Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Beech Fork State Park, WV

The beginning of my Great Retirement Escape to See America Plan began three years ago in September. At that time, I had no Grand Plan to see everything in America, but rather decided to take each year at a time and visit the places I wanted to see. I admit, it's not a perfect plan, but RV travel plans should remain flexible to account for weather, gas prices and what other places I wanted to visit at certain times. Take for example, last year's trip to San Antonio, Texas - was planned to coincide with the 180th Anniversary of the Battle at the Alamo. Before that was the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans and I took the River Boat down to the battle ground. I must say, it was pretty cool to be there at that time and learn from costumed re-enactors.

This year - my third year of retirement travels - will be my gather kayaking experiences while adding photos and videos as well as seeing some more of America's more popular beaches. While living all my life in land-locked areas of the Midwest, I've often longed to visit the ocean. My enlistment in the Marines back in 1970 sent me to San Diego and later the beaches of Camp Pendleton and vicinity. I learned one thing - I absolutely loved the beach. So, this year will be a "Beach Tour". Beginning this trip from Indianapolis, Indiana, I traveled southeast through Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia to my first stop along this year's travel trail - Beech Fork State Park on Beech Fork Lake.

As always, a view of camp in the Old Orchard section of Beech Fork State Park.
There are four separate campgrounds here, but the Old Orchard is the only one of them that has full hookups. The others are electric only, but the sites are larger and offer a more scenic view of the lake. Next time I visit here, I'll take one of those sites. I'm sure the night time skies will be much more illuminating without the light pollution from other campers packed closely together as seen here. I think I'd like to camp here next time.

I liked this one as an alternate site for the next time I visit here.
This is a nicely established campground and well maintained by host-campers and park staff. Each of the bathhouses are cleaned and disinfected regularly. I took an afternoon and hiked the Overlook Trail up the mountain and back around. It was a modestly difficult trail through the woods. There was one overlook where a park bench was established to capture the view and rest awhile. All that was missing was a sign that said, "Kodak Picture Spot". Remember those at theme parks?

View of the swimming pool from the Overlook Trail park bench.
Of course the pool was closed following the Labor Day weekend and as of November 1st, all the other campgrounds will be closed except Old Orchard Camp. This is the nicest state park I've visited in West Virginia.

As I usually do, I like to take little side trips - aside from grocery restocking or propane refilling. One of particular interest was a "restaurant" I saw in a Food Network or Travel Network cable TV program - The Hillbilly Hot-Dog stand. If I hadn't seen the sign, I would have thought it was an antique shop or junkyard.

Perpetuating the myths about Appalachian people, they sell hot dogs among all this junk.
After sampling their food, here is my review. "If you want a perfectly ordinary and expensive, deep-fat fried hot-dog with your choice of customary and/or obnoxious topping combinations eaten within a rusty, hollowed-out old school bus "restaurant" filled with rusty junk and black marker autographs of every person who ever visited there, served at the counter and wrapped in thin aluminum foil by a friendly person, then this place is for you." So, okay, they got my money once, but never again.

Aah, come-on. Who hasn't done this?
I had two regular hot-dogs, but the one shown above is called the "Original Homewrecker". It's a 15" weenie with 2-pounds of toppings for $19.99. The challenge is, if you can eat one in under 12-minutes, you get a t-shirt and the hot-dog is free. Good Luck.

Yesterday, staying on mission for this tour, I took advantage of an 81-degree afternoon - possibly the last of the season - and got my kayak out on the water of Beech Fork Lake. The day was absolutely beautiful for an autumn day. This season has been fairly dry, so the leaves weren't as colorful as they might have been, but rather they just browned and dropped into the breezes of October.

Earlier in the summer, I worked to install Scotty fishing pole mountings on my kayak, but I don't fish. I wanted them as camera mounts. I made a 42" flagpole for the aft deck and installed my flag and added a screw-mount on top for my Drift HD Ghost action camera. I also installed a second flush mounted Scotty fixture at the front of the kayak cockpit and purchased a Scotty camera/compass mount to afix my Kodak SP-1 waterproof action camera.

Scotty flagpole (fishing pole mount) on the aft deck of my kayak. The gold cap can be replaced by a camera mount.
When I got back to camp, I had two hours worth of video from each camera of today's trip. I can relive the entire trip on DVD format disc with (perhaps) a musical soundtrack. Hey, a retired guy can't have enough hobbies. Besides, sometimes it rains - like today - a good day to edit videos, burn DVDs and, oh, yeah, post travel blogs.

Slowly and quietly, I cruised toward this flock of Canadian Geese without disturbing their peace.
I wanted to get this video uploaded while I still have decent Wi-Fi - a rare thing when I'm out on the road. I was surprised that a WV State Park even offered free Wi-Fi included in their fees.  So, here is a one-minute video of my two+ hours out on Beech Fork Lake in southern West Virginia. After a few hours on the lake, I'm a little worn out and a touch sore in the shoulders. Another reason for shooting selfie-videos - to examine my paddling form for improvement. The better to enjoy longer periods on the water and seeing more of the sights of this great land of ours. Is this a great country or what?

I've been enjoying my visit here, so other postings will have to wait until the fun is over, but before I go on the road again - which is November 7th - next Monday. I've got to move on. I have the traveling itch and it's time to go. As I leave, I leave nothing behind and take only photographs.


1 comment:

  1. yep! you be strokin' LOL I'm surprised you didn't scare the geese off...