We left Indiana and headed into some pretty steep mountains of West Virginia, I was pretty tired from driving through the harrowing hills, and needing to use low gears to keep from going to fast down the hills and too slow up the hills.
By the time we made it past Charleston, I was spent, I had been sweating and tense for 4 hours, and needed a break, we pulled into a tiny town with a sign stating it had a state park, I was looking forward to hooking up the AC and sleeping COLD.
The $#% State Park was closed (GRRR) and we had to keep looking.
My BRILLIANT Idea was to split up and find a place to crash or the night, I turned right and headed towards a school and race track, Annie Laurie turned left and headed towards another State park (that may or may not be closed we had no idea)
I had the GPS (which had been horrible about sending us off into the abyss of lost-ness) I trusted that with little fanfare I would be able to check out the camping spot and reunite with Annie Laurie.
I was locked out of the parking lot I anticipated going into, and phoned Annie Laurie, she told me the general direction she headed and I turned around to join her.
I wound through a small town, staying on the main road, and headed into the mountains. Did you know there are mountains in West Virginia? I felt as if I was on a road leading to the family cabin in Fair view.... in a 40 ft bus, with 11 kids sleeping on the bus, and the GPS telling me to wind around down and back again. The switchbacks got so hairy, I had to back up to keep my tail end from getting hung up on at least 7 turns..... imagine this:
Dark, tree lined one lane path, 40 foot bus, and drop offs that made the tail scrape and grind...
Imagine the GPS telling me to do a U-turn at my earliest convenience,U turn, on a switchback, in a FOURTY FOOT BUS!?
I found a driveway WAYYYY up in the hills, after I called the Sheriff dept and asked for advice on how to get out of this pickle with no incidents...they had no idea where I was, or how to help me... Their suggestion was Set the GPS and follow it! (Let me mention at his point that the map on GPS as I was following it was literally winding back ind rejoining the previous route, I know I went down on hill twice, and looped back onto it.)
So I pulled into a driveway, and was turning around, trying desperately not to start crying, having a breakdown and giving up, sleeping on the mountain top and attempting to find my back in the morning.
One last try
I turned the bus around (or rather attempted to)
and got the bus rear end hung up on the embankment opposite the drive way.
Mountains of West Virginia
at 2 a.m.
I knocked on the door (poor fellow being awoke at 2 am) and got no answer.
I went and knelt in the road, next to the bus begging for help to come get me out the embankment with out paying exorbitant fees for a wrecker needing to drive from 45 miles away.... up a mountainous road, into the middle of no-where....
I went back into the bus, turned off the ignition, and sat.
The Friendly guy who lived in this house woke up had the feeling he needed to look out his window. (where he saw a Yellow School bus stuck in his drive way at 2 a.m.)
He called his buddy from down the way and 20 minutes later a 4-Wheeler pulled up, with this little old man (had to be 80) with no teeth and a Hill Billy Accent....
He had to unhook his tractor from his bailing rake, and come tug my rig. it didn't take much, but his help was definitely what saved my can.
then they went the extra mile (or 4) and drove down the mountain showing me the least treacherous path towards the city nearest the state park. After commenting several times that there was NO WAY I could have gotten my 40 Foot bus down Bald Mountain Cut Back. as it was way too narrow and steep.
MMh HHM The latitude of Pipestem is 37.544N. The longitude is -80.96W.
needless to say, I was so thrilled to pull into the Camping spot and go to bed (at 5 a.m.)