Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fairystone St. Pk. & Goose Point Campground, VA

As we moved closer to the VA-NC border we made a stop at a park our niece spoke of months ago. She said that there was a State Park in VA that had all these little stone crosses lying about on the grounds. So we needed to stop and see what this was all about. Seems the legends go's, that when Jesus was crucified the fairies that lived in the forest here wept when the news reached them. When their tears hit the ground they crystallized and that's what we're a huntin' today. So I'm expectin' on findin' some crystal crosses, kind a like quartz or such. No such luck, these crosses are are silicone based mineral and kinda' gray in color. We looked for about an hour, not really knowin' what we're exactly we're lookin' fer. Well I found a whole bunch of the crystals embedded in rock and I was real pleased until we talked with this lady whose husband sells these things. Seems we were supposed to be lookin' fer individual stones. She says you can't get these that I got out of the stone that surrounds them, we'll see after I get home an crank up the ole' Dremel Tool.

Well after toilin' in the dirt lookin' for crystals, we needed to find us a place to lite fer the night and Fairystone wasn't it. We passed a sign for a park, maybe County and we just went down the road to investigate. Turned out to be a Corps of Engineers park on Lake Philpot. Absolutely Beautiful, glad we wander sometimes. Park was a little pricey at $22 but the amenities & scenery was worth it.




This is our site at Goose Point Campground.







Linda seems to be havin' her a good time.




Yours truly a workin' on catchin' up on the Blog.







Linda's been sneakin' around with the camera catchin' me watchin' a movie.





Linda has been takin' pictures lately and doin' lots a over the shoulder editin', but I can't get her to write an entry for the blog yet, it will come, one a these days.

Well that's all for today. Hope to see ya down the road as we're;

Dancin' on the Wind.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy Valley Camp & The Homestead

We spent the night in a Forest Service camp in VA called Happy Valley. It was off the beaten path a little and we had the entire camp to ourselves again. I don't know if it's the time of year or the price of fuel, maybe some a both. We lucked out and got to stay for free cause it was National Land Use Day and the forest waived all fees for the day including camping, sweet!

In the morning we went back to Warm Springs for a visit to Jefferson Pools, a mineral spa since 1761. It was old and in need of restoration badly, which is supposed to start next year, I hope it can make it till then. 100_5059


This is the Men's Bath House.




People were still visitin' fer a soak in the 98 degree healing spring water. Our next stop was Hot Springs, VA right down the road, for a visit to "The Homestead" a ritzy resort we were told that rivaled the "Greenbrier Resort in WV. After visiting both I'd have to say the woman who informed us of the "Homestead" was a trifle prejudice, to say the least.



This is the back lawn. 




This is the front view. 







The Homestead's Lobby.




Let's compare some shots of the Greenbrier and the Homestead.



The Greenbrier Lobby.






The entrance to the theater at Greenbrier.








Sitting room at the Greenbrier.



The Homestead was very nice , but as you can see the Greenbrier was explosive in color and decor! So if your ever in the area they're both worth a look see as they're only about 30 miles apart. Then you can judge for yourself.

That's all for today. Hope to see ya' down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Zip Back Across West Virginia

We left Huntington to cross back across the state towards Virginia. I figured we needed to spend some time in the mountains again. The weather was rainy and warmer than we have experienced on our entire trip so far. Along the way we stopped at Grandview overlook, off I-64 for the New River Gorge. A different perspective and we think a much better view of the river. Here you can see the river for miles in each direction. 

Next stop was the Sandstone Falls Visitors center of the New River Gorge further west on I-64. The visitors center is along the river but there is no overlook located here. To view Sandstone Falls, one has to drive 10 miles south to Hinton, then 9 miles north on the opposite side of the river. The falls is a cascade and we decided that we didn't want to see it that bad. We did visit the town of Hinton briefly, an old railroad town, but the museum was closed when we got there. So we swung back to the Visitors Center and parked in their lot for the night. After some supper we played cards into the evening and turned in early.

Next morning up early we headed east to Covington, VA and a stop at Wally World for some provisions, then to fuel up and headed north.




Along the way we encountered this nice spot, Falling Springs.





Well we'll see what tomorrow brings. Hope to see ya' down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hillbilly Hot Dogs, Yeeha!!!

