After we left Grafton it was about 2 in the afternoon and really hot so we only got about 5 miles. But it was perfect because we were right by a cute little church called Linn Chapel and they had a nice pavilion to pop our tent under. Even though it was a nice place to camp I did not sleep well so when we got up the next day I was super sleepy. But I was ready to get to Bridgeport so we packed up quickly and headed west. We took several breaks that day and Jeff began to get a migraine so we found an old elementary school in "Hepzibah" unincorporated and cooked some lunch and took a nice nap. When we woke up we were sluggish and ready to find a place to camp. We walked maybe another mile or two and began to ask people if we could camp on their property. We were directed towards Earl Glaspell's house because he owned most of the land we were looking at. We rang his doorbell and were greeted by him and Molly, his shitzu/poodle mix. He said, why sure you can camp, I got plenty of land back there." So we walked through the pasture, which used to be a dairy, to a nice sparkling blue pond and a big blood hound named Harley barking at us. We thought it looked like the perfect place to pop the tent! So I put up the tent while Jeff sat and watched because it was dark and he was tired and still had a little bit of a headache. I then sang to Harley "You ain't nothin' but a hounddog". Then we went up to Earl's house to see if there was a water source we could use to hose off. He invited us to hang out at his gazebo with his granddaughter who had questions for us. She was actually quite shy and did not ask us much at all. Apparently she wanted to ask her grandpa all the questions and when we got there the cat had got her tongue. Earl said we could take showers in his house and so we took him up on the offer and while I was taking my shower a neighbor had dropped off some pineapple upside down cake! Yummy!! When Jeff got out of the shower Earl offered to take us to Bridgeport to get a sandwich from the Chic-fil-a. We accepted the offer and hopped in Earl's truck and got a tour of Bridgeport while we were at it. After dinner Earl dropped us off at our tent and we tried to sleep. By morning I was so tired from yet another night of not much sleep and Earl drove over to see how we were. Earl said he was going to get a haircut that morning. I asked if he was going to do that in Bridgeport and he said no. I hinted that maybe we might like a ride there because I was really sleepy and not feeling much like walking in the heat. Earl said well sure. So we packed up, played with Harley one last time and hopped back in Earl's truck to Bridgeport where he dropped us off at the Laundry mat. After doing laundry we went to the post office because we were expecting a package from momma Peg. We received the package and it was not a surprise that she had put some extra goodies in the box other than what we had asked for. We saw a sign pointing to the library so we followed it until the road came to a T. We were not sure which way to turn so I began to flag people down to ask for directions but apparently Jeff and I look like mass murderers or something to the town of Bridgeport and nobody would stop. One lady even shook her head and waved her hands in terror so I would not come up to her car. Finally someone pulled up to the stop sign whose window was already rolled down so we just shouted for directions to the library and he pointed and said that way. Finally!! I thought we were just going to have to guess which way to walk. Finally after a mile or two and what felt like a gallon of sweat all over my body we came to the library. We spent a couple hours or two there and did not really feel like typing a blog so we just checked email and such. It would be cool if we could just record ourselves speaking about what has happened and post it up to our blog. If anyone knows if that is possible please let us know.
Well after 60+ days Jeff and I were beginning to bicker and I really needed some solitude, so Jeff walked to the mall by himself. I sat at the library for a little while and decided I wanted to walk so I walked till I saw the pet store. I wanted to see if they had any kitties. No kitties but they had ferrets. It was not the same though, however it did take my mind off the heat and crankiness for a bit. I decided to walk a little further and as I was walking down Johnson St. in the middle of town I looked down and saw some credit cards and business cards scattered about on the side of the road. I thought to myself someone might be missing these. I found a card with some numbers on them and decided to call them to see if I could find the person whose name was on all the cards. As I was calling some numbers I looked down and there was the wallet that the cards came from. I picked it up and it had more cards, a bunch of cash and id's. I finally got a hold of someone who knew the fella whom the wallet belonged to and he said he would let him know. I then called Jeff and he said he would meet me at Bob Evans to get something to eat. We had a delicious meal and enjoyed some AC and met a couple and their daughter who knew a woman who we had met a few days earlier. It is such a small world, or maybe just a small state! When we asked for our check we found out that those nice folks had bought our meal. God bless you guys! You know who you are. Sorry I forgot y'alls names. Jeff and I asked if there were any churches near to camp at and they said there were a lot in the direction we had just walked from so we headed back down Johnson St. We got a phone call from the man whose wallet we found and he said he lived in N. Carolina and his girlfriend lived in Bridgeport so I told him to have her call us. She called us and told us she would meet us to pick up his wallet. When we arrived to the place of meeting there was a family standing beside her. I wasn't sure who they were, it looked like they were maybe with her but I wasn't sure. They actually were not. They said they saw us at Blackwater Falls and had wanted to talk to us then but were talking with some older gentlemen. When they saw us in their town they said they had to stop and talk to us. The woman who we returned the wallet to was very grateful and I told her God knew whose hands the wallet needed to end up in and we bid farewell and God bless. The family who pulled over to talk to us offered to buy us dinner and we said we had already eaten but were going to be in town for another day so we exchanged phone numbers and said maybe we could meet up tomorrow.
