West Virginia, I’m Disappointed in You
Sept. 16, 2006
by Bob Svercl
For the most part, West Virginia doesn’t tend to disappoint. But today was different.
At 10 A.M. remarkably we all met and were ready to go, ON TIME! Of course we didn’t actually leave on time, as we started getting into too many conversations. 8 girls and only myself and Alex to entertain them? Poor us! Off to West Virginia was the plan.
Setting out and driving with Kristen, Ashley, Abby, and Xuan in my car proved to be an interesting experience. Oh, poor Kirby! I haven’t even met her, but I do feel sorry for her!
When we got to the parking site, we saw a sketchy looking van parked near us of whom we could not find any drivers or passengers. Of course it was parked next to Dumpster Hill, a scenic hill used as a dump where we saw amongst dead cats and random beer cans some abandoned appliances.
Approaching the cave it was apparent that applying new techniques appsolutely (sorry, just wanted to throw in another “app” word) would not be apples (there’s another one!) for everyone. To translate, some of us had a hard time getting down the hill to get to the cave! After a brief session on cave safety and etiquette, we headed in.
When we got far enough into the cave, we had a lights out and introduced everyone to pitch darkness. After some giggling (yes, I included myself in that) in the dark, we proceeded to the first difficult part, where the use of 2 walls was necessary to get through. Everyone got through without much trouble and most were surprised they could do it. We then checked the registry (weird tube looking like a time capsule) which had a quote from a Boy Scout troop: “We do it in the mud!”
Later on during the trip I wanted to find a way down to the bottom of a certain room. After checking out one possible route, which involved a 15 foot drop, I found the correct one, only a nice 7 foot drop, but on a slope with a 9 foot drop at the bottom to the floor. I set myself up in position to help people down. First two, fine. Then came Jen. She made it down the most difficult part, and was getting herself down the slope when she trips, falls forward, and somersaults to the bottom, landing on her back. I swear, it scared the crap out of me when I saw it happen. She’s a trooper, just a bit woozy from the fall, but her helmet definitely did its job in protecting her.
Then I lost the cave pack. I had left it at the top of the 6 foot drop. Leading everyone through a crawl, Kristen and Xuan found a new technique for getting through it by rolling like logs. It was quite hilarious to watch. We looped back around and I got the cave pack, whilst smacking myself in the face for forgetting where I put it.
Then it was off to find the Art Room, or at least the closest to an actual art room. I then took evil pride in making most of everyone crawl through a passage that they could’ve just walked around. We made it up a slippery passage that required each person to pull themselves up onto a shelf, then crawl sideways lying down through sticky mud. I changed out some batteries, luckily saving my eyes from Kristen turning on her light right in front of my face by throwing my hand in front of my eyes and closing them. I swear, I’ve got cat-like reflexes.
After getting to the “art room,” I discovered that most if not all of everyone was talking about food in some way or another, and we were all really hungry. Man, I could go for a cherry milkshake right now! So we headed out.
We went out through the smaller entrance, no reason really other than to go that way. Not too tight of a squeeze, but we definitely made Abby lose it to laughter when she was trying to get out the last part but was stuck. We all stood back and reached out an arm, pretending to be reaching to help her and she just lost her composure.
Now, as we were all hungry, I insisted we go to Thompson’s Restaurant for cherry milksha – I mean food. It was 3:15 and for some reason the restaurant was closed from 3-5 on this particular day! I mean, who made that happen? So next on the list would be Mean Gene’s. So we got into our cars, and drove about 100 feet up the hill from Thompson’s and stopped.
Now why, you would ask, did we stop? Because Franklin, the small little one-light town that we needed to pass through, was having a parade at that time! A freakin’ parade. And traffic had been completely blocked! So we had to wait for an hour, then make our way through the town a slow as molasses due to the sudden influx of traffic. Try blocking Route 33 for an hour and see how much really builds up. So Mean Gene’s, at the heart of the town, was crowded so we tried our hands at Fat Boy’s Pork Palace. Closed?!? Dammit, West Virginia! Had to settle for a questionable hot dog from a gas station, thinking, “Now how many hours or days or whatever has this hot dog been sitting on that grill?”
Then on the way back we got to witness a semi having trouble coming around a sharp curve almost hit a sports car in front of us and then almost hit US! Nothing like an out-of-control semi coming out of nowhere to scare the bejeezus out of you. West Virginia was not good to me today.
And you wanna know something, Mr. Boy Scout troop #whatever that wrote in the cave registry? We do it in the mud!