We may have crossed several state borders, multiple times, but we spent most of our time in West Virginia and Kentucky this week. Starry skies, friendly goats, and lakeside camping made this week memorably awesome!
Note: I’m still catching up on our weekly road trip re-caps! This one covers September 13-19.
After a one-night stay in Ocean City, Maryland to start the week, we made a quick stop in Delaware (breakfast time!) before heading back across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge toward West Virginia.
On the way, we nearly ran out of gas in Virginia (oops!) but got a whopping 455 miles out of our 11.1 gallon tank. (If you do the math, that’s, like, 41 mpg. See why we love our Yaris?)
After dark, we arrived and were greeted by our host and her bloodhound at one of the most unique Airbnbs we’ve stayed at to this day: a renovated barn in West Virginia, with two goats and a rooster for next-door neighbors.
After a week of travel without dark skies, here we had the perfect opportunity for Milky Way photography, both right outside our house and within a short drive to a fantastic viewpoint up at Spruce Knob. Rounding out our week, we spent two nights camping in Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky — another great Milky Way photo opp.
You can get an overview of our trip each week here on the blog, but we’re posting more frequent updates of our cross-country U.S. road trip on Facebook and Instagram.
States Visited This Week
- West Virginia
*just passing through
States Visited in Previous Weeks
- Week One: California, Nevada, Arizona
- Week Two: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
- Week Three: Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri
- Week Four – Six: Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota
- Week Seven: Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Alberta (Canada)
- Week Eight: North Dakota back to Chicago
- Week Nine – Twelve: Chicago & Oshkosh
- Week Thirteen: Chicago to Pittsburgh
- Week Fourteen: Hershey to New York City — Halfway to 50 States!
- Week Fifteen: Exploring the Northeastern Coast
- Week Sixteen & Seventeen: Maine to the Adirondacks
- Week Eighteen: Niagara Falls to Washington D.C.
Total States Visited So Far: 36
California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky
- Chesapeake Bay, MD
- Seneca Rocks, WV
- Spruce Knob, WV
- Daniel Boone National Forest, KY
- Coming close to, but not actually, running out of gas in Virginia (phew!)
- Two opportunities for astrophotography in one week!
- Hanging out with cute goats at our renovated barn Airbnb in rural West Virginia
- Sunset at Spruce Knob, WV (it was gorgeous!)
- Camping under the stars in Kentucky
Notes and Insights
- Our Toyota Yaris tank is supposed to hold 11.1 gallons of gas. Somehow we filled it up — basically on empty — with 11.3 gallons. We went 455 miles on that tank, meaning we got a whopping 41 mpg without even really trying to hypermile! Our next car will probably be an electric one, but I think the Yaris is a doing a pretty darn good job for now.
- Charleston, West Virginia was my least favorite city of this whole trip. Like we’d done many times before, we booked a last-minute stay on Hotwire, but options in this city were terrible. (The best booking option had an 80% satisfaction rate.) I have a severe aversion to cigarette smoke, and there were just too many smokers in this town. It made it impossible for us to find a truly smoke-free room, despite advertisements boasting 100% smoke-free rooms. (I asked to change rooms four times at the Red Roof Inn and still didn’t get a fresh-smelling room.) Lots of guests were standing on the thresholds of their rooms smoking when we checked in, so I eventually gave up and vowed to never book a Hotwire stay with a sub-90% satisfaction rate again. Needless to say, I was never more excited for our camping plans that followed.
- Camping in Kentucky was surprisingly pleasant! The Twin Knobs campground in Daniel Boone National Forest offered some really spacious wooded campsites, so we had a really relaxing two-night camping trip here in our Half Dome 2 Plus tent from REI.
- West Virginia is an excellent place for astrophotography near the East Coast. (Learn how to photograph the Milky Way here.)
- Goat eyes are pretty crazy looking. Their pupils are really oddly shaped. But I still think they’re really cute, nonetheless.
All photos were taken by Ian and Diana with the Sony a7 II (Ian’s camera), Sony RX100 III (Diana’s camera — review here) and our smartphones.
Week 20 Preview
- A short stay in the surprisingly trendy city of Knoxville, Tennessee
- Our first visit to the hipster capital of the U.S. (Asheville, North Carolina)
- The first signs of autumn in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- An off-season stay in the family beach vacation destination of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
I hope you enjoyed this U.S. road trip re-cap! In case you missed them, check out our other weekly recaps from our road trip. Have you road-tripped to any of these U.S. locations? Tell us about your trips in the comments.
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About the Author
- In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.
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