From there we walked up the road a ways until we saw Simpson Creek Baptist Church. There were a lot of cars parked outside and we went on in the fellowship hall. We were greeted by a bunch of smiling faces and they were all eating dinner. They offered us a meal and told us to come on in and have a seat. We weren't hungry but we took them up on a couple of bottles of water. After they ate they all sat around in the youth room for a devotional. Pastor Rick lead us in a devotional and afterward we asked if there was someplace we could pop our tent. Rick said that we could put it up behind the church if we wanted, but that we were welcome to stay there in the fellowship hall and sleep on their couches! Kristin jumped on that offer because she had not been sleeping well. We were able to set up our tent to dry it out, and we also were able to wash all of our dishes and water bottles. That was great because they hadn't been really scrubbed in quite some time. We each found a comfy couch and crashed for the night. The next morning Nellie called and offered to take us to lunch. Nellie is the woman who saw us at Blackwater and she picked us up and took us to Hank's Deli. When we got there we met several of her friends and fellow teachers from the high school, and we also met Bethany, who is Nellie's daughter. Kristin and I had a "real West Virginia Hot Dog." It was pretty good, but we know how to make 'em back in Oklahoma too! After lunch Nellie took us back to her house to hang out and do some laundry. They live on a cute little lake with houses all around it and a nice little swimming area. I got to do a little fishing too!! Soon after Nellie's friend Trina came by with her two kids Jake and Molly. A little later Nellie's friend from college came by, and she was the choir director and pianist for her church. We sat around the piano and sang hymns and had a great time. While we were doing that Nellie was busy in the kitchen making us Ratatouille and asparagus! It smelled soooo good! It wasn't too long before Nellie's husband, Brian, came home from work. When he got there he took Bethany, Jake, Molly, and myself fishing. He had picked up some meal worms on his way home and the 5 of us walked across the street to the lake. We had so much fun! It reminded me of when my grandpa, dad, sister, and friends used to go fishing. Brian and I spent time putting worms on hooks in between casting our own fishing rods. I happened to look down and see the most beautiful Monarch butterfly sitting on my shoulder (at least I think it was a monarch.) It was so big and vibrant and fuzzy! I slowly coerced it to trade my shoulder for my finger and walked it over to Bethany. She held out her finger and it jumped over to it!! She was just in awe , and with the biggest smile a kid has ever smiled she said, "Daddy LOOK!!" Brian was in awe too. She paraded that butterfly around the lake shore and it just wouldn't leave her finger. Brian ran back to the house to get the camera and on his way back over it flew off of her finger. It circled Bethany a few times, but she didn't give up hope. Nor did she let her finger down. Would you believe that the butterfly actually landed back on the tip of her finger?! Well it did. We were all just so excited at what we were witnessing. Brian got a few pictures then it flew off and came right back to her outstretched finger again! It was at this point when little Bethany said in a small sad voice, "I wish mommy was here to see this." So Brian said, "me too" and ran back to the house to get Nellie out of the kitchen. The butterfly stayed on the end of Bethany's finger until her mommy and everyone else made it over to us. Then Bethany let everyone have a turn at holding the butterfly and we all took lots of pictures. It was just the neatest thing to see. That butterfly must have been sent to us by God to lift our spirits (not that they were down or anything.) Well the clouds to our north gave off a warning of things to come and Brian decided it wasn't a good idea to be out by the lake with fishing poles anymore and we packed up to head in. Bethany still had her butterfly and she even tried to put it onto some pretty flowers before going inside, but the butterfly didn't want to leave her. So Nellie brought out the kid's dinner and put it on the porch and the butterfly just stayed around for dinner. While the kids went out on the porch, us adults went inside for a scrumptious homemade meal. We talked until late in the evening and before we turned in for the night, Trina told us she was going to be going out of town that weekend. Then she proceeded to tell us that we could stay at her house while she and her kids were away for the weekend! We were just instantly humbled by her generosity and kindness. Here we are, two stinky hikers who were just praying for some solitude and re-charging time, and Trina just stepped up and answered our prayer! Incredible.
