Today, we bundled up LeuC and between rain storms returned to heading down the road. The previous two days were very soggy with lots of rain storms, very dark clouds and, at times, lots of wind. It all added up to some pretty nasty weather. As we hunkered down in our campground to wait out the rain, we watched Lake Burnsville, the 10-mile-long reservoir in which the Little Kanawha River runs into, rise about 6 inches. This was easy to measure since we could see a berm that runs out into the lake from our salon window. Where before it was about 4 inches above the water, it was now about two or more inches underwater.
Today’s drive took us south-southwest to Charlottesville, West Virginia’s state capital. Once there, we turned right and headed up a freeway pointing north. In about an hour we headed west and crossed a long, narrow two-lane bridge that crossed the wide and muddy Ohio River. We were now out of West Virginia and into the heart of the Ohio hill country.
So far, the drive was pretty easy, with most of it being on 4-lane, controlled access freeways. Sure, there were periodic, heavy downpours, but that just slowed us down some. However, once in Ohio, the drive started getting interesting. Our GPS really wanted us to turn onto Route 124, which runs north along the banks of the Ohio River. However, within a few hundred yards on that road, we saw a “Road Closed” sign. We slammed on the brakes and dove into a small turnout. Whew! That was close. If we had continued, we would have come up to a bridge washout. With all of the belly gushers we have been having, a small bridge had been swept away. We were in no danger, as the washed-out bridge was well down the road, but if we went any further, we would have had to unhook our little Fiat that we tow behind LeuC and then, with Mary Margaret driving the little Fiat, I would have had to back LeuC for a long way before we could have turned around. That would have not been fun.
Once we were back on the main highway, our GPS soon rerouted us down a narrow country road with no shoulders. We hate using such roads as they leave no room for errors before we run our wheels off the pavement and onto soft mud which could pull us off the road. Ugh. The thought is just plain ugly.
This little road finally got us back to Route 124. As we looked both ways before turning north, we could saw a “Bridge Out” sign down the south direction. I snickered a bit at that sign knowing that we had just avoided that washed-out bridge. Route 124 was another road without a shoulder, but, at least it had a painted white line indicating where the edge of the road was. After about 7 miles and with only another 10 miles to go up the Ohio River to where our next campground is located, we saw a series of barricades blocking off the road. Oh, no… another bridge had washed out. Damn!
There was no turnout to dive into this time but there was a dirt road that our GPS suggested we now take. No freakin’ way were we going to do that! Not only was the road dirt, it was one lane and soon disappeared into a deep, dark forest with lots of low hanging limbs hanging across the lane. Grrrr!
Fortunately, there was enough of the lane in front of the deep, dark forest where we could turn onto, stop, unhook our little Fiat, and then back LeuC up, turn and back LeuC right up to the barricades and then squeeze back onto Route 124 and return to the main highway from which we had left.
After performing this little turn-around maneuver and re-hooking up our little Fiat, we were back on Route 124 and worked our way back to the main highway. Our problem now was this main highway, State 33, heads to the northwest, which with each mile we drove, was taking us away from our campground destination.
After 15 or so miles, we finally found another narrow, shoulder-less road that would eventually take us back to the Ohio River and our Fork Run State Park campground. This route was not much fun to drive on, not only was it narrow, curvy as it went up and down the hills that makes up this part of the State and also had no shoulders, but soon, it was under construction. They had decided to add 3 inches of new asphalt onto our side of the road. This meant the new pavement ended into either grass or mud or, at times, just a ditch and the right side of our lane had a 3-inch lip before you got down onto that side of the road which bore the on coming traffic. Plus, when they paved our lane, they did not extend the new asphalt all the way to the yellow center lane marker. Thus, I had about 6 inches between our tires and the grass, mud, ditch side of the road and another 6 inches before I dropped off the lip of the right side of the asphalt and then would be pulled into the on-coming traffic. Gulp!
Both Mary Margaret and I have to admit that it was at times a little white knuckled with trucks springing up toward us as we went around a bendy hilly curve and ditches with 3 to 4-foot drops on our right.
With sweat beaded up on both of our brows, we finally, finally, made it to the turn off into our State Park and our new home for the next 4 days. Yea!
On Wednesday, we will leave for…. wait for it…. wait for it a bit longer…. a RV Park near Columbus, Ohio. It is even in the shadows tof hat evil football team, called the Ohio State Buckeyes. We will be leaving LeuC for a couple of weeks as we fly back to Northern California to attend a wedding.
By the way, our Fork Run State Park, where we will be for the next 4 days, does not have good Internet or cell phone connectivity. Thus, posting this and future blogs will be a challenge!