I left the Millers and headed for the Appalachia Highway. I was told the road through Ohio was worth riding, though I admit to having doubts. It wasn’t until I’d been on the road for awhile when I noticed I was much, much further from where I wanted to be than I thought. Since I didn’t want to rush while riding (bad things happen), this meant I didn’t take as many pictures as I probably should have. I did take a shot of this diner –
which I’d been seeing signs for over the previous hour or so. I’d been looking forward to eating there but it was closed and for sale. Pity.
I ended up in a hotel in Lewisburg, WV that night, later than I wanted and sore from a long day’s ride. I was back to about where I wanted to be, though, so I felt like I could relax a little. Near the hotel was a sign for the Lost World Caverns. An idle google search revealed this was the place to go in Lewisburg, so in the morning I headed that way. The sign near the hotel had been small, giving the impression it was close by. I suppose it was, but I ended up on this small dirt and gravel road going past small family farms and animal enclosures. I was in West Virginia, but this was a little more remote than I’d expected.
I really didn’t know what to expect from the caverns. I did have a new, well new – to – me DSLR (a Nikon D70, boasting an impressive 6.1 megapixels – still more than I had when I traveled with just an old android) to try out, and the website said the cavern took about 45 minutes to walk through. Longer tours were occasionally available, in case you wondered.
The place was deserted except for me an the guy behind the counter. The card reader didn’t work, but he let me into the cavern anyway, saying I could just pay when I came back up. I guess there is only one way in or out.
Uneven cement stairs leading down, down. With all the places I’ve had to go down into you’d think I’d know the warning signs for coming back up. But, as usual, it didn’t occur to me until later how much coming back up would suck.
The cavern was long and narrow, with a couple choke points. There was a path, which I was supposed to stay on at all times, which led up one side and down the other. There were small signs for things people thought I should see, and everything was well lit – a nice feature for cavern tours. I wonder how well this all worked with candles and torches. It was certainly much different of an experience.
There was a matter of whether I could take pictures with the camera too. My old point and shoot, which I’d taken into plenty of caves, would always struggle to get a decent picture, so I was pleasantly surprised at the D70. I know it’s old and the pictures “lo res” by today’s standards, but it was fun to use.
Of course – I was still learning. Oh, and it’s not what you think.
So have some respect.
That little bit of daylight, 40 feet up from the floor of the cavern, is the original entrance. Tourists would have to climb down a ladder – rope and chain – to reach the cavern. Then they were shown around, and got to climb back out.
Anyway, I was eventually back to the new entrance to the cavern and had to walk back up. 100 feet down and 1,000 feet up, the uneven and sloped stairs making the hike out much more work than I felt it should be. I lived, though, and the card reader was working so I was able to pay and get a couple stickers. Then it was time to get back on the road. There had been rain while I was in the cavern, but the road out was decent gravel and not difficult.
Horizons Unlimited Virginia started the next day, so I got a room in Appomattox for the night, with plans to visit the courthouse the next morning and then head to the venue.