Sunday, May 27, 2012


This morning started around 6:30 when I finally woke up for good (I’d woken up about 5 because I was cold, but went back to sleep) and started getting ready since Mom and Dad had promised they’d be here early.   After my shower I was standing in the aisle in my towel and suddenly the LP/CO2 detector started going off! Many of you will remember that I had this same problem in Shenandoah National Park on my 1st real trip out.  This time however, I wasn’t running the heater or in my sleeping bag! I had no idea what was causing it to go off! I turned the hot water heater off, that was the only propane appliance I was using.  Then I quickly unlocked the door and threw it open.   It was then that I realized I was only wearing a towel.  And was now kinda standing out in the open in the campground wearing just a towel.  I then realized that I should go turn off the propane.  This involved leaving the RV, wearing only a towel, and walking around to the propane turn off switch.  Then since the alarm was still going I opened the back door to the RV.  A minute or so after I opened the back door the alarm shut itself off.  I waited a few minutes and turned the propane back on, turned the water heater back on and then closed the door to get dressed.   I even closed the whole RV up so I could make coffee – thinking I might be able to make it go off again and try and see why it’s randomly going off.  Of course, it didn’t go off.  I’m not sure what the problem is, my dad’s guess is that the towel, like the sleeping bag, was throwing dust into the sensors and made it think it needed to go off.  If there was a real problem with the propane it would be going off all the time and it’s not. 

It was almost 9 before Mom and Dad got here and we went off exploring. The whole point of this weekend was to check out some of the National Forest Service campgrounds and the roads in to get to them to see if I could drive Roxy down there.  There were some great sounding campgrounds but all them were down gravel/dirt Forest Service Roads which could be fine or they could do damage to the RV because the RV has less ground clearance than an SUV!

We first checked out Seneca Shadows campground, right around the corner from Yokum’s.  Very nice sites, some even had electricity!  WOW! That campground went straight to the “stay here next time” list!

Next we headed down a forest service road to Spruce Knob Overlook, the highest point in West Virginia!  There’s a nice observation tower and picnic area at the top!  It was kinda hazy so the views weren’t so great, but it was nice.  After lunch at the picnic area we headed deep into the forest to find the Spruce Knob Lake Campground.  This was the campground that I really wanted to find out about, it’s deep in the woods and looked very nice, but it’s almost all dirt roads to get in.  Turns out the road in is just fine for Roxy and there are lots of trails in the area.  After checking out the campground we walked around Spruce Knob Lake – about a mile or so, all flat – nice quick walk. 

We’d decided to make a loop and go back up another forest service road.  In this section of the forest they had “dispersed” camping.  Dispersed camping is car camping but out in the wilderness, not in a campground.  It sounded like a great idea on paper.  In reality though the campsites are along the road and they are fairly close to each other and you don’t have the security of a campground.  Maybe in some places I would enjoy it, but not here. 

We came out of the forest at 2:00 and realized that it would be really easy to go up to Canaan Valley today and come back through Dolly Sods, which had been the plan for tomorrow.  Since the cabin is so dreadful, Mom and Dad didn’t want to go back a second before they had to and if we finished everything today then we could leave tomorrow AM and go somewhere better.  So off to Canaan Valley we went. 

We went up to Blackwater Falls State Park and saw the falls and checked out the lodge and such.  When we got there we went to drive through the campground and see what it was like.  I guess since it’s a holiday weekend they had an attendant stopping cars as they came in and my dad explained to him that we were simply “reconnoitering”.  This kid had never heard the word and asked my dad to repeat it and explain it because he was “a wordsmith” and enjoyed words.  So dad explained that it meant to “check things out” and that it was kinda like “reconnaissance”.  The kid knew what reconnaissance was and told us to explore all we wanted! I figured he only let us in because we confused him with big words!

