Sunday, October 07, 2007

1st full day in WV

Thanks to Dad, who fired up the modem connection for me I can at least write a text
update from our vacation. We are totally in the country! We've seen deer grazing in the
fields both nights we drove home. There is no hi-speed internet available here and no
cellular phone networks for quite a ways away. I was pleased however to be able to
reach a local ham radio repeater very well, even from the valley (hollow). This repeater,
I've discovered, is connected to the Echolink system so I could call it from home and
talk to Dad. Now all I have to do is get Dad to get his ham radio license!

Speaking of ham radio, we are going to get to visit America's largest radio and
technology museum. They have hundreds of old radios, TVs and even old computers
on display. They also have a fully functional super-duper ham radio station with big,
powerful antennas that any qualified operator can use. I may not be experienced with
this sort of gear yet, but I am legally qualified, so I'm hoping someone is there that can
walk me through it. Using that equipment, I may be able to speak directly (via radio)
with Hawaii! What fun that would be!

Today started early with a visit to a beautiful country church in Jodie. I have to confess
I was expecting a lot of suits, boring hymn singing and a highly conservative
environment. Boy was I wrong! I love this church and I am so glad that my folks are
involved there when they are in West Virginia. The love these people had for each other
and us was so abundant and was seconded only by there love for Jesus! Although we
did sing classic hymns, they were sung with such passion and love that some people
were overwhelmed with emotion (and then surrounded by supporters to confirm and
comfort)! These songs take on new life when sung this way! A powerfully-preached
sermon by a man who's knowledge and love for God's word oozed into every word.
And this person wasn't the pastor! They have no pastor! Each one serves as God has
led them them, there are no full time staff. There is actually a lot that other churches
could learn from this little church nestled in the backwoods of West Virginia. I was
simultaneously delighted and humbled to be there.

After church we went to a park called Hawks Nest for lunch. We had a beautiful view of
the surrounding river valley and watched as a dozen graceful hawks soared effortlessly
on the thermals coming up the valley. I don't think I ever saw them flap a wing the
entire time we were there. Just soared. We also got to ride a cable car down to the
valley floor and back. Photos will have to come later.

After lunch, we went to visit a ghost town! Thurmond was once a bustling train town
that use to service 9 trainloads of passengers a day. There were no roads into
Thurmond back then. The only way into or out of the town was by rail! The city
literally built up around the train tracks, with a bank and 2 hotels, coal-car filling
equipment and stores. It was divided into a reputable side and a seedy side, with a
saloon, brothel and the longest continuously running poker game on the east coast (at
the time). Today just 3 buildings, the coal tipple and the passenger station (now
museum) still stand. Amazing that just 70 years a ago it was a bustling town, and now
it has nearly vanished were it not for the National Park Service purchasing and
renovating parts.

Tomorrow is an unscheduled day, so we'll probably go geocaching, maybe do a little
shooting (plinking), and basically spend the day around the "holler".

Hopefully I will be able to load photos if we find a WiFi zone somewhere, but it will be
quick and messy (probably uncaptioned). We're still able to check emails so let us know
your reading!

Peace, Love and Old-Fashioned Country Livin',


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