I’ve been absent on here unfortunately, but today marks a big event in our house…the return to school! School continues to start earlier and earlier, and typically, I don’t really care. For some reason, this year, I am really bothered by its early return. Summer just passed by too quickly!
We have had a busy summer I guess which explains it all. We took a tour of a lot of WV. We visited family in Montgomery Alabama…in July (it’s hot and humid…don’t do that). We worked on the house and caught up on doctor visits. Last week, Isaac was away at band camp all week which definitely signals the end off Summer! And now, here we are back to school!
Per tradition, I interviewed the kids asking them what they want to be when they grow up, who their friends are, what excites them about starting a new year, etc. I promised them I wouldn’t post the videos, but I love to look back at them from earlier years and see what changes and what stays the same. My kids are growing up into wonderful people and I am so very proud of them…of what they think about and what the see for the future!
So, even though getting back to school might seem like a drag to me sometimes, it is the marking of another year forward toward such exciting futures!
I have been pretty sketchy on posting about the bees lately but there has been all sorts of stuff going on. Every year around tax time, I add supers to the colonies in preparation for the honey flow. It’s that time of year when the blooms start and the nectar flows. In the hive, it is a boom time and the period that makes or breaks the bees as well as my honey harvest later in the summer.
This year has been a strange year (as they all have been lately). We had a good warm-up early but then we have had cool temps and rain for what seems like an eternity. The WV Department of Agriculture sent our advisement that they were seeing bees starving this year due to the weather. You see, the queen lays a lot of eggs as it warms in the spring. That makes for a lot of bees and when all goes well, the spring honeyflow coincides and provides more food than the bees can eat…thus stored honey. In a bad year though, the bees still increase in number but the food is sparse….that signals bad times unfortunately. My bees still look pretty good but it will depend on the remainder of the season to know what the end result will be.
Anyhow, my Mom helped me prep things earlier this spring. It was her first time working with me in the bee and I know she enjoyed it even though it was hot, heavy, time-consuming work. Like most people who first see a lot of bees, she got a case of the creepy-crawlies. When I first started keeping bees, I remember feeling like bugs were on me hours after I was out of the hives. She managed her heebie-jeebies pretty well though and we got honey supers in place on the hives.
This was a pretty good swarm year too. I am not aware of any swarms out of my colonies (which is a good thing), but I got a number of calls and was able to capture several swarms around Charleston. I also made a new friend in a local beekeeper. We met at a swarm where we had both gotten a call to capture it. We now pass calls back and forth which is pretty cool. He’s a local firefighter so can’t always get to the swarm calls he receives.
I have pics of two swarms that I caught. As always, I like to pet my swarms (because I am a show-off) before I catch them. Don’t try touching a swarm on your own if you ever come across one. It’s just not a good idea unless you know bees a little. I love catching swarms and it is likely my favorite part of beekeeping. Here’s to hoping this season turns itself around and makes for some great honey!
Last weekend was the University of Charleston (WV) half marathon. I like to run, but I have typically only run in 5K races around the area. I had never run a half marathon, so when I heard about it, I knew I wanted to run.
I am a fairly new runner, having started in March of 2015 to run with my daughter. At the time, we were planning to train together to prepare her for X-C season. She does nothing in the off-season but I kept running. I didn’t follow a plan per-se, but I run 3-4 days per week for an average of probably 25 miles per week. About 6 weeks ago, I somehow screwed up my posterior tibialis so my mileage dropped some. I ran a mix of hills and flats which is probably what messed up my leg. I have run a number of 5Ks locally since starting running.
