We're still here!

So it's been almost a month since I wrote anything on this blog. How to condense activities for that much time? For the most part, it's pretty easy. Jess goes to work Monday through Friday, spends Saturday mowing or doing other chores around the farm, and goes to church on Sunday. Jonathan works full-time at the pizza place, helps out at home, and is in a wargaming league. For my part, I've been working long hours trying to get sites built and more money coming in from my business, while keeping up with the house and farm.

Then last week we were in West Virginia. For a combination Father's Day and birthday gift, we took Dad on a mini-vacation. We picked him up and drove over to Elkins and stayed the night, then the next morning had breakfast and headed to the train depot.

We took a ride on the Cheat Mountain Salamander, described on their site as:

The CHEAT MOUNTAIN SALAMANDER ... a spectacular 128-mile, 9-hour round trip through one of the largest wilderness areas in the Eastern United States. Your assigned-seat ticket includes the following enhanced on-board services: a sandwich buffet for lunch and a dinner featuring a choice of hot entrees served buffet-style in our dining car, the “Red Spruce”.

From Elkins to Spruce is 9-hour ride that transports you through mile after mile of unbroken, untamed mountain wilderness that relatively few people have actually seen. In fact, this rugged mountain area is so inhospitable, neither early settlers nor contemporary society have opted to settle here. As a result, with the exception of early 20th century resource extraction activities, this stronghold of nature remains largely as it was before modern civilization arrived.

Your excursion route includes many interesting features such as a long tunnel built with an “S” curve far underneath Cheat Mountain, numerous long mountain vistas, and many opportunities to view exotic wildlife including bald eagle and black bear sightings. Also, stops will be made at the inspirational “High Falls of the Cheat” and the former sight of the notorious town of Spruce, WV, once the highest and coldest incorporated town east of the Mississippi.
We were fortunate to have beautiful weather for the day of the train ride. I got to thinking about it ahead of time and wondering about how hot it might be, but with the windows open as far as they would go (maybe 10 inches?), and up in the mountains, it was fine. We never got too hot.

As for all the exotic wildlife, we never saw any. No eagles. No black bear. Just lots of birds and butterflies! But the scenery was beautiful and we enjoyed the trip.

When we got off the train, Maria and crew were waiting for us and we headed to a cabin about 40 miles away. We spent the night there, then went over to Elk Springs Resort and Elk River the next day. Caleb and Clair did some fly fishing for trout. Jess and Dad both tried their hand at it, but the trout were mostly ignorning them. The water was so clear you can see the fish easily, and they were just swimming around more or less taunting the fishermen. Claire and Caleb did finally catch some, however.

Monday we were going to visit Jackson Mills but it started raining soon after we got there, so we didn't spend much time there. We drove Dad home, and he and I looked through a bunch of picture albums. Then Jess and I needed to head out, because it takes us two days to get back home.

We did stop on the way home and spent a couple of hours at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Jess has wanted to stop there for ages, so we finallly took the time. I've never seen so many Corvettes in my life! There are some pretty neat looking cars there.

I took lots of pictures everywhere we went, but I haven't sorted through them yet. I actually filled up a 4GB memory card and started on the second one, which I have never done before, so I've got a lot to sort through. Since many of them were taken ont the train while it was moving, I'm sure a good portion of them will be too blurry to keep. My camera has trouble focusing at the best of times, and pictures while moving are even more problematic. I'll try to get some posted... sometime. I won't even attempt to guess when or make any promises!

Now it's catch up time, and I'm finishing up laundry today. Jonathan is off the hook for taking care of the farm and it's back in my bailiwick. Jess is trying to get his tractor working, make some repairs around the house, and keep up with stuff at work. We're all busy, and just trying to survive the heat!

And that's the way it is for now in our part of the world!