Day 3: September 2, 2007
Nifty 250
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Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, Moundsville, WV Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, Moundsville, WV Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, Moundsville, WV Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, Moundsville, WV Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, Moundsville, WV US-250, WV As I started planning this weekend and looked at the Wheeling area on a map, a squiggly line south of the city caught my eye. That it had a U.S. Highway designation helped make it a candidate for a drive. While setting up our lunch date, I mentioned it in some email correspondence with Mike Austing and his response ("VERY curvy") increased its attraction. Chatting with Vincent at the Grove Terrace clinched it. Three of his recommendations were on or near US-250: the old WV prison, the mounds at Mound City, and the gold palace. I knew of them all from but hadn't thought any were "must sees". I figured I'd stop by the mounds if I went that way, but neither the prison or a religious retreat fired my interest. But Vincent was so positive about the palace that I put it on the "for sure" list.

I wanted to check out a diner in Cameron so thought I'd head directly there and worry about the attractions on the return trip. But, when I saw a sign indicating it was just four miles away, I made the turn. How long could an eight mile drive and a snapshot take? About an hour and a half, it turns out. The road is narrow and, while generally in decent shape, does have a few rough spots. It's more of a 30 MPH road than a 60 MPH road. I drove slowly past the complex then returned and parked. After walking around some of the area across from the palace (That's where the "Sri Sri Gaura Nitai Deities" are.) I entered the palace grounds and managed to join a tour that had just barely started. The guide realized that I was the only outsider in the group and occasionally offered some background on the religious connections, for my benefit. Very nice and much appreciated.

The palace was intended to be the home of Swami Srila Prabhupada but he died before it was completed. No photos are permitted inside the palace but you can see some much better than any I could have taken as well as learn about the palace, other parts of the complex, and Swami Prabhupada here.

Cameron, WV Cameron, WV Cameron, WV I still made it for breakfast in Cameron but, while the food, service, and general atmosphere were great, Mart's is a diner in name only.

This building across the street from Mary's fascinated me and I struggled to get a picture that did it justice. Lacking an overhead shot, this will have to do. The side really is concave and the porch on the back is probably deeper than the building itself at that point. There was a for rent sign in one window and it looked as if it might house a few apartments.

US-250, WV US-250, WV US-250, WV US-250, WV The road was even better in 3-D than 2 and I really enjoyed the drive. That 9% stretch was actually a mile and a half long but I missed the first sign. A plaque on the bridge is dated 1924.

Hundred, WV Hundred, WV Hundred, WV It was the old hotel that caught my eye but after I stopped I could see that this was once quite a town. I'm guessing the Maybert House may have also been a hotel. The town is named for a fellow who not only lived to be a hundred but long enough after to get that as a nickname.

Round Barn Museum, Mannington, WV Round Barn Museum, Mannington, WV Round Barn Museum, Mannington, WV Round Barn Museum, Mannington, WV Round Barn Museum, Mannington, WV Lucky Find of the Day: On the map, the road looked like it might be a little straight after Burton or there abouts and I had mentally noted that as a turn around point if time got short. Fortunately, I didn't even think about that as I happily cruised on into Mannington and spotted a "round barn museum" sign. The only regularly scheduled hours at the museum are 1:30-4:30 on Sundays. I pulled up about 1:29 as Charley Price was tying the "OPEN" sign to a pole out front. We chatted while he got the sign in place and we walked into the barn. The beautiful weather was a good starting point and Charlie mentioned how pleased he was to see it because he had to get in the last of his hay tomorrow. We climbed to the top floor and somewhere were joined by a couple from Virginia. The four of us walked through the barn examining - up close and personal - the amazing collection of mostly farm related stuff on display. Dairy cattle had been some of the barn's original occupants and the milking collars, etc., were there from day one. Day one was in 1914. Charlie used to raise both dairy and beef cattle but has downsized. Now he milks goats and has some sheep, too.

That's a washing machine and a broom maker in the last two pictures. Charlie couldn't vouch for it himself, but he had been told that this particular broom maker had once belonged to a couple, both blind, who made their living with it. I recognized a lot of things and learned about several more. Both from Charlie and the fellow from Virginia. Charlie is only at the museum one day a month so I had some more luck there. When I left, I thanked Charlie and wished him well on tomorrow's bailing. He does square bales and not the big round ones so common now. The big one are OK for cows but feeding sheep and goats is easier with the smaller ones, he says. By the way, Charlie is past 81. But just a little.

Barrackville, WV Barrackville, WV Barrackville, WV There was a wonderful model of a big covered bridge in the round barn and I was tempted to drive on to Philippi to see the real thing. But I decided that that would be pushing it so settled for this bridge, also discussed in the barn, in Barrackville. I turned around in Fairmont. Since US-250 is the only apparent choice, I set out to basically retrace my route back to Wheeling.

US-250, WV US-250, WV A former co-worker, who drove a Nissan 350Z, had a cartoon at his desk of a guy in a sports car close behind a gigantic motor home. At roadside was a sign with a squiggly arrow and the words "NEXT 35 MILES". I think of that cartoon every time something like this happens to me. This load pulled from a side street in Cameron and onto a side road about eight miles later.

Moundsville, WV Moundsville, WV Moundsville, WV Moundsville, WV Grave Creek Mound and the old penitentiary are right across the street from each other in Moundsville. I was too late (but not too disappointed) to tour either prison or museum.

US-250, OH Between Moundsville and Wheeling, US-250 is pretty much divided four-lane and it hooks up with I-70 for a bit in Wheeling. But, once it's outside the city, it soon returns to its winning & winding ways. I stayed with it to Cadiz then took the expressway style US-22 to Steubenville.

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