The race was managed by students and faculty as part of a sports management class. As such, they seemed to really do things cleanly (with the exception of their website). I had a lot of communication via facebook and email regarding the course, volunteers, aid stations, etc. They took great pride in advertising that local artists were making the finishers medals and prizes…it was very cool. Packet pickup was easy the night before and ran smoothly. On the race day itself, I wanted to be onsite at 7am for an 8am gun. As I said, I am inexperienced but I like to be early even though this was not a huge race. I needed to pee 25 times before lining up, etc. The weather was pretty crummy…40 deg F and rain at 7am. Snow was forecast for later in the day so the expectation was for miserable conditions. I got to the University of Charleston at 7 and we were greeted by a ton of volunteers. I may be making this part up, but I swear I heard there were 300 volunteers. Inside the student union where we waited for the start, the crowd was good though thinner than expected. At packet pickup, I asked how many were regsitered and was told around 300. Earlier in the week, they had advertised that they had crossed 200 runners, so I assume they were correct in the 300 number. I later found out that there were 127 finishers. I am certain the weather kept a number of people away…seems odd that 180 didn’t show but who knows? A few people I know who I saw at packet pick-up were not at the race so at least a few stayed home. Anyhow, about 15 minutes before the gun, the rain stopped and the temp help steady…so it was sort of perfect for racing.
Miles  to [3.1]
I didn’t know what to expect, never having raced a half so I found a 2 hour pace group and started with them. It was ok, but within a half a mile, I knew I wanted to speed up. I increased my pace to around 8:40 per mile and found a friend. We talked for a mile but he started to slow and I was feeling good so I speed up to around 8:20 per mile. The rain started although not bad…it was one of those rains that makes you wet but you don’t really notice it. I settled in on that pace and found a woman right ahead of me who was very steady so I just ran with her. About 2 miles in, the first water station came up and a large number of university students were having a great time listening to 80s music. They were playing my song (well, it seemd like it was being played for me) as I ran by…Danger Zone. I give the volunteers a lot of credit…they came out in good numbers with great signs and cheered on everyone! Basically, the course runs from the university along the Kanawha River so it was really pleasant to watch the river flow by. There were 3+ volunteers at every intersection and every turn so it was very clear where the course was. Miles were well marked and actually corresponded with my gps watch. The course was USATF certified which was pretty cool for such a small and new race.
5k time: 25:50
Miles  to 
I was concerned that this race was going to be a little boring as it was through neighborhoods and was a double loop course. I don’t know what possessed me, but I chatted a little with a few people as we ticked off miles in the middle of the course. I am usually pushing pretty hard on a 5k so don’t talk at all, but I didn’t know what to do here so I decided to pass a little time. Generally, people were happy to chat and they made more conversation than I did…2 miles flew by and I didn’t have any problems. My pace had stayed pretty steady around 8:10 at this point
Miles  to 
I decided to try to drink a little gatorade at around mile 9. I never drink gatorade as I am a water guy and generally not a drink-on-the-run guy at all. Something possessed me to try though so I grabbed a cup and put it to my mouth and promptly spilled it all over myself. I think I was more tired than I realized. The woman with whom I was pacing was feeling it too and we traded the lead back and forth a few times. We stayed pretty solid at 7:50-8:00 pace. The course was very flat which was nice, but the wet was starting to bother me too I think. Being a dummy, I forgot to tape my nipples so I was getting raw around this point. I won’t have to learn that lesson again…rain + cold + distance = blood spots on my shirt. Anyhow, I still really commend the race volunteers and police officers…they were great about cheering and played some great 80s tunes…some Cindi Lauper tune was blaring as I ran through the second time!
Miles  to [13.1]
I was all turned around as we wove through the neighborhoods along the river so I only had a sense of where I was based on my watch…my pacing woman and I were both pretty tired at this point and I could feel both my hamstrings and my calves starting to fade/pull. I figured that worst case, I could walk depending on what happened so I decided to keep pushing. We both ran the last mile or so into the finish about as fast as we could…we kicked it down to a 7:30 or so pace. She faded about a quarter mile out but I was still ok…ok being a relative term. Rounding the building in front of which was the finish line, I caught a guy and passed him which gave me mixed emotions…I hate when people do that to me, but I loved placing one spot higher than I would have. Originally I told my wife to expect me around 2 hours, so when I rolled in at 1:47:38, she was not exactly expecting me but she was able to get her phone out to get a few pics.
