com (if you’re in the US or Canada you’ll order from here, not the UK store).  There was a really cool complete car kit there called “Lisa’s Fairy Kissed Mini.”  Really, it looks so good it makes me want a mini!

Using the Fairy Kissed Mini as our base we also ordered extra flowers and a few other little extras.  After we were finished I sent some photos of Stella back to the folks at Hippy Motors USA.  Shortly thereafter I received an email from a lady named Angela.  She was with the parent company, Hippy Motors, which is based in the UK.  She wanted to know if they could use the photos of Stella on their website.

WOW, right??  Of course I said “sure” and sent her the photos along with a link to the blog and the account on Flickr that detailed the process of putting the stickers on (it isn’t quite as easy as it seemed).  I asked that she please send me a link so I could see Stella’s photo.   That was several weeks ago.  Today I got this email:

Hi
I have finally had the time to put your beautiful Stella on the website, things have just been so busy here that I haven’t had a chance to think!
I have put her on this page http://www.store2go.net/shop/hippymotors/p/product/1304185041-Stella+Fairy+Kiss+flower+kit+/  in the hope to inspire others, I have also put a link in for your blog.
Thank you so much for all your help and inspiration.
Brightest blessings
Angela xx

MEGA WOW!!! They turned Stella’s art into a kit!!! I was flattered before but now, I’m just on the floor!! WOW!!!

So, here is the link to “Stella Fairy Kiss vinyl flower kit” – http://www.store2go.net/shop/hippymotors/p/product/1304185041-Stella+Fairy+Kiss+flower+kit+  (yes I know the link is posted in the letter above, but here it is again anyway!)

Stella just got some world-wide love!! 😀

Hello Beautiful!!

Hello Beautiful!!

 
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Every day

adventure

I like this. It sums up life nicely. All I’d add to this is “every day”  ~ every day should be an adventure.  Enjoy it.

Thanks to Free Range Learning for sharing this picture.

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Misty Mountain Camp Resort .. and how we learned to think about bathrooms!

*NOTE – I wasn’t going to start this off with a warning, but well, here I am anyway doing so.  If you can’t handle hearing the word bathroom and the knowledge that other people have bodily functions then go the fuck on please.  I promise I’ve left out all icky TMI details, but if you’re a camper or potential camper this might be something you want to think about.  Because everyone does it.*

Since our trip up the Brew Ridge Trail involved visiting several breweries we wanted to find somewhere to camp that was as centrally located as possible to help us be as safe and responsible as we could while visiting breweries.

We looked at some KOAs (we have one previous camping experience there in an RV and it was pleasant) but we decided to go with a place called Misty Mountain Camp Resort.  It is open year-round which was a plus, and was literally about as close as you could get to where we wanted to be, which was awesome.

Map of the Camp Resort.

Map of the Camp Resort.

We arrived at a nice time and checked in easily enough.  Finding our site was a tad trickier as the camp resort is located at the base of, and then up on, a hill.  We went up the hill and then had to go back down to find our site.  The “roads” weren’t well marked.  They weren’t well paved.  They were kinda washed out messes, but Stella made it fine.  It was just a scenario that had me saying “are you sure this is the road???”  In fact we did a loop around the upper area once before realizing “no, that really is the road.”  ~ Well, okey dokey then.

Justin had picked out site #48 for us but we ended up switching to #49 as the table and fire pit were on the same side as Stella’s sliding door without us having to mess around with backing in and out and so on.  The site was great, except for one issue …

Follow the arrows..

Follow the arrows..

This might seem like a “So what’s the problem” kinda thing.  Well, for starters, the bathrooms up at the top corner were padlocked.  No-one ever mentioned that to us, and when we asked all we got was a “Yup, they’ll stay locked.”  … It was another guest who’d been staying there for a couple months who informed us that the upper bathrooms were locked in Winter.

Justin had picked out our site though, but what he hadn’t realized is that our site was at the edge of a nice steep hill.  One made extra slick and slippery by deep leaves and Winter’s weather.  It wasn’t just a flat walk to the “lower” bathrooms.  It was a drive.  About a 1/2 mile one.

