Saturday, May 31, 2014

Just Visiting With Family

Follansbee, WV
Meadowbrook RV Park
Site #2

Not much going on the last few days but wonderful time visiting with family.

We were planning to attend Levani's ball game on Wednesday but the rain started and the game was postponed.

Misty, Bill's daughter, called to say she was off and so were Alan and Taylor so they stopped by Thursday.


Shay called a little later and asked if we were home as they were going to stop over.   
I don't know how we didn't run out of things to say but it was very late when everyone left.

Friday night we were invited to dinner with Shay and Doug.  I had mentioned that they don't know how to make steak salads out west.  Shay and Doug said they knew the perfect restaurant.  Boy were they ever right!  It wasn't here the last time we were in town.  
  Do you think I can handle that big salad?
Notice that isn't a flat bowl in front of Shay.
Doug ordered an Italian sandwich.
The name of the restaurant is called the Crooked Dock and it's called that because they have a dock that is crooked where boaters on the Ohio River can dock.  There also are sand volleyball courts which were packed with players.  We laughed because there was a black Labrador that wanted to get in the game.  It was going crazy every time the volleyball went from side to side.  There's tables inside and outside and since the weather was perfect we opted for an table outside.  That's the Ohio River over Bill's shoulder.  

Now if that isn't enough food for you, today was grand daughter, Jenna's, graduation party from West Virginia University.  
Not only is Jenna beautiful but she also is very smart.  She graduated with two majors in three years.

Shay, Bill and Misty

Next graduation party should be Courtney's.
What a wonderful party and time with family.

Turtle Safely..........

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

From Palace to Prison

Follansbee, West Virginia
Meadowbrook RV Park

Why is it you never have the time or desire to visit places in your own back yard?  It took Bill and I a visit to this area to see places we  never saw when we lived here.  Today we took a drive to Moundsville, West Virginia.

I did our homework last night on planning a visit to the Palace of Gold.  There were directions to get here from as far away as Dallas.  I noted that the first tour began at 10 am and there was a warning not to follow your GPS.

We followed the directions and had no trouble finding the Palace.  Thankfully, Bill drove over the very narrow, twisty, potholed roads with 11% grades.  

Peacocks were the official greeters.
The Palace was impressive at first glance, but drastically in need of repairs.  

The doors were locked and we were very disappointed to have come this far and not find anyone.  We walked around the palace and found a sign that said tours started at 11 am.  It was almost 11 so no problem.  

Upon entry you had to remove your shoes or wear the supplied blue booties.  
We were told once we entered we were not allowed to take photos.  
Our guide rattled off the statistics for the pounds of gold, number of different kinds of marble, jewels in the chandeliers and all the art in the Palace.  I was amazed at all the needlework and the paintings which were in the ceilings.  

Here's the history of the palace from their website.

A miracle in the West Virginia foothills.

Original plans for the Palace of Gold began in 1972 as a simple residence for Srila Prabhuapada, Founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), during his stays at the New Vrindaban Community. As construction progressed, however, devotees became more and more ambitious in their design, wishing to create a residence befitting their beloved Spiritual Master. As plans became more ambitious, the devotees, themselves unpaid and with little experience, trained themselves in the traditional artisanal skills. The result surprised even those who built it. Countless sculptures, extensive woodwork, cut marble and semi-precious stones, carved teakwood, stained glass and cut crystal, as well as extensive gold leaf (more than nine pounds) all were used in the final design. Because of the enthusiasm of his young disciples, Prabhupada’s home resembled a Indian palace rather than a simple Holy man’s residence.
Sadly, His Divine Grace passed away in November of 1977 before he could witness its completion. Further determined to now complete the Palace as an enduring memorial to their founder, the devotees finally unveiled this magnificent gift of devotion in 1979 to widespread national media coverage. The Palace of Gold, with its iconic gold-leafed dome with a sacred flag on top, has since become one of West Virginia’s biggest tourist attractions with over 50,000 visitors a year.
As of mid 2011 an ambitious five-year, 4.27 million-dollar restoration effort has been underway to restore and renew the Palace to its original pristine condition.
The Rose Gardens were pretty but June is the month when everything is in bloom.  Our $8.00 admission also included the temple and the grounds.  
Can you see me on the left?

There are a few inside photos on the website that show how exquisite  the interior is.
What do you do after visiting the Palace of Gold?  Why, of course, we went for a tour of the WV State Penitentiary which was only about 10 miles away.

The Penitentiary was built in 1866 and served the state until 1995.  The next tour began in 20 minutes so we had a short time to look at the artifacts.  Just as the tour was to begin two other couples joined us.  
 This is the actual electric chair which was built by an inmate and was referred as "Old Sparky".  Eighty-five inmates were hung and nine were electrocuted until the death penalty was abolished in 1965.

 Our $9.00 tour took 2 hours and our guide told us the stories of the inmates.  At one point there were 2400 inmates in this prison with 30 guards during a shift.  998 murders occurred inside the prison.  WV State Penitentiary was considered one of the most dangerous prisons in the United States.  

The third and fourth floors of this building were the personal housing of the warden and his family which were required at that time to live on site.  

The Wagon Gate housed Confederate prisoners during the Civil War.  This prison was about 25 miles north of the Mason/Dixon line.  They have no written records of hangings being held there, but it did have this trap door.  Could it have been used for hanging?