I grabbed a banana, a water and a cookie after they hung my finisher medal around my neck. It was a really cool medal made of ceramic by a local artist (and some university students). I was sort of sad in a way to finish. As this was my first half, I was over the moon excited in the days and weeks leading up. My saintly wife had to have been done with me for all of the talking about my strategies and questions about how I should run, what to wear, etc. I guess you never forget your first time and this half will always be sort of a cool memory. I didn’t know what else to do at the end so I lingered a little bit and we finally decided to just go home. I iced and put on some compression socks and generally relaxed all afternoon.
This report was generated using race reportr, a tool built by /u/BBQLays for making great looking and informative race reports.
It’s hard for me to write this, not because I am displeased, but rather because I cannot believe it is possible. Yesterday, Isaac passed his driving test making him our street’s newest driver. It seems like he is still my precious little boy, but he has gone ahead and grown up (into a fine young man…who now has a driver’s license!) and is finding his freedom!
In WV, as elsewhere, a person can earn their driving permit when they are 15. Isaac was kinda interested, but not really. I sort of had to push him to take his permit test because I wanted to have plenty of time to drive with him while he was still at home. Lots of kids these days are disinterested in driving I guess, and some parents don’t make their kids get their license until they are older. That’s ok, but for me, I wanted him to have more experience under my tutelage so we got his permit soon after his 15th birthday
We drove a lot under different conditions as I wanted him to experience many aspects of driving with my eyes helping him merge, see hazards, etc. Isaac has a car for his use and has spent a good bit of time getting used to it and has done an absolutely fantastic job of learning how to drive. He seems to be very conscientious and aware of things around him. I knew he was ready to take the next step.
I was most concerned with whether he could pass the parallel parking test. We put it off quite awhile, but it was time. I gathered a step stool and a large box to work as markers to practice and asked him to watch a few quick youtube videos while I got the stuff loaded into his car.
We measured out a parking bay near our house. I figured the youtube video would give him some general info, but that I would have to explain and demonstrate how to properly parallel park. We decided to just let him try it once, and lo and behold, he parked beautifully on the first try! I kid you not! I didn’t believe it so I jumped out and made him do it again…and he did it again. All-told, he did it 15-20 times with only 1 failed attempt so we called it a night. Two nights ago we went to the actual testing location to practice on the space the tester uses…same story. He parked several times flawlessly, so we knew it was time.
Emily took him after school and he passed beautifully. The tester said he was the first person she had passed all day…and that was at 5pm…that’s rough. Anyhow, we went out to eat and celebrate, but Isaac was anxious to get back home to dump me off so he could drive around some.
He can’t haul friends yet until he is accident-free for 6 months, but he wanted to go out on his own. It was one of the harder things I have done recently, watching him drive off all by himself. He rolled his eyes when I went into Dad-mode, “You’re gaining freedom and I am giving up control over you…and it’s hard…be careful” Eye-roll, “Yeah Dad, I know…” Eye-roll. It’s all good though. He drove around our area for an hour and returned, obviously excited and a little tired. I can still remember both the thrill and exhaustion of the first hundred times driving solo. He’s growing up though and learning to manage both very well. If you see him on the road though, don’t honk or wave…I need him to focus on the road!
The Greenbrier Resort and Hotel is a bit of a legend in WV. The Greenbrier is located in White Sulphur Springs, WV, where rich folks used to come to drink/bathe in the sulphur waters in the area. People believed that there were medicinal powers in the water so they flocked to the area to cure all sorts of things. Of course, amenities built up around as the influx of people grew and the Greenbrier Hotel was built. It’s a palatial structure situated on 11,000 or so acres and it caters to all sorts of outdoor activities including pheasant hunting, horseback riding, off-road Jeeping and high-end golf. The PGA holds the Greenbrier Classic there each Summer and it draws all sorts of golf-y folks.
