Mo & Terry Smedley


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Appalachian Autumn (2008) Tour

Part 8:  "Tygart Flyer", Snowshoe Mountain

Today (Sunday), we drove to Elkins, West Virginia to board the "Tygart Flyer" train for a (second) trip to the High Falls of the Cheat.   Today's excursion was a bit of a mixed bag - since this tour was originally conceived, the excursion trains out of Elkins have morphed into something a little less interesting than we'd hoped.  Yesterday's train (the Cheat Mountain Salamander) was originally an interesting ride in a restored motorcar (self contained "bus on rails").  However, it had proven so popular that the operators decided to replace the interesting motorcar with a standard locomotive and coach train that can hold more people.  No doubt this makes the financials look better, but it's definitely not the same railroad experience as the motorcar.'s train (in a standard locomotive/coach train) is pretty much a repeat of yesterday.

Oh, well, any train ride is a good one.  Kinda like ice cream.

After we returned to Snowshoe, our tour leaders had arranged a special dinner at the top of the mountain for us.  On this crystal clear day, we enjoyed views of the sun doing down from the Foxfire Grille at Snowshoe Mountain.

Tomorrow (Monday), we have a driving day (well, a bus riding day) to Charlottesville, Virginia.  We'll be traveling on a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and we have a stop at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia. 

Observation:  The State of West Virginia owns the rail infrastructure on all of the trains we've ridden here.  Concessionaires pay a fee to use the lines, and must pay for all direct operational costs of their equipment.  The State views this as good economic development, both as a means to employ people in a tourist activity and also to maintain rail infrastructure that could support future manufacturing or extraction industries.

The "Tygart Flyer" offered a buffet lunch on a four hour trip to the High Falls of the Cheat and return to Elkins.   This is the same route we followed on a portion of the "Cheat Mountain Salamander" yesterday.  We had beautiful, sunny weather on the trip. We had lunch with Bruce and Virginia Hibbard, from Ojai, California. At the High Falls stop, Mo found a dog to play with.  This guy was a superb - and tireless - retriever. After our return to Snowshoe, we drove up to the ski resort for dinner.  You can see the chair lift and the evening sun on some of the condominiums.
Snowshoe Village looks a lot like Whistler, and probably every other ski village.  This is a really slow time of year, so most of the shops and restaurants were closed.  The bright setting sun was blinding in the restaurant, so members of our group held up their menus to block the sun from those of us on the other side of the table.