Lost World Caverns

Written by Lee.  You may remember that I am a little claustrophobic so caverns are really not my thing.  If you are worried I am not getting to do much sight seeing we are making the most of Saturdays and Lee is picking stuff to do that I wouldn’t want to do anyway.  Win-Win!! – Trace

If you should happen to find yourself in this area, Lost World Caverns is a great stop for a quick hour of fun. It’s only 2.5 miles from the Lewisburg Interstate exit, very inexpensive ($15), and well maintained.  Just an overall good cavern tour experience. The best part is, it’s self guided, so you can take as long as you want, or run through as fast as you can. Lee really doesn’t like guided tours because he likes to take his time with taking pictures.  On guided tours he is always last in line and invariably he gets scolded for not keeping up. – Trace.  The guy who sold me my ticket said most people spend 45 minutes to an hour, but I was in there for four hours taking long exposures with a tripod. It’s pretty rare that places like this allow a tripod, so it’s a great opportunity to learn the manual settings on a camera.

Clearly marked entrance, there’s no missing the turn off!




Plenty of parking, but I wouldn’t bring a big rig, the road here is narrow and twisty.

After walking through a HUGE gift shop and museum area, you head down the stairs! Make sure you have everything you need. I forgot my tripod plate and had to come ALL the way back up. He got his steps in that day – Trace



Dress accordingly, the temperature at this depth is always 52°, and it’s damp on the walkway. Another reason I am not fond of caves.  They are damp cold, my least favorite – Trace


Lee just started with the pictures, but I wanted to mention that he took all of these using a tripod and long exposure.  It was super dark in the cavern and taking pictures is hard in the dark.  Pretty happy about how they turned out. – Trace









I thought this one was super cool. – Trace










This was was really creepy. Reminded me of pods from the alien movies. – Trace






























































It was too dark to get pictures of the bones and the ladder, but I thought it was pretty interesting so I included the plaque!

And here’s a little video with some creepy music!


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  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
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First Time in ISKCON New Vrindaban

We are always on the lookout for interesting things to do, so when Cori mentioned we should check out the Palace of Gold in the unincorporated town of New Vrindaban it immediately went on my list.  Unfortunately it is in a remote area of West Virginia, so we never “drove by” but it did become one of my main motivators for wanting to explore West Virginia. Because Krishna is a religion,  I will be handling this post the same way I wrote about the ARK encounter.   I ask that your comments are respectful.

According to their website, “New Vrindaban was founded in 1968 in pursuance of Srila Prabhupada’s mission to give Westerners an alternative to the materialistic way of life and to teach a lifestyle based on the principle of “simple living and high thinking.” The project is named after the holy land of Vrindavan, India, the place of Krishna’s birth, where life is centered around the service and glorification of Lord Krishna.”

The Golden Palace is at the entrance. We drove past it to get to the visitors center.  I definitely recommend you do the same and end with the palace.

ISKON is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness or is otherwise known as the Hari Krishna movement.  If you are old enough, this term probably evokes lots of images of singers in American airports, but the religion was based in India and has over a million followers worldwide. New Vrindaban has had a complicated history with ISKON and for a time was expelled from the parent organization.  There was a change in leadership and practices and they were reinstated.  These panels show the history if you are interested. I appreciated that they were located right in front of the temple.





We picked up a map here. It is also check in for people staying in the cabins and lodge.


When I saw they only had a vegetarian restaurant I thought Lee might want to leave. 🙂




Map of the grounds




We took our shoes off to enter.


Inside the temple was really amazing.  It was a bit crowded with large family groups, but we waited our turn to see the different displays.  The religion appeared to be very interactive with offerings made, prayers said, and pictures taken all at the same time.   I enjoyed the festive atmosphere, but tried to be careful not to accidentally offend anyone.

Golden Swing




Radha is a Hindu goddess who is almost always depicted alongside Krishna and is often revered as the original Goddess. Fresh Flowers are often left as an offering.









Sri Nathji, the Master of all Creation.




Each display was really elaborate and they also had panels showing stories of Krishna’s life.  These reminded me of stories from the bible and I appreciated the elaborate artwork.  The most beautiful part though was the ceiling.






They also had two displays with models of people that were extremely well done.  First was the Six Goswamis who were a group of spiritual teachers in the fifteenth and sixteenth century.



The leader of the movement in the United states was A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.  This facility was built by a group of followers as part of his vision of spreading the message of Krishna in the west.  The Golden Palace, which I will show later, was built by his followers in the hope he would eventually retire there but when he passed away prior to its completion they turned it into a memorial.  The statue of the swami was incredibly lifelike.

One of the songs that they sing translated into English. The only singing I heard while I was there was off in a distant field where the cows were kept.

