West Virginia Part 2

Tuesday morning Steve came by and picked me up for the short drive to the car rental place in Elkins. I’d reserved a SUV so we’d have room for Franco’s crate. We got an almost new Dodge Journey that was black… not the best color if you want the dog to stay cool. This was the first SUV I’ve ever driven, and I wasn’t impressed. The seats were configurable, but there was barely enough height for the dog crate. Compare that to our Pontiac Vibe, a small hatchback with plenty of room for the crate, 3 passengers, and some cargo space to boot. The SUV sure knew how to consume the fuel too. I will say they managed to put a cup holder in just about every orifice of the car’s interior, though.

On Tuesday after picking up the car, we decided to lay low and catch our breath. After two intense travel days, I was shot, and Alice was content to spend some quiet time at our lovely campsite. We met with the guys several times, including a very nice dinner at their place.

We made plans to visit two of the local attractions on Wednesday while the guys were working. The first was Seneca Rocks, a scenic area about 50 miles from Elkins. Once we found “downtown” Seneca Rocks, we looked around for some lunch, and came up short. We determined we’d forgotten Franco’s leash, so stopped at a local store named, “Yokums” as I recall. For $3.50, I got a 4′ nylon web leash with the cheapest clasp I’ve ever seen. The first time Franco pulled on the leash, it bent open. I bent it back with my Leatherman. The second time the clasp broke, so I cut it off and tied the leash to Franco’s collar.

Next we looked around for the trail to the peak. We parked in a likely spot and I walked Franco while Alice walked up to the park visitor’s center. She came back in a few minutes to confirm that the trailhead we’d parked next to was in fact the trail to the top. It was a lovely hike on a beautiful day. We encountered one dog coming down that nearly pulled over the woman trying to hold him back. He really wanted to greet Franco. I put Franco on one side of me and held the dog away with my non-leash hand until the woman could catch her breath. Her dog didn’t have an ounce of malice in him… he was a big, curious, young dog that hadn’t learned how to walk nice yet. We had a nice visit and let the dogs sniff each other, and then continued along our way.

We made it to the top in good shape, to find that the viewing platform was taken by a young couple with two dogs. Not wanting to complicate things, we sat on the rocks to the side of the platform and waited for them to finish. One of their dogs was a beagle that was very interested in meeting Franco. The woman walking him allowed him to get close, and this dog put on the most interesting submissive show I’ve ever seen. Franco seemed puzzled, preferring to play I think. This dog left nothing to the imagination that he wanted no trouble with Franco.

We spent a few minutes drinking in the marvelous view, including some fairly ominous looking rain clouds in the distance, and then headed down. On the way down we met a young family making the climb, who seemed interested in meeting Franco. Two of the children scratched his ears while I kept watch, and the little girl on Dad’s shoulders began to express an interest too. She was probably 3 years old and as cute as a button. Dad let her down and she reached up to pat Franco’s muzzle. It was one of the cutest things I’d seen all day.

We just made it back to the car when it started to rain. Other groups were beginning to arrive for the climb, and we felt a little sorry for them as they broke out the trash bags, made arm and head holes, and then headed up the trail.

We next drove to Davis where we found a restaurant. Franco had a rest in the car while we walked up the stairs to the Sawmill Restaurant, and took advantage of their sandwich bar. Our waitress was a real sweetheart. She told us it was her parents and grandparents that had recently purchased the motel/restaurant, and were fixing it up. After a nice meal we drove over to Blackwater Falls for the short walk down to the overlook. Shown in this picture are the modified leash, and our ever present poop scoop.

After the hike to the falls, we drove back to the campsite, cleaned up a bit, and took the guys out for dinner at a local Elkins Restaurant. Then home for a good night’s sleep to prepare for a big trip the next day. Steve and I had long been interested in Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, and one of his best known homes called, “Falling Water” was within driving distance from Elkins. So that was the plan for Thursday.

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