Friday, February 7, 2014

US 50 Phase 1: West Virgina and Southern Ohio in two days.

Sep 23 West Virginia in a day.

After taking the time to explore Winchester a bit in the morning I headed west and soon crossed into West Virginia, then right back out of it again as I crossed the very southwestern tip of Maryland (A whole lot different than eastern Maryland.) before diving back into West Virginia were I spent the rest of the day negotiating 15 MPH hairpin turns and 9% grades. Not exactly relaxed driving! But it was fun anyway! Just glad I'm not trying this on slippery roads.

I tried stopping at Bridgeport where US50 intersects I79 but no campgrounds and it was even surprisingly difficult to find a fuel station, so I kept on going.

It was pretty much the same story at Parkersburg, at US50 & I77, so I did some looking in The Book (Campground guide.) then crossed into the southeast corner of Ohio and stopped near the town of Coolville at the Carthage Gap campground.

This is a pleasant enough looking campground nicely tucked in away from the highway but is a strange, cash-only, place full of rigs but no people. Actually there were two groups of people among all those rigs but neither group was friendly at all. (Maybe I just have that kind of face??) All in all the place had a weird feel to it that's keeping me to myself and close to my site.



Sep 24

Left that weird little campground behind and soon took a side trip to look at some property I had located on the web. (Yeah – I’m at that stage where I’m wondering if it might be nice to live closer to family, at least within a day’s drive.) This area might be just off the western edge of the Appalachians but there is still too much hills-n-hollows around to make it a good place to live. Driving these roads day in and day out, especially in bad weather, or even just at night, would not be comfortable, especially when I'm older with arthritis of the neck and only one good eye.

Shortly after that illuminating excursion I took another side trip to wander around the town of Athens OH. This is a pleasant enough little collage town, better than some but not spectacular. If it was in a different location, namely far enough south to stay out of snow and ice, it would make for a decent shopping destination from a rural home, but, well, it’s not.

So having confirmed that the area just wouldn’t work as a home base, I finished with my poking around and worked my way across southern Ohio on US50 through numerous small towns until I got to Cincinnati. Just like Montgomery AL, Cincinnati snuck up on me with little or no warning in the form of sprawling subdivisions and shopping. Instead, after being lulled by traveling though farm-lands, just before US50 hits the IH275 loop around Cincinnati there are only a couple small manufacturing plants to give any warning that you are about to enter the zone of city traffic.

On the north side of the city I spent some time wandering Entertainment Junction, a massive model railroad layout inside a warehouse type building. It has a strong emphasis on kids but there is plenty there for the adult railroad enthusiast too.

The north side of Cincinnati shows some of that city sprawl I like to avoid so I went a few miles northeast to get away from it and settled for the night at the Olive Branch campground, a nice place away from the city and back off the road with some short trails around a couple ponds to stretch your legs on and the camper's seem to have got their friendly back.

Boy, after writing this it sure does look like a busy day! Clearly I haven't gotten the knack of relaxed traveling down yet. . .


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