Six days, five nights and several breathtaking scenic places worth a visit.
Kicking off in order of views, I’ll cover the stories and interesting facts of our vacation through the mountains on a Harley Davidson for our 20th Anniversary.
Evening 1 – Wellsburg, WV
We got off work at 3 that Friday and just had to load the bike and go over anything else we can think of that we might be forgetting. We then took the scenic route to start at home and stay at my Dad’s place. Plus he’s seen most of the places we’re talking about wanting to see and added some we didn’t know about, like the Beckley Coal Miner tour.
Anyway, it turns out the city of Wellsburg had almost a whole week of festivities planned in the park square and tonight was, in my Dad’s opinion, the best group in the area if not bigger. They’re retired local guys that my Dad went to school with or knew from school days and they’re called 40+. They really are good from Beatles to Eagles and more.
He actually sung in the school’s choir with one of them on rhythm guitar and introduced me to two more guys in the park audience that were also in his singing group. Sounds like they were all tenors. It was memorable for me because all my life my dad has had his own record album that was made of his high school choir group performances and now I’ve learned about three of them today.
It was neat to see how many people came up to my Dad and greeted me with pleasure to meet his daughter and son-in-law. It was a good night. And I had some of the best pulled pork, cole slaw and beans I can say I’ve had in a long time.
Nicest people you’ll ever meet, everyone seems like a friendly person to chat with. It was a joyous time. Kids of all ages and families running around with chalk and bubbles and funnel cakes. I enjoyed it and so did Mark. We recommend checking out the unique towns and history of Brooke County making up the Route 2 drive along the shore of Ohio.
I ran into a childhood friend named Jamie and I probably made it weird cause I just reacted and hugged on her. I was so happy to see her. I quit Facebook more than a year ago but felt connected to her and seeing her happy marriage and kids and relationship with her Grannie made me smile so much. I just think so much of her and I went for it.
Sure, its hard to know what to even say when you’ve each gathered 35 years of lessons and life and have five minutes but it was so good to see her and know right away that’s her husband whom I’ve never met.
I didn’t get to make time and reach out to the rest of my family. We got there at 7 and we’re hitting the roads by 9. My niece was recovering from a bad case of pneumonia that she was hospitalized for for two weeks and I didn’t want to come in from out of state and possibly introduce anything I’m carrying to her regrowing immune system. To the grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles – I plan to go home more, I promise!!
A nice surprise is that I was able to meet my step mom’s brother and wife from Idaho. Always saw pictures when they went out there yet I hadn’t ever met them.
They were staying there too and had already bought extra boxes of DiCarlos for us at my step mom’s request while we were down at the concert. Score Uncle Garland.
Plus we were able to get twist cones from dairy queen. It’s probably for the best, but where we live, there’s one with 28k people and they wrap around the shack that is drive thru only. Dumb.
So I got a cone! Mark and I cheered each other to a soft serve and our anniversary kick off.
Then we watched an episode of 1883 and hit the spare bedroom in the finished basement. We always sleep good down there.
Day 2 – Moundsville, West Virginia
Saturday morning we hit the road and my parents followed to spend the morning and lunch together in Moundsville. They know the area well, it’s only about 45 minutes away. We were disappointed to learn the Toy museum and diner near it were closed now since Covid but there’s still so much to do and explore in Moundsville.
Special note – one town you pass through in Glendale. I really likes the vibe of that town and it seemed like a nice home town to live in and was boasting with home ownership pride. I wasn’t sure if the town’s success has anything to do with Brad Paisley growing up there, I know he pays it forward to his local communities.
Moundsville is home to many stories through the years. One being they were the home of the State Penitentiary which has that eerie turn of the century look to it and is featured on TV shows. In fact my Dad did the tour and said the stories were so gruesome that it was a lot to process. When we went about 9 years ago, the tour guide had been a guard so there were personal testimonial as well.
Directly across the street from the walls and entrance is an old Native American burial mound. According to the sign, it must have been leaders of their people buried within the mound and many treasured belongings and in their day it had a moat surrounding it for assumed added protection.
So curious to know the whole story as it was versus our interpretations of them, correct or not. So fascinating!
We then walked around downtown, looking for the diner and Toy Museum and found a strip of consignment antique and flea market shops. The one we went inside ranged the whole spectrum and must’ve been 3-4 stores opened their walls and combined into a labyrinth of nooks and rooms with new discoveries to find that are for sale.
