Friday, March 3, 2017
My cousin and I are known for our road trips not so much because of where we go, but more for what happens along the way. Though, when I think about it, it's also because of where we go. Several years ago we packed up our camping gear and flew across the country to stay at the UFO Ranch in Trout Lake, WA. And even though we met a Santa Claus look-a-like wearing overalls, an alien T-shirt and a straw hat and holding conversations with an alien head he kept in a dog bed, it probably wasn't the craziest trip we've been on. Really.
On a trip to the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, WV, we drove through 4 tornadoes, torrential rain that had us searching for a motel (we never found one), fog so think we couldn't see more than a few feet in front of the car, Biblical flooding of the Ohio river and mudslides. Oh, and we spotted vultures sitting in a dead tree above a rusting hearse while "Dueling Banjos" played on the radio. And we got shot at while checking out an abandoned asylum.
Then there was the time we spent the night at the closed West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville. It was so creepy inside that we took our cat naps outside on the concrete wall in the exercise yard in shifts. This after being taken on a private tour by some caretaker in a section that was off limits, smelled of burning flesh (from Old Smokey the electric chair's chamber) and ended up being locked in a cell in said off limits area with the aforementioned caretaker we didn't know. Scarier was the room at the hotel we stayed in that sported a giant bloodstain on the mattress (they kindly flipped the mattress over so I wasn't laying on the stain, but it was still visible), strange leering men in the parking lot and a tub I didn't want to think about using.
So, I'm ready for adventure. Ready to hit the trail or hit the road. Or hit the road to head to a section of the trail that is more than an hour away. I'm ready to go check out some of the spooky places I've researched for the Haunted Appalachian Trail book I'm still writing. I just need to go.
I guess it's happening to me the way it happened to John Muir: "The mountains are calling, and I must go."