Vacation, Day One – West Virginia and Virginia

Yep, we got back from our trip on Monday–totally worn out but having had a great time. It’s taken me all week to recover (and to enhance the digital photos I took). Now I’m ready to relate a few of our adventures and to post an image or two.

We drove to Virginia via southern Ohio into West Virginia. We had a few route options, but I noticed one would take us right past Point Pleasant, West Virginia. That meant we could make a brief visit to the Mothman before continuing our journey.

In spring of 2007 I made a weekend trip with Diamondqueen and the Hooligans to Point Pleasant. We stayed in the old hotel, visited the Mothman Museum, contemplated the site of the Silver Bridge collapse (at least I did, since I remember vividly when it happened), and ventured out to some old bunkers near the dynamite factory where Mothman sightings had occurred. J.Hooligan was very big into Mothman at the time, and he was quite impressed with the entire experience. So, being in the vicinity, we just had to drop by and say hello. (Diamondqueen observed that the Mothman statue looks a lot like the 17-year cicadas that have been plaguing us in eastern Hamilton County for several weeks. I agree. I think it’s the bulging red eyes.)

Our drive was long but pretty through the mountains. We arrived in Lexington, Virginia early in the evening, but too late for any of the Civil War-related attractions I wouldn’t have minded revisiting (like the Lee Chapel or the VMI Museum). After a brief rest Diamondqueen and I did lure the kids back into the van with the promise of ice cream. First we took a drive around town (I love Lexington’s streets and old buildings), showing J.Hooligan the ruins of Liberty Hall, the original school that predated Washington-Lee University. (J. has claimed to be interested in things from the Colonial period, but he was under-enthused by the ruins. “I’m not really into history,” he said later in the trip. “He used to be,” Diamondqueen groused.)

At the very least I wanted to take a walk through the old cemetery. I’m not a fan of Stonewall Jackson, but I like to stroll past his statue whenever I visit. Again, the Hooligans were unimpressed, partly because they don’t know anything about General Jackson and don’t want to learn. Diamondqueen and I found it amusing that someone had tossed lemons at the foot of the statue in tribute, even though the story about Stonewall Jackson sucking on lemons during battle is supposed to be apocryphal.

Here’s a photo of the Hooligans in front of the Stonewall Jackson statue. Note the condition of the fence. Also note that the Hooligans did NOT do the damage. Possibly a tree fell on it, since there was evidence nearby (toppled tombstones, a fresh stump, great quantities of sawdust). I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the lemons, too.

There were only two times the Hooligans appreciated our cemetery visit. Once was when we saw huge ravens swooping overhead. One perched on the bare limb of a tree, creating such an eerie image that Diamondqueen tried to snap a photo, but the big bird spread its huge inky wings and sailed away. The Hooligans seemed to appreciate the ravens, though.

The other time was when I spotted a 19th century tombstone with the family name of Bumpus*. “Sons of b#tches! Bumpuses!” I cried in my best imitation of the father from A Christmas Story. Both kids thought this was hilarious and demanded I do it over and over until I wanted to crawl under the sod with the Bumpus clan.

We did go for ice cream finally, at a Dairy Queen in a gas station across from our motel. It’s just as well I don’t do reviews of restaurants and such. I wouldn’t have been flinging many stars at this place. (A surly server, and my waffle sundae looked NOTHING like the one in the TV commercials!)

*With apologies to any member of the Bumpus family, in Lexington or anywhere else. I see from an 1860 census of Lexington that there were several Bumpus (or Bumpuss, Bumpass, or Bumpas) men in service during the Civil War.


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This entry was posted in Graveyard Visits, The Hooligan Chronicles, Travels Here & There, Virginia, West Virginia and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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