Last time I’d been out there I’d found a dirt road that looked like fun to drive and it took you back to the main road so we decided to try it.  Dad loves a good “off roading" opportunity so we took off!  There was a sign at the beginning of the road that warning of rough road and suggested 4W drive only!  We had 4W drive so we had no worries.  The road quickly went from paved to dirt and from dirt to great big potholes and then to boulders in the road!  At one point dad hit something with the bottom of the car!  Yikes!  Mom was getting a bit a freaked out.  And then we came to the river.  The river went over the road, or the road went through the river, not sure.  Dad forged ahead.  But when we got into the river it seemed a bit deeper than it looked – and there were huge sharp boulders downstream.  Dad and I both opened out doors to see how deep the water was and it wasn’t up the to the running board yet, but we still decided it would be best to turn around.  So he backed out of the river and then up the steep hill a bit until he had a place to turn around and we went back through the park!

The one restaurant in the area that I’d been too and knew was good was Big John’s Family Fixins’ – a pizza place in Canaan Valley.  We’d decided we’d eat there when we were in Canaan Valley so we had dinner there!  This worked out great because we weren’t sure how the fettuccine alfredo Mom and Dad had brought to cook was turn out in the substandard kitchen at the cabin.  We had 2 pizzas and they were yummy!  And as an added bonus I had cell signal in Canaan Valley and could check email and Facebook!

Soon we were on our way back to the dreaded cabin by way of Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.  I’d discovered this road when I came to Canaan Valley a few years ago and wanted to share it with dad.  Turns out I’d only discovered the tip of the iceberg and the best was waiting to be discovered!  Since I had the benefit of a map this time I was able to see that there was a viewpoint a little ways down a different road from where we were going to turn off to go back to the cabin.  When we went down that road we saw a sign for a campground down there!  So we went to the overlook – there were 2 short trails that lead to viewpoints.  As we were walking out I realized we were due west of Petersburg and that I just might have a signal on my phone.  Sure enough I not only had a signal, but I had 3G! So I was standing on the mountain top enjoying the view & checking Facebook!  YAY!  

There were scattered thunderstorms in the area and as we were heading back to the car there was a loud clap of thunder!  The cloud was small though so it wasn’t going to do much! In fact I was looking east hoping to see rainbows because the clouds were so few the sun kept peeking out.

We continued down the road and Dolly Sods began to show herself to us! Dolly Sods is an amazing area!  It’s like tundra, almost alpine, but yet still in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains! You could see for miles! There was a mix of trees and low growing shrubs!  It was a very cool area and I’m very excited about coming back to explore!  The campground is small, I’m thinking I need to come one day in the summer and get there early on a week day.  Despite it being very remote the Dolly Sods area is very popular, as evidenced by all the cars parked at every trailhead!

It was about 8:00 when we made our way back to the cabin.  When we got there we discovered that the folks next door had commandeered our picnic table! We’d planned to use the picnic table to plan our escape tomorrow.  I did notice that they had beer and suggested that maybe being drunk would help make the cabin look like a better place to stay.  The folks next door, all young college/mid-20s, also had tents set up and said that some of their group was sleeping out there.  I suggested that they could keep the picnic table if my dad could sleep in one of the tents! We decided to move the table from inside out so we could all sit outside!

We made a plan to leave Yokum’s a day early and drive back to VA early tomorrow AM.  We are going to explore a little of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesboro and Mom and Dad will likely go back to Williamsburg and I will either drive home or drive partway home and stay at Wal-Mart or something tomorrow night. 

When Mom and Dad brought me back to Roxy the folks next door were sitting outside of their camper watching TV with the truck parked right in front and the country music blasting from the truck speakers! I peeked out the window and it appears that they are watching the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. 

I was amazed at how well Roxy blocked the sound – standing outside you could hear the music loud and clear, inside you could barely hear it!  And with the fan going on the AC unit, I can’t hear a thing!  And I have the blackout shades pulled down so I can’t see them and they can’t see me! I might as well be anywhere! :-) 

West Virginia 5.26.12

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you guys had such a poor experience in wv. There are a lot of places that are worth visiting and unfortunately, both people and places tha give my state a bad name.... Glad you were able to find the awesomeness around you. I love dolly sods and Seneca rocks...both amazing wonders of nature!