Pennsylvania and the Virginias 2021:
Day 2 - Virginia


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Pennsylvania and Virginias 2021: [Day 1 - West Virginia] [Day 2 - Virginia] [Day 3 - Pennsylvania] [Day 4 - Ohio] [Day 5 - Heading Home]

Tuesday, April 6, 2021: One of the best things about VanLife is waking up to sunrises in someplace new every day.
Our breakfast of champions is Diet Coke with fruit-and-cream-flavored instant oatmeal.
It was going to be hard to drive away from this view, ...
... but it was replaced by this view as we passed group after group of deer grazing along the winding path back down the mountain.
The state park has a full golf course near a lodge, which is probably why the word "Resort" appears in the name: Twin Falls Resort State Park.
In the heart of tobacco land, one barn was doing its part to get the word out about the dangers of tobacco.
We headed south, following more scenic creeks ...
... to the town of Welch, West Virginia.
Look at this colorful collection of VW vans!
The region is so hilly, and that leads to very narrow towns. At this point, the town of Welch was no wider than whatever could fit on either side of the road.
All around this region, all of the churches looked very similar - a single story with a white spire. There's a little drive-in restaurant further down the road.
Where the slopes allow it, the houses can be built on the hillsides.
Here's the downtown area.
South of downtown, we found what we came for: West Virginia's Merci Train boxcar.
There's a large plaque at its base.
Here's the other side. There are lights at every corner so this must be cool to see at night.
Pretty little wildflower/weeds dotted the grass all around it.
Next to the boxcar, there was a large memorial to the community's fallen soldiers.
A West Virginia Byway sign stood nearby. We saw lots of signs like this one, but only one that actually had West Virginia written on the top.
We now had to backtrack a long way, starting with going back through Welch. Since owning our little RV, this is the first time we have had to modify our route due to a bridge clearance. This bridge offered 9' 0" clearance for normal vehicles, but if you wanted to use the 12' 11" clearance, you had to swing over to the other set of lanes.
More pretty creek views, ...
... and more narrow valleys the width of two houses and a road. Many houses had a tiny bridge for their driveway so that water could run down the ditch below it.
We were in coal country, and here is an actual coalmine. This is Pinnacle Mine, the 2013 National Mine Rescue Champions.
Here's Pinnacle Creek.
Ths is the Wyoming County Courthouse in Pineville.
We passed a location of Tudor's Biscuit World, but we were patient because we were headed to a different location further up the road.
When you live on a hill this steep, you have to be creative about your front walk.
Oh, the humanity!
Another West Virginia Byway heads in that direction.
After over two hours of driving on winding narrow roads, we nearly wept with happiness when Google Maps navigated us unexpectedly to this beautiful divided highway.
It was 10:30 AM by now, and we were starving, so we headed to that Tudor's Biscuit World on the hill.
We learned that they were still serving just breakfast, ...
... so we didn't get to try that Hot Bologna sandwich on the menu.
Fortunately, we love breakfast food, so we had a delicious meal. Tom ordered the Super Breakfast Platter (left) and Debbie ordered the Classic Breakfast Platter (right). We both opted for toast instead of biscuits, which we realized later was probably an error on our part when visiting a place called Biscuit World.
What? Cannabis in West Virginia? Yep, but medicinal only.
We drove to Tamarack Marketplace even though we knew by now that it was closed.
If nothing else, at least we got to see the unusual building up close, ...
... along with some of the great sculptures out front like this one ...
... and this one.
All along the highway, West Virginia Wildflowers signs were placed, often in memory of someone.
Our next destination was New River Gorge National Park. It had only been a National Park since December 27, 2020, so all of the road signs still said "New River Gorge National River."
We crossed the New River Gorge Bridge ...
... which crosses the New River. This bridge is the third-highest bridge in the United States at 876 feet.
We arrived at the brand new National Park: New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. It is so new that the only reference to the new status was this vinyl sign draped over the old one.
Here's the visitor center, where rangers had set up a table outside in the great weather.
The New River Gorge Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We headed down the many stairs ...
... that led down to the bridge overlook.
Here we are!
And here it is! This iconic bridge is so famous that it can be seen on the West Virginia state quarter.
There's the view looking upstream ...
... and straight across the river from the overlook.
Obligatory artsy shot.
We headed back up the stairs, stopping occasionally to "take a picture" since we hadn't brought water along to "take a drink." We love thinly-veiled excuses to stop and rest when walking uphill.
Before leaving, we checked out the map to see where else we should go, then got a paper map from the ranger table.
We were heading south by 12:30 PM. We saw rhododendron plants everywhere as we traveled through West Virginia. It's no wonder why it is the state flower. These bushes must be amazing to see when they are in bloom.
Oooh, here's another road trip trail!
We headed toward the Sandstone Visitor Center, ...
... but we already knew it was closed. We stopped to look at it on our way to our next destination.
We passed this lovely West Virginia historical marker about Lelia Pearl Bragg, a pioneering aviator.
We got some nice views of the New River on our way to ...
... the Sandstone Falls overlook.
The restrooms were closed due to COVID-19.
Tom took a picture of Debbie taking a picture of Sandstone Falls.
So beautiful.
We spent the rest of the afternoon driving to our next destination. We passed the exit for the Greenbriar, which we had visited three years earlier.
Welcome to Virginia. Virginia is for lovers.
Virginia is a Purple Heart State.
Virginia is very scenic.
Virginia is home to the Shenandoah Battlefields National Historic District.
Virginia is on fire. We never did figure out why.
We passed the time by listening to Forensic Files podcasts.
It was 4:30 PM when we pulled into the Harrisonburg/Shenandoah Valley KOA Holiday.
We checked in ...
... and were eating dinner a half hour later. We bought a case of freeze-dried chicken and ground beef packets, so we tried the Southwest-style chicken mixed with cups of microwaveable Ride-a-Roni, plus leftover apples from this morning's breakfast.
After dinner, Tom spent some time leveling The Ocho. This was the first time we had needed it in a campsite. This is the day he first noticed that the gray water tank sensor wasn't working right, as it always registered 1/3 full even after emptying.
With a large group of people at a cookout across the road from us, we opted for after-dinner cocktails indoors.
We spotted the campground's resident chickens on the prowl.
Here's a closer look.

Ahhh, sunset! We finished off our evening with a viewing of Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in "Anchor's Aweigh."

Day 3 >


Pennsylvania and Virginias 2021: [Day 1 - West Virginia] [Day 2 - Virginia] [Day 3 - Pennsylvania] [Day 4 - Ohio] [Day 5 - Heading Home]

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