Somewhere in West Virginia

State Campground Travel Blog

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Dawn with Black Bart

We left Mammoth Cave, disappointed we didn't get to go on the tour. I had been there before, but I was sorry that Tyler and Dawn missed it.  (considering our previous Wind Cave adventure, maybe it was for the best!) It had been the last scheduled destination of our trip, so now there was nothing to do but head home!  We continued eastward to see how far we could get today. 

  It was getting dark by the time we got to West Virginia.  I had wanted to check out a place called "Jim's Family Campground"  A place I had stayed years earlier on a trip with my friend Lee.    It was basically an empty lot behind a carwash,  where the owner of the carwash (Jim, I assume) had erected a bathroom and shower looked like it was plopped down in the middle of a little league baseball field! We had stayed there because our first choice then was full, and we were directed to Jim's. There were no other campers there at the time, except one old woman in an RV who looked like she lived there.  We had bought a $4 bundle of firewood from an honor box system there, and Jim came running over from the carwash...I guess to make sure we paid!  Jim told us about his future plans to develop the site,and told us we could keep tabs on it by checking his website.   Lee and I thought it was amusing that this empty lot had it's own website, with details about the camp/lot and the dailey temperature. Lee had put it on his toolbar screen at work, and it was a running joke for awhile what the daily temperature was at Jim's.  (I just checked the website...this blog has actually had more hits than Jim's camp over the last several years!  Make Jim happy...check his camp out at  Now, years later, I was mildly curious to see if Jim had moved forward with all the big plans he had told us about.  Unfortunately, his camp was just over the West Virginia border, and it was still early.  Dawn was homesick and missing her kitties, and a little worried because my tenant who was taking care of them said that one of the cats got outside and he couldn't get her back in.  This cat, Black Bart, (named before we knew she was female!) was very skittish around other people and probably wouldn't come back in til we got home. We wanted to get as far across the state we could tonight, so we decided to press on.  Sorry, Jim!

Dawn was in favor of driving through the night, but I didn't want to risk her falling asleep at the wheel, so I insisted we stop somewhere.  Unfortunately, there weren't that many campgrounds listed in our books that offered tenting!  At least, along our route.  We first tried a state forest campground, which was about 10 miles off the highway down a long, lonely road.  When we got there, they were closed and a heavy locked bar gate across the entrance!  Locked up after closing!!  Nothing about that in the guidebook!  At that point we were exhausted and ready to pitch the tent right there in the road. I can't imagine why they were locked up....what if a camper had a medical emergency and couldn't get out?  Now, overtired, we had to go back down this long stretch of road to get to the highway again.  Well after midnight and many miles north, we found another state park off the highway that offered camping.  This one was open and had an honor box.  $12 a night, and they take checks...good!  I didn't have exact change again. ( I wonder how often they check that box... it was two months before they cashed the check!)   We found a site by the river, with nothing but our headlights to illuminate the area. In fact, we left them on while we set up the tents.  Exhausted, we hit our sleeping bags, it what would be our last night on the road!

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Dawn with Black Bart
Dawn with Black Bart
State Campground
photo by: WaltJake