People still travel from far and wide to partake of the ambiance of the area and it truly is beautiful in the Greenbrier Valley area. We have visited Lewisburg as well as the Greenbrier Hotel to do the bunker tour, but we had never stayed at the hotel itself before.
Some have said that I am a bit thrifty. Emily calls it other things, but I prefer to find a value whenever I can. A few months before Christmas this year, I saw that the hotel was running a special deal on a weekend stay in January. It was perfect! We could stay at the hotel and take in all that is the Greenbrier, and I could feel content in having gotten a “bargain”. Please note that the Greenbrier’s special price was a “bargain”, not a bargain. It still cost us around $500 for two nights, but we had a nice enough room and the opportunity to stay!
Upon our arrival, a gate-man had a card for our car with our name already printed. He ushered us through to the grand entrance where bellhops grabbed our bags and hustled them inside out of the snow. I couldn’t bear to pay the valet so I parked the car myself…at least 100 miles away…in the newly falling snow/rain. But it’s good…and definitely cheaper.
Anyhow, we received champagne and our room keys and were good to go. All checked in, we decided to explore the massive building. There are ballrooms and great foyers. Enormous fireplaces burned delightful fires and the atmosphere was rich. There is a dress-code at the Greenbrier which we followed to the letter, but it appeared that not everyone bothered. I was a bit disappointed, frankly, that people chose not to follow the rules and that the hotel allowed them to get away with it. I normally hate dress-code stuff, but it just felt right there…like people should be dressed up.
Anyhow, we caught a live singing performance where a really talented group sang a variety of tunes and did a great job interacting with the crowd. We clapped and sang along like good tourists…it was a blast!
We took the bunker tour again and visited all of the shops (or are they shoppes?) in the Greenbrier. The weather was not amenable to our touring the grounds or doing many of the outdoorsy things, but we really enjoyed the time to lounge around and talk and read. All-in-all, it was a nice trip.
The only complaint I had was with the food. We chose to stay in and eat at the hotel. It was convenient and part of the experience in my mind. It cost more for four of us to eat three meals than the room cost and we didn’t eat high-end at the hotel. Food was really expensive there. We ate breakfast at the main dining room and both the food and service were really great. Lunch and dinner, however, were no better than what we would have gotten at Applebees, but at 3x or more the price. Both service and food were average which was a shame for how much it cost…live and learn I guess.
Anyhow, I would like to go back and visit in the Spring when I am sure the place really shows its beauty. I am not much of a golfer but I hear that part of the fee includes a guy who will stand out in the fairway and watch where the balls land. For golfers, the savings in lost balls may make up for the expense in the food department!
I am glad to have stayed at the Greenbrier and look forward to the continued improvements that the fairly new owner is making after years of neglect by the previous owner!
Like about a quarter of the US population, we got hit by the snow event named Jonas 2 weekends ago. For at least a week beforehand, we heard hype and warnings and altered forecasts. At first, I think we expected a good snow but not too bad as predictions seem like they are often overblown, at least around here. As the week wore on and we grew more and more tired of hearing about the storm of the decade, it became apparent that we were going to get a good covering with a really good chance of a wet snow which would lead to widespread power outages.
Starting Wednesday or so, people started to really pound the grocery stores to stock up on milk, eggs and bread…I guess to make their emergency French toast. We shop on Sundays most times so we avoided the mess, but I hear a lot of places were cleaned out. Thursday was a really weird time as all forecasts pretty much pointed tot he same thing…we were going to get a lot of snow. I went to the office on Friday morning as usual. The sky was dark but there was no snow at that point. Almost on the hour, at 9. the snow started. I think by 9:07 we had an inch. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but it came quickly. We closed the office by 9:30 and by 10 when I left, it was questionable as to whether I would make it home. My car had no problem, but lots of folks in two-wheel drive vehicles were pretty much screwed. I weaved through a developing parking lot on the main road up the hill to my neighborhood.
