The next day I had to get work done so we settled into Vandal’s Kitchen AGAIN for a long day of internet work. We ate breakfast AND lunch there and closed the place down at 3:00. Sienna and I decided to take a hike to burn off some restless energy from focused work all day with very little release. We hiked the Headhouse Trail in Nuttallburg and explored the old mine entrance and headhouse that processed the coal they sent down to the river to be loaded into coke ovens and trains to be shipped off to be used for energy.
It was a tough hike but we loved each moment as we were the only ones on the trail and we love when there aren’t tons of people around. Then we wanted to make sure we saw Sandstone Falls before we left the area because we heard they were so beautiful!! We hiked around and watched an epic sunset over the falls before we headed home exhausted from a long day.
We decided we would go to the Beckley Coal Exhibition the following day and head out of West Virginia and on to our next spot. We went to the exhibition and learned so much!! They took you into an old coal mine on an old miners car and you really got to get the feel of the working conditions these guys spent their life in.
There was an old coal mine village that was kept historic with authentic everything inside the houses. There was an old school house and a church and the superintendents house and a miner’s family home. Sienna and I LOVED looking at the old washers, irons, stoves, fridges, etc and chatted with a beautiful older woman who was embarrassed to tell me her age but finally did (76) and her 89 year old boyfriend who were both children of coal miner families, who gave us detailed descriptions of life in that time in this area.
It was straight out of a movie!!! As we wrapped things up I received an amazing text that indicated that Evan was coming back to WV to hang for a bit longer before he reported for a new job on the 24th! SERIOUSLY…. How can this even be real life?!?!?!?!
Both Sienna and I celebrated this news and we headed back to camp for dinner and excitedly chatted about what we would do for the next few days. I wanted to go to yoga Sunday mooring again and Evan asked if he could join……. ummmmmm HELLO, YES!!!! It was a rainy day so the class was moved to the studio in Fayetteville from the deck overlooking the Gorge (which was also where I was planning on taking my first shower since I left Keven’s house, oh about 10 days ago. Those that know me are laughing right now and thinking that’s just par for the course…. others are completely freaked out and grossed out beyond normalcy….. I’ll just say, I was in the river or lake almost every day and I think that counts for some sort of hygiene practice, lol….. but even I was ready to shave my armpits and wash my hair at this point). So we shifted gears quickly and raced to the Kula Studio. Sienna decided she wanted to practice and I was in COMPLETE HEAVEN once again!!! The class and my mat gifted me an otherworldly experience and I was washed in bliss. We headed to breakfast and the rain just wasn’t letting up. We decided to head back to the showers, rent a redbox and CHILL…..
Staying in a free camping spot has lots of benefits as I’ve discussed, but one of the downfalls is there are usually no shower facilities. I am totally fine going pretty long periods without a shower, especially when I’m in the water daily……. But even I was feeling pretty greasy at this point!! We got back to the boat house and Sienna and I snuck into the shower rooms. We turned the shower on and just the sound brought a smile to my face. I couldn’t wait to step in…… With the first step I shook and goose bumps filed my body, HOLY CRAP the water was ice cold!!! Sienna and I checked all the other showers and found one that was warmer, but it had a press handle that would spit water for about 10 seconds before it shut off and you’d have to press it again for another 10 seconds and that was the cycle. I decided to deal with a constant cold flow and relish every second of clean water washing the soap off my body. Sienna decided to fight with the warmer water for a bit before she got frustrated and joined me in the cold. I must have washed and rinsed my body at least 4 times. I actually even enjoyed shaving because it gave me an excuse to stay in the shower longer……. Ahhhhhhhh that was the best freezing cold 20 minutes of my life!!! It’s the little things that make such a big difference living on the road! It was still raining so we headed to the camper to watch our RedBox movie. We arrived to find out that the computer only had 19% charge. The other down side of a free camping spot is there is no electric, not even in the bathrooms to hijack for a charge….. so we headed back up the mountain to use the outside plug at the Exxon station. We sat in the car chatting and getting snacks and junk and playing on our devices until the computer was about 90% charged (about an hour) and then headed BACK DOWN the mountain for movie time! You very quickly learn to have patience and roll with things living like this or else you end up annoyed and frustrated at all times. We continue to learn things don’t go how we WANT them to go, they go how they NEED to go for us to learn the lessons we need!! By the evening the clouds broke and we started to see some blue in the sky…..
