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Arriving here at Canaan Valley I understand why West Virginia truly is the mountain state. Just getting to our campsite here we experienced roadways with 7-10% grades, over long distances of 4 to 5 miles, pretty damn steep. Top that off with snow flurries in the middle of April as we squeezed through nearly 5000 foot tall mountain passes and it makes for some interesting driving for this long time Florida resident.

But we made it and the truck performed admirably with the task we asked it to do today. When we arrived there was snow on the ground, but before noon the next day it was all gone, except for the nearby mountain tops.


YEAR #2 - STOP #24

Well today's drive was a little bit different! We woke up this morning a looked out the windows and saw snow flurries. Not enough that it stuck around once it hit the ground but enough that we considered it our second snowy day of our travels.

It temperature was in the mid-30s and we thought once it warmed up a bit the snow would stop, but that didn't happen. During our 225 mile move today we went up and down in elevation over 2000 feet and it was snowing the entire drive. At the higher mountain passes the snow was actually beginning to accumulate on the ground. When we arrived at our new campsite this is was we saw.

It's going to be a chilly night for us!



Last night we found out Tricia's Verizon cell phone and MiFi hot spot have no service at this location. My AT&T cell phone on the other hand has 2 bars of service, so Tricia used my phone to connect for work, which meant I wasn't able to do anything online or read my book.

This morning we both went up to the lodge to work, Tricia using my cell phone and me using the lodge's free WiFi. Tricia uses a Microsoft Surface Pro for work and while it's nice and portable it's more like a tablet in most respects. With limited inputs and outputs, you have to purchase what's called a Surface Dock ($200) to be able to connect anything to it. We have a dock, but it's semi-permanently mounted to the underside of the dinette table where Tricia usually does her work. So this morning I'm working from the lodge, using their free WiFi and Tricia is back at THE POD working with my cell phone and the docking station.

Right after lunch our mission was to get one of our two 30-lb. propane tanks refilled. One of them has been empty for a while now and we weren't sure how much was left in the second one. With the cold temperatures lately we've been using propane to run our furnace overnight to keep our holding tanks from freezing. Even if the second 30lb. tank was to go empty we also carry a 20-lb. (to run the generator) and a 5-lb. (to use with the BBQ grill) tank in the rear of the truck for backup, just in case!

Seneca Rocks
Seneca Rocks from the parking lot below.

It proved to be a little bit of a task to find propane near here. We had to travel 23 miles to the small town of Seneca Rocks to find someone who could refill our tank. While there we were also able to purchase gasoline and view the amazing peaks of Seneca Rocks, which is a well known rock climbers paradise. There is not one, but two climbing schools located near the base of the 900 foot tall rocks, just in case you're interested in climbing to the top, not for us I'm afraid!

UPDATE: We solved Tricia's computer limitations with a small 4-port USB hub I had on hand, so this afternoon we're working side by side up at the lodge. It's good to get away from THE POD every once in a while and how can you beat this office view?

Office View
Overlooking the Canaan Valley from my office for the day!



Today we had to hang around THE POD until 10:00AM to make reservations for a campsite in October, that's right 6 months from now. That's the only way you can get a campsite at some of the more popular National Parks and Forest Service campgrounds. Anyway we secured our first pick of sites and we were off to go visit another cave near here.

Seneca Caverns is located in Riverton, WV about eight miles south of The Seneca Rocks we visited yesterday. The tour lasts about an hour, has 282 stairs and covers 3/4 mile underground and then 1/4 mile outside back to where we started. Every cave we visit has something unique about it and that's why we keep going to these out of the way places to see another cave.

The modest entrance to Seneca Caverns

Cave Crickets
Cave crickets are found throughout Seneca Caverns

The man-made walkway over one of the wetter areas of the cave

This formation has the nickname Cave Popcorn for obvious reasons

After our grueling cave tour we were hungry! Yesterday when we were at the base of Seneca Rocks, in the small community with the same name, we saw a place to eat. There is not much here, the two climbing schools I mentioned yesterday, Harper's Old Country Store where we purchased propane and gasoline yesterday, and Yokum's Grocery & Deli. We decided to have lunch at the deli instead of driving all the way back to THE POD for lunch.

We went inside and found the window at the back of the building where you order your food, pick out a beverage from the cooler, then go to the front of the building to the grocery store register to pay for your meal. They had a Special of the Day called a Ramp Burger, I just had to ask what it was. Turns out a ramp is a wild vegetable. It's kind of like an onion, or a scallion, or a leek, but it's none of these, it's a ramp. Ramps grow all over this area and they are harvested during the spring. It's a very short season so you have to be at the right place at the right time to enjoy one.

My Ramp Burger had chopped ramps mixed in with the ground beef. It tasted like I expected, a hamburger with a strong onion/garlic flavor, I liked it. Usually when it comes to food I'm willing to try just about anything once!

• • • 100 MILE • • •


Seneca Caverns cave tour is one mile long and that
brings our annual total up to 15 miles.

Who will be the first to correctly guess our next location?

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