We hunkered down and basically waited and watched. Snow piled up very quickly. Fortunately, the temperature didn’t rise enough to produce the wet snow they expected so we never lost power. We stepped out occasionally to measure snow, but it was accumulating so fast that we quickly gave up.
Saturday morning, we found that it was still snowing, but not nearly as hard. I tried to open my front door at some point but found it was snowed closed. I had to go out another door and shovel my front door open. That sucked a little. I took a few quick measurements which pretty closely coincided with the official measurement of 18.6 inches when it was all said and done. I measured as high as 21 inches but all things vary of course.
The city was a bit of a mini-disaster as people had abandoned cars all over. Plow trucks were working hard but we don’t usually see snow this deep and fast so they just couldn’t keep up, try as they might. We started baking cookies Saturday sometime and baked our way out of butter so, by Sunday, wanted to get out so we could bake/eat more. Our road had not been plowed at all though, and we figured that, with the chaos all over, they wouldn’t be getting to us any time soon. Our driveway is maybe 50 feet long and very steep. We started with it, hoping that would entice the plow trucks to come and plow us in, much like washing a car encourages rain.
Finally, we decided to just go for it and we shoveled out our neighborhood road from our place to the main road which was somewhat passable. I’d say that road is maybe 100 feet long where we were interested. My wife, my amazing workhorse of a wife and I shoveled out the road as well. It wasn’t a lot of fun, but we had eaten a lot of cookies so figured it balanced out pretty evenly, calorie-wise.
First the driveway
A lot of roads are still not passable, but I was able to get to the office. Schools are still closed, wisely. The biggest problem now, is where to put the snow that the highway crews are plowing. Our road was finally plowed out after dark, about 60 hours after the snow started. That’s not terrible with all things considered, but I am glad we dug out ahead of time. Let’s hope it takes at least another decade before we see this again!
We have been busy with lots of stuff as I mentioned before and most of what we have been doing revolved around my coaching soccer again, the kids doing stuff in band, and work related obligations.
One thing, though, that I have been doing is a little different from that. Back in April, my company sponsored a 5K to benefit the local chamber of commerce’s scholarship fund. I ran a lot in high school as a member of the soccer team, but after that, I really didn’t run again. I decided to give running another try so I could train with Abigail who is on the middle school cross country team and so we could both run the 5K.
As I posted before, we ran the 5K which was pretty fun. What surprised me, though, is that I really enjoyed running. My first race nearly killed me as I pushed probably too hard, especially for the shape I was in. The thrill of racing and actually not embarrassing myself made me want to do it again though. My time in that first race was 27:30…not a bad time and it piqued my interest. I wondered if that was my max or if I could get better. I know I am not old yet, but I am not young either.
Since then, I have continued running and have come to really enjoy it. I tried running with music but it drives me crazy. I prefer to listen to my breathing and to the birds and the squirrels. I like to look up at the sky at the clouds or keep count of just how many people pick their noses when they drive. Someone asked me what I think about when I run (assuming I must get bored). Sometimes I think about this or that, but most times, I literally think about nothing. I sort of zone out and occasionally take in a sound or a sight, but I don’t really ponder life’s deeper meanings or worry about stressors. Maybe that’s why I like it so much.
I sort of like running after dark through neighborhoods. I quietly cruise by homes and hear people talking or watching tv. I can smell a steak cooking a mile away and people make a lot of popcorn in the evenings. I run 2-3 nights during the week and most times it is after dark. It’s quiet then and even easier to zone out and the stars are pretty amazing when I take the time to look up.
I try to do a longer run on Saturday mornings. Emily and the kids sleep in most weekends. I have always been an early riser so it sort of works out perfectly. I may run 8 or 10 miles on Saturdays before they wake. When I start to smell bacon cooking on my trail, I know people are waking up and it’s about time to head home.
