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WV Beatles

BettyI got the rainy day I wanted, or rather – a rainy night.

The first dots of rain must have splashed against the outside out the canopy of the tent at around 3am in the morning, and continued to explode against the smooth stretched surface for the night few hours, pattering away in a never ending random fashion, mixed in with the rumble of juggernauts passing on the interstate behind the row of trees on the edge of the campground. A noise guaranteed to bring you frustration for its ability to keep you awake, but also lending a sense of wonder because it very much felt like it was you against the elements .. and so my night in West Virginia passed.

We’d left Columbus Ohio the day before, stocked up on cookies, goodies and treats given to us by the wonderful Betty who’d got in touch with me. Betty’s name had popped up on my blog comment and twitter, and she’s been trying to guess where we going in Ohio – her home state – right up until we went to Greenford. Turns out that once we hit Michigan she thought we’d be off and away, but when we turned around and headed south again and I tweeted that Columbus was on our route she emailed me and wondered if we’d like to meet. Would I? Of course I would!

Seems that Betty is a huge fan of London, the tube, follows this infamous London Blog too (who’s idea it was to take this trip), and I think it’s not big headed to say that she was a little honoured to meet me! Turns out that Wednesday evenings is her local knitting group meet up, and that they all hang out in the delightful Whetstone Park in Columbus, knitting, gossiping and eating the lovely potluck treats that people bring. I signed a tube map for her, she signed my road trip t-shirt for me, and we spoke to everyone that was there before darkness fell and we were on out way. Betty writes about it all on her blog here.

I quite liked Columbus – a college town, it seemed clean and friendly and well laid out. busy without being too busy, big without being that horrible ‘American big’ that i have seen so much where everything is so spaced out that it just lacks character. Columbus had a bit of character about it.

Next stop: Liverpool, West Virginia – which turned out to be a tiny village in the lovely rolling green countryside – a bit like being on the farm in northern Virginia a few days prior. Before we got there thought, we stopped at a state-rest stop just a few miles from the OH/WV border, and were somewhat appalled at the lack of the facilities present. You’ll be thrilled to know that i all captured it on video, but it was a direct take on the ‘hole in the ground’ toilets that i thought you only got in populated third-world-countries, you know… like… France. Shitting directly into a hole in a ‘cubicle’ with no door does not leave you with a good impression. It was “flush with the elbow” time, and Katie protested so much that a kind woman in a nearby car offered up some of her sanitizer to wipe her hands down with.

We made Liverpool [Liverpool Street] shortly after, with both of us fearing for our lives a little as we wound left and right and up and down along the edge of a hill of a very winding road that needed repair. the GPS got most confused more than once and told us to turn down roads that weren’t there, and we ended up at one point on a road that it knew nothing about. Better mapping required in this (literal) neck of the woods, please, TeleAtlas.

At the Turkey Fork Road general store, the old boy behind the counter eyed us with suspicion “South Carolina plate? At my store?” and helpfully informed that “We were in the middle of nowhere really”, when I asked him what town we were in.

BeatlesWe moved on, stopping a few miles down the road to quench my thirst for my latest photographic bent – I’m getting a fixation for some reason about abandoned rusty cars that have been left to the elements, and we found a farmyard barn where five cars (including VW beetles … should have been WV Beatles considering what state we were in, geddit?) and I snapped away at the photogenic deterioration of what many years ago must have been someone’s pride and joy; A car that someone paid good money for, a car that a first date was picked up and taken out somewhere, a car that might have taken a woman in labour to the hospital to give birth, but now … left to rust and make we wonder about its history and past life and previous owners.

A quick pass through Charleston .. not that one, but this one. South Carolina’s name sake, and capital city of West Virginia. I think a fair summary would be to say “It’s not as flat at the one I’m used to”, and then we headed out west to the nice town of Milton & Huntington for the night, and we’ll make Kentucky today (Friday) at some point.

We’re getting good at setting up the tent now, in under 3 minutes last night. We also cooked a bloody decent meal as well on the stove and generally had all our shit together. It can get quite addictive this living rough and camping on the road you know. Maybe when I go “home” I won’t want to go home at all .. but continue to be a roaming nomad around whatever soil I put my feet on the ground. We’ll see. I have 37 more same named tube stations places to go visit first.


So what are you doing for 7 days in July? I’ve got a little problem …

One my ‘definite’ signed up companions has renegaded on me, and left me with an open spot for some good time road trippin’ across ye olde US of A. So in what could be a dangerous move, I’m advertising it up to anyone that may be reading this …

You’ll need to fly into New Orleans for Saturday 11th July, and then it’s a weeks drive from there up to Chicago on July 18th – which would be a good dropping off point, if you fancy coming with me.

You can be from the USA or anywhere else, as long as you can get yourself on flights around those times. You may also be expected to drive a little and operate my video camera too!

And just because you’re the first to get back to me (or get back to me at all!) does not guarantee you getting in. You might after all be a nutter, as I will vet you before I agree

Previous Geofftech stalkers need not apply. You know the email, it’s this one ->

5 responses to “WV Beatles”

  1. Paul says:

    Please don’t tempt me! Shame I can’t drive though!

  2. Amandeep says:

    Um… I must submit a correction. Charleston, WV is not Charleston, SC’s and certainly not South Carolina’s namesake.

    Charleston, SC’s namesake was King Charles II (aren’t we glad it’s not Cromwellton). The entire colony of Carolina, which was not originally divided into a north and south, was named after King Charles I.

    West Virginia, as a state, didn’t even exist until after the American Revolution. There weren’t even settlers that far west in what was Virginia colony. West Virginia didn’t exist until the Civil War, almost a century later, when it seceded from the Confederate colony of Virginia.

    When Charleston, SC had mansions, trade, plantations, theater, art, etc., Charleston, WV didn’t even have a collection of shacks let alone a name.

  3. Amandeep says:

    Also, yay to knitting clubs.

  4. Betty says:

    It was great to meet you, Geoff! My sister-in-law Karen in Montana has me trying to guess your Montana destination. So far, I can only come up with Bond or Baker. Are either of those right?

  5. tami says:

    Let me think about that! I dont know if I could sleep in a tent that long!! LOL. Also, if you are down here during a hurricane, I will take care of ya!

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