The bathroom issue varied between being a non-issue and a really big hassle.  The bathrooms located next to the pool, on the backside of the store, were ridiculously small.  Smaller than my half bath at home, and there were only two, with a single toilet & tiny-tiny sink in each.  I’d hate to be stuck in a line waiting for one in the summer.
The other bathrooms were next to the laundry area.  The building was nice and had a nice wooden deck facing the hill where we had been camping.  Inside there were, again, two bathrooms.  I was expecting that much.  I figured it would be like other places where there would be a line of shower stalls and a row of bathroom stalls.  NOPE!  Two bathrooms, each with one sink, one toilet and one stall shower.  There was even a drain grate in the floor that went straight to the ground below.
This didn’t prove to really be an issue or hassle for us since we were camping in mid-March, but it isn’t where I’d want to be peak season.

Because of the bathroom issue we tended to wake-up and move Stella down to the parking area at the laundry/bath-house building and then shut the curtains and hang out there for an hour or two.  It was empty enough and pretty enough that it didn’t feel much different than being at a site, so it worked out fairly well.

Overall Lesson Learned: Always know your options.
Bathrooms are a thing that are a non-issue until they become an issue and while everyone does it, we aren’t exactly in a society that condones doing it out in the open, so you kinda do need to give this issue some forethought.  It is something we’re still thinking on, especially since we do plan to camp with the kiddos.
Also, we learned that Stella can be quickly moved without much inconvenience.  That part was really nice.

Overall Review of Misty Mountain Camp Resort: I’d stay there again.
It was actually a pretty place and it was nicely laid out.  I liked the fishing pond and the little “mining company” they had set up for kids.  From the hand-out we got it looked like they had some neat things going on.
I might not stay there during peak seasons simply because of their bath house limitations, but on off-season, we can handle it.

PS — If you’ve made it this far and if you’ve got any politely brilliant ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Leave me a comment and me know how you’ve solved the issue!

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Its a VW life for us

The title of this site wasn’t just because it was cute and kitschy, or because one of my kiddos has hair that rivals the original Annie’s. No, it was because it described life around here pretty well. Its been a VW life for years, before we ever got Stella ~ in fact she was sort of the climatic proof of our love of dubs.

The mural on the boys' closet door.

The mural on the boys’ closet door.

I painted this mural about five years ago when I decided colors were fun and I simply HAD to paint things in the boys room. Not pictured here: the tree that stretches from floor onto the ceiling, a groovy sun with a peace sign in it, and a happy glow in the dark moon.

Homemade gifts really are the best.

Homemade gifts really are the best.

Shortly after we got Stella one of Shannon’s friends painted this picture for him as a birthday gift. It is Stella in front of our blue house. Shannon is a pirate driving her. This painting rocks.

So .. what you’re about to see really should come as no surprise.  When the kids woke this morning they found the required egg shaped chocolates in their baskets, but they also each found a pillowcase.  A lovely folded up, tie-dyed pillowcase, with a particular familiar image in the center …

Hello lovely..

Hello lovely..

Though the pillowcases were intended for use in Stella, they immediately went on the boys’ pillows in their rooms.

Two happy campers

Two happy campers

Ready for some sweet VW dreams.

Ready for some sweet VW dreams.

Now if we could just manage to get the kids to go to bed!!! 😉

A special thanks goes out to fellow Moonie Tootsie Ja who made these pillowcases.  If you’re interested in checking out here wares you can find her on Etsy by clicking here: etsy.com/shop/shirts2dye4

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A little bit of local love

I know, I know, I need to finish the blog posts from our Brew Ridge Trail trip.  You’ll just have to eagerly await the next installment from that series though, because local love will always come first in our book!

Our first “Stella goes to..” blog post on here was when we took Stella to Parkway Brewing here in Salem.  She hardly had any artsy lovin’ on her then, certainly not the snazzy look she’s rocking now.  Kinda like Stella, Parkway had just really gotten underway, opening their doors and selling their brews, back in January.  What they didn’t really have, like Stella, was schwag.

Yesterday we saw that they had a new beer on tap, a Dubbel Abbey, so we of course had to go try it.  Bruno’s GastroTruck was also there and we knew we simply had to get some grub from them because, man, is their grub good!

The new brew!

The new brew!

You can imagine our delight at not only getting good grub and really good beer but also ..

SCHWAG for Stella!!

SCHWAG for Stella!!

.. a sticker for Stella!!!

Showing some local love.

Showing some local love.

Doesn’t she look great?  We’re happy to have Stella rockin’ some local love.

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