Thursday, August 2, 2012

West Virginia!

Thursday, August 2 - Monday, August 6, 2012
North Bend State Park - Cokely Campground
Cairo, WV

In my research of where to go when we left PA, I had come across North Bend State Park in WV.  It really intrigued me due to it’s proximity to a rather long bike trail that is part of the Rails to Trails.  I think that we were all ready for some down time (ie no crowds!) and we all wanted to pedal some of the Rails to Trails trail!  Little did we know what we were in for….

There are two campgrounds in North Bend State Park…one is Cokely and the other is River Run.  Neither are easy to get to when you have a big rig!   We picked Cokely Campground as it has 50 amp power and water hook-ups  It’s a good thing too as we now know that getting to River Run would have been very, very tricky!  Reservations are not accepted at Cokely but you can call the morning of your intended arrival to see if there is availability.  We left Geneva State Park at 9:45 and didn’t get thru to Joann at Cokely until almost 2 hours later!  But, she had plenty of spaces for us so we continued our trek south.  We arrived, checked in and set up our sites.

On Friday, we headed off with our lunches packed and tons of water to bike some of the North Bend Rail Trail.  This is a 72 mile trail that was originally part of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad that was built in the mid 1800s.  This B&O track was a major supply line for the Union Forces during the Civil War.  The trail can be accessed directly from the state park.  We drove over to the designated parking area and off loaded our bikes.    
Yep - it's gonna be a hot one but we're gonna have fun!
The path to the trail was medium sized gravel and mostly down hill.  When we got to the trail, we saw this sign…

And knew that we needed to make a decision as to whether we were going to head east or west.  Well, we knew we weren’t going to Happy Valley or Wolfsummit!  ;-)  We decided to head east as we could see a tunnel very close by.  We would go thru that and then head west.  There was a tunnel between Cairo and Petroleum that I really wanted to check out.  More on this later….so off we went.

The temperature in the tunnel was so cool.  We pedaled to the other side, turned around to head west, and headed back thru the tunnel.   We pedaled and pedaled and pedaled.  Thru Cornwallis, thru Cairo and continued to pedal some more.  But this wasn’t any ordinary pedaling.  This was pedaling in 90+ degree heat, who knows what percentage of humidity, up inclines on a crushed limestone trail.  That’s right, no paved trail for us today.  A few miles outside of Cairo, I told the group I had to stop and get some fuel.  I grabbed my peanut butter sammie from my lunch pail and gobbled it down.  Whew - this trail was hard work.  We pedaled some more until we saw a picnic table we could stop at for lunch.  It was a much needed break!  We still had a ways to pedal until we reached our destination….tunnel 19.… but we finally reached it.

Tunnel 19 is reported to be haunted.  But, although we didn't see nor hear any ghosts, it did get a wee bit spooky going into the tunnel.   As your eyes adjusted to the darkness, it seemed that the walls of the tunnel got a tad bit narrow.  I had to hop off my bike one time and take a brief respite!  We got to the other side safely and had to take a few pics!
Trouble, Trouble, and more Trouble!  ;-)

The tunnel is this big!

Yep - proof that we made it to tunnel 19!
On our way back, we stopped in the little town of Cairo for a cool treat.  The Rail to Trails Foundation (and museum) was in an old bank building but is only open on Saturdays.

Cairo is a quaint town but not much of anything going on!  We pedaled back to the parking lot and headed back to the campground.   Tired and hot but with smiles on our faces!

Another fun day!


Catherine, Jo Beth and Grace said...

We love doing the rails to trails. Looks like a great ride with friends.

Gin and Syl said...

Pavement would have been different. My rear end still hurts!