Last night we pulled into Beech Fork State park in Huntington, WV. We're here to pay a visit to one more of the stops along the 'Diners, Dives & Drive-ins' tour, "Hillbilly Hot Dogs" in Lesage, WV.

We came in after dark last night so we changed sites this morning, again and again till I got it right. After selectin' a site we headed out to try some weenies at this local eatery. Lesage is up the road about 8-10 miles so it didn't take long to search it out. At first I thought we missed it, cause we drove through Lesage. How silly it's right along the road.



Could you miss this?








Here's a closer shot.




Linda & I went into the Hillbilly indoor eatin' place and perused the menu. After much palaverin' with the help she ordered a 'West Virginia Dog', homemade chili, mustard, onions & slaw & a 'Pizza Dog', pizza sauce, melted cheese & fried pepperoni. I ordered a 'Hillbilly dog', deep fried dog with homemade chili, mustard & onions and then a Pizza dog and then a 'Mettswurst', hot spicy smoked mett, mustard and kraut, washed down with a Root Beer. The food was great and we're glad we made this a stop on our trip. The atmosphere is laid back, extremely friendly as well as unique, to say the least. The place has been decorated inside and out by the customers. So much so that the owners Sonny & Sharie hold sales to sell off some of the 'donations' in the name of various charities. This is a must stop if in the Huntington, WV area. As their sign says; "If you find your standards are too high fer us, Please lower yours." The dinin' area inside is in one of the old school buses or select a picnic table outside. We didn't get to meet Sonny & Sharie, but the girls Tammy & Rose made us feel like we were old friends. I believe their "Code of Hospitality" is based on the premise that they have never met a stranger, and treat everyone like 'Kin Folk'.


Thank You girls, I can't say enough about you and the wonderful time you showed us.






Linda makin' ready her Dog.





Here's a shot outside the 'Dinin' Area, or "Indoor Eatin' Place" as they refer to it.


A slice of Americana.







We came back to our camp to find the deer wandering along the roads in the park. When we arrived last night they were lying about everywhere and we must have counted around 15. They don't seem to mind us much and just lie there like a dog as we go by.




Here' somebody who had a real thirst.




Well that's all for today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Maybe we'll see ya down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New River Gorge

Well last night we stayed at Pipestem State Park. We thought with that name it probably had some sort of unusual rock formations. Not. It refers to a plant that the Indians used to make, you guessed it, Stems fer' their pipes. The camp was OK, but we would have rather stayed at Bluestone Lake which wound up being just down the road from Pipestem. Much, much prettier, poor planning on my part.

We left the park to venture north to the New River Gorge area to take a Jetboat ride. We also were going to stay a day and visit the "Mystery Hole" a local tourist attraction that defys the laws of physics. Well our luck was with us again, the boat only runs on the weekend and the same for the Mystery Hole. Well go figure. So we're sittin' in the dark, at the Visitors Center at the Gorge waitin' fer' the video to start and someone touches Linda on the shoulder and says, "What are you doin' here?". Well at first she thinks it's these people that we had talked to at the campground and that we have been bumpin' into all day. Well it turns out to be Linda's cousin, Sandy and her husband Craig. We just left them in Pennsylvania less than two weeks ago. What a surprise, we were stunned, we've been off in the woods of eastern West Virginia's mountains and then BAM there's your family, what a small world. Seems Sandy & Craig decided they needed some time away from home so they drove down to the 'Gorge' area for a few days. What are the chances that they would be there at the same time as us? Well we talked a little and called cousin Bonnie, Sandy's sister to tell her our good fortune. We parted company as were going west and they north. Until the next time.





Hey Bonnie, Look who we found!




Well a short post today. See ya down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Great Bend Tunnel, Lost World Caverns & Greenbrier State Forest

We've been parked at Greenbrier State Forest for the last three days. We found a coupon on the internet that offered three nights for the price of two and took advantage of it. The forest campground is rather rustic, although we have 30 Amp electric and it does have a bathhouse.



Here's our site after we pulled in. We knew we'd be here for three days so we took the Lance off the truck.


