Thursday, September 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Shelly

The long weekend continued on Monday for Shelly's birthday. Kind of sad that we have to take a day off from work to see each other when we live in the same house, but it was a great day nonetheless.  Started with breakfast: fried potatoes, eggs, toast, and coffee. After Brock woke up, we dropped him off with Aunt Amy and we headed toward Lake Hope. First stop, Moonville tunnel.


We arrived at the lake and put in our kayaks (actually, I used Ethan's kayak, a little cramped). We had the entire lake to ourselves.  Followed by a pizza lunch at Jackie O's and coffee at the Donkey.
Finished the day off with a fire and dinner.  Shelly loves potatoes, so I wrapped some chopped potatoes, green peppers, onion and ham up in some foil and in the fire it went.  Enjoyed a great fall evening outside.


Happy Birthday to my beautiful wife.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

To the Moon (Rocks) and Back

What a great weekend.  Camping, mountain biking, good food, and good company.

Day One (9/21/2012)

I left work Friday at 10:30 to head to Davis WV to spend the weekend camping and mountain biking.  We stuffed all our gear into Ryan's borrowed Toyota truck and hit the road, tooling down US Rt 50 for the bulk of the trip.  We grabbed a bite to eat at Panera in Clarksburg.  (I have to add that I might not be yuppie enough to eat there.)  It has been years since I have been on this section of road which was particularly nice after Clarksburg, passing a unique store, some wind electric generators, and winding along some picturesque river.

A couple hours later we pulled into Davis, a rather small town that serves the Canaan Valley/Blackwater Falls/Timberline area with a bike shop, couple of restaurants, and a grocery store.

A quick stop at Blackwater Bikes (to check on trail maps) and we were off, down Camp Road 70 in to the Canaan Valley Institute land and to campsites 2 and 3, right on the Blackwater River.  We grabbed both campsites which are free, primitive sites on a first come, first serve basis, to share among the 9 people meeting for the weekend.  We set up several tents, unpacked, and got the site ready for the rest of the folks that were heading down after dark.

We got the bikes unloaded and ready to ride and rolled up our pant legs for a 2 mile ride down the stone covered road to Davis for some Hellbender burritos.

Back to camp before it got dark and we sat around watching the stars as the others arrived until we hit the tents around 10p to rest up.

Day Two (9/22/2012)

I woke up earlier than the others (I am the only one of the 9 with kids and I am so used to Brock waking me up early, plus I was excited to ride) and was greeted by a nice splash of sunlight across the tree tops.  As folks rolled out of their sleeping bags, I made a pot of coffee and Tina and James started on breakfast.  I already like camping with these folks, they know how to eat!

Time to gear up for the first ride of the day.  What can I say about it?  Rocks.  Pretty rocks, rocks in the river, small rocks, big rocks, sharp rocks, smooth rocks.  There are rocks everywhere!  Down the road to the trail entrance and not a mile later, I smash my foot into one of the aforementioned rocks after unloading the rear tire and, spinning the crank over fast and hard.  First time on the ground for the day and wow does my toe hurt.  The trail snakes along the river back toward town and past an acid neutralization site.  We stopped in at the bike shop again after one of the bike developed a brake problem.  A quick review of the map while we waited, and then off into Blackwater Falls park.

We rode up another "unimproved" road into the park and to the falls lookout followed by some more trails to other overlooks.  No shortage of photoworthy spots here.

After riding back into camp, I brewed up another pot of coffee, made another peanut butter sandwich to stuff in my pack, refilled the water bottle, and got ready to head out for Moon Rocks.  By now my toe just plain hurts.  It is turning purple and a bit swollen so I take an Advil and tape a couple toes together, as I am not missing out on the ride.  As if the rocks we had spent all morning riding over weren't enough, were were heading to moon rocks, a crazy landscape of limestone, followed by HooDoo rocks.  Oh, did I mention the rocks?

After making it back to camp, we changed clothes and piled into a couple cars to head in to Davis for pizza at Sirianni's.  A quick stop at the grocery store for some more water, then back to sit around a fire.

Day Three (9/23/2012)

Sometime during the night a truck spent a good bit of time stopped on the road at our campsites.  Other than slamming doors and talking loudly at 3am, I have no idea what they were doing, but I did feel better that 6'6" Ryan got up to keep an eye on things.  They finally left, but a few minutes later we heard a quick round of gun shots.  Must have been locals spotlighting something.  Finally got back to sleep to wake early Sunday morning.  A quick stroll down the road to test out the toe revealed 1) it was cold - 37F, and 2) my toes really hurt.  Time for another Advil and tape.  The camp slowly woke up and got started on breakfast.

A smaller group rolled out for one last ride before heading back to Ohio.  The cold of the morning burned off to a nice sunny and brisk day.

Back to camp sometime around 1p to pack up and hit the road.  We stopped in Thomas WV for some late lunch at the Purple Fiddle and coffee.  An artsy little town with tasty food and multiple antique and art galleries.  Back on the road, we followed a semi-truck for the next 35 miles, with its brakes smoking on the long downhill (%7 grade for 5 miles).  Passed another, larger installation of wind turbines near Elkins.

Finally home around 9pm to a little boy jumping up and down yelling daddy!  One of the best parts of the trip.

I have also created a web album of all the photos here.