08-30-2022 Salt Lick, Kentucky to New Market, Virginia

08-30-2022 380 miles. A wild ride through a bunch of stuff

It is hard to go back mentally to our journey just 4 days ago when we left Zilpo Campground early in the morning.  It had rained hard all night and everything was dripping and wet.  The warmth and wetness created fog as we drove the curvy road back to Salt Lick.

Mo drove the first shift for a change, and I could take a few photos. The tiny town of Salt Lick Kentucky, the closest community to the campground, seemed to be going the way of many small towns in the rural part of the country.  A few houses were lovingly cared for, and I saw wreaths on the doors of cozy-looking houses. Some sad-looking shops seemed to have been closed for a long time, but still an open post office and a Dollar General.

By the time we reached the Interstate and continued east, the rain was coming down hard.  Checking the map, it was clear that the easiest route was to follow the West Virginia Turnpike.  We weren’t sure of the cost, but entered the Turnpike easily and found that the road was in great shape. 

What amazed us is that the part of West Virginia we saw was so mountainous.  Compared to Kentucky, the hills on either side of us felt more like mountains at home, except they were completely cloaked in thick deep dark green hardwood forests.  The road was curvy and in some places quite steep

We exited the Turnpike at Winchester for fuel, paying 6.98 for the privilege of driving the turnpike.  The travel plaza was an easy place to fuel and there was plenty of room in the parking lot for us to regroup.  Mo took Mattie for a walk, but she didn’t seem to be her happy self.  She would look at us with a forlorn expression and didn’t jump around much.  I finally figured out that she was possibly a bit sore from all her exertion the previous day in all that open space.  My guess was confirmed the next day when she was back to her old happy self.

I took my turn driving, heading east in the steep West Virginia mountains while Mo fell into a much-needed sleep.  One grade was particularly long and steep, and suddenly the temperature gauge started climbing.  I kinda freaked out and woke Mo up, “It’s going up!”  I wasn’t sure if the air conditioner was on, neither of us could remember if we had turned it on, but I turned on the heat, opened all the windows, and desperately tried to find a place to pull over with no luck.  The gauge climbed to the max and the warning light came on.  I made it over the summit and finally found a place to pull over.  We turned the rig off to let it cool down.  Mo checked under the hood and there was no boiling or overflowing antifreeze. 

Once again we got a bit short with each other but knew we just had to wait it out, wait for the rig to cool down, and Mo said she would drive.  I wanted to unhook the Tracker, after checking the “flattest route” and seeing many steep hills on our route before we arrived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  With a bit of a discussion, we finally unhooked and drove for many miles separately.  The outside temperature was only 70 degrees, and neither of us could figure out why the rig heated up once again.  That was the end of the problem, and when the highway leveled out a bit we hooked up the Tracker and continued on our way. 

We entered the state of Virginia for the first time in the MoHo, amazed that once again the landscape changed near the state line.  The hills gentled a bit and the curves in the road eased as well.  Before long we were intersecting with our route on Interstate 81 North.

Our relaxation on Virginia roads came to a rather sudden stop on I-81.  This highway is the major north-south route from the southern manufacturing plants to the inland port at Front Royal in Virginia.  The trucks were bumper to bumper, jockeying for position until major slowdowns and complete stops extended our arrival time at the park to later than we had hoped.

While sitting in truck traffic, I did a bit of research, discovering that in addition to being a major truck route, I-81 was also notoriously dangerous.  Several times bills have been introduced in Virginia to expand the route to three lanes on each side and have been voted down each time.  Everyone complains but no one wants to pay for the cost of improving the highway.

After our long day, it was with a huge sigh of relief that we turned off the interstate and followed the route east toward the mountains and our reserved RV park, Endless Caverns.  I had read mixed reviews about this park, so Mo and I were delighted to find that we loved it.

The sites are on varying levels built against the mountainside, with rustic rock walls between sites.  Our site 60 in the A loop was big and roomy, and surprisingly perfectly level. The caretaker was a great guy, and led us to our site and made sure we were settled in OK.  We had full hookups but decided to wait to dump until the next day when we had two nights planned in Delaware.

It was a lovely evening, with nice walks. 

The next morning I rose early to do laundry at 6am and take a much-desired shower.  The laundry room was close to perfect, with well-functioning machines and a large folding table.  Two bucks a load to wash and two bucks to dry was reasonable. 

While I did laundry, I enjoyed a very long, hot shower in the spotless shower room.  What a treat.  I have no idea why someone might not enjoy this park. 

The sites were nice, well spaced, and level, and the amenities were good. We were on the road by 8 with fresh laundry, fresh bodies, and a fluffy, no longer clammy bedcover that I had fluffed in the dryer for an hour.  Perfect.

The only other possibility is that people don’t like the slightly rough gravel roads in the park.  After a rain, they can become a bit rutted, but while we were there the caretaker bladed all the roads and by morning they were fine.  If someone doesn’t like roads like this, maybe camping in the mountains isn’t right for them.

Our next destination was Lums Pond in Delaware, but on the way, we had a little treat waiting for us in Frederick, Maryland.  More on that in the next post.