Quick, where is The Mountain State? Hint: its flagship public university is a member of The Big 12 athletic conference (which has but 10 members). You guessed Colorado? No, they’re now in The PAC-12. Wyoming? Nope, they’re in the Mountain West. Second hint: John Denver recorded a hit song about life here. Third hint: the title was Country Roads.
Here’s a link to old John’s ballad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vrEljMfXYo
Did you come up with West Virginia? I never thought its mountains could rival those out west, and in terms of size they don’t. The Appalachians are leafy, not as rocky, and they have lots of beautiful streams and small waterfalls. We survived Wyoming’s US Highway 14 and its 12 miles of 10% grade up, then 12 more down. We handled everything Colorado and Utah could throw at us. But I’ve never pulled our rig over so many miles of 7% to 9% highway grades with so many blind curves and switchbacks. That Ram engine brake helps, but it red-lines at 3,300 rpm without slowing us enough to stay off the brakes. Faced with so many short straight-aways and tight turns you can rarely foresee when you have to brake and when you can safely speed. By the time we arrived in Elkins, the Red Sled needed new brake pads and calipers.
Perhaps because we grew up in humid Louisiana, Kat and I love feeling cool in July and August. Last year we wished we could have spent another glorious month in Colorado. In 2013 we craved one more month in Idaho. Federal land rules usually allow no more than a two-week stay per campground; after that you must move on. One of the principles of full-timing is Go where the weather’s good. Another principle: Live within your means (diesel and camp fees are far from cheap). Next year Kat wants to see the Pacific coast all the way to Alaska; now feels like a good time to replenish the old coffers [i]. I haven’t worked for a couple of years, and if one waits too long to go into the Camp Host business, someday he’ll be considered too old to learn it. With all those stars in alignment we signed on to host the Stuart Recreation Area outside Elkins, WV.
Stuart is at a little over 2,200 feet elevation with lots of shade and a cool clear trout stream/swimming hole. Summer highs average 80 degrees with overnight lows in the upper 50s. Elkins has a Kroger and a Wal-Mart seven miles away. Our campsite is spacious and lovely with a clean crushed limestone base and full hookups. Our 20 acre front yard is maintained by someone else, who is paid by someone else.
Life is good.
[i] George W. Bush’s reply, very late in his second term, when asked “What will you do next?”