The grounds and temple were free to visit, although they do have a large gift shop and a donation area. The city has America’s oldest cow sanctuary. According to their website, “This traditional Indian practice is based on a sense of gratitude. Since we are nourished by the cow’s milk, she is like our mother and should be cared for with love until the end of her days. The same goes for the bulls who are like our father because they are engaged in working the land. We show due respect for these sacred animals and never send them to slaughter.”


After seeing the temple, we put our shoes back on a walked the grounds.  They are really beautiful with swans and peacocks and children were encouraged to laugh and play.

Lee got pretty close to the swans

This may be one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken.


They also had peacocks including a cool white ne. I dont think I have ever seen an albino peacock before.


The peacocks have their own house



Inside one of the buildings they had a huge swan boat


This made me wonder if they do weddings here and they have in the past.





There was a small section in the back that looks like it might have been a graveyard but it was difficult to tell.  There were only a few monuments.

I saw this symbol several times and it reminded me of the Star of David. After researching I learned that the Jews adopted this symbol from the Hindus where is was the symbol for Anahata or the heart chakra.

After we toured the grounds, we drove up to the palace of gold. and walked the gardens.  They were absolutely beautiful and the best part of the day for me.







I liked that the balcony had one bench


Gorgeous views.


View of the palace from the balcony




You just don’t expect to see something like this in West Virginia.



All four side were gorgeous


Inside one of the four pagodas


Again beautiful view



My favorite picture of Lee’s of the day. Deb I think you will love this one.

The rose garden was also amazing.  The roses were well tended and they were in full bloom.  We took so many flower pictures between the two of us.  Here are some of our favorites.



The gardener was hard at work the entire time we were there.


Starting here the rest of the flower pictures are all Lee’s.



Finally we went up to the palace entrance and discovered the tours are on the half hour.  Luckily we were able to snag the last couple of tickets for a tour in 10 minutes and once again I took off my shoes.  Lee opted for the booties this time though and we entered with a group of 10 people.  I will say that of the entire day I found this the least pleasant.  It wasn’t the cost of $9.50 per person, but rather the fact that they don’t allow pictures and I really didn’t care for our tour guide.  According to him he had been in New  Vrindaban since 1985 and he was pretty grumpy.  He did allow us to take pictures of the lobby which gives you a feel for the inside.

You can see the hospital booties on Lee’s feet. Also the Italian marble floor was all hand cut and polished by the followers.  They did an amazing job.


Gorgeous peacock stained window.


The ceilings were actually painted on canvas and then “stuck” to the ceiling. The main temple area in the house was gorgeous.


The tour guide explained that the palace was created by the group as a potential retirement home for the swami.  He was able to tour it before he died and then they turned it into a memorial.  The inside is pretty small but incredibly gilded.  The group taught themselves (mostly by reading books) to build it themselves, which I thought was nice.  The materials though were the most expensive they could find; marble from Italy (which they hand cut), home made chandeliers (with Viennese crystals), and even a chandelier from a castle in France.  The only thing they didn’t craft themselves was the intricately cut teak doors which they ordered.

I was OK with it until the tour guide talked about how man cannot spiritually ascend to another plane until they give up material possessions.  I asked, respectfully, if this was the case then why would they build such a gilded palace for an aesthetic. His response was the group wanted to do something nice for their teacher (which I respected) and they viewed materials used in the service of God differently (which I didn’t quite get).  I spent the rest of the tour pondering the incongruousness of that statement and really didn’t enjoy it that much.

Later I did think that there was a cultural significance to what they built and it was intended as a gift.  Since it was built for someone who originally came from India I shouldn’t assume my values should apply.  Essentially they built what they thought he would like.  They have a picture of him touring the facility and he looked pleased from the picture.

Anyway, if you don’t want to spend the money, its definitely worth going and seeing all of the other sites.  I am really glad we went to such a unique place and special thanks to Cori for telling us about it.

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.


This is an additional post written by Lee.  He went back a third time to the prison for Hearsemania.   – Trace

While I was at the prison, I had seen a flyer for something called “Hearsemania” on Saturday at the Penitentiary.

A car show, but with hearses!

It was free, so I thought I would combine that with a quick visit to the Native American burial mound center across the street, and I was not disappointed in either of them. The hearse show was just a bunch of hearses in various stages of restoration lined up for people to stroll through and gawk at. Good old all American Saturday afternoon fun.

This post is nothing but 80 or so pictures, so enjoy!- Lee










































Huh – Trace





As I am seeing this pictures for the first time while editing the post I am holding my head in the hands. It is kind of funny though- Trace.


















Ok this one was really cool – Trace




















No Lee we are not getting a hearse. I wish I could say the gruesome tour was over but there are lots of creepy places in West Virginia and Lee apparently wants to visit them all. – Trace


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.

