Destinations!

danjuno

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I got one more good trip in last fall, to West Virginia. Favorite part was probably in and around the National Radio Quiet Zone and Monongahela National Forest. Very remote out there; I met one person while mountain biking, hiking in the opposite direction, who said I was the first person she'd seen in a few days on that long-distance trail. Also very calm, and gasoline is very expensive, probably in part because gasoline cars are partially banned and thus less popular than diesel due to spark plugs interfering with the great big telescope in the area (which claims to be the world's largest mobile land-based structure; China has a larger telescope but it is fixed in place). The locals who aren't from the area originally said not being able to use WiFi and not having cell phone signals isn't that big of a deal; you can always use a Lightning-to-Ethernet adapter for your cell phone. Not having microwaves, on the other hand? That's a real adjustment!

Spoiler Overgrown Steep Trail :

View attachment 651136
Why yes, that is a trail. And yes, it was as much of a hike-with-bike as it was mountain biking for much of it.


It also gets remarkably dark at night out there for someone who lives in the city; it's the first place where I've been able to see the Milky Way at night, no telescope required. And of course you've got the classic country roads, one car wide and very windy with lots of elevation change. Even one of the locals I met professed to not liking driving on them! But as long as the traffic volume is low, which is usually is, I find them a lot more interesting than the Interstates. Driving is engaging on those roads! I understand why people like manual transmissions when I'm driving there!

I can also recommend Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, both the town of Cass, and the summit that you can take the train to. I couldn't fit the train into my schedule, so I took the hard way to the summit, by muscle power instead of steam power. I was there mid-afternoon but it would probably be fantastic at sunrise, only problem is you'd have to leave mighty early to drive up the forest roads pre-dawn and then bike and hike to the summit. I could tell that not many people take that route as I had to stop multiple times to clear branches from the road; bringing an axe or saw may be advisable in case a full-fledged tree is blocking the road.

Spoiler Railroad :

View attachment 651138
The railroad close to the summit. You didn't think you'd get to see the summit view without going there, did you?


Friendly locals, too. I don't know if it's really true that people are friendlier in small towns than the cities, but it sure feels that way. Also lots of cows. One of the locals was surprised that I wasn't surprised by how many cows there were, since most out-of-towners don't expect to see any cows. But it was my second time in that part of the state, and I had been surprised the first time.

I could see this general area being a yearly trip, there are lots of places I haven't explored yet. If I disappear from CFC unexpectedly some day, it's most likely because I was eaten by a bear while exploring; check the recent editions of the Pocahontas Times and you'll likely find a story about it.

I might have stayed out in the middle of nowhere longer, but the Roadkill Cookoff was going on that weekend and all the accommodations were booked, so I went up to Morgantown. A fun college town with lots of hills and a nice riverfront area. I'll probably be back. Swung by a bike trail going from Parkersburg to Petroleum on the way back, but it was disappointingly rough for not being advertised as rough. I'm fine with rough trails if they're supposed to be rough and the views make it worth it, but if it's just in poor condition without sufficient rustically-beautiful scenery, I'd rather go somewhere else.

Spoiler Mare Nostrum Ponderings :
On the Mare Nostrum topic, I kind of agree with the "book it at the last minute" since it sounds like temperatures are really important. When I went to Berlin in June of 2019, it was unseasonably warm, and I should have checked the forecast ahead of time and packed cooler clothes. Maine in August of 2022, hottest week of the summer up there. With the Berlin trip I was visiting people so I couldn't just go somewhere else, but with the Maine one, if I'd had a backup itinerary for, say, Montana, I could have gone there instead and enjoyed more moderate temperatures.

Maybe Corsica is the first choice but if you look at the forecast a week out and it's going to be scorching there, you could go to a second choice of Portugal that might be more moderate instead? Or Turkey? The benefit of the Mare Nostrum being quite large, it's less likely for it to be really hot everywhere at once than, say, around the Great Salt Lake.

I guess the other part of my question would be does it have to be Mediterranean for sun and sand? What about the Black Sea, or Bay of Biscay, or as warpus mentioned the Adriatic? If you do have to book at least the flights ahead of time but want to hedge your bets, would something like mountains or towns in the mountains be a better backup option than a hotel? Book in Slovenia, keep the middle part of the trip's hotel booking refundable, and if you get bad luck with the weather head on up to the highlands of Austria until it cools down, maybe even going to the Bodensee so you're still by water. Greece might also be an option where you could escape to higher elevation and cooler temps pretty quickly.
Nice to see my state represented here! Stayed in Canaan Valley a few years back. Had the opportunity to Ride on the Cass and drive up Spruce Knob (Highest Point in the state). Probably the loveliest part of the whole state.
 

Zardnaar

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Made it to ze river
IMG_20230122_101551.jpg
 

Broken_Erika

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I went to Belleville ont. A 4 hour drive last weekend to visit my brother and my niece. I could barely walk when i got home.
 