Nellie and Brian insisted that we sleep in their bed that night and it was amazing. Comfy and cool! What a generous offer to strangers! Not that we felt like strangers anymore. We actually felt like part of the family already. When I woke up the next morning I went to sit on the porch and read some scripture and when I tried to go back inside I realized I had locked myself out. Oops! So finally after 30 minutes of knocking on windows, Jeff let me in. Nellie, Bethany, Jeff, and I had a pretty relaxing day of lounging around and enjoying the pretty day. We went to a sweet shop called "Almost Heaven Desserts" because I was fiending for some coffee. The barista looked very familiar but did not know why she would since we were from Oklahoma. I told her that and she said, " I just moved from Oklahoma!" Crazy! This country gets smaller and smaller every town we walk through. After coffee and some sugary snacks we went to the mall to see if Dick's sporting goods had a cap for my new bladder pack. They had exactly what I needed and so we purchased it and went to find a photo booth so we could all take a silly pic together. It turned out perfect! The Johnson's now have it hanging on their refrigerator. We noticed the time and realized we needed to get back to the house to meet Brian because we were actually meeting Colin and Jessica, the couple from Philippi, in Clarksburg for dinner before heading to Jesus Fest. We ate at a delicious Italian joint called "Minard's". I had chicken parmigiana and Jeff had ummm......I don't know, I was too busy devouring mine!! While we were waiting on our meal Bethany was continuing to wiggle her tooth that she had been working on for a couple of weeks. Finally her dad just took a napkin, reached into her little mouth and pulled the sucker out!! After dinner we were talking about how to pronounce Philippi. I said it should be pronounced like the biblical place philippi with a long "I" and Colin said everyone else pronounces it with an "-ee." The table behind us overheard us and they just so happened to be from Philippi as well and said actually it is "Philipp-ee!" We talked to them a little more and they just so happened to be the owners of a yummy ice cream shop called "Dairy King", in Philippi. Colin told him how the college probably supports him more than anyone else in town. I told them how we were walking across the country for Jesus and how awesome his ice cream was. Then before we knew it those lovely people had bought our meal! I couldn't believe it! The entire table! What generous people there are here in West Virginia!! I just cannot get over how kind people have been to us. Owners of Dairy King: God Bless you!!
When we got to Jesus fest "Seventh Day Slumber" was playing. They were in the middle of their set and after they finished the lead singer was reciting some of the letters people had written to the band and then he told his own testimony which is pretty amazing, but not surprising however because I know how big a God we serve. He said he was a coke addict for years and his mom accepted Christ when he was 20 or so. She really wanted him to find God too but he was atheist. When he was 21 he hit rock bottom and purposefully over dosed in his mother's living room. When she came in she found him convulsing and she called the ambulance. He said as he was in the ambulance he felt the hand of Jesus and he told him if he still wanted him he would give his life to him. He said he did not have anything to offer because all he was was a dirty drug addict. So Jesus spared his life of course because he is awesome and that is what he does, SAVE LIVES!!! So after telling his story he had the security guards move back all the crowd and moved the barriers. He then asked if anyone wanted to humble themselves and come to the front and kneel before God then come. I saw Jeff run to the front and fall on his knees and then half the crowd just flocked to the stage and fell down and everyone was worshipping God. It was so beautiful and humbling. I sat there just imagining how this would look if we were in heaven bowing before his throne. How great a site that will be!!!
After that another band came on but I was so tired I really did not pay attention to them. Jeff and I sat on a brick wall and listened to the band from behind the stage. Colin and Jessica found us eventually and they realized their dog Alley probably needed to be let out soon, so they took us to Trina's. When we got to Trina's we were greeted by Scooby, a sweet yellow lab who was going to be our pal for the weekend!
