September 27th – Cairo, West Virginia 1800
Yesterday it rained and the temperature dropped into low seventies creating a perfect environment for shopping. Armed with our slightly odd list we went into the town of Ashland, Kentucky to search for things like battery ties, a hatchet, chicken, dog food and a pair of kitchen scissors. Walmart, a necessary evil, would contain all of these items plus several more that we didn’t realize we needed.
Armed with our HDTV antenna in hopes of seeing some Sunday football we started heading back to our campsite when we spotted the local pub and grill. I think there was only one because it was quite large. We headed to the bar area and flat-screen TV’s.
We had barely glanced around when the bartender asked what we’d like to drink. I looked around a little closer and noticed there were no beer taps, no lovely amber bottles of alcohol, no tumblers and no visible signs of the “pub” part.
The bartender looked apologetic and said “sorry, no alcohol on Sundays”. What??? How do we watch football without beer?? Startled we ordered water and stared at each other in shock. Was this the bible belt? Oh dear… no beer. No wonder the bar was empty on a Sunday.
We ordered some fried appetizers and a bowl of potato soup (not as good as our favourite) and left at half time. We decided we’d try our luck with the HDTV antenna.
After several attempts we managed to get a bit of one of the four o’clock games. I was delighted to see the Chiefs were now 3-0 and knew how happy my work partner Dave would be that they beat San Francisco.
To my delight, and Brent’s resignation we got NBC – Sunday night football!!! Woohoo!!! It turned out to be a great game between the Dolphins and the Jets. I watched the whole thing while sucking back as many beers as possible. It was limited due to the potato soup from the pub, but I kept trying.
We woke today to more rain and even cooler temperatures. It was time to search a warmer, drier climate. We decided to pick a spot north east on our way home, but not Ohio. We started driving towards West Virginia and stopped at the welcome centre to pick out a state park.
It took us five minutes to decide on the 3300 acre State Park called North Bend just outside of Cairo, West Virginia. It was a difficult drive with narrow twisty roads once we got off highway fifty, but it was worth every time the trailer tire rolled off the road and frightened the crap out of us.
We’re going to head back into Cairo tomorrow to check it out. We saw four people on the narrow porches and every single one of them waved at our Ontario truck and trailer. I guess they don’t get much traffic. There was a diner, general store and general gift shop. The town is set into the side of a hill, so the sidewalks are narrow and everything is on an angle. It’s quaint and a little backwater, but beautiful.
I can’t wait to check it out.
Our campsite is beside a small stream nestled in a valley. There are no digital channels, no internet, but there is a handful of campers who’ve found their way to this secluded spot in the mountains of West Virginia.
A word of advice for those looking to camp in the United States: State parks. Don’t bother with the expensive KOA or privately run campgrounds. The State Parks are clean with lots of hiking, biking, paddling and hook ups. The general feel of the state park is one of relaxation. The big excitement is when a new rig pulls in, which doesn’t happen all that often during the week.
I think there are thirty-two RV sites and only fifteen have electric here in North Bend State Park. Fewer than ten have electric and water. Our spot has both, a little stream and is right across from the shower. I can see four other campers from my perch and it gives the feeling of comfort. Isolated, but not alone.
I hope that’s a good thing in West Virginia. We think we may have heard some banjos last night.
Overall our camping experience has been fantastic. We’ve nearly set ourselves on fire last night with an electrical problem, we lost and recovered a kayak, outran a tornado and have managed to find several incredible places to visit, get lost and found in less than a day.
We’re having the time of our lives.