Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Erie Pennsylvania to Fayetteville West Virginia

We rose at 6:00 AM to a cloudy, windy and cool Erie morning. The radar map showed a large rain cell moving in from the southeast. It had already crossed I-79 south of us so there was no hope of beating it and we took our time having our hotel breakfast. On the bright side, if the radar was right, we should be able to get behind the rain in a couple of hundred miles.

We left Erie at 8:00 AM in full rain gear. I-79 was down to one lane for the first ten miles or so, an event that was to repeat again further down the road. Proud signs said this work was all being done with stimulus money from Washington. Most of the roads they were working on didn't look too bad to me.

Twenty miles or so down 79, my peripheral vision caught a flash of something moving above us from the left. I ducked as a large wild turkey went over our heads. Shades of deja vu, this was right around where the turkey flew into the side of us about eight years ago. I am not a wild turkey fan. Sandy did point out that at least this wasn't the same turkey......

A light rain started bout 40 miles south of Erie and continued for about 15 miles before easing up. We took a quick break in Grove City, Pa and I thought we would perhaps luck out. Not. As soon as we headed south, we were into steady precipitation and the temperature dropped to 7C (about 45F). We stopped in Waynesburg, Pa in a steady rain for fuel and McDonalds lunch. Then we continued to slosh our way southwards.

At the pretty little rest area south of Weston, WV, we stopped again and I phoned Wrong Turn (Jim) for directions to his place in Fayetteville. As we left, there was a patch of blue sky a couple of miles to the west, the first promising sign all day. By the time we reached US 19, the rain had stopped and, by Summersville, the roads were dry.

We arrived at Wrong Turn's house about 3:00 PM. The plan was to offload the Kuryakyn higway pegs for his new GoldWing but the sky clouded up again and we took up his and Katie's offer to spend the night. Jim and Katie were in a serious bike accident earlier this spring. Katie's injuries were relatively minor while Jim had his left upper arm broken in firve places, his right wrist shattered and the head broken off his femur. With a partially new hip and a lot of titanium parts and screws, he has made a remarkable recovery so far. He is one tough gentleman.

They took us over to the OK Chinese Buffet, located in the same mall as the K-Mart. (Remember the Batman pillow, Terry & Patsy?). It was enjoyable and Jim met a man whose father he had taught. This man's son (Jim's student's grandson) was in college. That is a sobering thought.

Jim & Katie at the OK Chinese Buffet

After supper, Jim took us for a different view of the bridge over the New River Gorge. We've seen the views from the Visitor Center but he took us down this narrow, winding road to the bottom of the gorge. The New River is popular with rafters and kayakers and Jim can tell some stories because he used to be a river guide. Railway tracks run both sides of the river down at the bottom and the twisting road used to be the only road.

The bridge from part way down the gorge

Down by the river

Jim & Katie on the bridge

Another view of the highest arch bridge in the western hemisphere

Back at the house, we watched American Idol (go Crystal) and Lost (because we would have to see it live next week with the kids). Then we turned in for the night.

Today's route:

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We've seen the bridge from the Visitor Center as well. One day I would like to see it from the bottom of the gorge, as you did. We're cheering on Crystal, as well, on AI. Lost is another favorite TV show of ours.