Where were we? Oh, right, that hurricane thing. I’m very lucky I got out of the Kerr Lake area (my original plan for the last few weeks) because a tornado was spotted in the town nearest the campground. I moved to Hungry Mother State Park, which had a lovely running path and I quite enjoyed it.
On Thursday, I finally managed to get the Subaru in for its 60K service, my third try at a service appointment this week (first Durham, NC, then Martinsville, VA, and finally Bluefield, WV). The drive was about an hour, with a fun long tunnel through Big Walker Mountain.
The shuttle guy at the dealer was so proud of being a West Virginian, that he took me up to an overlook near the dealer so I could see the beauty of the place. He’s lived here all his life except for a short stint in North Carolina and said he wouldn’t live anywhere else.
My refuge at Hungry Mother lasted till Saturday, when the changing path of Florence meant potential flash flooding in the area on Sunday. I found another state park, this one literally on the top of a mountain, in the far western corner of Virginia, so far over I went through part of Tennessee to get to it. I drove a lot of back roads and at one stop light found myself staring at Elvis and Dale Earnhardt (top photo in this post).
The park is pretty deserted, just me and two other campers in this loop of 20 or so sites, so it’s nice and quiet. Rained all day on Sunday and most of Monday and then Tuesday dawned clear and warm so that was the end of Florence here. I found a graveyard while walking around; this might be the first state park I’ve seen with its own cemetery.
Tuesday I headed over to the town of Gate City to do a little grocery shopping at the Food Lion and stopped in to an old-fashioned pharmacy (literally nothing but medicines and medical devices!) for my yearly flu shot (get your shot!). The main street was more open stores than empty storefronts, so that was good to see after passing through so many little towns struggling to survive.
I bought gas at a Citgo, where the owner was a woman from Peru, her husband is from Egypt, and they moved here about 10 years ago and love it. They went away for a week and left the garage door open, she told me, and when they got back, nothing was missing. Try that in New York, she said, and we both laughed, having both lived there.
I’ll close this week’s report with a look at the Natural Tunnel the park is named after. It is taller than a 10-story building, more than 850 feet long, and it took the river thousands of years to carve the chasm through the limestone. A railroad goes through it and my timing was perfect to see a train of empty coal cars go through it.
Next week, if there are no more hurricanes, I should finally be reporting in from North Carolina, where I hope to start seeing some fall colors in the next month. Come on, fall, let’s do this. I’m done with hot weather and humidity so thick I change clothes twice a day. The promise of cooler days is tantalizing!
Every unexpected change is an opportunity for something wonderful.