Tudor's Biscuit World, Philippi, Tygart State Park, Grafton, Clarksburg, Morgantown, West Virginia

Before I begin, if you have come here to want information on Tudor's Biscuit World, please scroll down to the middle of this post. I am writing about things in the order they occurred.

Okay, let's get started then. The plan for this holiday weekend was to not have a plan. As you can see, I have acquired lots of new toys and my aim was to test out the new gear in a realistic setting. It took a hell of a lot of planning not to have a plan, needless to say.

On Saturday morning I had to wait around for the delivery of my new sofa. I must say, it looks spectacular. Then I had to reattach my door frame, which had to be removed to get the sofa in the house. So I got started with my adventure late. Since I had no plan I headed west toward what is becoming one of my favorite states West Virginia. Unfortunately, in order to get to West Virginia you have to travel through Northern Virginia, a place I dislike and think is ugly. I stopped at one of those trendy upscale Mexican fast food places where the help was annoyingly perky and the customers looked like technical geeks married to SAHMs who own obscenely highpriced townhomes on the periphery of suburbia. This put a negative damper on my mood. Yuck. I left in a hurry, these folks are my worst nightmare. If I had bothered to marry and replicate this would have been my life.

After a 4 hour drive I found myself at Seneca Rocks. The GPS worked very well, I didn't really have to think about where I was going, I could see that I was headed into the heart of WV. Since it was Christmas Eve I did something I don't normally do, I spent the night on private property. The cement transportation company over at Judy Gap was very quiet so I parked the minivan on the back lot between two trailers and fell asleep at 6PM. The sun goes down early so there isn't much else to do. I slipped into my new 15 degree sleeping bag and felt very cozy, I thought it was okay because the temp wasn't supposed to be less than 25 degrees. I woke up at 4AM feeling very frosty, so I slipped the new bag in the old sleeping bag and warmed right up. Problem solved.

I got up Christmas morning to a hard rain. This pissed me off because I had absolutely failed to look at the weather report before I left. I got out of my car and nearly fell on the snowy ground that was frozen solid. This meant only one thing....hiking was going to be a no-go. Bummer. So I changed my no-plan vacation into a drive-around vacation where I take pictures with my new camera. Flexibility is the key to life. You may not have had a white Christmas, but I did.

I drove to Elkins and tried to get my boss's Verizon Wireless Card to work, but I was unsuccessful even though I tested it out before I left home. Basically, this multi-gadget programming thing turns into a nightmare if you have GPS,wireless and a few other weird applications on your laptop. But I was thrilled with the GPS, I took a few wrong turns and knew immediately that I was on the wrong road. At Elkins, it really started to rain, I headed north to Philippi. I learned quickly that Central West Virginians from yesteryear were architectual magicians with lots of time on their hands. Here is a picture of a beautiful covered bridge along my route and the courthouse.

It was raining cats and dogs at this point and I was getting tired. By the way, these West Virginians take their Christmas inflatables very seriously. By the time I got to Grafton I wanted to get off the road. The only place that was open were the churches. So I stopped in to the First Baptist Church, I figured the service was already half over so I would stay for the end of it. But in this church sermons last a long long time, the pastor was trying to convince the congregation that all their problems would be solved if they just accepted Jesus Christ as their lord and savior(and tithing probably wouldn't hurt either) I wanted to tell the congregation that it didn't quite work that way, their credit card debt doesn't go away, their husband will still be an alcoholic and their boss will still hate them, Jesus or no Jesus. But I didn't want to start trouble. The rest room was very nice at the church.

Finally the rain started to let up so I drove on to Tygart State Park, which was some type of Army Corp of Engineers project. It had a dam and some hiking trails so I got a couple of miles of soggy hiking in.

Afterward I got to see the sights at Grafton, I really loved Grafton. This is the kind of city where it's industry leaves and it just lays down and dies. This place was one step away from being a ghost town. It is a former railroad hub, but it looks very forlorn. I was ready to move right in. Here is a picture of what was once a very grand railroad station in Grafton, it must have cost a fortune in its time.

This is the kind of apartments and homes that is occupied now in Grafton.

Tudor's Biscuit World
I spent the night in Bridgeport and actually forked over money for a no-tel motel. I finally was going to visit Tudor's Biscuit World. About a year ago on some message board I started talking to a West Virginian about fast food. He mentioned that the worst fast food ever was at a set of outlets found almost exclusively in West Virginia called Tudor's Biscuit World. Only in WV could they come up with a fast food restaurant that is centered around biscuits. WV being one of the fattest states, I just had to experience this place. Since I knew Bridgeport had one of these restaurant jewels I just had to visit. I spent 3 hours doing aerobics with FitTV the night before to work off the necessary calories that were going to be replaced by the biscuits.

