Thursday, July 26th Wandered down out of Thomas along Highway 219 to where it intersects Highway 33 at Elkins. Twisting, winding mountain road and very scenic. Its amusing to a flatlander like me to see signs warning “55 MPH Radar Enforced.” Hell, I can’t bring myself to get the speed over 40 most of the time given the curves and turns, sometimes hairpins doubling back in the opposite direction. But, sure enough, I look in the rearview mirror and I see a stack of 4 to six cars waiting anxiously for a straight stretch so they can blow past me. No wonder Nascar is so big up here! There is definitely LeMans talent here on these mountain roads. Elkins is a pretty little community. I jumped off for a minute to look around and refuel when I saw a sign for gas under $3. An artsy kind of town with a small college, art shops along main street, little cafe’s, etc. Might be a nice place to live. Next town was Buckhannon and I started to pass on by, but something just seemed to pull me back. I dropped off 33 and meandered around downtown for minute or two and it literally jsut seemed like home. Real small town America main street, brick buildings, Courthouse with clock tower kind of place. There was a little mom and pop hotel just off main street and I checked in. I’m only about 1 ½ hours from Charleston here so I think I’ll camp out here for two nights (the room rate is great and the room is very comfortable) and check this place out in more detail. Had a bite to eat (and a drink or three) at a little place call Allbughers on Main Street. Russ, the new manager and, as it turns out, a bass player, filled me in on the area – he’s a WV native and his family has had property around Buckhannon for generations. And, they had some live music later in the evening – a blues guitar player with a harmonica accompanying. Not bad, but a little too “electric” and techno for my taste. I gave Russ a couple of CD’s – next time through who knows? Friday, July 27th Spent the day scoping out the area. Went over to West Virginia Wesleyan College and down to the Buckhannon River. Then south out of town out into the farmlands and hill country. Overcast, rainy and beautiful. Circled around back through town and went over to Weston. Another nice little town, but not the same feel as Buckhannon. Then wandered out along Stonecoal Creek to Stonecoal Lake - not a soul out there, so peaceful. Went back to the room, practiced a bit, took a little nap and then walked downtown to get some supper. I’ll hate to leave this little town tomorrow. Saturday, July 28th Back on the road again. Rolled into Charleston at 1 pm and was lucky that my room was ready for early check-in. Realized something bad on the way over here - it looks like I left my three way guitar stand at the Purple Fiddle, SHOOT! Guess I can get them to mail it to me, but it’ll be a pain tonight without it. Even thinking about going to pick up a substitute - there’s a guitar store close by. Went ahead and re-strung. I want to go set up early at around 3:30 pm so I can shower and relax a while before the show. And, I’m interested to check out the space. Got to BK a little before 3:30. Herb, the general manager, was there to greet me and make the necessary arrangements for me to set up. The room is very nice. Again, high, stamped tin ceilings, wood floors and brick walls. And the staff is very accommodating. I got set up, had a bite to eat and headed back to shower and get ready to go. By 6:30 pm the house is packed. However, they aren’t there for the music, but rather the food, which I can tell you is quite good. Consequently, the room is very, very noisy and not what I’m used to playing. I have no opportunity to connect with the audience and introduce songs - at all - believe me I tried. I rolled with it, played things at low key (even when there would typically be more energy) and made the best of it. It wasn’t that no one was listening - the response was actually quite good and sold some CD’s.. But it was listening with only one ear and not my favorite atmosphere to present my material. Nevertheless, it was a profitable night $$ wise. And, Bobbie Watson’s niece, Beverly, and a friend came by to actually listen. Great meeting them. While I really like the room, it really needs to evolve more towards being a true music venue before I’d be anxious to come back. However, if you’re ever in Charleston you should check the Bluegrass Kitchen out - great food and a generous, wonderful staff So, running out of gas rapidly and ready to get some shut eye. Tomorrow, on to Asheville, NC and the Swannanoa Gathering.