The next morning we were off to find the Great Bend Tunnel, the home of the 'Legend of John Henry. The song says John Henry was a steel drivin' man. The legend implies that John Henry was in a race with a steam drill to tunnel through the mountain. This tunnel was cut one mile through the mountain for the C&O Railroad in the 1930's. The original tunnel has been replaced by a twin right next to it in the 1950's. Directly above the tunnel on the highway there is a statue of John Henry and there are plans to build a park in tribute in the near future.




This shot shows the twin tunnels, the original is on the right.






Here's the original Great Bend Tunnel.



Unfortunately the tunnel had about 8" of water in it for as far as we could see and we were not prepared for that much water so we had to forgo any exploration inside. I heard some chatter that the railroad may refurbish the tunnel and start using it again, in the future.

After a day of exploring we settled by the fire at camp to close out the day.

The next day we were off to explore the underworld at Lost World Caverns. There are two caverns in Lewisburg, WV and we decided on Lost World. We enjoy touring in underground caverns and when we're in an area where there a some located we try to see them. These caverns were somewhat different in that it was self guided. You just wandered around in the cavern at your own leisure. The formations in the caverns were nice but we have been to Carlsbad Caverns and Mammoth Cave, so it's hard to compare. The cavern could use some cleaning and because it's self guided and people are constantly passing through the lights remain on continuously during the day, not good for the health of the cavern.




This shot is in the front of the cavern.







This is one of the nicer formations that's still growing. If you look closely you'll see the green algae from the lights.




Well I got to go now. We'll see what the new day brings.

Dancin' on the Wind

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Green Bank Telescope & Huntersville School


This is the reason we haven't been able to post for days.

This is the Green Bank National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a facility with 8 radio telescopes. There is a 60 mile radius from here where there are no TV, Cell towers, radio stations, They don't even allow digital camera's past a distant viewing point because of the interference. The facility gives guided tours and has a visitors center with much educational material explaining radio transmissions in astronomy. For Linda this was a must see but we both found the technology far beyond our understanding. This thing is HUGE!!! The dish size approaches 2.5 acres, it is the largest movable steel object in the world at 21 million pounds. They are using this telescope to view objects 100-1000 light years from earth. That figure sounded impressive until I asked for the definition of a light year. The distance that light will travel in one years time = 60 Trillion miles. So when you multiply that by 100 or 1000 I've not only lost count, I wouldn't know the correct terminology. Even though it is of enormous size it can rotate and tilt the dish to shield it from heavy snow loads in 20 minutes. The facility is unique in that it uses one telescope while others use a bank of telescopes to attain similar results.

After our minds were boggled by the science our next stop was more down to earth. In Huntersville, WV there stands the only Two story, Two room school house. It was built in 1880 and ceased operation in 1970. We didn't have any directions to find it so when cruisin' through Huntersville I just spotted Schoolhouse Rd. and turned there. well just up the road there it was. Turns out there were people working on the restoration and they invited us in and gave us a tour. The woman who showed us around just happened to attend school there as a child. 100_4837


The Huntersville School.







Classroom out of the 70's? 



OK so now it's back to camp at Greenbrier Forest. See ya' down the road as we're.....

Dancin' on the Wind.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dolly Sods & Seneca Rocks

Well after leaving Canaan Valley State Park we ventured south to the Dolly Sods Wilderness area. It's located high on a mountain ridge, quite barren and quite wind whipped from the look of the vegetation. Isolated but not our kind of place, just too scrubby.

Next stop on the agenda for today was Seneca Rocks


An unusual rock formation in the Monongahela National Forest. As our luck would have it the visitors center was closed today. There were two climbers on the rocks today as the forest allows climbers to ascend to the top of the mountain. Of coarse a permit is required from the forest service to climb. This location was used to train the 'Mountain Corps' prior to the D-Day Normandy invasion in WW II.

As we were rounding the corner of the visitors Center I found a humming bird that must have flown into one of the large windows and injured itself. At first I thought it was stunned but after I picked it up it was evident that it must be injured. All I was able to do was place it in a shrub and hope it was just a minor injury.


Our next task was  to find a spot for the night. We traveled down the road a short distance to a Forest Service camp. Island Camp was a 'no frills' rustic campground with nothing but vault toilets. But a more beautiful spot we couldn't have asked for. We shared the camp with a young man doing consulting work in the forest on 'Endangered Plants'. Seems he and his co-worker were staying in a local motel and being out in this beauty all day he just couldn't do the motel thing anymore, so he's camping under the stars.