Birdjaguar

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I went to Belleville ont. A 4 hour drive last weekend to visit my brother and my niece. I could barely walk when i got home.
Belleville! I was sure you meant:

Spoiler :

Belleville movie.jpg

 

Quintillus

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Nice to see my state represented here! Stayed in Canaan Valley a few years back. Had the opportunity to Ride on the Cass and drive up Spruce Knob (Highest Point in the state). Probably the loveliest part of the whole state.
It's a beautiful state! Spruce Knob has been on my radar for a year or two; I considered swinging down there on a trip to western Maryland (Allegheny and Garrett counties) in late 2021, but so far it hasn't quite lined up.

I could go on about my other recent trips to West Virginia, or places I'd like to go in the future (Dolly Sods?), but suffice to say it's been a lot easier to find state parks and outdoor areas I want to visit in West Virginia than in the flatlands of Ohio.
 

Birdjaguar

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It's a beautiful state! Spruce Knob has been on my radar for a year or two; I considered swinging down there on a trip to western Maryland (Allegheny and Garrett counties) in late 2021, but so far it hasn't quite lined up.

I could go on about my other recent trips to West Virginia, or places I'd like to go in the future (Dolly Sods?), but suffice to say it's been a lot easier to find state parks and outdoor areas I want to visit in West Virginia than in the flatlands of Ohio.
Have you ever been to Waddington in WV?

 

Zardnaar

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So went for a small hike. Inlaws came along thought they were gassed in 20 minutes but they stuck it out.

IMG_20230123_120821.jpg

Ridgeline overlooking the area pacific in the distance.
 
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warpus

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Sounds like a staycation for a Norwegian? to go to Sweden for a vacation. :mischief:

Booked 4 nights in Zanzibar as a prelude to my Great Migration safari in the Serengeti this coming July. While @thetrooper is chilling in the cold waters of the Baltic, I'll be snorkeling on the tropical reefs of the Indian Ocean!

Awesome! I am still not really sure if we are going to be heading there this summer. Our plan is to fly in without having booked anything except maybe a hotel. That makes it easier to decide if this is happening or not at the last minute..

My knee recovery is going well, but I might very well have to postpone this for 2024. This year might end up being a more relaxed sort of trip somewhere, maybe to Portugal.

Will be looking for your posts during/after your trip to see what sort of trip you had, and what I can learn from your experiences there
 

Birdjaguar

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Will be looking for your posts during/after your trip to see what sort of trip you had, and what I can learn from your experiences there
Of course. I've already improved my safari schedule to cut out some wasted "travel time" and I added a day to my time in the Northern Serengeti.
 

Zardnaar

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Weather sucked today. So we went to ze beach. Full of tourists

IMG_20230124_143232.jpg

Moeraki Boulders. Some of ze tourists were trying to chip them for souvenirs.

Ze beach. Childhood memories.
IMG_20230124_143237.jpg

Tourists already ruined where I was born.
 

Quintillus

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Have you ever been to Waddington in WV?

I haven't. Haven't spent much time in the panhandles yet. Have you/would you recommend it?

@Zardnaar You did a good job of finding an area without tourists to photograph if they were full of them! The beaches I saw in Canada this summer were a lot busier than your photos!
 

Valka D'Ur

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Birdjaguar

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I haven't. Haven't spent much time in the panhandles yet. Have you/would you recommend it?
The original farm dates back to the early 1800s. Just after the Civil War my great great great grandfather and grandmother (on my mother's side) bought the property. Their daughter, Mary Julia Woods (and my ancestor), spent her early years there. A grand piano they had in that house (which she played) moved with them when they eventually moved to Iowa. That piano made its way to our house in Baltimore as I was growing up. In 2017 we sent the piano back to the Olglebay Mansion Museum where it is on display. If you see the house today it is far grander than it was in the 1860s. The Oglebay's added the grand columns and front façade in 1900. I have never been there.

Spoiler :


Piano (2).JPG


 
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Zardnaar

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This looks like the place where Xena, Gabrielle, and Callisto duked it out with chariots, in Xena: Warrior Princess.

No idea. That is the beach being busy Normally you get the whole beach to yourself or 100 metres of it at least.
 

Samson

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@Birdjaguar Thought you may be interested: The Impossible Ethical Bargain Behind African Safaris

Spoiler Youtube video on the economics of safaris :
 

Hygro

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Went to Tahoe last weekend, it was PACKED. Recession my ass, you should have seen how dead it was in the 2009 era.
 

Birdjaguar

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Great video @Samson ! Yes, going anywhere and doing anything has an impact. Big game hunting is terrible and if they re going to allow it, it should be much more expensive and limited. People, though, are going to cheat.

Over tourism is a growing problem in many places and not just in Africa. We are pretty good at destroying what we love or what is important to us. Exploitation of land and resources is a human thing. Tourism has just moved it into different places than in the past. Farmers and ranchers destroyed 20-30 million buffaloes in the American West in less than 30 years. As the video said, there are no easy answers. Preserving huge swathes of preindustrial wild landscape has poor chances of success. That also seems to include the oceans.
 

Valka D'Ur

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