We got up about 5:15 am on the morning of Monday, August 29.
We ate a complimentary breakfast in the hotel. Breakfast was set up the same as it was in February, when we stayed at this hotel en route Surfside Beach SC. An attendant got the food that we desired. The man serving breakfast was friendly. Perhaps he will remember us, when we stay again in February on our way to Surfside Beach.
We departed the hotel at 7:26 am. There was a little fog, as we began our drive home.
We made a brief stop in Fayetteville WV at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, where I obtained a National Park Service passport stamp cancellation for the New River Gorge National Park.
A short boardwalk descends into the gorge for a view of the New River Gorge Bridge.
It was a good travel day, until …
We left I-79 at Exit 99 onto Rt. 422 East to get out of the storm. We exited onto Rt. 528 North to Route 8. The storm is chasing us, but we would rather encounter it on slower-speed roads than on the interstate. We caught up to the storm again, as we turned onto Route 8 from Route 528.
There was a several minute delay from road construction, during the storm. I don’t see how they can be working in this downpour.
We stopped at Eat n Park in Franklin for an early lunch / late dinner and to wait out the storm. We hoped the time spent eating would allow the storm to pass through and out of the Warren area.
We returned home at 5:00 pm. The storm and the short construction delay were our only hindrances to today’s drive. It was an easy drive home from Franklin, as we allowed the storm to get ahead us. We did see evidence of the storm, along the way…small tree limbs, leaves, and pine cones scattered all over the road. That debris is what we saw on our street, in our yard, and on our driveway. It appears tree branches snapped off a tree in a neighbor’s back yard, across the street from us, and scattered debris all over the neighborhood.
Bob was able to unpack the car, without rain falling down.
Wickett was happy to see us. She meowed and meowed her pleasure, rubbed up against us, and asked that we pet her over and over again.
On Wednesday, February 16th, We “checked out” of Airbnb ”Seaside Cottage” around 6:30 am and drove to the beach, where we watched the sun rise.
This was the first sunrise on the beach that I saw in the week we were in Surfside Beach. I wasn’t able to get to the beach in time for sunrise the other mornings. A prescription drug that I take with dinner rarely allows me to leave the house before 9:00 am, unless I have the availability of a close by bathroom. Bob saw a beach sunrise the first and last day.
After seeing the sunrise, we began our drive back to Pennsylvania.
We arrived at the Quality Inn New River Gorge (Fayetteville, WV) around 2:00 pm. We checked in and carried our baggage into our room. Soon afterward we walked to Elliott’s Whitewater Bar & Grill, located on the hotel grounds. There was a flurry of excitement, as we entered, I thought there was going to be a bar brawl. The guy cussing was told to “just go”. He did, after a few minutes and more cussing. Someone walked out with him to make sure that he left and didn’t hit anyone’s car! The bar quieted down after that man left. Later we learned that the unruly man had been there for several hours drinking Jägermeister and was saying things he shouldn’t be saying to the underage waitress. The waitress felt so uncomfortable that she asked the manager to come sit in the bar. A couple of the men at the bar, who had been there for only a short while, kicked out the unruly man. By the way, the food and service were excellent. Bob ordered a pork chop with onion rings. I ordered fish sticks with a loaded baked potato. Both meals included a side salad.
Soon after dinner we drove to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, where we viewed the New River Gorge and the New River Gorge Bridge. The Canyon Rim Visitor center is about a mile north of our hotel. We had planned to stop at the visitor center the next morning, but it likely will be raining. So we visited this afternoon.
We have stopped often at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, but we had never seen this particular view of the bridge. As we were crossing the bridge I noticed a man and a woman standing at an overlook. When we arrived at the visitor center, the first thing we did was look for that overlook. The trail shown in the photograph displayed above leads under the bridge. Bob walked down and back up that trail (steep climb!), but was not able to walk under the bridge. The passageway was locked.
