Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Over the Hills
May 25: I woke shortly after dawn and was almost finished packing up when Melvin arrived. I threw my bag in his truck and we headed down the hill to his house nearby for breakfast. His wife Renee, who I sadly missed since she had departed for work, had cooked us bacon, pancakes, and scrambled eggs. Melvin, who is a dairy farmer, offered me some of his recent product. Some would say milk straight from the tap is udderly delicious, but I would have to shoot anyone in the face who used such an awful pun. Melvin's son Seth also joined us - he has just graduated from high school and will follow in his father's footsteps as a student at the West Virginia University in the fall. Not that I ever beat a dead horse, but I continue to meet fabulous, generous people here.
I went on my way around eight and have had a relatively uneventful stroll. After thirteen miles all on state highways, I found myself in Philippi (pronounced Fill-a-pee), West Virginia by early afternoon.
Things got a little more exciting when I went to look for my hotel, which despite Google's claims, did not exist. I went over to the Barbour County Courthouse, where I was told that the only place to stay in town was the Bed and Breakfast just around the corner. I waited on the porch outside the B&B and telephoned the owner, but to no avail.
After an hour or two I went back over to the Courthouse to fill my water. While doing so I met an employee there, Sandy, who took pity on me and went to ask the Sheriff if my could pitch my tent behind the building. Sheriff John had no problem with that and I finally had some digs in Philippi! The Courthouse is right across from the police station, so needless to say I have never felt safer.
Philippi also has a story relating to the Wounded Warrior Project. James Hanger, a Union soldier, was struck by a cannonball while fighting Confederates at the Covered Bridge in Philippi and his leg was removed as a result. Hanger was the first amputee of the war. He went on to found the J.E. Hanger company, the biggest and oldest maker of prosthetic limbs in the U.S.
In related news, Philippi will be celebrating their part in the Civil War with Blue-Gray days in June. I miss out on all the good stuff :( For a more thorough examination of Philippi's role during the commencement of hostilities, check out this article from the Smithsonian magazine.
Later that evening I went out for dinner at the Medallion. The owner there paid for my meal when he heard about what I was doing. Later on Maria, my waitress, came by the tent and gave me a goodie bag put together by the Medallion staff. I'm putting
the remaining nine states on my itinerary on notice. West Virginia is kicking some serious ass in the TLC department.
13 miles/395 total miles