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Almost Heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River!

June 19th began our last leg of this adventure - West Virginia and Virginia! A long drive to Army Corps campground Battle Run, WV found someone in our site! Never had that happen before. It was getting dark and the gate house attendant was a bit flustered. We never did speak to the people who were on our site but their friend next door talked to us. Not sure if it was intentional or not but the campground gave us a site we liked better! Funny how things work out!


Unsettled weather moving in now. We managed to carve out a nice visit to the newest national park, New River Gorge in West Virginia. This National Park was designated in 2021 and the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. The river goes through the Appalachian Mountains and has many ecosystems there. There's lots of history as well with the people who lived there. The railroad played a big part and mining so there's lots of remnants of the past. We learned a lot!


This bridge was built across the gorge
Railroad and car bridge in Thurmond

We had a Ranger talk and toured the historical town of Thurmond. It was originally a stop for the freight trains to refuel their coal.

The train would stop at this building and the coal would drop down into their holding area.

The ranger gave a great talk!

Even today Thurmond is still an Amtrak stop!

It's somewhat of a ghost town now and is owned by the park service but it still has 6 residents!



 

VIRGINIA

June 21st ah the first day of summer! Rain and cold - go figure. We drove to Shenandoah River State Park and set up in the rain. Nice sites but quite hilly. No cell service to speak of for miles!




Our visit to Shenandoah National Park was a bit of a disappointment due to rain and fog. There were no views at all on Thursday and just a few on Friday. The park is in the Blue Ridge Mountains which are in the Appalachian Mountain Range. Skyline Drive, also called The Blue Ridge Parkway, runs the entire length with many overlooks. We went to a few Ranger talks and learned a bunch about the history. Several people were instrumental in creating the national park, one was George Pollock and his wife Addie. Land had to be purchased and donated and it took a lot of effort and families were forced to move. Once designated they plotted out Skyline drive and all the overlooks were cleared by the Civilian Conservation Corps. This "landscape manipulation" is what created the park we see today.


Massanutten Lodge is an historic building and the location of a ranger talk. It was built in 1911 and was the home of Addie Pollock. She owned Skyland Resort with her husband George Pollock. The area of Skyland is now of course part of Shenandoah National Park.


What every view looked like on Thursday


Tom asked the person working the visitor center to take our photo seeing as this will be the only view we get 😩.



All was not lost! We found a winery open and met some nice people.



Friday we went back with worse fog than Thursday! We did have to dodge the mud for this photo.


Cool historic building which is

The Dickey visitor center. Notice the fog!


Ranger program about invasive plants in the park.


Ranger talk about black bears in the park



We did get a few views thanks to the sun!



We headed back to the state park to see the Shenandoah River and it turned out those were our best views!



Cullers Overlook




 

Saturday June 24th we left Virginia on the homeward trek. Landed in Hamburg, PA and found a beautiful Catholic Church with a 4:30p mass and large parking lot! Then it was off to Cabela's to park overnight. What a nice setup they have for travelers. Nice Cabela's!


Thanks for following this blog on this adventure of ours. There will be more adventures!







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