We walked down a boardwalk to an overlook of the bridge. We could have walked farther, but neither of us felt like doing steps.
We walked behind the Visitor Center, where we saw the New River Gorge.
Around 6:00 pm we lost power at the hotel. We had no electricity until 8:11 pm. We never did find out what caused the outage. The power outage did not affect the hotel only. Nearby businesses lost their power as well. By the way, soon after the power went out, we lied down and fell asleep. The power coming back on awakened me. That is how I knew the time the power came back on.
We departed Quality Inn New River on Thursday, February 17th, shortly before 7:15 am. Before leaving, we enjoyed a complementary breakfast of scrambled egg patties, sausage and biscuits; orange juice and tea/coffee; and muffin/danish. The hot food was served to us. The remaining foods we were free to pick up ourselves. The server told us the way they do breakfast is not COVID related. They do breakfast this way year round.
We reached the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border around 9:30 am. We still had a 3 1/2-hour drive until we would be back home. Up to this point we had avoided the forecasted rain! Ten minutes later, at Masontown exit (exit 14 on I-79), we caught up with the rain. The rain was with us the rest of the way home.
We got off I-79 at the Slippery Rock exit. We were getting tired of interstate travel. The slower pace was welcome.
We stopped for lunch at Eat’n Park in Franklin. Bob ordered a chicken sandwich with cheesy fries. I ordered a turkey club sandwich with a fruit cup. We each ordered pie for dessert.
We were back on the road at 12:35 pm and returned home at 2:00 pm. We drove a total of 1,750.40 miles, since our departure on February 8th.
This was the first time that Bob and I had ever been to the South Carolina coast. We enjoyed our visit very much — so much, in fact, that we are already talking about going back next year.
On our third day of vacation (May 11th) we were showered and dressed and had eaten breakfast by 6:30 am, at which time we left for another drive to the bottom of New River Gorge near Fayetteville WV. Yesterday morning, as we crossed over the New River Bridge en route Babcock State Park, there was fog rising up from the bottom of the gorge. I hoped conditions would be the same this morning because it would be quite impressive seeing the bridge rising out of the fog. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any fog this morning.
Still, the view at the bottom was once again worth the trip!
We stopped at three small waterfalls, as we were climbing up the other side.
Our next stop was at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. The views of the gorge and bridge are the main attraction at the visitor center.
A short hiking trail descends into the gorge on a wooden boardwalk.
The boardwalk has two observation decks which offer unobstructed views of the longest steel arch span in the western hemisphere and the mile wide gorge it spans. We walked the trail to the bottom-most observation deck. We have made this hike several times over the years. The view took on new meaning for us, as we saw where we had been when we were at the bottom of the gorge.
First Observation Deck View
View from Bottom Observation Deck
See that bridge at the bottom of the gorge? I stood on that bridge, when we drove to the bottom of the gorge!
Bob and I on the bottom observation deck
It was not yet 8:30 am, when we walked back up the wooden boardwalk to the visitor center. We discussed the possibility of checking out of our hotel a day early, as we had seen all we hoped to see during our stay in the Fayetteville, WV area. We checked the weather report and saw that we would encounter rain en route Maggie Valley, NC (our final destination). Travel on our scheduled departure day, though, looked rain free. We decided to stay the night. In my next vacation blog post, I will share what we did on the rest of our third day of vacation.
During the afternoon of our second day of vacation (May 10), we drove to the bottom of the New River Gorge (near Fayetteville, WV), via County Road 82 known also as Fayetteville Station Road. The road wasn’t as bad as I had been led to believe from a description that I had read on the Internet. The route is highlighted on the MotorcycleRoads.us website. Two comments had been left from riders.
