Thursday June 5
We departed for Marlinton, WV, at the very civilized hour of 10 a.m. Our first adventure started in Warm Springs when Gary turned the "wrong" way. But knowing he is a meticulous planner, we followed and shortly arrived at Jason's for lunch. Jason's food was wonderful, but just let me say that his burger & fries would feed an NFL offensive tackle! After checking into the Locust Hill Inn, we went to Beartown State Park. It's an interesting place with a boardwalk through these really unique rock formations. Gretchen and I remember visiting this park with the girls....a long time ago. I wonder if they remember walking the boardwalk?
Dinner was at the Pretty Penny Cafe in Hillsborough; an old haunt of ours now under new ownership with fine vegetarian fare. And the great thing was that Laurie did NOT order skim milk! Locust Hill Inn has beautiful grounds and a fine porch, so where we had cocktails and watched the sunset. The men also watched the ladies doing laps up and down drive way to satisfy their Fitbits.
It was a beautiful day to ride the Greenbrier River Trail with blue sky, low temperature and humidity! We rode from Marlinton to Cass and back (49 miles). We ate lunch in Cass at the train depot where we got to see several of the excursion trains.
In the evening, we went to First Fridays in Lewisburg (Coolest Small Town in American 2011). The downtown was packed and we had a hard time getting a parking place. A band was playing at the center city park, people were milling around shops and galleries; it was a fun time! We had dinner at Food and Friends, an excellent restaurant!
Another beautiful day for riding and we did, from Renick to Marlinton (31miles) with lunch in Seebert. The Inn has a pub that is open on the weekends so we had an early dinner there before heading to the Marlinton Opera House for the surprise show Gary promised. It was Hilby the Skinny German Juggling Boy! Hilby was a juggling artist and comedian who had an amazing stage presence. He had every one in the audience laughing, clapping and yelling; it was a really entertaining evening!
Today, we left our bikes rest in the barn and went to tour the Green Bank Radio Telescope facility. It has a really neat visitors center with a tour of the telescopes and a great exhibit hall.
One thing that caught my eye was a Jansky unit displayed by typing its value out, the long string of zeros lining the hallway on the way to the auditorium. A Jansky unit is 10 to the minus 26 watts per square meter per hertz. It measures the strength of radio waves. We're talking really minute strengths here. Imagine a 100 watt light bulb. Now reduce its light by a thousand, that is 0.1 watts; not reduce its light more to the Jansky level.....its would be 0.000000000000000000000001 watts. That is a really small amount of light! The point is astronomers measure really weak radio signals coming from space and.....when we are exposed to their realm, our minds are boggled by the numbers they use! Karl Jansky was a pioneer in radio astronomy who worked for Bell Labs. His first antenna is on display at Green Bank. Dinner at the Locus Hill Inn Pub was so good last night, we ate there again tonight. If we head to Marlinton again, we will happily stay at this wonderful Inn!
|Gretchen's photo of the poppies in the garden.|
Time to head on home. But wait there is more! Our first stop was at the Pearl Buck birthplace for the 10:30 a.m. tour. It is an interesting stop. We knew a bit about Pearl due to her affiliation with RMWC and some of us had read The Good Earth, but we were really surprised at the total number of books she wrote. We had no idea!
Do you know the origin of the phrase "pop goes the weasel?" We learned one plausible origin on the tour. A yarn spinner's weasel in the old days was a rotating device used to measure a specified length of yarn. When the length was reached, the weasel popped a button out to stop the wheel turning. Hence the term "pop goes the weasel!"
Lunch was at the Stardust Cafe in Lewisburg where salads were the fare of the day. Then we went to The Greenbrier to tour the bunker. The bunker was built to house Congess and their staff members for up to sixty days in case of a nuclear attack. It was constructed in 1958 and kept secret for thirty years. It is a fascinating tour, well worth the price of admission. The design was neat because parts of the bunker were used by the hotel for public functions with no one knowing they were actually in the bunker. Gretchen and I think we'll have to take in a stay at The Greenbrier, it is an impressive hotel! Did you know they do not list any room prices on their website?
Double Nickles 2014 was another great tour. Thanks to Gary and Laurie for you excellent planning!