We walked down to the river and talked and made cairns and made faces with rocks and had treasure hunts as we watched the clouds turn different shades of pink as the sun’s rays drifted behind the mountains and the nights darkness claimed it’s place in the sky!!!
We ate dinner, decided to watch another movie and slowly drifted off to sleep. The next day we headed out for one last day on the river. While getting ready for the day, Sienna and I met a really cute couple who was also living out of their van while traveling the country. We traded stories and checked out each others living spaces and got new ideas for efficiency and traded must see places with each other. I am loving this new tribe I am finding and absolutely LOVE sharing stories of how we ended up in this alternative way of life…… Finding out what brought someone else to the place of leaving their “normal life” to hit the road and live out of a vehicle in search of something different. I always leave these conversations feeling so secure in my decision and rooted in my own truth and life experiences that brought me here! We got to the river and and headed out for our last run. It was a cooler day so we definitely didn’t linger as long as normal and both Sienna and I huddled a bit to let our own body heat warm us up as we worked our way down the river. The river level was higher than it had been which changed elements and made some rapids more dangerous and others were much more mild. It is crazy to see how the different weather conditions effect the river and our experience on it.
It was mystical and magical and even though I was cold, I didn’t want the day to end. As the sun dropped behind the ridge we boogied off and headed back to camp to have a bonfire by the river.
We all gathered twigs and sticks and logs looking forward to the warmth it would provide and the good times we would enjoy before Evan left in the morning.
We spent hours down by the fire, continuously feeding it in the hope that if the fire was burning it would demand the night to stay and we could watch the moon beams dance between the clouds and the leaves on the trees forever. Once again I wanted a pause button for my life to slow this night down to a stand still to enjoy it for longer. We continued sharing stories and dreams and hopes and laughs until our eyes became so heavy even toothpick would’t keep them open. We laid on a big rock with eyes closed and I took in every sound, every smell, every sense on my skin and let it burn itself into my memory!!! When I couldn’t listen or hear or feel any deeper we surrendered to the night and let it take us into the next day.
I think we all moved in slow motion that morning, again in a feeble attempt to slow things down, as we knew good-byes were getting near. We lounged around and had a lazy breakfast. I packed the car with the laundry I needed to do and all my work stuff to spend the afternoon working at the laundromat while Evan drove home to start his own new journey. We said long goodbyes and headed up the mountain. We came up to the normal stop sign we usually coasted through on the way to the highway and Evan stopped his van. The next thing I knew he was walking back to our car talking about what a beautiful, sunny day it was. I agreed and silently wished we had more time, but knew he needed to get going to prep and I had work to do anyway. The next sentence was music to my ears. “Hey you guys want to go spend a few hours at the Summerville Lake and climb some more? It’s just to pretty of a day to be spent inside!” Ummmmmmmmmmm once again, before he could get the whole sentence out, I was violently nodding my head and saying, “YES, YES, YES!!!” So we grabbed food for lunch and headed to the lake. We spent the afternoon climbing and floating around on my SUP. Letting the sunbeams cover our bodies with gentle kisses as we splashed and laughed and soaked in every last second of JOY and BLISS!!!
I felt to content, like absolutely everything the world was in perfect order! The sun started dropping in the sky and we knew we could no longer drag out the inevitable.
We said our goodbyes and drove in opposite directions…… The tears dropped again, but something was different. I kept getting hit with a knowing. A knowing that this incredible gift was exactly what we ALL needed in our lives….. A knowing that the Universe is wise and kind and ALWAYS sees the bigger picture even when I can’t. A knowing that this time confirmed dreams and solidified what I want in life. A knowing that Sienna and I have so many more adventures and healing and experiences to share. A knowing that I can listen to the quiet whispers of my heart and show up for life in a transparent and authentic way and REALLY amazing things will unfold!!! A knowing that there is more to come…… We headed to the laundromat, got everything prepped for our next stop and headed out of West Virginia different people. The growth and healing that occurred in this magical place with live on in us forever!! We will let it continue to settle into our souls and enjoy every special gift we both received!!! Our hearts are fuller, our eyes are clearer, our dreams are bigger and we are both better people that who we were when we pulled into this incredible state!!! THANK YOU WEST VIRGINIA!!! Stay Wild and Wonderful, until we meet again……………..
Love & Light Me