Here's his camp. Good luck John.






And here's ours.



So the close of another day for the RV-Anytimers. We hope to see ya down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blackwater Falls & Canaan Valley

Today we left our camp at Horseshoe for some state parks, first stop Blackwater Falls. We wanted to check out the waterfalls and look at their campground. We were deciding wether to stay here or at Canaan Valley's campground. In our travels to Blackwater we stopped in the town of Thomas, WV, for lunch at 'Flying Pigs' eatery. It was very good, all homemade and reasonable.




At least I didn't have to wait till H_ll freezes over to eat.




The falls were very nice considering most of the rivers & streams we've seen in the last week are very low. The Blackwater River begins it's journey in the Canaan Valley and flows north to join the Monongahela River and on to Pittsburgh to the Ohio River, eventually reaching the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. The falls are 57 feet high and were split in half because of the water level.




Blackwater Falls





Our tour of the campground determined that we would stay at Canaan Valley. The camp while nice was in the open and at least 80% of the sites were on a slant, uphill, downhill, or to the side, some pretty drastic. I don't understand why they can't put the sites in close to level when they design the campground. I could see some deviation when working in a heavily wooded site, but this was open area.

So now we're of to Canaan Valley. We were told that there were 100's of deer walking the campground. That they have taken food from people unexpectedly, by reaching over their shoulder and snatching it. Well we just had to see this for ourselves.

Well this camp is a far cry from last night's stay, full hookups & showers. The deer are pretty plentiful in the campground and as soon as one group leaves another shows up.


That Linda's sneakin' around with that camera again catchin' me workin'.







This girl was crunchin' acorns.



Soon after two little one's came runnin' out of the woods to Mama.





Mama signaled to them and they came out of nowhere.







This girl came a little while later lookin' for a handout.



Well I'm off for another day, so take care and maybe our path's will cross down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Horseshoe Recreation Area, Monongahela National Forest

We floundered down some backroads searching for Horseshoe Recreation Area. These roads were so wide you might have room for two four wheelers to pass. I think what WV considers a road shoulder is the painted line on the edge, if there aint no line there aint no shoulder. We took the wrong road , run into some tree cuttin' guys and eventually made our destination. Horseshoe is a forest service camp with designated sites, a few water spigots and flush toilets. It was great to get away in the forest, even for one night, but I'm sure they'll be others soon. We drove the campgrounds two loops, only to find we were the only brave souls here. After selecting a site we ate dinner, walked the grounds and got visited by two deer. Later as we got the fire ready to light, five deer came out of the woods in the field across from our site. Linda started moving towards them slowly to get some pictures. Well the deer must have been curious cause two of them walked across the field, straight at her, stopping about 40 feet away. They look and looked, walking to her side, then to her rear, then back to the front again, just checkin' her out. They then ran back across the field only to return and check her out all over again two more times. All the while I'm standin' perfectly still, keepin' my eye on them for the slightest aggressive move, after all they're wild animals. Luckily they never got any closer and I didn't have to go into my wild man dance, screaming and yelling and waving my red shirt above my head that I would have ripped of my body. When they finally went away we settled down to our campfire for the rest of the night.




Here's the group as they stood across the field.




Unfortunately all the shots Linda took were fuzzy so we didn't post any.





This is one of the first deer to come visitin' that night.






Linda snapped this as I was settin' up. She's gettin' good at sneakin' around with the camera when I'm not payin' no mind.


Well that's all for today. Tomorrow we head for a new adventure somewhere, only another day will tell.

Hope to see ya' down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Goodbye Girls, Hello Coopers Rocks

Last night we went to dinner with Cathy & Vicki to a buffet in New Martinsville, WV. I can't recall the name of the restaurant but it is excellent home cooking and I'm sure anybody in the area can tell you it's name and give directions to get there. We had a terrific time at dinner with the girls talkin' & laughin' it up. After we got back to camp the four of us decided to crash the campfire at our neighbors site. Linda & I had met Albert earlier in the morning and his wife had joined him at camp since then. So the eight of us talked, joked and laughed into the wee hours. It was 1:30 before any of us realized. I think we might have been havin' too much fun, Thanks again Cathy & Vicki, were gonna miss ya!!!! Don't forget, if ya get down our way, you're always welcome.