I really like racing and my best 5K time from a few weeks ago was 22:10. It’s a little harder to zone out on race day as I get pretty wound up waiting for the starting gun. During the race, it’s all about keeping myself from running too fast the first mile and then having nothing left for the next 2 miles.
I do not think my goal in running is only to race, but it’s a nice side benefit. What’s better, though, is that I have met some pretty cool people and stand amazed at what people can do, physically. I ran my most recent race with a 60 year old man, a new friend of mine. We talked about our plan for the race as we stood in the starting chute, but we both had doubts about whether we could pull off what we had discussed. We ran a pretty fast race and he and I stayed together throughout and we ran just under the pace we had decided on. Before running, I never dreamed a 60 year old man could run a race, let alone a pretty fast pace. Older men then he ran even faster than we did though and did it with apparent ease. Of course, they were not new to running, but age didn’t hold them back one bit.
This is a meandering post, but I think it sort of mimics my thoughts on running. My mind wanders about how I will age and what I think about (and what I don’t think about). I like to be exposed to new people and especially people who don’t fit my stereotypes. I also like an occasional shot of adrenaline that comes on race day rather than during rush hour!
It’s late in the season for swarms to strike out from a honeybee colony. Typically, April through June are prime swarm months when the bees are building up to work the bountiful nectar sources during that time of year. As they get crowded from both the increase in bees as well as the stored honey and pollen, some of the bees along with the old queen strike out on their own and forma new colony. It’s natural and kind of cool, unless you are a beekeeper wanting to keep strong hives and make honey. It’s even less cool when you don’t see the swarm leave so you can’t capture them and at least keep the new colony.
Anyhow, swarming is a natural thing but it usually happens in the Spring and early Summer…and very rarely at the end of August or beginning of September. Still, somehow I got calls for two swarms recently and was happy to gather the new colonies for my apiary! The first swarm was at the local hospice house. A business across the road saw the swarm fly into a tree so called me. I hurried down and went into the hospice house. They didn’t know they had a massive swarm on their property but were happy to have me remove it. The receptionist announced over the intercom that everyone should stay inside while I did my work. Of course, that meant a huge number of employees ran outside to see what was going on. Among them was the media relations guy who saw an opportunity and called the local media. Two news crews came and before I knew it, I was being interviewed for the evening news! That was cool of course and I was happy to help hospice get some publicity as well.
A good number of the people who had gathered had never seen a swarm of bees so it took a good bit if time for everyone to see what there was to see and to get pictures with the bee guy sticking his hand into the swarm (don’t try that at home). I love catching swarms and love an audience so it was a lot of fun and the swarm was huge and should definitely survive the winter, unlike many late season swarms that don’t have time to build up in number, collect nectar and pollen, etc.
Just a week or so later, Larry Groce of Mountain Stage fame called me with a swarm of bees in his front yard. Larry is a super nice guy and it was a swarm of bees so of course I gathered them as well. The funny thing is that I went to his place after a Rotary meeting where he was the featured speaker! We got to chat a bit about bees which is always fun! I collected his swarm easily and merged them with another colony so they should survive as well, though not independently.
And now this isn’t exactly a swarm, and I didn’t exactly catch them, but these buggers are still hanging out by my back door. They are sort of swarm-like, right? I mean, it’s a mass of stinging insects…I think they are beautiful so they shall remain until they move on…
A month ago, we actually made it to the Potomac, but rather than tubing, we spent the weekend boating. My brother and sister-in-law have a river house along the river and invited the family for the weekend. My parents and aunt came from PA and my crew drove in from Charleston.
So, their place has a dock which was begging for something to be tied to it. My brother has a saying: “If you’re gonna be a bear, be a grizzly.” We use that all the time, but in our case, it’s usually when we screw something up…we go all-in. Anyhow, my brother goes all-in also but not usually in the screw-up department. My point is that when the decision to buy a boat came up, he decided not to settle for a mere 16 foot boat, but rather to buy a 30 foot long pontoon and two jet-skis that will knock the tears out of your eyes.
