August 4, 2018 – The Beginning

The morning of August 4th, 2018 was unlike most other mornings since April of that year. Until that day a typical morning consisted of waking, perhaps eating breakfast and resuming the nanodegree program from Udacity that Fox had earned in front-end web development. Over the past few weeks they had really struggled with connecting with their peers as well as over-coming the challenges that living in a hotel and being nearly homeless on a weekly basis brought.

This hot August morning was different though, there was no funds for another week in the hotel and it was moving day, yet there was no other place to move to. Since being forced out of the half-apartment that Fox shared with their chosen and teenage child, the trio had been transient and unable to find a new place to call home. The worse of it was it was Fox’s mother and sister that had run them out of their home. This caused Fox to lose their job as well, and all that was left was to pack what could be packed into the small SUV-like vehicle the family owned and hit the road.

Ultimately, the road had led them to Virginia, where there was some sense of familiarity with the surrounding area. If need be, there was plenty of places to camp, or even spend the night in the vehicle, if it came to that. Now on that Saturday morning in downtown Richmond, Virginia, it had indeed come to camping.

With a heavy heart, Fox and their chosen packed their hotel room’s contents into their vehicle and small trailer with the help of the teen. They had decided on camping in the national forest in Northern Virginia that shares a border with West Virginia. They had camping gear already, so without a place to stay this seemed to be their best choice.

The drive up into the mountains was tiring, and painful for Fox, as towing a trailer using a vehicle without power steering was somewhat a task with an injured shoulder. Despite the difficult, winding mountain roads, towing a trailer and nearly being run off the side of the mountain by on-coming traffic that refused to drive in their own lane, the trio made it to a recreation area inside of the state forest.

A pleasant surprise was the ability to occupy one of the primitive campsites in the recreation area without a fee. While there was no access to running water, there was the relative safety of the campground and pit toilets to use when nature called. There were also hiking trails that lead up the side of the mountain to views that were breathtakingly beautiful.

The only catch, they can only stay camped in their location for twenty-one days before having to move camp. Thus began their journey into exile.

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