I approached the counter where I met Stewie. I asked Stewie what was good here a Tudor's, she said everything was good and from the looks of Stewie it looked like she had been indulging in the biscuits quite often. Although Stewie was very nice and didn't mind getting her picture taken, the food was worse than imagined. The biscuit was one of the worst I have ever tasted (how can you ruin a biscuit?), the sausage was sort of a gray hockey puck which was a cross between actual sausage and scrapple, and the eggs had such a coating of grease I could see myself in my reflection. Needless to say I am still constipated.

Once I left the Biscuit World it started to snow. I headed over to Clarksburg to see what was there. I tell you, some of this old architecture is out of this world. How would you like to live in one of these places?

I headed to Morgantown next. The city is very nice, very vibrant, all sorts of restaurants and a pretty decent outfitter right downtown. You get the feeling these folks know their way around a kayak. Morgantown also had a dam, and what looked like some sort of lock system.

I noticed the West Virginia towns that were off the highway were much better off economically, but had almost been ruined by the Big Box retailers and chain food outlets that had sprung up in the midst. I vote Grafton as my favorite West Virginia city so far.

Back to Peters Mountain, Pennsylvania

I wanted to go back to Peters Mountain near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania because it had been extremely hot when I had hiked up there back in August so I hadn't been able to get very far.

When I saw that the Mountain Club of Maryland had scheduled a trip up there I decided to tag along. I had agreed to go on Tuesday of last week when Maryland had just a dusting of snow. On Friday Maryland received a few inches of snow so I knew that Pennsylvania would have much more but I still wanted to go. 5 gung-ho hikers from the club assembled early on Sunday morning, we had to alter our plans for a 16 mile trek due to the snowfall and we figured we could still do an up-and-back from Duncannon.

The snow had fallen on Friday and we were hiking on the Appalachian Trail on Sunday. I guess Pennsylvania hikers aren't motivated in cold weather because nobody had broken the trail for us on Saturday. I figure there was 7-10" of snow, some of the drifts were up to my hip. Needless to say we were only able to go about 8 miles, I had forgotten my poles and wasn't exactly Speed Racer yesterday. The snow was pretty though. Perhaps I will never be able to make some serious distance on Peters Mountain, it just isn't in the cards for me.

West Side Hike

The West Side Hike that happened on Saturday went rather swimmingly. It was very cold for early December and the wind was blowing. But the sunshine was out so it was a pretty pleasant experience. We met at the B&O Railroad Museum

We had a nice tour of the Irish Shrine Museum courtesy of Wayne Schaumburg and then headed north to Madison Street. We walked around Druid Lake and then on to Round Falls.
Then we headed through Wyman Park and on to Hampden where we finally got to warm up and eat lunch.
34th Street was all decorated up for the holidays, those Hampden folks are on the ball when it comes to Christmas.

Afterwards we headed back through Dru Hill and got to take a rest at the Baltimore Conservatory. Then it was a straight shot south back to our cars. Pictures courtesy of Kevin White.

Ferry Bar Park

This hike was on Sunday and it only encompassed me walking about 50 feet but it was noteworthy in itself. I wasn't feeling so well that morning so I had taken myself out to breakfast. Afterwards I puked up my breakfast in a mall parking lot and I felt immediately much better. As I was driving home over the Hanover Street bridge I figured I would get some errands done at Wal-Mart. However, I as I came toward W-M I was inspired by outside forces to make a quick stop at Ferry Bar Park.

Ferry Bar is a forlorn little place. There is no admittance fee, no lifeguard, no paddle boat rentals, no rules, in fact, there is nothing so you don't have to worry about anybody telling you not to do anything. If you want to fish, go fishing. If you want to smoke crack, go ahead. If you want to get naked, I don't think anyone would complain. In short, Ferry Bar is a place where I feel at home. This picture was stolen from somebody else's blog but it gets the essence of Ferry Bar.

It's freezing and I didn't put on my coat. There is one other car parked next to mine but I don't see anyone else. I walk to the beach and I turn around. I see a man waving at me. I get closer to him and we start talking about the weather. He tells me he is from New Orleans. I see his car and on closer inspection I see he has been living in his car. I am delighted, I love people who live in their car. It is my dream to live in my minivan.

The man introduces himself as Robert. Robert lost his roof during the hurricane. Robert isn't going back to New Orleans. Robert seems like a smart guy. Robert grew up in Baltimore. Robert is going to stay in Baltimore where there aren't any big hurricanes. Robert says he might open a raw bar in Canton if he gets some money together. Robert says it is going to be a long while before FEMA will get its act together. Robert seems pretty happy.

I am glad Robert is here in Baltimore, I think he is going to be an asset to our community. And no, I am not telling you where you can find Ferry Bar Park.