Big Bend State Park West Virginia

Well, the crew at MMG Auto, the Mercedes dealer, was terrific.  The mechanic, who’s name I unfortunately can’t remember,  did a great job of diagnosing the problem, a cracked hose coming off the turbo, and had everything fixed, including the replacement of two filters for just over $200.  Jason Resendez, the service manager, smiled when I asked him if that was the entire bill.  Stupendous service.  I told him that I wished I live in Mansfield Ohio and would have to figure out how much it would cost to go to Ohio to have him work on the RV.

What a difference in the way the RV performed.  I filled up as soon as we left the dealership so I could figure out if the hose affected mileage, although with southeastern Ohio and West Virginia hills any results will be skewed. We decided that Arkansas was out of question, so we thought that we would look at West Virginia (as TJ, my nephew, says “Never been there”).

I was surprised that there were Amish/Mennonites in the area. We passed an advertisement for Yoder’s something.  I thought that Yoder was a very Amish name, and as soon as the though entered my head, there was a horse drawn buggy on the other side of the road, driven by a woman with two kids.  They were all dressed in black, and the child in the middle was sucking on a pacifier.  My new grandson, not a Mennonite, has a pacifier.  It was a sweet reminder that we are all the same, it’s just that some of us take a different path.  I feel that overall the Amish put what they believe in first, because it can’t be easy.  How do they heat their homes, cook their food, tend their fields while eschewing the technology of the modern world?  A most excellent example of practicing their beliefs while participating in the modern world.  They are certainly not walled off from the modern world, yet seem to hold true to their beliefs.

As we travelled, it appeared that the Amish homes were the ones without power lines to the houses or barns.  There were some perplexing houses that had yard lights and satellite dishes that appeared to have no power connection.  I went as far as scoping out houses for electric boxes on the sides or fronts of the houses.  There were some very modern houses that appeared to be owned by Amish.  We passed through Apple Creek we stopped for lunch, and while we ate, several buggies and wagons passed.  The horses were the most beautiful and well cared animals we have seen since we visited the country where the Blackfoot Indians live, and their animals looked better than any artistic version of what an ideal animal should look like.

As we entered West Virginia , the rolling hills of Ohio turned into hills.  It seemed to be a long day with an early start.  As we passed Nutter Farm, West Virginia, we saw a sign for North Bend State Park.  I followed the signs instead of the GPS.  First mistake.  We found ourselves on Route 34 that led us through the town of Cairo., We found later it’s not pronounced like the famous Egyptian city, but like the famous corn syrup, Karo.  Holy Smokes! What a road! It seemed as if the lanes were 8’ wide.  The RV is 7’11”.  The guide rails were in the process of sliding down the hills they were supposed to be saving you from.  There were shacks and oil tanks for oil wells situated somewhere up the hills in the woods. There were 180° turns that had a 30’ increment in height between the start and end of the turn.

The bridge into Cairo was not wide enough for the RV and another car, and there was a 90° turn at the out of town end of the bridge.  Fortunately, the woman crossing the bridge knew how to drive skillfully, so we are still here.  It appeared that town, somehow, was prosperous at some time in the past, I would suppose from the architecture, sometime in the early 20’s.  Time has not been fortunate to the area.  The area is as neat as a pin, yards clean, leaves raked, lawns mown, all neat and tidy, but all needing a paint job for many years.  The town itself was closed.  Louise and I didn’t see one open business.  A later conversation revealed that there was one new business in Cairo, but it was closed on Monday.  The business is a combination of a Pizza Parlor and ice cream parlor.  The place is named Shemp’s and it makes perfect sense to me for a place like Cairo.

We eventually found the campgrounds, and made the acquaintance of a Park Worker named ‘Tater’.  He spelled it for me as he had a wicked West Virginia accent and it was obvious that I didn’t get it at first.  He filled us in on how to register, where things were, and assured us that if we needed anything, he’d be around and do his best to help us out.  It’s really warming to meet someone who really loves the place he works at.

We checked out the sites and discovered that there was only one other camper, with a fifth wheel, in the campgrounds.  It’s obvious that the place is hopping during the summer, today it looked almost spooky.  Tater told us to go back up to the lodge to register after we selected our site, so we went back up the hill and through the cloud of deer grazing at the sides of the road.  The lady that seemed in charge was named Shelia, a sweetheart, and she filled us in on where to go, what to do, dinner and breakfast at the lodge, etc.  We had a great, involved, diverse, fun conversation with Sheila.  I buy enameled pins for every place that has them, when we travel.  I looked in the gift shop and didn’t see any, so I asked Shelia.  Quick as a wink, she located three different pins and was making inquiries about a West Virginia pin.  She said that since we were visiting West Virginia, Louise needed one of those too.  She said that if she found one she’d send one.

There were no standard hose connections for filling with water, and the first faucet I tried to fill from with a device sold as a ‘water thief’ wasn’t working.  The second worked fine and we filled the RV.  The site was almost level, close enough, so I didn’t mess with leveling the RV.  The RV was warm, we turned on some tunes and had a great spaghetti and Italian sausage dinner with NJ Italian rolls (froze them before we left).  We cleaned up the dishes and watched the first half of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and went to bed.  Another great day filled with interesting kind people.