Comment #1: “Quite twisty road (mostly one way) through the New River Gorge. You travel right under the New River Gorge Bridge. This used to be the only way to travel from one side to the other. Route also has several scenic stops along the way.” – Rick Stewart (6/26/08)
Comment #2: “Also known as Fayetteville Station Road, this is more of a trail than a road in some ways…most of it is one way, so you’ll need to start on the Lansing (north) side. There are extremely tight (walk your bike through tight) switchbacks on the way down, and the road condition is fair at best. Coming up the other side is much easier.” – Rider from Durham, NC (6/23/09)
Both comments are not recent. Perhaps the road is better maintained now than it was when these two individuals rode their motorcycles to the bottom of the gorge.
We drove the car to the bottom of the gorge. We started on the Lansing (north) side, as noted in comment #2 above. Here are some of the views, as we were making our way to the bottom of the gorge.
First Stop as we drove to Bottom of New River Gorge
It is a LONG way up there!
The worse part of the drive was at the bottom, going over the railroad crossing, right before the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge. The railroad crossing has a big dip in it. Bob drove over that crossing very slowly. We didn’t bottom out!
Tunney Hunsaker Bridge
This was the view looking in one direction, while on the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge.
New River Gorge Bridge This was the view looking in the other direction, while on the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge.
Bob said he would have been able to ride the motorcycle on that road. There were a couple switchbacks that would have been a little hairy, but overall it would have been a good ride. He was just as happy driving the car, though. He didn’t want to risk having something happen so early in the trip. The views at the bottom of the gorge were well worth the trip!
After our drive to the bottom of the New River Gorge, we returned to the hotel. We stayed in for rest of the afternoon and evening. We even ate dinner in our hotel room. Dinner was light, after our hearty lunch at Dirty Ernie’s Rib Pit. We ate a picnic lunch – tuna salad with crackers, peaches and cookies.
Our second day of vacation was such a great day! It was picture perfect too. We saw the Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park, the Gauley River National Recreation Area that includes Summersville Dam and Lake, and the bottom of New River Gorge — places that I have wanted to see for years. We have driven through the New River Gorge area several times over the years, crossing the New River Gorge Bridge each time. It was so nice to have the opportunity to explore the area!
Our 9-day North Carolina vacation began on Sunday, May 11. We traveled in separate vehicles. Bob rode the motorcycle, and I traveled by car. The amount of traveling planned for our vacation was more than I could do on the back of a motorcycle.
Our first day of vacation was a traveling day. We left home (Warren, PA) around 7:00 am. We were not sure how far we would get, so we didn’t make a hotel reservation for our first night’s lodging. It was a good traveling day. It started out chilly but warmed up the farther south we traveled. Bob shed his leather chaps in Waynesburg PA, after about 3 ½ hours of travel. When we left Warren, it was sunny. It clouded up around Tidioute PA and stayed cloudy into the Pittsburgh PA area. It looked like rain might have been on the way, but it didn’t rain on us. The sun did come out again soon after leaving behind the Pittsburgh area; the sun stayed with us for rest of the day.
We made several stops along the way. We made three fuel stops: one in Franklin PA, where Bob filled up; one in Waynesburg PA, where we both fueled up; and a third stop in Sutton WV, where Bob filled up. I wrote that we “both fueled up” in Waynesburg. I filled up; Bob didn’t. The gas pump that I used ran normally, whereas the gas pump that Bob chose ran slowly. In the amount of time it took me to fill up my car, Bob didn’t even get 3 gallons into his motorcycle gas tank. The third fuel stop was because Bob didn’t fill up his gas tank in Waynesburg. In addition to fuel stops, we stopped for lunch at a rest area in West Virginia along Interstate 79 and made two photo stops.
Bob took this “selfie” at the rest area, after we had eaten lunch.
Our picnic lunch included Bumble Bee tuna salad with crackers (ready to eat), no-sugar added diced peaches and a sugar free chocolate chip cookie. We brought the makings for this picnic lunch for FIVE picnics!
The two photo stops were made in West Virginia along Route 19. The first photo stop was at a scenic overlook just north of Summerville WV.
