Zeke and Navigator Kathy’s second day of vacation began much as Day 1 ended – it was raining. Overnight we were treated to the pretty much constant sounds of rain falling upon the Hobbi. It made for some great sleeping weather.
We were hoping for clearing skies on Monday but it was not to be. In fact, when we checked in with our camp hostesses to pay for an additional night at Watoga State Park, they graciously told us the truth and said that heavy rains were predicted for the rest of the week.
Monday was to be a wash anyway as a vacation day to some extent due to my work responsibilities. Part of the deal in my getting 2 weeks off was that I would work part of Mondays to get the company billing reports extracted and filed. This would necessitate a connection to the internet. Thus far, we’d had no TV reception and no cellular signal reception where we were staying along the increasingly wider Greenbrier River.
I had been told previously, when making an information seeking call to the Watoga State Park office, that WiFi services were available at no charge at a coffee cafe in nearby Marlinton. Our on-site hostesses confirmed this and provided directions to the hoped for site of internet connectivity. After a 30 minute drive, we arrived in downtown Marlinton, West Va. and sure enough located the Dirt Bean Cafe and Bike Shop. Hey, a cafe and a bike shop – the day is looking up!
The Dirt Bean is housed in what I would take as being one of the older buildings in Marlinton’s downtown section. It is about 2 blocks off of the Greenbrier River as is almost all of the Marlinton we saw. The Greenbrier Trail was about 1 more block away from the river. We entered the Dirty Bean and queued up to the ordering station.
It was at this point that I determined that the Proprietress of this fine institution was NOT having a good Monday. She curtly stated we could still get breakfast and, if the WiFi was working, which she didn’t think it was, I could try to use it. We placed our order and I went about trying to connect to the wider world electronically while Navigator Kathy explored the shop.
I quickly discovered that the Proprietress’s assessment of her Wifi signal was correct – it didn’t work. So, making lemonade out of the lemons we’d been served, the Navigator and I enjoyed an excellent breakfast of Blueberry Waffle and a loaded Breakfast Bagel. The Dirty Bean bike offerings included Kona bikes and numerous Gary Fisher MB’s. There were also a couple of comfort rides for rental.
The Proprietress, perhaps dealing with whatever was making her Monday unpleasant, had changed clothes and left the shop quickly. Her employee, a pleasant sort, confirmed that the WiFi was down and out and that all of their phones were out as well. This young lady was quite helpful and suggested that we try the local public library to see if they had internet service. Hitting myself upside the head, I thought “What a great idea!” Of course, I haven’t been in a library of any sort since my days as a graduate student. I offer this morsel of information only as a small attempt to assuage my guilt for not thinking of this myself.
So, out the door and, yes, into the rain we went to traverse the sidewalks of Marlinton two blocks to the public library. We were greeted courteously and professionally by the librarian, who assured me that I was welcome to use their WiFi service. She printed me out a small ticket with my new username and password and gave me 2 hours even though I had assured her I only needed one hour to do my work and get back to vacation.
Turns out she was prescient! I couldn’t get that sucker to work for nothing! No, not the computer and not the internet – my preset report back home on the company server. Finally, at 1 hour and 38 minutes, it properly extracted the data and I ONLY needed 1 more hour of internet service to do my duty to my company. (Something about being in West Virginia keeps reminding me of the catchy phrase “I owe my soul to the company store…” )
Thankfully, my remaining work was finished quickly and I even had a chance to scope out the weather forecast and post my blog entry before exiting the premises of the McClintic Library.
(Zeke leaving the library behind.)
(McClintic Library, Marlinton, West Va.)
Back to Watoga We Go!
Now that most of my vacation day was spent getting ready to work and then actually working, the Navigator and I headed back to camp. Along the way, we passed numerous High Water signs and local DOT crews out cutting fallen trees or removing mud from slides. This area has really been hammered by rain recently. They have been under almost constant flash flood warnings it seems. It appeared water was running from every embankment possible. Some of the images were quite beautiful if you could divorce yourself from the possible damage that could happen when all this water comes together downstream.
On our return trip to Watoga, we spotted the lone element of wildlife that we’ve seen thus far. A wild turkey flew across the road in front of us. Otherwise, we’ve seen no other wildlife. The informational brochure for Watoga State Park says it is “the rare visitor who doesn’t see white tailed deer while visiting in the Park.” Yep, that’s me and the Navigator – rare visitors!
Upon our return to our fine campsite in the wetlands of Watoga, I did open up the truck and looking longingly at my so far unused Fuji CCR3. Maybe tomorrow big guy…
Day 2 came to a close with us enjoying each other’s company and doing some fine reading. The new book I’ve started begins with two travelers in a RV being murdered. Of course, if that were to happen to us on this trip, I’d never hear ‘em coming because of the never ending rain pelting the roof!