Lake Anna State Park, Spotsylvania, VA

by Greg Zimmerman
Published: Updated:

While Delicia was back to being deployed overseas to Bahrain, I booked a campsite at Lake Anna State Park.  Lake Anna is about 90 minutes south of Washington, D.C. if you’re lucky enough to avoid traffic on I-95.  Check the traffic before you go because rush hour can be devastating.

On the way to the campground, the Jeep started making a really bad squealing sound.  I had the rear axle rebuilt a week prior so I was pretty sure something was amiss.  More on that later.

The campground was great.  Lots of space and nestled in the woods far from highway noise.  The site had a large pea-gravel pad for tents.  I didn’t try it out, but I bet it’s nice sleeping on smooth round pea gravel.

The Beach!  It’s was a 1/2 mile hike down a wooded paved trail to get to the water.  The state park has a really nice sandy beach.  The only downside were the crowds.  The beach was absolutely packed full of people.  Not just on the sand, but the grassy areas were overrun with parties, people, and loud music.

We retreated to our campsite, but returned to the beach close to sunset, and we nearly had the whole place to ourselves.


The Thief:  This story is one our kid’s favorites.  After SMORES for desert, it quickly got dark.   I was enjoying some Trader Joe’s Cabernet Sauvignon wine out of a box while the kids played on their iPads when we heard something rustling in the bushes.  I pointed a flashlight into the woods where a pair of beady eyes were reflecting back at us.  It wandered off and I quickly forgot about it after another mug of Cabernet.  20 minutes later I heard a loud noise over my shoulder and there was the beast, just out of arms reach.  It was a huge raccoon sitting on the picnic table!  Before I could react, it grabbed a full bag of chips (chip clip and all) and took off into the woods.  I gave chase but stopped at the edge of the forest.   I wasn’t sure if the raccoon had friends.  We decided to put the rest of our food away before going to bed.  If you look at the picture above, you can see how close the scene of the crime was to our chairs.  Brave raccoon…

Breakdown:  I mentioned the loud squealing on the way in to camp.  I drove around the campground with the kids walking along and they pinpointed the squealing to the back axle.  I called the shop and they said not to drive it.  Great.  A rescue plan was formed.  Luckily my parents lived 1.5 hours away, had a BMW X5 that could tow the camper, and had nothing better to do on a Sunday than rescue us.  Although we had to cut our trip short, being rescued was a higher priority.  A flatbed tow truck scooped up our poor Jeep and hauled it to the shop.  My dad with the X5 towed our camper to his house.  The next day, I learned that the mechanic didn’t press the bearing on all the way on after the rear axle was rebuilt and that is what made the brakes squeal.   I do all the work on my Jeep except for that one particular job which required specialized equipment.   Maybe it’s time to invest a 20 ton rated bearing press.

Here’s the offending bearing that cut our trip short.

Thanks for reading, more stories to come!






Mike August 12, 2018 - 2:41 pm

Great Blog, hope you have less deployments and more camping

Delicia Zimmerman August 12, 2018 - 5:33 pm

Me too!

Stacey Wiegleb August 14, 2018 - 2:00 am

“Mug of Cabernet” ???


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