We headed to Clarksburg to see if we could catch the last day of the Jesus fest. We got to Clarksburg and a gentleman came up to us and almost immediately started talking to us in scriptures. We were delighted to meet a fellow brother. He invited us to his porch for some cold water and some bbq that he had just cooked. We had already eaten but he insisted so Jeff took some. His friend also sent us away with some vienna sausages. Which I find repulsive but Jeff loves them so they were gone in a couple days. The gentleman said he would drive us downtown so we would not miss the festival. We got there and walked to Main Street and not many people were there, maybe just the cleanup crew and a man was saying a final prayer to wrap up the festival. So we just walked downtown towards the trail. The town seemed solemn and ghostly compared to the last couple days. We were walking for a while looking for a church to camp behind but the area did not look like the safest part of town so we kept walking. We got to a neighborhood/community called Adamston and passed a sign pointing to the United Methodist Church. We were almost passed the street to turn on and Jeff quickly said, "I think we should go this way." So we took a sharp left and walked to the Methodist church into the evening service where a cute lil' old lady was reading scripture. We quietly walked to the back, hoping not to interupt. We did a pretty good job. Even though a couple people noticed us and smiled at us. After the old lady took her seat, Etheldean Yanero, the pastor, got up to lead some songs. She asked if anyone had any intersting news to tell. I said, "we walked from Bridgeport to Clarksburg today!" Everyone turned and looked at us and said, "wasn't it hot?" We explained how we were used to it because we had walked all the way from the Atlantic Ocean. Then Etheldean asked if anyone wanted to lead the music. I raised my hand high and said, "I'll do it!" So I went up and lead a few hymns and then they asked me to sing one by myself. Of course I sang our anthem that Jeff makes me sing for everyone, "I want Jesus to Walk with Me". Then Etheldean gave her sermon on I Samuel and how we should be careful what we pray for. Afterwards we greeted everyone and Etheldean said we could stay in the church if we wanted or we could stay with her in the parsonage. We did not have a preference so we asked her to decide and she said, "well you can just come with me." So we hopped in her car and drove over to the parsonage. We were greeted by Riley, a pretty black shepard looking dog who Etheldean warned us about because he does not always play nice. She was a little worried he would not behave so she put him in his kennel. She let him in later and he was a good boy for the most part. We told Etheldean our testimony and then took showers. After I finished my shower I asked how God called her to be a preacher and she smiled and said, "do you really want to know that story?" She told us her amazing story and then we continued to talk about God till about midnight. Finally we just couldn't hold our eyes open any longer, even though we could have told God's stories all night! We went to bed and when we woke up Etheldean fixed us some coffee and we had some oatmeal and headed off to Wolf Summit where we were to get on the North Bend Rail Trail.
We must have missed the turn just outside of Clarksburg because we hit a dead end on old Rt 50. The directions got real ambiguous there for a few miles and we wound up having to walk along the new Rt 50 with is a four lane highway that is very busy and very noisy. We had to walk down it for a couple of miles before we finally got sick of the massive trucks screaming by us only a few feet away. So we found a little road that cut back to the N.W. and we took a chance and went that way. We had only walked down it about 1/2 a mile before we found the old rail trail! It's always nice when a plan comes together. We walked about two miles down the trail until we finally came into Wolf Summit where the Trail Head was. We were running very low on water and we happened to see the steeple of a church not far away so we headed down the road to see if we could get some water and a place to pop our tent. When we reached the church we found it to be abandonded. So we knocked on the house next door. A man named Roscoe anwsered and told us we could sit in his shady bench swing and he would bring us out some water. Soon after, his wife Eileen came out, and brought us bbq pork sandwiches and me a tomato sandwich also! The tomato was from their garden and just as ripe and red as could be! It was sooooo delish. We got to talking and Eileen told us about her future daughter-in-law backpacking across spain in her younger years. She then told us that she is now a teacher at Bridgeport H.S.. We said, "what's her name?" She replied, "Trina." Kristin and I both about fell out of the bench! We said, "That's the woman who let us stay in her house for the weekend!!!!" We were all in shock at the situation. Here we are miles down the road and we just happen across Trina's soon to be in-laws! God is so funny. Well we had a wonderful time with them and then walked over to the other church in town to sleep for the night. It was the weslyean methodist church, but no one was there so we just set up the tent anyway. The next morning we headed off down the Rail Trail. Where we met Sharon and Paul a day later. They had gotten a hold of us via the ADT website and offered to put us up for a day or two. We are currently in West Union, WV in good care of Sharon and Paul and have already attended the local county fair. We are going back tonight to see the Gospel acts. It has been an amazing journey and we can't wait to see what God has in store for us on down the road! God bless everyone who is reading and following along on here. We miss you and may God bless you and Keep you!
P.S. - Today is now August 19th. It has taken that long to write out this blog!