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Civil War Road Trip Day 1 - Into the Shenandoah Valley

My oldest son, who's 10, enjoys history.  So we embarked on a trip to Harpers Ferry, Antietam, and Gettysburg - plus some surprises along the way.

Day 1 was from Charlotte to his grandparent's house near Staunton, Virginia.  The complete set of photos from the first day's trip can be found here.


I-77, VA 69, US 52, I-81, VA 262, US 11.

Our first stop was Shot Tower Historical State Park in Virginia.  The over 200-year-old shot tower is easily seen from Interstate 77 as it overlooks the New River below.

The tower is a nice and easy side trip off of the Interstate and offers great views of the bridge that carries I-77 over the New River.  The bridge originally opened in 1978 as a twin span over the river.  In the early 2000s, a rehabilitation project widened both bridges to accommodate a future three lanes in each direction.  This was done by building a new bridge superstructure between the two existing bridges. 

In addition to the shot tower, the park has access to the New River Trail State Park and great views of the surrounding countryside.

From there, it was a drive north along Interstate 81.  While extremely scenic, the highway is full of traffic.  With the Interstate only being two lanes in each direction, traffic can slow when trucks attempt to pass each other on even the slightest incline.  

An example of the heavier I-81 traffic just north of the Interstate 77 South split.

Floyd is a charming town about 20 miles south of this interchange. 

If you enjoy exploring caves, there are plenty along I-81 in Virginia.

There is a large construction project between Salem and Roanoke - that along with heavy traffic due to slower vehicles took away from some of the scenery.

Interstate 81 approaching the Interstate 581 interchange. 

I'd love to see the color here in the fall.

Virginia likes to include measurements to the fifth of a mile.  It's a sneaky little quirk.

Between Lexington and Staunton, Interstate 81 is joined by Interstate 64 as it comes from West Virginia on its way to Charlottesville, Richmond, and Virginia Beach.  Traffic on this stretch wasn't as heavy as it was from Interstate 77 to Roanoke.

Interstate 64 East joins I-81 in Lexington then leaves it in Staunton.

We then spent a relaxing evening with his grandparents.  I took some time to attempt to take photos of some birds.  There were a few cardinals but they always flew away when I sat down.  So I took photos of some other birds instead.

Day 2 is a visit to Antietam and Harpers Ferry.

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