Trying a New Way to Travel

Since the very beginning of our full time journey, Lee and I have wanted to try a travel schedule like our friends Steve and Deb. Steve works a full time corporate job and Deb is their travel planner and we have always admired how they have been able to balance those two things.  Until recently though we were largely going from one job to another, but finally we are able to give it a try.  We have six full months to just wander where the road takes us and we are incredibly excited about that.

I say wander where the road takes us, but that does include some restrictions.  I need to make sure I have ATT cell phone and data service at our stops, and although I can work from the truck some days, I also need to make sure that we are in place for certain conference calls.  This turned out to be more complicated than we thought, and I am thankful that business travel has been discontinued in my company because layering that in would have even been more difficult still.

Since we are new to this, we decided to work on our travel schedule together and it took two 2-1/2 hour sessions to schedule two weeks.  I am sure we will get better at this over time, but the first attempt was rough especially because West Virginia is not the easiest place to travel with restrictions.  There are lots of places with no cell coverage, and oddly most of the RV Parks are not listed on any of the sites we normally use.  That is probably because many “worker” RV Parks have popped up and these are not typically listed in one of our apps.

Consequently even with all that research things still didn’t work out that great, but as I said we are learning, so let me walk you through it.  Our very first stop was planned for near Wheeling, WV and it was a couple hours drive from Somerset, PA.  Since the beginning was all freeway and the campground was off a major road, we thought we would be fine, so we headed out after my morning conference calls.  I had an important meeting at 3pm I needed to be stationary for, but our ETA was 1pm which we thought would leave us plenty of time.

Our goal was Echo Valley campground.   We had checked the ATT app to make sure we had coverage and things looked pretty simple.  Since we had a back up we decided just to head that way without calling.  Big Mistake!! Once we left the freeway, things immediately were concerning.  It was a winding, twisty road and it was not clear where the entrance was on google maps satellite view.  For years Lee has asked me to verify entrances and exits at places and I do it, but not very graciously.  Until this stop I honestly didn’t see what the big deal was because things almost always work out just fine.

Well, this stop really drove home why he feels that is important because just getting in was a nightmare.  The entrance was a VERY sharp (over 90°) turn on a curve and down a hill onto a one lane gravel drive leading to a one lane narrow bridge.  There was a tree in the way and a street sign, and lots of gravel. There were no postings on how much weight the bridge could handle, but since we couldn’t back up we were committed.  It took a few adjustments to get past the entrance and over the bridge, and once we turned the corner a woman walked out of her house and said the campground was her daughter’s.  She seemed confused because we hadn’t called ahead but after talking to her daughter said we could stay for $30 cash per night.

We proceeded down into the campground itself and as soon as we got there…no cell coverage.  We weren’t thrilled about how it looked anyway, and decided we needed to leave and go on to the next option.  Unfortunately the only way out was the way we came in, and Lee had to make a three point turn to turn us around.  And on the way out we realized making the turn to get back across the bridge was NOT easy.  There was a steep embankment on the right, a light pole on the left, and a hill behind us.  It took numerous tries before Lee was able to make it.

One of the aborted tries


Trying again, that pipe railing really wanted to puncture our rig.


Finally got it!

Once we were back on the road (which involved me getting out and blocking traffic, I called the next place.  They were full, but they had a relative who might have a few spots.  We called them and they said they could take us and we pulled into a warehouse parking lot.  Lee walked in and was surprised to find that this was a local Trump headquarters.  The place was packed with signs and cardboard cut outs, which left Lee wondering if he was in the right place.  Thankfully he was and they said we could stay for $25 cash a night.

There were several open spots and some nicer rigs, so we looked around and selected one.  Once we backed in though we saw a sign that said the water was not potable (pretty common in West Virginia) and we knew we had to leave again.  We were not carrying enough water for our three day stay and although we had cell coverage it was on the weaker side.

By this time it was 2:30 and I was super anxious about my call.  We were back on the main road though and Lee was looking for a parking lot we could pull into while we had decent coverage.  Thankfully, he saw an unlisted campground along the road that had 4 bars of ATT.  Bonus it had potable water and was only $20 cash a night.  Turns out there are lots of these “worker camps” sort of everywhere in WV, but they are generally not listed anywhere on any website. Almost all are cash only and in this case we put the money in the slot in a container.  I was just thrilled we had a place to stay although Jack wasn’t a huge fan.  I think he likes the traditional campgrounds better.



The campground was technically across from the Ohio river although you couldn’t see it without crossing a busy road


The storage container had a slot cut in it where we put our money


The site was level and large and again great cell coverage.