When I was a younger man, I had a motorcycle that I rode everywhere in all weather…even once in the snow…don’t ride a motorcycle in the snow…it’s cold and really really hard to not slide. Anyhow, I loved riding my bike but as newlyweds, we really needed a washer and dryer. I sold my motorcycle and never got another. So, the jet ski was a perfect sort of hearkening back to my motorcycle days. I could go crazy fast, do stupid stuff and have a much lower risk of getting killed compared to a motorcycle. It was perfect!
Anyhow, we had a great time at the river house and boating and eating all sorts of food. My brother cooked bacon outside on an electric skillet and my kids raved and raved about it. It’s hard to beat camp food or anything cooked outside for that matter. And of course, anything cooked by their uncle is good too.
I love these family times and boating and the Potomac, at least where we were, was absolutely beautiful There were eagles and lots of fish and turtles and ducks. People were nice and we all had a wonderful time sharing each other’s company! I’d call that a good trip!
So a few days ago, I mentioned a trip we took and how it changed because of rain. As you may remember, we had planned to tube the Potomac River on day 2 but the rain was so bad that the river was not going to be fun. Still, we wanted to save the weekend so we decided to visit Cass Scenic Railroad in Cass, WV.
The Cass Railroad used to service a series of lumber camps on top of the mountain. The town was a company store kind of town which has been pretty well restored. The rail line is also well maintained and has covered train cars so it was perfect for a rainy day!
The trip to Cass requires a winding trip through some beautiful scenic territory in the Eastern Mountains of WV. It’s amazing getting to Cass and even cooler once you get there. We wandered about the town waiting for trip up the mountain. I love trains and this trip reminded me of the several trips my family took when I was a kid. We rode several steam engines around NY and PA on trips just like this one.
I think I irritated Emily, but I just couldn’t get enough of looking at the trains and the dirty coal-men and the company store. I know it was a hard life and definitely not a romantic era for working folks, but for some reason, I sort of visualize the turn of the century as a special time that is intriguing to me if I had a time machine. Goofy, I know. Anyhow, I stared at the trains and imagined the people who used to live and die in the forest cutting massive trees with hand saws. I imagined the raucous parties when the men had a chance to go to town and I wondered if the life that seems so simple in my mind was something I would want to live. And then I remember that the average lifespan was poor and the time between birth and death for many of those guys was no dream…at least not a good dream.
Anyhow, we rode the specially built train up the mountain where it traversed an 11% grade. For modern locomotives, a 2% grade is steep. The train travels a series of switchbacks to climb and descend the mountain and I cannot imagine the guys who used to haul huge loads of timber down the mountain, counting on the brakes to keep them from rolling down the hill out of control.
I guess this train ride will be one I won’t ever forget. It was just special. The kids and I sucked on hard candy we bought at the company store and found ourselves chatting about…stuff. We took silly pictures and had absolutely no cell service at all so had to resort to conversation and our imaginations. We jabbered and day-dreamed as the scenery passed us by on the trip. In my mind, it was just perfect and without the rain, we would never have seen this part of WV!
(If the video above doesn’t work for you or if you want a smaller but lower quality version, try this link)
Cell service was sketchy and the resort facilities where we stayed were even sketchier…summer visitors have to endure repairs and upgrades from the ski season I guess. Anyhow, the technology-free weekend was a lot of fun. Of course, the rain continued and storms rolled in as well. We jumped into the pool at one point and 5 minutes later, they booted us out because of impending lightning.
We survived the night, had a great and greasy breakfast and drove to Lewisburg, WV where we ate lunch and walked around in town a bit. Lewisburg is an awesome town and we love visiting, even if we just walk up and down the street. It has a small-town-America feel…back to that romantic vision of a different time I guess! Anyhow, we ended up having a fantastic trip, even though our plans were so significantly different from what we originally planned. I think those sorts of trips may be the best kind!