Bob woke me up at 7:30 and we made preparations to leave. We are watching the Weather Channel checking on Tropical Storm Elsa’s arrival in Palmetto. Our friends back home are keeping us informed. It’s just a waiting game. We’ll know more later tonight and tomorrow morning about the impact Elsa will have on our community. We pulled out at 9:00 and made the steep climb out of the campground with the Jeep attached. We hopped on I-77 north for a drive of 274 miles today. Traffic was light. We stopped in Jonesville for fuel ($3.09 diesel) and crossed the border into Virginia at 11:00.
We started to see views of the mountains in the distance.
We began our climb up and over the mountains with great views of the valley below.
We were able to get close to the actual speed limit of 65 mph on our climb. That was amazing, but what goes up must come down. As we made our descent, we hit 72 mph. Woo-hoo! The highway crossed over the Blue Ridge Parkway below and continued on north. This portion of the road is a scenic highway that cuts across the western tip of Virginia.
Bob spotted a shot tower sitting on the bank of the New River. This shot tower was built 200 years ago. Lead from the nearby mines was melted in a kettle atop the 75-foot tower and poured through a sieve falling through the tower, an additional 75-foot shaft under the tower, into a kettle of water. It was used by early settlers to create ammunition. We have one of these shot towers in Wisconsin too.
Due to the steepness of the decline on highways like this, you can usually find an escape ramp or runaway ramp as seen here.
Big Walker Memorial Tunnel cut right through the mountain for 4,229 feet. Driving through the tunnel was kind of eerie.
We also went through the East River Mountain Tunnel for 5,412 feet.
We crossed the West Virginia border shortly after 12:30.
After 9 miles into West Virginia we were on the I-77 toll road. Good thing we bought the E-Z Pass which is good on toll roads east of the Mississippi River. The drive through the mountains of West Virginia did a number on our gas mileage as we wove our way up and down through the steep forested mountains. We normally get 10-11 miles per gallon, but today we got 8.2 mpg. The temps outside kept rising to a steamy 90 degrees. (We want to give a shout out to our Florida neighbors, Jim and Karen Wadsworth from Summersville, WV. We’ll see you in Palmetto this winter.) We crossed the Kanawha River via this really cool bridge in Charleston, WV.
Charleston is the state capitol of West Virginia. Check out this beautiful capitol dome.
We exited 13 miles north of Charleston near the town of Romance where we would find our campground, Rippling Waters Church of God Campground.
We arrived there at 2:30 and checked in. Because we didn’t get a pull-through site like we were promised, they didn’t charge us to camp. I guess there was some confusion with someone who came in with a larger RV than they said they would have, so they had to give them our site. It wasn’t a big problem for us, but the hosts were very accommodating and told us that they wouldn’t charge us the $36 camping fee. That was very nice of them. The grounds are very pretty with a lake and beautiful white chapel.
This graceful swan had the lake all to herself.
We hooked up to AC right away and got settled into site #23.
Auggie and I sat outside for a little while to give Auggie a chance to stretch his legs. It didn’t take long before we were both ready to get out of the heat. We made some phone calls to check on things at home and relaxed a little before dinner. We were told that we had a few rain bands come through Palmetto, but nothing too serious was happening yet. We will get a report tomorrow morning after the storm goes through. Meanwhile, we just wait and pray. Auggie, Bob, and I took our evening walk once things cooled off a little. We would spend just one night here and then leave for Pickerington, OH tomorrow to spend some time with our good friends, Bob and Dee, formerly of Palmetto, FL.