Monday, August 20, 2012

Harpers Ferry, WV

Sunday, August 19, 2012
We have had a nice and slow first vacation day. We got 10 hours of sleep, which was much needed, and took our time in the morning. Joe got up on the hood of Mo and put Eternabond tape onto all the front seams on the cab overhead, hoping to keep the rain out in the future. I spent the same time cleaning up the inside of the RV and we were both very happy with the results of our labors.  Then, after going to the tourist info booth right outside the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to pick up brochures, we went into the park. 

By then it was lunch time, so we decided to eat. But just as we finished lunch, it started to rain—HARD! We were so happy that we had closed up a lot of the potential leak sites earlier in the day! The nice thing was, we hadn’t left Mo yet, so we just shrugged and relaxed…. Which turned into naps. The rain stopped around 2, and we left to explore.

We took a shuttle to the top of the nearby hill called Bolivar Heights. The Union troops surrendered to Stonewall Jackson there in 1862, but the hill subsequently changed hands 8 times during the Civil War. The view was nice, although a little foggy (and surprisingly cool) because of the recent rain storm. It had a view of the Potomac down near Harpers Ferry just below the place where the Shenandoah River joined it. The trestle bridge is the same one we drove across yesterday.
(photo of bridge from Bolivar)

After a nice chat with the ranger while we waited for the shuttle, we went down to the town, right at the point of confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. There are a lot of preserved buildings in the “old town”, with some new stores farther up the hill. We wandered through the streets, then crossed the footbridge over the Potomac (and thus walking back to the state of Maryland along a very small snippet of the Appalachian Trail, which crosses this bridge.) The rivers at that point are beautiful but this time of year, not very deep—we saw tubers and swimmers, the latter standing on rocks in the middle of the Potomac just below the point of confluence of the rivers.  We didn’t really envy them, though—it was quite cool today, and not really swimming weather in our opinions.
(Confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers--the Shenandoah can be seen joining the Potomac from the center right of the photo. The Potomac continues flowing to the left of the photo.)
 (View of the Potomac. We walked across the railroad bridge on the left to Maryland. The Appalachian Trail continues around the base of the mountain along the river and north, to Maine.)

 On the Maryland side, we walked along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath for a little bit. Then we walked back to West Virginia and, after spending a little more time in the town, took the shuttle back to Mo. We decided to do some grocery shopping before returning to the campground, so we travelled about 5 miles down the road toward the next town. We found a Walmart, where we stocked up on groceries and a couple of other items. In the parking lot was a big trailer with a black smoker on the back and a big BBQ sign. Being that we were in West Virginia, at a Walmart, it seemed like the next logical thing in that sequence was BBQ from a truck! So that was what we had for dinner. Joe says it was the best BBQ he’s had in years (I must confess, all BBQ beef sandwiches taste exactly the same to me—I guess I’m not a connoisseur of the stuff!) 

We moved campsites tonight, and although the Wifi is strong, we are not connecting with the Internet for some reason. So I'll have to upload this tomorrow. This is an interesting campground--there is a Civil War trench ("earthworks") a few feet behind Mo, and signs around the campground noting several battles and the site of artillery locations. I wonder how they know so much about exactly where these cannons were placed? It's a very pretty campground, but just a little too crowded--although tonight is much less hectic than last night was, far fewer kids and dogs and lots of empty sites now that it is Sunday.

Tomorrow we will continue our leisurely travels through West Virginia. First planned stop: Berkeley Springs State Park.

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