Rest Day #2 and the Appalachians
Trip Start Oct 10, 2011
17Trip End Ongoing
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We left the Parkway to explore the Red River Gorge area, with it's fascinating geology and vistas. Then we wound our way up into West Virginia along the 'Country Music Highway' and the Big Sandy River, ending up in the state capitol, Charleston
West Virginia is one of three US states that I had never set foot in (Alaska and North Dakota being the other two). I only had a vague concepts in my mind (coal, poverty, beautiful, wild). Though I didn't spend a lot of time there, Charleston seemed a prosperous and charming city, with at least one excellent Indian restaurant (one of the best meals I've had on this trip). They also have dog park, which was quite a contrast to Lexington, about 1/4 acre on a busy street downtown. But it was a dog park, so we checked it out and ended up having a lovely chat with Neddy Arevelo, percussionist for Donna the Buffalo (a festival band I've heard of but know nothing about). You meet the most interesting people at the dog park. His dog Beast was quite enamored of Lily, so a good time was had by all.
I have to say, I've been on some amazing drives this trip. Colorado was full of drama, the prairies touched my soul, the rivers fascinated me. But for sheer loveliness, today cannot be beat. We took two scenic byways, the Midland Trail and the Highland Trail, through the middle of West Virginia. The fall colors were just past peak in most areas, still full of fire but mixed with bare trees as well. We followed rivers and streams, saw bridges and waterfalls, passed coal processing facilities and lumber mills and all of it was amazing. The West Virginia license plate reads "Wild, Wonderful" and that's an understatement. This is definitely a place I will come back to. The communities I drove through were a mix, from prosperous to poor and everything in between.
One thing that struck me today was the sense that as you drive from West to East, you drive back into our history
The afternoon brought a huge surprise. Around 3 pm I finally came in range of a cell tower and my phone lit up with messages and calls from my moving company. Apparently, after confirming on Friday that delivery was still scheduled for Thursday, I was informed that no, in fact they are already in New York and need to deliver tomorrow morning! After a scramble of phone calls, texts and emails, my friend Linnea stepped in to save the day and will meet the mover for me, God bless her!
We finished the day driving the back roads of the Blue Ridge mountains and the Shenadoah Valley, places I've heard about, and sung about, but never seen before. The Shenandoah Valley was dotted with cow pastures, and the cows had the gall to stand right next to the road, frustrating Lily no end. She was quite vocal about her displeasure with my refusal to stop.
So it looks like tomorrow will see the end of this journey, as I head up the Turnpike for a long days drive...home.