(UPDATE: After the experience above, it seemed like EVERYWHERE I went in this little town I was seeing these “baby” RV parks. Some with signs, some without, but I found at least 10 of them without even looking. They all appear to be designed for land owners to take advantage of some extra space, and provide working people with a clean, quiet place to live while they work in the area temporarily. The common things seems to be that they are small, have good new power, water, sewer hookups, are inexpensive, and seem to be specifically geared to NOT have kids and “RVers”. There might be a way people find these places, but I can’t see it. Anyway, here are five examples of these “temporary worker RV Parks” in Moundsville, WV alone. I will spend some time trying to find out how these workers are finding these places, and let you know in a future post, when I figure it out. The first image below is the one with the really tight turn that we went to first. As you can see, it’s tiny. The smaller area at the top is NOT the same RB park. It’s a different owner. – Lee)



This one is right in town.





This is the one that was situated around the Trump warehouse.

This is the one we ended up staying at.

Armed with what we learned from this experience our next planning session was more specific.  We spent one day working on our next few stops around visiting places in the area.  I’ll talk about what we saw in the area in future posts, but for this one I want to walk through how the next few stops went.  Just to be safe on our next stop we decided to travel on Sunday.  Not only did this give us more breathing room, but it also allowed us to take State Route 20 as a cut through instead of a major freeway.


The leaves are starting to turn


Lots of curves on the road and in some places the right side of the road was washed out.


The road ran alongside a railroad track and river.


Lots of logging in the area.


And a few small towns. My daughter Kyrston wanted to know what a “Hollar” (that’s how I pronounce it) was. A Hollow is a small sheltered valley that usually has a watercourse running through it. We saw several towns.  This one was called Folsom Hollow.


We went 30 miles before we saw any stores. Dollar Generals are really everywhere.


The road turned out to be beautiful, but it was pretty stressful for Lee to drive.  We tend to use car GPS regularly, but after this road we definitely need to pull out the RV GPS.  We don’t use ours much, but nothing else works quite like it does, especially when most of your route doesn’t have cell coverage.  I actually used my paper Atlas for some of the drive especially when it recommended we turn down “Gregory Run Road”.  I always call places like this “Bob’s Road” (ala Twister) and thankfully the paper map, and the no large trucks sign steered us properly.  The RV GPS would never have recommended that, which is why I highly recommend having and using one in rural areas.


No Bob’s Road today.

I actually have an affinity for West Virginia because my Great-Grandfather grew up in Buffalo, WV.  Family lore has it that when he lived in Fort Gay, WV he met my Great-Grandmother who lived in Louisa, KY. Since her county was dry, they crossed the river to drink in WV and that’s where they met.  If you have ever heard a twang in my voice (happens when I drink or am tired), I like to think it is the West Virginia coming out 🙂

Although it was stressful for Lee I loved the drive and even got to see a beautiful bald eagle.  It was flying low along the river bank and paced us for quite awhile.  Unfortunately by the time we got a chance to pull over and try to take a picture it was gone, but it was absolutely beautiful.  I haven’t seen an eagle that close since Alaska and it really made my day.

We finally arrived in our next stop Westin, WV and before going to the campground we pulled into the Robins Nest Travel Plaza.  We don’t like to set up when we are hungry and this was the only place I could find.  It turned out to be really nice, with good portions and inexpensive meals.  I will also say that they are taking social distancing seriously everywhere we have been in West Virginia, even limiting occupancy to two people in small spaces.  Been really nice seeing that.

Beautiful stained glass in Robins Nest


And I really liked the mural.

Finally we made it to the Broken Wheel Campground and at first I was a little nervous about cell coverage.  But it turned out to be OK and Jack was excited to be in the woods again.  Once again we had to pay cash, because their credit card machine wasn’t working but this time we were prepared.  A little pricey at $30 a night but the Stonewall Jackson Dam and State Park is right next door.

Really nice camp store


Backing in


Behind our RV


Out my window where I work


One thing I would like to mention here is I really appreciate having a front living room in situations like this.  Our wifi sits in the front window and generally even in a wooded spot we can get signal from the entrance.  Also our bedroom is in the back which means we are away from any road noise at night.

So that is where we are as of this writing.  We have booked a site at the WV State Fairgrounds @ $45 a night for three nights and we found a spot in Elkins by getting a recommendation from a booked campground there.  Weekends are a problem since most of the traditional campgrounds are booked and cell coverage was super tricky in the Elkins area which is next to a huge national forest.  We think the planning will get much easier once we leave the state (and have more practice) but so far it has been stressful but worth it.  I’ll keep you updated as we go along, but next up several posts about the fun things we have been doing.

(And for those who are keeping an eye on our usage of the TSD Logistics fuel card, on our last visit we stopped at a TA Truck stop outside of Wheeling. We got 26.13 gallons of diesel and the street price would have been $ 66.87. But we paid $ 50.80 so we saved a whopping $ 16 on not even a full tank of fuel! So far we’ve saved over $65 using the card, when we use it. – Lee)

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on iTunes.