A group of young men and one young lady asked Bob if they could have their picture taken on his motorcycle. He agreed, but cautioned each person to not touch the hot exhaust!
After the bystanders had their turn having their picture taken on the motorcycle, I had Bob ride to a different location at the overlook where I took his picture on the motorcycle. I left my car at the first location and rode the motorcycle to my car. It was the first time I had ever ridden the motorcycle without a helmet. It was a very short ride, but it felt really odd not wearing a helmet!
A wooden boardwalk and a series of steps descend into the gorge. The boardwalk has two observation decks. We hiked down to the lower observation deck, which offered an unobstructed view of New River Bridge and the mile wide gorge it spans.
New River Gorge
New River Bridge is the longest steel arch span bridge in the western hemisphere.
We made it as far as Oak Hill WV, arriving there around 3:00 pm. We stayed overnight at the Comfort Inn, about 5 miles south of the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. We would stay at this hotel again. The hotel was reasonably priced; our room a bit cramped but comfortable and clean. Our hotel room was on the second floor and faced the front. Our view was Route 19. We hoped that the traffic noise would not disturb our sleep; it didn’t. I would, however, ask for a room in the back if the opportunity presents itself that we stay there again. The complimentary breakfast included the basics: coffee, juice, milk, Danishes, and cold cereal but didn’t stop with those selection. A hot breakfast of eggs, sausage, biscuits, sausage gravy, make-your-own waffles, milk, fresh fruits, and yogurts was provided as well. When we left the next morning, we did not have to stop for breakfast somewhere else because this Comfort Inn provided a complete breakfast.
Here is a map of our first day travels.
We could have traveled a greater distance, but there was really no need to go further. Why hurry? We were on vacation!
On Monday, January 11th, we left home en route Florida. We drove 480 miles, from our home in Warren, Pennsylvania, to Hillsville, Virginia. We departed Warren at 9:15 AM and arrived at our hotel around 6:20 PM. Our drive was uneventful. It was a good travel day. There was no precipitation, and the roads were clear of snow and ice. It would have been nice had there been sunshine and blue skies; however, a cloudy day was better. A cloudy day is easy on the eyes, as you drive. Besides fuel stops and potty breaks we made one stop for brunch and two photo stops. Our two photo stops were along West Virginia’s Route 19 (Mountaineer Expressway).
Scenic Overlook on Route 19 located north of the Summersville/Beckley, WV area
New River Gorge View from inside Canyon Rim Visitor Center located near Fayetteville, WV along Route 19
New River Bridge – the longest steel arch span in the western hemisphere View from inside Canyon Rim Visitor Center located near Fayetteville, WV along Route 19
We spent the night at Comfort Inn in Hillsville, Virginia. We ate dinner at Shoney’s Restaurant, which was across the street from our hotel. We are generally pleased with our accommodations whenever we stay at any Comfort Inn. The Hillsville hotel was no exception. Our room was tastefully decorated, comfortable and quiet. We were pleasantly surprised to be handed a small paper sack upon check in. Inside the paper sack was a bag of chips, cookies, a bottle of water and a newspaper. By the way, snow was still on the ground 480 miles from home.
Our second day of vacation was also a travel day. We drove from Hillsville, Virginia to Kissimmee, Florida — a distance of approximately 650 miles. We left Hillsville around 7:00 AM and pulled into the Clarion Hotel in Kissimmee at approximately 6:00 PM. We made stops only for fuel, potty breaks and lunch. After checking into our hotel, we ate dinner at Denny’s Restaurant. Denny’s was only a short walk away from our hotel. We lost the snow somewhere in North Carolina. It was cool when we arrived in Florida, but much warmer than at home. The temperature when we went to dinner was in the low 50s. Before leaving home I had made a hotel reservation for 4 nights at the Clarion Hotel. We ended up spending only 3 nights at this hotel, as our vacation was cut short.
Stay tuned; Day 3 of our “Get out of the Cold” vacation will be covered in tomorrow’s blog post.