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An Appalachian Hipcamp Road Trip: A MKE and O-HI-O pitstop on the way to Tawney Farm, West Virginia

Day 1
 Scott had gotten a lucky gig to check out some off the beaten path campsites for Hipcamp. Our trip was going to bring us to the Appalachians. We packed our car full and headed east "early" Friday morning.

Early for us is never that early, but at least we got out on the road at a decent hour.

While driving through Madison we stopped at Cabela's to pick up a few more supplies that we would need.

Our original plan was to make it to Indiana Sand Dunes tonight. Scott mentioned that if we drive through Milwaukee we could skip the Chicago tolls. I agreed and then he asked if we could stop in Cudahy to say hi to the folks. I said we might as well stay the night. 

When we got there we went to Tsing Tao with my dad, my childhood favorite restaurant. It's in an old Ihop and has a great buffet at any time of the day. 

Sorry Scott, I wasn't impressed.

That's because your pretentious.

Anyways, Meadow decided she didn't want to eat with her grandpoppy and me. So, Brooke and Meadow sat across the dining room. What a weirdo.

 Since we had gotten to Milwaukee early enough we had a chance to meet up with Krystal and meet their new babe.

Jeremy was away for the weekend at a doctors conference, but we couldn't miss a chance to hang out with Krystal and little Jacob. 

I knew Meadow would like Krystal.

They definitely have a cute camaraderie.

 We tested out our new mini lantern that we bought eariler. This one was good, but I think we want something brighter.

Well, we forgot to mention that we'd stopped by Walmart after dinner and bought a few more things...a few things we'd just bought at Cabella's. We couldn't decide which lantern and hatchet to keep. I'm sure Krystal was entertained by our predicament. 

Day 2

 We had also picked up a backseat organizer for all of Meadow's coloring books and activities. She was excited to have everything within reach.

Before heading on to our next leg of the journey we ate breakfast with my pops. After some debate we chose the Cudahy Pancake House and we were not disappointed.

 Meadow and I colored while we waited for our delicious breakfast.

breakfast feast cudahy pancake house
I can't believe we haven't been here before.

South Shore Cyclery
 Across the street was a bike shop. It also included a small museum with tons of vintage bikes.

I haven't been to the old South Shore Cyclery for a while and wanted to check out their selection.

tricycle at south shore cyclery
 Meadow tried every kids bike she could ride.

South Shore Cyclery
The co-owner gave us a tour of the place including the basement, which had even more vintage bikes.

The other owner is brewing beer and hopes to add a tap room to the cyclery in the future. Beer and bikes. Heaven.

I took a few bikes for a test ride. They had prices I couldn't say no to. I ended up buying this one and a front rack for Brooke's bike.

Scott biked his new bike back to his parents house and took the car keys with him.

 So Meadow and I walked over the library and waited for him to come back. 

 Meadow has suddenly started drawing people. It's the coolest thing ever. Here is a picture of me.

We took the scenic route to see my grandparents old home.  We stopped by the SC Johnson Wax HQ after being disappointed with what some podunks had down with the once amazing yard at my grandparents.

 I guess this place offer free tours. Next time.

frank lloyd wright racine johnson wax
So long crazy Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture.

Chicago Skyline from Dan Ryan Expressway
 Ah, Chicago.

We only got to see you briefly, but you made our heart go aflutter.

 Near Gary, Indiana we stopped at Costco for cheap gas and cheap dinner.

Wasn't I just here?

 Driving through Indianapolis we stopped downtown to see their round about and war memorial, Abbey Road style.

 I've driven by, but never stopped.

It really adds a sense of place and grandeur to Indianapolis. Too bad we got rid of the gateway in Minneapolis.

 The sun was setting and it was time to keep going.

 Meadow offered to drive. 13 more years Meadow.

One goal along this trip was to get some Cincinnati-style chili. On the way into Ohio I found my holy grail.

 We settled for the night at a small county campground outside Cincinnati.

Governor Bebb Preserve to be exact.

It was a little chilly at night and we were surprise, the only people.

Day 3
 We woke up with the sun and packed up. We had to get to West Virginia.

 The park had some old historic buildings. Too bad we didn't have time to explore.

This was the home of the aforementioned governor.

 On our way we had to drive through Cincinnati.

We drove on through Over the Rhine. It was sleepier than I was expecting, but definitely urbane.

 Check out that mural, though.

Apparently we woke up too early for Meadow.

Once we got into West Virginia we stopped for lunch. I wanted Buddy's BBQ, but Brooke chose the burrito and beer bar next door, Black Sheep Burritos and Brews.

My first beer was not good, so I asked for a different one. I'd never had a barrel aged beer before. Holy strong beer, batman.

Our waiter had an accent. We definitely weren't in the midwest anymore.

I ended up getting a brisket burrito. It was way good.

As we continued on through the hills we drove by a tiny drive in. Of course we had to stop for ice cream.

I loved this row of houses. Not pictured was the purple checker board version of these that Meadow wanted to live in.

West Virginia was turning out to be quite beautiful.

I was already falling in love with the place.

Our first stay was at Gualy River Wild and Wooly Primitave Campground. The couple that owned the land also raise sheep for wool. I was hoping to get my hands on some of their wool, but I guess they sell it to be spun. 

We tried to chase their sheep, but they ran away.

The fog and mist just seemed right.

Then James offered to take us up to their tent camping locations in his truck.

I got to sit in the trunk on the way up the mountain.

What a view.

We were happy to be staying in the Nut House, but the view up here was awesome. If we're ever driving through again we'll have to camp up here.

Meadow had fun exploring.

James shared many stories about protecting land from mountaintop extraction and teaching others about peaceful disruption to the mining industry.

Meadow and I had a chance to ride in the back this time.

We brought Meadow's bike along. I thought she would enjoy some off roading.

Susan then brought us down to the Gauley River so Scott could do some fishing. There was also a hidden waterfall behind us.

Meadow had developed a new game on this trip called "hockey scotch". It's basically her throwing rocks into the water.

Apparently the Gauley River is the best for white water kayaking in the nation.

After Susan drove us to the local gas station to pick up some brewskis, James had a fire ready for us when we got back.

During the summer they host musicians in their field and occasionally weddings. These folks really have it figured out.

Day 3
I woke up early to capture the fog as it lifted from the valley.

They also raise chickens somewhere back there.

We must have had fun the night before.

Outdoor shower? Yes, please.

Too bad it was little chilly. I could have used a shower.

Meadow and I slept in really late. Apparently the last visitors slept in really late too.

These Adirondack chairs were made from pallets by a frequent guest.

The river was magical this morning.

I tried some Gauley River fishing without much luck while they slept in.

Before long we had to say goodbye to Susan and James.

We packed up our things and headed to our next destination.

Susan had us follow us on her way to work to show us the dam. That's quite an earthen wall.


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