Good morning. It’s sunny and around 28 degrees in Wellsboro. Last night certainly was chilly, with the first hard frost to hit the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania with temperatures dropping into the low 20s.
Today, as I post this note, my eight day road trip comes to an end. Or as they say, all good things must come to an end. I still have a four hours or so road trip home but my camping gear has been packed one last time. The memories will last forever, but it is done. Things will get unpacked once I get home, at least for a few weeks. I am already thinking of a November trip to the North Country of New York around Massena. Small game hunting and enjoying the November weather.
Friday night I went back to West Virginia and camped at the Camp Run Campground off of the beautiful Sweedin Valley in the George Washington National Forest. Camp Run is free but rustic along an old dirt road. No cellphone service or much radio reception as this part of West Virginia is in a National Dark Zone where commercial radio broadcasting is restricted due to the very sensitive outer space telescope that exists in this area.
Prior to setting up camp on Friday night I came up from the Blue Ridge Parkway via US Route 220 through Virginia then West Virginia. Parts of US Route 220 were nice cruising in the valleys. The section from Covington to Hot Springs was less fun with steep hills and lots of sharp curves. At least this road was wide a bit without shoulders. The waterfalls outside of Hot Springs was pretty neat. Hot Springs and Warm Springs was home to many great mansions and old estate. North of Warm Springs was a narrow but beautiful agricultural valley, mostly chicken raisers and beef producers. I don’t think I saw a dairy farm the whole time I was in Virginia or West Virginia.The long chicken barns, corn fields and the alike dotted the landscape. A lot of beef operations in parts. Although, now that I think of it I remember seeing and smelling some dairies in the Shenandoah Valley near Harrison.
Spent some time in Buchanan, VA mostly to get gasoline and mail post cards from the Blue Ridge Parkway to home. Seems silly but I wanted to have a few postcards that were postmarked from the southern most leg of my trip in Virginia, so I could keep as a memory from the trip. Buchanan was a cute mountain town for sure. The Buchanan swinging bridge – an old suspension pedestrian bridge over the James River was pretty neat.
At Camp Run I spent the evening with several locals and others who have been camping up there for decades – literally since the late 1970s. It was interesting to hear from their experiences and local knowledge of West Virginia. They knew basically every campsite up there. It was great getting to know some true blue West Virginians.
Yesterday I continued up US Route 220 into Pennsylvania and eventually north to Lockhaven and eventually onto PA 287 to Wellsboro. Decided to overnight at Asaph Run, which is near the Pine Creek Gorge. There is one other group of campers down the way. I thought about going down and introducing myself but I’m tired and by the time I cooked dinner and got a roaring fire going I was almost ready for bed. Saw these great looking meatballs at a grocery store in West Virginia and decided I would cook up spaghetti and meatballs on this frigid mid-fall evening. Now this isn’t the coldest weather I have camped at during the year but somehow after a long hot summer things seemed to cool off so quickly.
The drive back through Maryland was no more pleasant then my first trip on down through it. US Route 220 is flatter and somewhat straighter then 219, but it’s still pokey through Keyser and Cumberland Maryland. Cumberland sucks as US Route 220 goes concurrently with I-68 through what has to be the worst part of that expressway – a steep and tight turn as the expressway rams right through Cumberland in a section where the expressway drops to 40 MPH before resuming to 70. US Route 220 becomes I-99 in Pennsylvania just past the Pennsylvania Turnpike, although it’s obvious that Maryland has already done the grading for the future extension of I-99 to I-68. It will be great when both US Route 219 and 220 will be fully upgraded to expressways in Pennsylvania.
I found I-99 to be boring after a while and decided I had to get off it to explore the surrounding farm country. I see signs for Blue Knob State Park and decided I had to explore it. Turns out it was farther away from the expressway than expected and moreover was mostly just a ski resort with minimal views. You could see snow falling from the sky but it was not sticking to the ground.
My phone GPS promptly took me back to I-99 but I chose to stay on Business US Route 220, which promptly took me through congested Holidaysburg. I was not happy. Got back on I-99 and stayed on it until it runs into I-80. No direction from there were to go, finally got on I-80 east and wanted to get off it as soon as possible as there was a ton of truck traffic and the 70 mph speed limit. Took PA 287 to Wellsboro were I spent the night camping. It was cold but quiet and nice. Went to bed early and slept in for that last leg of the trip home.
This morning I’m at Colton Point State Park, the West Rim of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. I’ve been here many times before but I figured with my stop over here, I had to visit.
Have a great day!