Our guide told us that they used to have public hangings until one hanging decapitated the man's head.  After that, to attend, you had to be a family member, clergy, victim's family or the press.  
This was the cell of a mafia boss from Wheeling.  He lost both legs from a car bombing.  The door was modified to accommodate his wheel chair.  He never went outside for 18 years while he was an inmate here because his chair wouldn't fit through the steel door.
 The cells were 5 X 7 and at one point housed 3 inmates.  The third one had to have his mattress on the floor.
All of the sandstone walls were made by the inmates from a nearby quarry.  You could see where they put their initials in all the blocks. They were hand quarried and chiseled. The walls were completed in 10 years by 100 prisoners. 

Our guide told us they have fund raisers of ghost tours for $20.  He said there are a lot of people who end up peeing their pants....and they aren't all women.  I think I'll pass on that one.

It was a very informative and enjoyable tour.  If only those walls could talk.  

Inmate 071948 has a very long history, which in his day he worked with the warden, Donald Bordenkercher. I'm not sure which side of the bars he was on. What do you think?  The rest of the story saved for a campfire topic.   

Turtle Safely.....

Monday, May 26, 2014

Stationary for awhile

Follansbee, West Virginia
Meadowpark RV Park

Where have the days gone?  I'm trying to think back from when I last blogged.  

Thursday we had a wonderful visit from our daughter Shay, and Doug.  Usually when we are here we are bombarded with everyone at once and don't get a chance to talk one on one.  It was so nice to be able to enjoy the two of the them.  We haven't stayed up that late in a long time.  We gabbed so much I forgot to get a photo.

There is one thing I crave when we come back to this area-- it is fish from Coleman's Market.  Bill took me to Wheeling Friday for lunch.  The Coleman Fish Market is located in the Centre Market which is in the historic district of Wheeling. 
I don't know how long the Coleman Fish Market has been around, but it's a long time.  

They haven't changed a thing.  You walk into a line and tell them what you want, the line moves along and by the time you get through it, your order is ready.  The fish sandwich is lightly breaded whitefish on two slices of white bread. If you want tarter sauce it will cost you a dime extra. They wrap it in paper, and put it in a paper bag.  The building appears to be an old trolley station.  There are tables and chairs and along the partition are rags and spray cleaner for customers to clean their table.  It's nothing fancy, but always packed.

I looked on Roadside America and they don't have anything listed for this area.  One of the interesting facts about Wellsburg is that Patrick Gass who was the last survivor of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is buried here.

 Normally, you'd drive straight down route 2 which follows the Ohio River.  We took the long way with a ride through Brooke Hills which now has sewer hook ups but the sites go over a hill.  It's much steeper sites than where we are.  

We also drove through West Liberty and Bill told some more stories of his adventures there.  Olgebay Park was really pretty with all the flowers in bloom. 

What do you think Bill did for relaxation?  Why of course, he cleaned and waxed the truck.  

Hopefully, he got the last of the tumbleweed out from under the truck.

I took a picture of the main road we came up.  

This picture was taken when we went back down the road to the store.  Notice the telephone poles are at the curb.  When we pulled the trailer up this hill there were cars parked along here.  

This park advertised level lots.  
We were surprised to find with 4 plastic blocks how far the front jacks would extend.  I've never seen the front of the trailer high enough for Bill to walk under.  

Today we spent the day with Balakos family for a barbecue.  
I don't want to brag, but aren't these the cutest kids around?  

Turtle Safely.....

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Warther's Museum and More

Follansbee, West Virginia
Meadowbrook RV Park
Site #2

Bill and I watched the river rising and saw the cloudy skies.  You know the old saying "if the creek don't rise?"  Well we looked outside and said we couldn't enjoy the area with everything wet and I was a little concerned being on the edge of the river.  I think it's time we move on down the road.
We pulled out around 9 am, and thankfully, Bill was driving today. The roads were wet, hilly and windy.  Our travels took us over OH 39 to Dover, Ohio.  

Susie and Denny Orr asked us if we had ever been to Warther's Museum when we were in Goshen.  I hadn't been to Warther's Museum in about 30 years.  I thought maybe it was time to return since I have watched Bill carve and know how difficult it is. 
Just a note if you ever stop in a RV--take the first entrance not the bus one.  
This museum is family owned without money from the government and Patrick, great grandson of "Mooney" Warther, set us up on a guided tour.

Bill took over 100 photos and it is difficult to pick out a few.  I don't want to spoil the experience by telling you everything but if you are ever 1,000 miles from Dover, it is worth making a detour to see.

This priceless collection has 64 ebony, ivory and walnut steam trains.  The parts all move and have never been oiled in over 100 years.  
 Mooney was famous for carving pliers.  He could do a pair in 9 seconds. The plier tree had  511 pliers that opened up out of one piece of wood which is in the right hand corner of this photo. It required 31,000 cuts from a single block of wood. Ripley's Believe It or Not saw it at the World's Fair.  Mooney never went to school past the second grade.  

These photos don't do these justice without showing all the moving parts.  Trust me, this needs to be on your bucket list.  

In addition to the museum the $13.00 admission included the knife shop where the Warther knives have been made for the last 100 years.  

Also a tour of the button house which was wife, Freida's creations.
The Warther home was also included on the tour.  

When we left Dover we traveled on OH 250 to US 22.  I won't say that this area isn't RV friendly but it is near impossible to find something convenient to visit the family. I know this is West Virginia but there is nothing near level.  Our front jacks are so high I can walk underneath the pin box without ducking my head.  The back end is as low as possible to the ground.  I don't need a stool to clean the back window.  

After we got unhitched Bill and I headed to Steubenville, Ohio to watch our grandson, Levani, play baseball.  

Levani was awarded the game ball.
Here's our son in law, Nicky, who was the official scorekeeper. 
I can't believe how tall our granddaughter, Olivia grew since we last saw her.  Nikki, our daughter is on the right.  

It was a very long busy day and the day's that follow promise to be just as busy. 

Turtle Safely......