West Virginia Autumnal Eye Candy

The Mechanic has been busy for months rebuilding his vintage (if 1987 is vintage, lol) truck, all leading up to our West Virginia road trip last week. We spent a relaxing (and chilly) four nights/five days exploring south-eastern West Virginia, an area of the state neither of us had ever visited. And that brief trip was enough to convince me that we need to go back – we barely scratched the surface of all the things there were to see and do!

road sign saying "Welcome to West Virignia, Wild and Wonderful"

Welcome to West Virginia


The first night we spent in a hotel in downtown historic Lewisburg. Our room overlooked an old house and some lovely trees, and we were walking distance to a recommended hotel‘s bar with absolutely delicious and very inventive cocktails.

From Lewisburg, we stopped in at Lost World Caverns and were amazed at the large open cave with stunning cave features. I just love caves, and always try to imagine the first people to discover the dark holes armed only with candles. It was the perfect stop on the one rainy day we encountered.


We then spent two nights in a “legacy” cabin in Babcock State Park, just outside of Fayetteville. The legacy cabins were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corp.. Heated only with the fireplace, and complete with a complimentary mouse visit in the middle of the night, this was absolutely my favorite place that we stayed. I wish we’d had more time to just hang out at the cabin, so maybe next time. The biggest photographic draw is the refurbished mill, and although I hate to take *the same* photos as everyone else, I couldn’t help it. It was far too picturesque not to!


While in the area, we visited the main attraction, the New River Gorge Bridge. Completed in 1977, this bridge is the longest steel span in the western hemisphere and the third highest in the United States. It’s -mind-boggling to think about – and since we drove over it, and the original (ish) route it replaced, I can see how it was a welcome feat of engineering for the region.

New River Gorge Bridge, seen from the river

Beartown State Park

Admittedly just about everything we did on this trip exceeded our expectations, but probably our visit to Beartown State Park blew us away. The description on the website, and what I’m about to tell you, is a complete understatement about how stunning this park is. A series of boardwalks leads you around these massive, moss-covered rock formations on top of a mountain that defy proper descriptive words. Even photos can’t show how amazing this park is. Here’s a few of the best: Seneca Rocks

After a somewhat lackluster and chilly night of camping at Seneca Shadows (too close to our neighbors AND the main road below us), we spent our last morning at Seneca Rocks, in the Monongahela National Forest. This is another one where the online description fails to impress how imposing and incredible this rock formation is. I think we took a million of the same photo of it from every angle! Then we hiked up to the observation platform – it was a beautiful yet steep climb, worth the view, but only when we were having lunch at the pizza place below did we realize how high up we’d been. My legs still feel it.

We were way up *there*?!?

There’s so much more tell about this trip but I promised you eye candy, and here’s more of West Virginia, in all it’s autumnal glory:

Bike Camping – Should I Be Scared?

I ended up in an Aerosoles shoe store today, someplace I haven’t been in years, and was pleased to discover their luscious fall collection. Merrell needs to take lessons for their bike heels from these!

Aerosoles Sweet Escape – not only are these luscious, the gold piping reminds me of my lovely reflective dress.

Aerosoles Role-By – love the two tone design with the snakeskin. So office perfect!

Aerosoles Temahawk – A flat I can actually wear, with a mini wedge heel. At last!

But I should be getting ready for my first ever bike camping weekend – am I in denial that this is what I’m actually doing this weekend? Am I so worried about it that I’ve completely blocked it from my mind?! Or maybe I’m too clueless to realize that I should be more concerned? (Or maybe just obsessed with shoes…)

This weekend is The Mechanic’s birthday, and he wants to bike the C&O Canal. We are going to start in Shepherdstown, WV, about 75 miles away from DC. We did the CASA River Ride in that area this spring, and have been looking for a chance to go back, so this is it. A small group of us will meet at the Bavarian Inn for lunch, then stroll around town, have an early dinner, then the kind friend who is loading our bikes in his truck will drop us off on the Canal, and abandon leave us.

Shepherdstown, WV, in May

We’ll camp the first night, bike about 50 miles the next day, then camp again and bike the remaining miles. It’s an easy ride, but I haven’t been camping in a few decades, and I have no idea how I will do. Cooking on a camp stove, baby wipes for a shower, unknown noises in the middle of the night… This will be a true test of our relationship.


Now this could be fun! Or scary.

I have no idea what to take, and don’t want to take too much. At least we won’t be out in the total wilds, so we can swing into towns along the way, if we need to. And I guess I’ll be off the grid for a while – I still haven’t found the perfect battery operated phone charger (why does everyone assume that you’ll be charging your phone in a car or from a laptop?! I guess I need one of those fancy solar-powered chargers). I’m taking the real camera though, so I should get some great pictures. And I’m taking my super huge bicycle poncho, just in case Hurricane Isaac makes his way here this weekend…

Ha ha ha – yep, I’ll feel like a dork in this! But if it keeps the water off me, I’m not complaining.

Anyone have any last minute suggestions or advice? If not, wish me luck, and look forward to stories later!

Looking downstream from Shepherdstown







My Big Fat Bike Weekend

It’s the beginning of my big fat bike weekend and I’m so excited!

First and foremost, tomorrow is Bike to Work Day and its a huge deal in the DC area. The last I heard was that 12,000 people have registered for a pit stop, to pick up their tee shirts. There is a nice “sibling rivalry” going on between Arlington and DC, to see who gets more cyclists, so we’ll have to see what the final numbers end up being. I will be working in Ballston, at the pit stop at FreshBikes. I’ve heard rumors of unicyclists performing….

Also this weekend The Mechanic and I are heading to West Virginia for the CASA River Ride.

We are going to do a half century, and I have been studying the two options, since there are two 50-mile loops. The Berkeley loop is shorter (48 miles) but according to the elevation charts, has a bit steep climb in the middle.

CASA Berkeley Loop

The Jefferson loop is longer (55 miles) but has steady rolling hills. I think I prefer that. Plus, it has three pit stops! That will help.

CASA Jefferson Loop

I am disappointed that I haven’t had more opportunities to train, not as I’d hoped. I can do 50 miles, but I had hoped to be in better shape so it wouldn’t be as painful or as slow. Guess we’ll see what happens on Saturday!

We are staying in Martinsburg, WV, for the whole weekend, and I’m looking forward to some small town quiet as well. Sunday I think we will go to Harper’s Ferry, which should be fun, I’ve always wanted to go there.

Off I go! Whee!