This morning we left Cathy & Vicki, with hugs, at Camp Copperhead and headed east. We were backtrackin' across US 50 to Bridgeport, just east of Clarksburg, form there we were continued on east on US 50 to Macomber a WV Scenic Byway. We then headed north on WV 72, the Cheat River Scenic Byway a wild river running through a rocky gorge. Along the way Linda & I spotted something in the woods as we drove by. After questionin' each other about the site we turned around and went back to investigate. Well we don't know if this was a played out mine or the beginnings of a railroad tunnel, but it sure was BIG. We took our lantern and went to check it out. I looked along all the walls searchin' for some leftover traces of a coal vane, but couldn't find any. Lots of graffiti, but no coal. We tried to take some shots with us in them for perspective, this hole was huge!



This is kind of what we saw as we drove by.







Here's Barry at the opening.







This shot gives better perspective of the size of the opening.



We ventured further north and got a site at Coopers Rocks State Forest for the night. Nice little campground on a high ridge, but still no signal for the air card or cell phone.





Nice thick forested camp.




In the morning we were off to see 'Coopers Rocks'. The overlook is built on the rock outcropping for some gorgeous long range views.





Here's Linda sittin' on a rock, took some to get her out there.






Here's a shot of the overlook.




After the overlook we took a hike to view a 300 year old Hemlock grove. It wasn't as impressive as we had imagined, nothing to compare with some we've seen in the west. As a matter of fact we walked right through thinking we hadn't reached it yet. The forest was thick and beautiful and the smell of the air invigorating.




There were a couple of trees like this over the trail. We had some high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ike the night before.


Our next stop is somewhere in the Monongehela National Forest. We'll look for a place to camp off the beaten path.

Until the next time.

Hope to see ya' down the road as we're

Dancin' on the Wind.

A Goodbye to the Oil Valley

We came back to Bonnie & Scott's after our visit to the Finger Lakes of NY. We stayed just a day, to do some laundry, fill our water tank and do some final visitin' before we head south for our trip through West 'By God' Virginia. A portion of our trip that was supposed to take place months ago, sometimes you have to be flexible, real flexible.



A common site all over this area of PA where oil was first discovered.



As we moseyed on south we stopped in Pittsburgh to have lunch at "Primantti Bros. They are known in Pittsburgh for their sandwiches with 'everythin', served on waxed paper. When I say 'everythin', I mean they serve whatever type of sandwich you order on Italian bread, topped with cole slaw, tomato's and french fries. Makes it kind of messy but we knew what to expect. Our opinion, been there, done that, didn't buy their T-shirt. We probably wouldn't go back.

Linda wanted to take me through one of the tunnels in the city that when you exit, you see the entire city before you. After driving around & around & around going here and there, we came through the right tunnel only to be disappointed that this wasn't the right tunnel either, I decided it was time to leave the congestion of the big city behind. I wanted out of there so bad I found the interstate and boogied south as fast as I could. Not like me to search out an interstate to travel, but I wanted gone from there. Once we were headin' south and away from 'City Life' Linda took over drivin' while I got out the laptop to start lookin' fer' a place to light for the night. We settled on a campground out in the country in beautiful West Virginia.



Hi from West Virginia!





We are sittin' in Camp Copperhead, a Passport America participating park , for the next two days. A quiet, pleasant, green camp on Indian Creek near Alma, WV. The park was purchased last year by two sisters, Cathy & Vicki, and they are workin' hard to build their dream, in this their first season. The park has 50 somethin' sites, water & 30A electric, dump station, bathhouse, lies on a creek, lots of recreation options and is in beautiful surroundings. Being PA we always pay 50% of the parks current rate, get this people, $7.50 a night. I'm sorry when you compare what some parks are askin' fer a night's stay, Passport America can't be beat.




Camp Copperhead




Today we stopped to ask if 'The Girls', Cathy & Vicki, would like some of the tomato's that we received from Bonnie, and wound up chattin' on & on. After bidin' goodbye's 5 or 6 times we finally left them to do their work, but were all goin' to dinner this eve at a local buffet restaurant. 

Well that's all for today.

Hope to see ya down the road as we're...........

Dancin' on the Wind