Throw a Dart and Go: A Yearly Bucket List is Born
Those who know Holly and I know that we are spontaneous and will live up to challenges. All we need is a good idea and we will enthusiastically run with it. This is why when we got the idea to throw a dart at a map pack up and go wherever it landed, we HAD to do it. To bring the idea down to earth and make it more realistic we set some simple parameters: we limited the trip to two days so it could be completed in a weekend, and drew a 6-hour radius around our starting location so wherever the dart landed inside the circle, it would be less than a 6-hour drive to get there. We also threw the dart the night before heading out, so we wouldn’t have time to plan where we would stay or what we would do – thus keeping the trip spontaneous and just the way it was intended to be.
On the Thursday before we left, we met at Holly’s house and threw a dart. Then another dart, and another.. before we hit something less in the middle of the ocean and more inside our circle. Then we threw a few more for good measure. We ultimately decided that we would stop at all three locations where the darts actually landed inside the circle: Pomeroy, Ohio, Ironton Ohio and Cave City, Kentucky.
On Friday evening we met at my house in Wadsworth, Ohio, and after a quick stop for coffee and fuel we hit the road. An 80’s playlist entertained us as we cruised the two and a half hours south towards Pomeroy, OH.
After a minor setback involving rain and scrubbing a waxy coating off of the windshield so we could see where we were going, we arrived in Pomeroy a bit later than expected. But considering we thought we heard coyotes when we got out of the car to take a photo next to the “Pomeroy Business Route” sign, we didn’t want to stay there long anyway. It was getting late as we were leaving Pomeroy so we made the executive decision to pass on Ironton for the night and instead go there in the morning on our way to Kentucky.
Our final destination for the evening was Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Once we arrived in town, our GPS sent us in circles trying to find the hotel. As we circled the block one last time we were forced to stop when a white dog that looked like a wolf refused to move out of the road. It stood and stared at us for quite some time when we realized our hotel was just down the road that was off to our left. We thanked the creepy dog for showing us the way, took it’s picture and headed straight to our hotel.
The Historic Lowe Hotel, which was opened in the early 1900’s is known to be haunted – so naturally we asked for a room on the most haunted 3rd floor.. It was late after we checked in but no way were we going to bed without exploring. After using a skeleton key to enter our room, we cracked a beer and took in the view of the city. Oh how lucky, that our room had the best view of the MOST CREEPY STATUE EVER.
Meet Mothman, a legendary half-moth/ half-man creature who was spotted regularly in the 60’s (when acid was a popular recreational drug) right before disaster would strike. One of his last sightings was in 1967 shortly before the Silver Bridge that spanned the Ohio River collapsed, killing 46 people. And here he was, hanging out right below our hotel window. This trip really was turning out pretty awesome.
After taking in the scenic view, it was time to explore the haunted hotel. We decided to shoot video, to see if we could spot any shadows or orbs. Not 5 minutes after leaving our room, as we were intently studying my cell phone screen looking for orbs, a HUGE white streak flashed across the screen, right in front of us, which sent us jumping in the air making a commotion. The video footage of this and our whole Surprise road trip, is awesome and can be viewed by following the link at the end of this post.
After disturbing some of the other 3rd floor guests who were less interested in ghost-hunting and more interested in sleeping, we decided to explore the rest of the super cool historic hotel so they could go back to bed. Unfortunately we didn’t have any more paranormal experiences, but all in all our first day was a success.
On the morning of day two we chatted with the innkeeper of the Historic Lowe Hotel, who gave us an impromptu tour of the attached pub and art gallery and shared some cool stories with us before we checked out. We then grabbed a coffee at a corner shop and followed our trusty GPS out of town. This same GPS that had led us around the block multiple times the night before and into the path of the creepy wolf-dog had now directed us off the main road and onto the property of a small municipal airport. I wonder now if it was our GPS or the town of Point Pleasant itself, in all its mystery and creepiness, that was misguiding us..
Now behind schedule, we booked it to our second pack up and go location: Ironton, OH. We only had time to stop for a quick photo then were on our way to Cave City, Kentucky. Sorry Ironton, maybe next time!
As luck would have it, Cave City isn’t just a cool name for a city in Kentucky. Cave City is home of the world famous Mammoth Caves! As luck would have it, apparently you can’t just wander into Mammoth Caves without a reservation or private tour group. It was for this reason we ended up at the less-than-famous Onyx Cave.
Arriving straight out of a long drive, I asked the employee behind the counter in the Onyx Cave gift shop if I could use the restroom. He said yes, but felt obligated to tell me there were a lot of crickets in there. “Whatever, I’ve dealt with worse, I can handle a couple harmless crickets”, I thought as I strolled to the bathrooooom. HOLYCOW!!! As I flipped on the light switch I was swarmed by a thick cloud of seriously large crickets. Startled by the light, they were bouncing off the walls and ceilings and landing in my hair. Wow! That guy wasn’t kidding. I decided the bathroom wasn’t that important.
Turns out the same employee that worked in the gift shop and had no concept of how many crickets are too many crickets, was also our cave tour guide. We made our presence known once again as tourists when I asked what kind of mineral was growing on the walls leading to the cave. “Paint”, he answered – and continued to tell us all kinds of things about their crazy neighbor up the hill and the fact that the cave was “dead”, meaning no stalactites or stalagmites grew there anymore. No wonder this tour was cheaper than the Mammoth Cave tours…
Leaving Onyx Cave, we headed down the road a few miles to the Jesse James Ranch, where we had just enough time for a horseback ride before they closed for the day. So confident we would just be trotting along some flat path made for tourists, I opted for no safety gear. It was going to be a cake walk. WRONG. Holly is a natural on a horse. Not to mention she’s also fearless and up for any adventure, any time. I am also up for any adventure, any time but am significantly less fearless and by no means a natural on a horse.
None of this would have mattered if we had stuck to the flat tourist path like expected. But in true Lisa/Holly form, when our guide asked if we wanted to go off the beaten path and up the side of the mountain we instantly and unanimously said yes.
What we didn’t know was that there were no real paths up the mountain and I was about to get a crash course on extreme horseback riding. I may be exaggerating a little. It was more like a really big, steep hill and probably not as extreme as I think it was. All I know is I pulled a muscle in my shoulder and thought I was having a heart attack, bummed a smoke (and I don’t smoke) from our guide halfway through the trip and kissed the ground when I got back off that mountain.
To me, it was extreme. I was tense the entire time and kept wishing I could go back in time and opt for the riding helmet. Not that it would do a lot of good when I tumbled down the hill and my horse trampled me anyway. Holly on the other hand thought it was a day in the park and kept talking about wanting to get a horse. I’ll stick to shih tzus, thanks.
Totally exhausted and hungry after our final adventure of the trip, we ended the day with dinner and a large margarita at a local Mexican restaurant. In lieu of going out on the town we decided to start heading back north and stop somewhere along the way to sleep for the night.
All said and done, I think it is fair to say that our ‘Throw a Dart, Pack Up and Go’ road trip was a success! We traveled 911 miles roundtrip, visited 4 cities in 3 different states and accomplished quite a lot in just two days. We successfully completed our 2015 Summer Bucket List and shortly after came up with the idea for a yearly bucket list that took us on many more adventures.