Being on the motorcycle, had we gave in to many of the temptations of sweet deals, we were going to have my Dad take it home and we’ll get another time. Alas, we didn’t give in but I found a 100+ year old poetry book called India Love Lyrics and it reminded me of a poet my daughter buys books from Rupi Kaur so I had to pick it up. The light pencil underlines in some sad lyrics made me wonder who read this book as their heart was heavy. And for $4… sure.
The book traveled with us after that, wrapped in tissue paper from the sweetest store manager ever. You’d think I spent $40. It’ll cost more to mail it to her.
This leads me into the next sight to see in Moundsville and the main reason I wanted us to go – Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold. It’s about 11 miles outside of the Moundsville town center, up winding gorgeous country mountain roads to the top of a breathtaking view.
It’s simply gorgeous. And BIG. We spent our time walking the gardens and main palace of beauty. We thought that was it. The ornate details and stained glass and sculptures were truly a sight to see. Keeping in mind, many areas are clearly starting to try and repair, upgrade the 49 year old structures that remained as-is for a long time. Still – even in the midst of attempts to improve it and fix cracks and faded paint and weedy gardens – it is a sight to see. I assume with it’s 50th year around the corner, they’re trying to make it pristine again.
Besides the elderly local couple who were fully adorned in traditional clothing and forehead paint, I do believe we were the only four in the crowds that were of the fairer skin tone and the only reason why I am noting that is here we are on the top of a hill in rural West Virginia and the car lot had 20-30 nice cars and SUVs from other states from New York to Illinois and all in between and everyone looked very formal in their traditional cultural attires.
I said to Mark and my parents as we walked back to the bike how impressive that this little piece of beauty can attract so many people of faith base to it. Good for that.
Fast forward to us hugging and parting ways with the parents to head south on the adventure, a family parade rolled in to the parking lot with two dirt bikes, three four wheelers and a Razor. It was rather a highlight and fun.
We’re presuming the older couple in the razor were Grandma and Pap. Mom and Dad each had a four wheeler, two of the older boys had the dirt bikes and the youngest boy had a four wheeler too. They pull in right by us as we’re getting helmets on and the Dad on the four wheeler says, “That’s a nice bike”.
Thank you, of course! And the conversation begins. They’re about 20 minutes of trails away from home and on a family ride. They tell us all about the whole property and tell us where we have to go to see the rest of it.
The rest of it? Really.
The Mom who’s actually quite a hottie in her tank top, shorts and aviators offers us cold water, pop or beers as she’s got a cooler strapped to the back and they’re making a day of riding. We decline as we’re ready to hit the road even though that is an enticing offer. Those kids were itching to keep going.
Simply put they were an awesome group of sweet folks and making a fun day on the mountainside three generations and gave us the tour guide secret. The place is even bigger than we ever thought.
We take a hill down to massive statues and a lake and buildings and cabins and we found where the peacocks roam.
On the way down, we saw a legit pure white peacock. Never saw that before.
The place was packed. We circled the parking lot with no luck, ending on a slant up the hill amongst cars that pulled to the side of the road near the lake. There was a line of who knows – 50? 100? People to get to someone or something under a gazebo we couldn’t see because of the people around it.
Everyone in their finest India style attire and beautiful. We realized it was a big wedding which probably explains all the out of state fancy cars and tenfold when we went into this part of the extended lands.
Thanks for the heads up, friendly Moundsville family. It was a peaceful place of serenity for sure.
Next, we were on the road south and east.
Riding down Hwy 250 on our way to Elkins was also beautiful, hilly and scenic. Traffic was light to almost non existent until getting on bigger road ways. One larger roadway was that coming in to Fairmont.
It was quite the Industrial parkway complex of buildings and were very modern architecture worth noting. Just curious how you can hop literally through hollers and woods and end up at a facility like this tied to government research on snowfall from space. What a surprise to reach the highway and find this complex in the foothills.
Through the curves and small towns we then road in to …. More stories ahead – regarding these amazing experiences:
White Sulphur Springs
Greenbrier Bunker Tour
New River Gorge
Cheese in baggies
Bonus Footage: 2021 Oil Can Derby in Wellsburg, WV is a big deal. I remember it when I was little