Chuck, Donna & Shelby's Vacation 2009 travel blog

All aboard the Jet Boat

Calm before the rapids

Camp Houses

New River Gorge bridge


More rapids

We will see a close up of this rock

The very scary bridge

Water Fall



Chuck. Notice the gap he jumped over

Guess he thought if he jumped it might be better than listening...

Welcome to Dirty Ernies

Our destination for today was Hawks Nest State Park in Ansted WV. I wanted to surprise Chuck with a Jet Boat ride to the underside of the New River Gorge Bridge. This is the bridge I have talked about in our previous trips and he loves this bridge.

We spent more time at the Coal Mine than we planned, but I did not want to pass it up.

We got to the park about 2:00. It closes at 4:45. I also wanted to take a hike to the waterfalls, but it is almost two miles one-way, I didn’t think we would have enough time to take both in.

Immediately, as you climb the first set of steps the view is beautiful. We were told to go down the steps and take the aerial tram to the Jet Boats.

The steps are on a fairly steep incline. Shelby says, “Mom do you think I can slide down this rail to the bottom?” About the time I said, “NO!” Chuck was at the bottom and says sure you can, WATCH.” He runs backup the stairs and jumps on the banister. He starts sliding down. I guess he realizes, he is going fast and tries to stop about three steps up by putting his foot down. It didn’t stop him, but it did trip him and he takes a face plant onto the concrete at the bottom of the steps. He and Shelby are laughing, I am trying to figure out how to get down the steps (I knew the banister would not be a good route). I get to the bottom and he is standing, I am between crying and mad. Since he was fine, I chose mad. He scraped up his knee, but didn’t (admittedly) get hurt anywhere else.

The aerial tram down the side of the mountain was a beautiful trip. We got to the jet boat and everyone boarded. The captain was quite funny and entertaining. We toured the river. There were several camp houses along the river. Then the bridge came in view and we were in the rapids. There were several white water rafters around us and we appeared to be heading for a rock. It was really quite awesome. I could not imagine being in an inflatable raft.

When we got back it was 3:40. I talked to the park ranger and she said the main falls were 1 mile and it was a fairly easy hike with a gradual slight incline. I knew I could walk a mile in 20 minutes, but we also had to come back and Chuck just took a face plant and I wasn’t really sure he was not hurt. She stressed to us the last tram ride up was 4:30 and if we missed it we would have to take the stairs back to the top. I started the hike. I do not know what these people think “slight incline” means, WV girls and this FL girl sure have a difference of opinion. Now we are too far to turn back, it couldn’t get worse right?

There was a bridge we had to cross. So far I have been in a passenger van at 80mph around a track, a coal mine, white water rapids, Chuck’s driving (just teasing), but this bridge gave me a hard time. It has a steel grate across it, but under the grate, every few feet wood was missing, it was definitely one of those “don’t look down” bridges.

We made it to the water fall and it was very pretty. Again, Chuck goes out to the rocks, jumps across the gap, which had water flowing through it, to another rock. Not knowing if they were slimy or whatever. Then he stands on the edge and looks over. I took a picture of him, not so much for a memory or proud moment, but more for an alibi. I left him and Shelby there and started walking back. I had almost gotten over being mad, but now I was really mad. Why do they have to act so dangerous? I say they, but really it was just Chuck.

We made it back in plenty of time. When I get pissed, I can do some fast walking.

They caught up and we took the tram back up the mountain.

I had promised Chuck we would eat at Dirty Ernie’s Rib Pit. Even though I was upset, I still kept my promise. Chuck has been trying to eat there for years. We were in this area for our reunion 5 -6 years ago and then again last year with Sara. The outside looks the same, but the inside is not too bad. The food was good. Probably, not as good as the anticipation, but Chuck liked the ribs.

We haven’t gotten very far today, so we are going to try to get up the road a little ways.

Stay tuned, I am posting as fast as I can.


Donna, Evil Knevil and one daredevil in training

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