Sunday, April 10, 2016

North Carolina, Virginia, & West Virginia

We arrived in North Carolina and our routine visit to a Welcome Center recommended some attractions, including the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which got our attention. This facility—near Charlotte, the state's largest city—features the world's largest artificial whitewater river and is used as an official Olympic Training Center. We tried rafting, the rope course, boulder climbing, and rock climbing, which were all fun:

Overview of the facitily.

Artificial river, this one was the competition grade part of the river, class III and IV rapids.

Our raft. Notice the guide in the back, trying to pull one of us who bounced out of the raft and was in the water.

The artificial river had a "moving sidewalk" to bring rafts from the bottom to the top of the river. We rode it 4 times for 4 descents.

Rope courses, which we had to complete quickly in order to make it to our appointment with white water rafting.

Access to the rope courses.


The Whitewater Center was the only attraction we visited in North Carolina. We have a schedule to keep so we had to hurry! So we drove to Virginia, only stopping at the Big Walker Lookout, a tower from which one can see presumably 5 states (Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina) however there was no guide and no explanation so it was impossible for us to tell what we we were looking at on the horizon:

Big Walker Lookout tower. It is even more rickety than it looked.

Climbing the tower. The owner's dog really liked our company and followed us all the way to the top, carrying his favorite stick.

View of our RV from the top :)

Top of the tower.

Lauren was scared to stand near the railing since the tower was creaking and swaying in the wind :)

Crossing Virginia was very quick, about 1 hour. We then ended up in West Virginia where we spent the night in an RV camp in Lewisburg where it was below freezing, and thus they did not have water service (fortunately our fresh water tank in the RV was full). Why Lewisburg? Because we toured the nearby Lost World Caverns. This involved a lot of crawling and rolling on mud and slippery rocks in confined spaces:

Our group.

They called this hole "the drain"—barely big enough to descend into it. At least 2 persons in our group couldn't fit.

This was a tough passage where we all tried to avoid touching the water. Inevitably, all of us eventually fell in and got soaked.

Selfie with one of our guides.

Before: clean.

After: dirty.

Next day we camped near Fayetteville and stopped to admire the New River Gorge Bridge:

The bridge is the third longest single-span arch bridge in the world.

Looks like we are taking a pic in front of a green screen, ha.

So far we have driven 5031 miles / 8097 km:

Next destination: Indiana!

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